While we've had a good toolbox since the beginning, we've also been wanting a tonneau cover for the bed of the truck when not towing. However, finding a tonneau and toolbox that work well together AND is compatible with fifth wheel towing is more difficult than you might think! Since this would be our THIRD toolbox, we wanted to finally get it right! So, let's start with the toolbox…
Fifth Wheel Compatible Toolbox
We purchased our first toolbox right after getting the BAT (Big A** Truck), and boy, was it nice! It was a WeatherGuard and held all of our tools nicely! Our love affair with that toolbox ended abruptly on day ONE of our full-time RV Life when we hitched up for the first time in the LazyDays delivery area to test our hitch height and turning ability. Sitting at 7-8 inches over our bed rail, it blocked us from turning more than about40 degrees (truck to RV). So, it got pulled and put in the garage immediately! ☹️
Next up, to replace the WeatherGuard, was a low profile Kobalt (Lowes) toolbox. Sitting only 2-3 inches above the rails, it cleared the RV nicely! We still have to be aware of it when making sharp turns on very uneven ground, but we've had no issues with it. Note: a trunk style (in the bed vs cross-over) would have also worked, but blocked the bottom of the truck bed, limiting the length of lumber and other “stuff”. I just prefer a crossover/saddle style.
Tonneau (and Fifth Wheel) Compatible Toolbox
⚠️ UPDATE! – After traveling a bit, we've had our pin box hit the tonneau rails a few times! ☹️ We're not sure if it's just because we have this huge Flex-Air pin box or if this might be an issue on all pin boxes. The damage has been minor and isolated to just the rails. I've been able to bend back the bent areas. And the damage is hidden under the cover. Please be aware and maybe take some measurements of the distance from the pin to the back of the pin box and compare that to the distance from the center of your hitch to the side rails.
Fast forward about a year and we're realizing it would be very nice to be able to cover the bed of our truck. A cover would protect our hitch, bed, and anything else we wanted to put back there when not towing. Brilliant! Let's get one! ??
Researching tonneau covers, I did find several that will work with a crossover toolbox. However, NONE of them would work with OUR toolbox! The handles on our Kobalt toolbox are right at the truck bed line. Since any tonneau solution needs to butt right up against the toolbox, we were back to square one to find yet another toolbox!
We still wanted a crossover toolbox that I could access with the tonneau closed. We, of course, also still needed to tow the beast. So, we needed a low profile toolbox with latches above the bed rail, but not blocking that area for the tonneau. Those requirements limit the selection a LOT! By a lot, I mean limited to ONE!
I did a lot of research trying to find just the right toolbox and came across a video by JD (Big Tuck Big RV), showing his setup. PERFECT! The toolbox solution is the Better Built 77213014 Deep Shotgun Tool Box. It's a full-sized, low profile, crossover toolbox with shotgun latched just above the bed rail.
So, I started doing some shopping for a good price and discovered the toolbox is DISCONTINUED! NOOOOOO! The thing is, while I could find some in stock here and there, I really did not want to recommend a discontinued toolbox. So I did more and more research, trying to find a good alternative. NO LUCK! ? We went ahead and snagged one on Ebay.
If you want one of these toolboxes, snag one while you can (links below)! We also recommend reaching out to WernerCo (maker of the Better Built line) to let them know they are (were) selling the ONLY toolbox with just the right set of features for this application. Perhaps enough consumer demand might bring the line back!
WernerCo (Better Built) Contact Info:
- Web Contact: www.lifebetterbuilt.com/company/contact-us
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 800-366-8269
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/lifebetterbuilt
- Twitter: twitter.com/lifebetterbuilt
UPDATE: This appears to be the same toolbox: www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200719185_200719185
Finally, we get to the whole reason for all of this! For a tonneau cover to work with the toolbox, and fifth-wheel towing, it needs to be designed to work with a toolbox, while also staying low profile when open. We also wanted one that did not block the view of the bed and hitch when open. This ruled out most hardcovers since most of them are designed to pop UP above the rail. After lots of research, we decided the Access Toolbox Edition Soft Roll-Up Tonneau Cover was the ONE!
The Access Toolbox Edition Soft Roll-Up Tonneau Cover is perfect for us! Installation was super simple (links below), and we're loving it! Opening and closing of the cover can be accomplished without getting into the bed of the truck, and it rolls up to about the same height as the low profile toolbox. Plenty of clearance for the fifth wheel!
Now, we can protect the stuff in the bed from the elements, and keep things we don't want stolen out of sight!
Note: We towed with it our first time just yesterday, which was after filming the video. Everything worked perfectly together! However, the rolled up cover did block my direct view of the hitch itself when hitching up without stretching a bit to see it, but not enough to make it that difficult. I was able to use our bed camera (Ford camera system) to line it up just fine.
UPDATE: We recently needed to make a sharp turn with a bit of angle between the truck and RV and our pin box hit the tonneau rails. Our pin box is the LCI Flex-Air, which is a bit on the long side in regards to how it extends back toward the RV. The damage was only to the tonneau rail and was minor. But, please be aware of this when making sharp turns.
We're super excited to partner with eTrailer on this and (hopefully) future products. While we do get contacted almost daily for partnerships, we are very picky about what companies with whom we partner. We only want to partner with companies we feel will treat our viewers well and provide service and support beyond just selling stuff.
eTrailer.com fits that bill nicely! I've always liked how their web site will filter your view based on your exact truck. Additionally, they have experts on hand via email or phone so you can ask those “what if” and “will this work with” questions. They also create a lot of video content on the products they sell. And, let's face it: They just have LOTS of really cool stuff for trucks and RV's! We hope you'll check them out! www.etrailer.com/?etam=b0003
✅ Access Toolbox Edition Soft Roll-Up Tonneau Cover: changinglanesrv.com/tonneau
✅ Better Built 77213014 Shotgun Tool Box (eBay – Seller WE purchased from ): www.ebay.com/itm/Better-Built-77213014-Deep-Shotgun-Tool-Box/202651644681
✅ Better Built 77213014 Shotgun Tool Box (eBay – general search): www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=Better+Built+77213014&_sacat=0
✅ Better Built 77213014 Shotgun Tool Box (google search): www.google.com/search?q=Better+Built+77213014+for+sale
? Tools for Full Time RV!: changinglanesrv.com/tools-for-full-time-rv-living/
? Essentials for RV Living: changinglanesrv.com/rv-essentials/
? Towing a LARGE 5th Wheel: changinglanesrv.com/towing/
? Big Truck Big RV Tonneau Video: youtu.be/_xIuCQ0lIUs
? ACCESS Toolbox Edition Tonneau Cover – Install: youtu.be/TbXg4ebOlhE
We've had a few requests for the dimensions of the Better Built 77213014, so here it is. These should be accurate, but I did have to measure it with the tonneau in the way, so the height measurements might be off by 1/4″ at most.
A=73″ // B=62 3/4″ // C=14 3/4″ // D=19″ // E=20″ // F=15″
The top of the box sits just shy of 4″ above the bed rails. Plenty of clearance for the fifth wheel, but you do need to be mindful on sharp turns where the ground is un-level.
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