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Hard Roll-Up Bed Cover
This TruXedo Sentry CT Review is the result after months of research and debate about bed covers after purchasing my F250 in the Spring of 2019.
Why a hard rolling bed cover?
With a young family and all of the gear I tote around for them and hobbies a bed cover is a necessity. It not only protects our belongings from opportunistic thieves but also guards against the wrath of mother nature.
My decision to go with the TruXedo Sentry CT was based largely based on the hard roll-up bed cover style. In the past, I have owned a hard tri-fold cover and a rolling soft top cover. Each of these bed covers served a purpose but eventually fell short and ended in frustrations for me.
History with a Soft Rolling Cover:
My first bed cover was a TruXedo soft cover that was equipped on my 2005 F250 6-7 years ago. This cover saved many softball road trips with buddies from wet and damaged gear and allowed us to lock things up out of sight overnight without hauling it all into hotel rooms.
The problem I had with this cover came years into its existence when the support poles began falling out and the Velcro started losing its holding power. Before I knew it, the automatic carwash or highway driving would result in a cover flopping in the wind behind me. In addition, the idea of locking things under a soft top offers a false sense of security. Anyone with a knife or box cutter could easily access your belongings in seconds if they wanted to. The only deterrent a soft top provides is keeping belongings out of sight from would be thieves.
History with a Tri-Fold Cover:
My second bed cover experience was on my 2011 Toyota Tundra. I had decided that the soft cover didn’t offer enough security or longevity. So I only shopped hard tops this go round. Hard top options included designs like 1 piece tilt-up, tri-folds, retractable, or a full cab. I immediately ruled out the full cab and 1 piece tilt up options due to limited functionality and flexibility. An automatic retractable cover sounds amazing but I just can’t justify the additional cost. Consulting a few friends I learned that I had an acquaintance who was a dealer for Undercover. So I decided to give the UnderCover Flex a try.
For every day in the city use the Undercover Flex was great for the first 1.5 years. I had a BedRug Liner, it and the contents of my bed remained dry and dust free during that time. The problems I ran into began occurring after the 1.5 year mark when the joints began leaking. At one point in the 3rd winter we had to drive through an ice storm while visiting family. The joints had absorbed water and the rubber seal had frozen to the tailgate leaving all of our luggage and hunting gear frozen and inaccessible in the bed of the truck. Luckily we were able to pull into a climate controlled garage long enough to get it thawed and accessible.
In addition, frustrations continued as we moved from our house in town out to our new property in the county. The only way to gain full access to the bed of the truck is to fold up all three pieces of bed cover. Consequently, vision is 100% blocked through the rear window. For a good mental image picture backing up a trailer at night with 5% tint.
TruXedo Sentry (CT) or BAK Revolver (X2/X4)
For my third, and current, bed cover I wanted to get the best of both worlds. I finally began considering a retractable cover. But retractable covers need to be automated in my opinion. And automated covers were double my budget. A more budget friendly option while remaining secure and functional would be a hard roll-up bed cover.
My research into hard roll-up bed cover (s) led me to two front runners in the industry. The TruXedo Sentry CT (CT optional) and BAK Revolver X2 or X4. Both brands are built on the same basic concept with differences in the minor details, type of seals, and pricing. Design similarities include a flush mount design with vinyl or woven fabric waterproofing bound to aluminum slats and easy install clamp rails. Both covers roll up allowing full use of the back window and are secured using a pair of straps. In addition, both brands are Made in the USA and guaranteed by a 3 year Manufacturer’s Warranty.
TruXedo Sentry / TruXedo Sentry CT:
The TruXedo Sentry is a vinyl hard roll-up bed cover attached to black aluminum slats that provide the strength, support, and security. The Sentry CT is the same concept with a woven fabric providing a water resistant matte finish. Both versions of the TruXedo have an easy to use slam latch system that latches at the tailgate and mid-rail for added security. A pull cord on each side of the tailgate releases both latches. Water is kept out using a rubber bulkhead and tailgate seal along with Velcro attachment on the side rails. In the event you need 100% access to your entire bed the rolling portion of Truxedo Sentry and Truxedo Sentry CT can be removed in seconds without the need for tools.
BAK Revolver X2 and X4:
The BAK Revolver X2 is a vinyl topped hard roll-up bed cover attached to silver aluminum slats. The newer version (X4) is similar to the TruXedo Sentry CT above sporting a matte finish at a slightly higher price. The main difference in the BAK Revolver lies in the side rails which replace Velcro with rubber seals. Reading materials state that the rails lock the full length of the bed at an angle that prevents water entry.
If you couldn’t tell from the level of information provided above I ended up choosing the Truxedo Sentry CT. All information about the BAK hard roll-up bed covers is from the manufacturer’s webpage. The decision was a tough one but after reading countless reviews there were very few complaints about either. However, it seemed like there were a few more complaints about the roll up capability of the BAK Revolver in cold weather conditions. In addition many were choosing the BAK because it didn’t utilize Velcro on the rails, but they were finding that the design didn’t allow for water dissipation from the rail itself. I don’t have an objection to Velcro so this wasn’t a deal breaker for me. I decided either brand would be acceptable and began price shopping.
Look for Rebates:
Almost immediately into my price shopping I realized that websites that offer discounts almost always exclude hard roll-up bed covers from their sales. I believe this is because the manufacturers are controlling the pricing of their products. Some websites give a slightly better deal when you call in for a best price but I hate making those calls and would rather not deal with a call center. I’ll let you make your own decision if you want to support that practice, I just choose not to.
Eventually I learned that TruXedo had recently rolled out a Manufacturer’s Rebate Campaign and offered a $75 mail in rebate. Since the cover’s regular price was already less than the BAK the rebate sealed the deal for me. So I located free shipping and placed my order. (Check each Manufacturer’s webpage, while writing this review I found BAK has a $100 rebate this month (Oct 2019))
A few days later I received a text message from my wife wanting to know what in the world I had ordered. Apparently the size of the box accompanied with my fresh gravel driveway caused the UPS man great difficulty with his dolly. After hearing this story I dreaded moving it back to the garage for installation. But eventually I called upon my old Crossfit skills to snatch grip deadlift the box, shuffle out the door, and around the house to the truck.
Installation of the TruXedo Sentry CT
Unpacking the over sized box revealed a rolled up cover surrounded on each end by foam with an accessories area that contained the instructions, hardware, and bulkhead seal. My truck had just come from the car wash so after consulting the instructions the first step I took was to clean the bulkhead and bed rails with a first aid alcohol wipe. Next, I unrolled and stretched out the bulkhead seal to verify its fit and find where to start the one end. After locating the center I began peeling the tape and adhering it in a straight line with the raised lip on the bed side sloping toward the cab.
The bed rails came next, the end with the strap goes toward the cab and the Velcro should face the outside of the truck. I loosely attached each side with the middle bracket and wiggled the rail centering it in the bed. This step is very important to make sure that when rolled out the cover will seal at both the tailgate and bulkhead. To test it, close the tailgate and make sure the rubber gasket is compressed equally on each end.
After verifying the rail locations install and tighten the remaining clamps ensuring that the rail is level. Next carry the rolled up cover to the bulk head and place it in the tracks. Guide the screw head on each end into the hole on the rail. When both sides are settled into the holes slide the locking devices into place securing the cover to the rails. This is also how the cover can be removed in the future you need full bed access. After securing the cover to the bulkhead it can be rolled out and latched with a closed tailgate. The cover should sit flush inside of the rails, run your hand down each side to secure the Velcro to the rails.
The detailed instruction manual from the manufacturer is also available in case you want to take a closer look prior to placing an order.
When the install is complete the manufacturer recommends leaving the cover closed for the first 24 hours. This gives the fabric time to bond correctly to the aluminum slats.
Using the TruXedo Sentry CT Cover:
To open your new cover pop the tailgate, reach inside on either end and pull on the cable loop. It will pop loose and be ready to roll up. When opening the cover make sure that you roll it tightly instead of just peeling it back. When fully rolled up the strap on each rail should be attached to the loop at the bulkhead and tightened. These straps hold the cover in place away from the back window. The Sentry cover was not designed to be partially retracted as there is no way to secure it. Therefore, the vehicle should not be operated with the cover partially extended.
When returning the cover to the closed position I like to make sure the tailgate is closed before latching the cover. This protects the rubber seal and also allows it to seal correctly to prevent water intrusion. This is a good habit to be in no matter which version of cover you end up with.
During winter temperatures the Sentry cover has a tendency to be a bit stiff after being rolled up. I was able to latch it like normal. But it would be a good idea to keep the cover closed during snow and ice events.
Truxedo Sentry CT Review Summary:
Finally getting a bed cover on my new truck again was an instant game changer! With 2 carseats in the back seat cab space is at a premium even in an F250. So, for the last 6 months we were constantly having to empty the bed of the truck removing all tools, strollers, or sports equipment. We did this every night or before going into town where the truck would be unattended for a few hours. Several times during this period we would arrive at our destination to realize we didn’t have something we needed. Like the stroller.
Now with a bed cover I keep a stroller and a few tools secure and dry without limiting cab space. The cover has also come in handy for road trips where we can keep luggage, dog bedding, and hunting equipment dry and dust free on dirt roads.
In the first 30 days of ownership I highly recommend this cover. Time will tell how well it holds up but the 3 year warranty gives me some peace of mind. You wouldn’t have read this far into my TruXedo Sentry CT Review if you weren’t shopping for a cover already. So help support our efforts by using one of our links when you decide to buy a cover. I found AutoPartsToys.com has a Price Match Guarantee. They will match price adjustments for 30 days from your date of purchase. Mine actually came from Amazon though it wasn’t available on Prime at the time.
Truxedo Sentry CT Problems:
After 22 months of use I have found very few problems with this cover. But I do have 2 complaints.
- For some reason I can’t keep it perfectly straight. The latches on the back need to be pushed a tiny bit from the passenger side toward the driver side for it to drop into the rails. To be honest it hasn’t bothered me enough to really look into it that much. Minor Inconvenience.
- When attempting to anchor the cover in a stored position I have found my anchor loop missing. In reality the loop is not missing it is miss located. I’ve realized it only happens when we go visit family and drive on dirt roads all weekend. I think the vibration lifts the cover just enough to slide them over. These can’t be slid back into their original position without popping the cover loose at the cab and putting them back in their spots. Again its a minor inconvenience, it doesn’t effect the integrity of the cover just makes its harder to secure it in the open position. I may try gluing them where they need to be next time I move them.