Pickup Bed Styles

Pickup Truck Bed Styles

Full-size pickup trucks are generally available with several different types of beds attached. The provided lengths typically specify the distance between the inside of the front end of the bed and the closed tailgate; note that these values are approximate and different manufacturers produce beds of slightly varying length.

Most compact truck beds are approximately 50 in (1,270 mm) wide, and most full-size are between 60 in (1,524 mm) and 70 in (1,778 mm) wide, generally 48 in (1,219 mm) or slightly over between the wheel wells (minimum width).

Standard bed

The standard bed is by far the most popular type of pickup truck bed. Compact truck beds are generally 5 ft (1.5 m) long, full-size beds are generally 6.5 ft (2.0 m) or 8 ft (2.4 m)long. These beds offer significant load-hauling versatility, but are not long enough to be difficult to drive or park.

Long bed

The long bed is usually a foot or two longer than the standard bed and is more popular on trucks of primarily utilitarian employ (for example, commercial work trucks or farm trucks). Compact long beds are generally 7 ft (2.1 m) long and full-size long beds are generally 8 ft (2.4 m) long. Full-size long beds offer the advantage of carrying a standard-size 4 ft×8 ft sheet of plywood, drywall or other material typically produced in that size, with the tailgate closed. Full size long bed trucks also have the advantage of being the standard vehicle to haul a Truck camper. In the United States and Canada, long beds are not very popular on compact trucks because of the easy availability of full-size pickup trucks.

Short bed

As mentioned above, some compact four-door pickup trucks are equipped with Short beds or super short beds. They are usually based on sport utility vehicles, the bed is either attached behind the cab, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac and SsangYong Musso Sports is an example of this, or built into an integrated assembly such as the Chevrolet Avalanche. Early very short bed trucks had only a regular cab.


Most pickup truck beds have side panels positioned outside the wheel wells. Conversely, step-side truck beds have side panels inside the wheel wells. Pickup trucks were commonly equipped with step-side beds until the 1950s, when General Motors (Chevrolet Cameo Carrier and GMC Suburban Carrier) and Chrysler (Dodge Sweptside) introduced smooth-side pickup beds as expensive, low-production options. These smooth side panels were cosmetic additions over a narrow step-side bed interior. In 1957, Ford offered a purpose-built “Styleside” bed with smooth sides and a full-width interior at little extra cost. Most manufacturers followed and switched to a straight bed, which offer slightly more interior space than step-side beds, and due to better aerodynamics, tend to produce less wind noise at highway speeds. Step-side beds do have the added advantage of a completely rectangular interior, although most modern trucks with a step-side bed are that way purely for styling.
General Motors calls the step-side option sportside, while Ford Motor Company dubs it flareside. Another common designation until recently was “thriftside”, so named for its lower cost.

No bed (cab and chassis or chassis-cab)

In some cases, commercial pickup trucks can be purchased without a bed at all; the fuel tank and driveline are visible and easily accessible through the top of the frame rails until a proper bed (many times customized to fit a particular business’ needs) is attached by the customer. These are called “Cab & Chassis” models, and are usually finished by the customer to use a flatbed (flat deck) cargo carrier, stake bed, or specialized fixtures such as tow rigs, glass sheet carriers or other types. A common type is the “flat bed” which in the US is usually of metal and has many lockable cabinet compartments (a type of large tradesman’s tool box)
Other varieties of commercial pickups without beds are called “Cowl & Chassis” models and “Cowl & Windshield” models. Both are similar to cab & chassis models, but have incomplete cabs, most of which are replaced with the commercial bodies themselves. Ice cream vans were commonly built on cowl and windshield pickups until the 1970s, while walk-in delivery bodies are available on cowl and chassis and stripped chassis (which have no cab at all from the chassis manufacturer). Class C motor homes are constructed of a recreational vehicle coach body attached to cab and chassis trucks, which in rare cases are the same cab and chassis also used for pickup truck models.

Flat bed or tray

The bed is a simple flat surface mounted above the wheels. Rear indicators and brake lights are usually mounted hanging underneath the tray or on a bracket from the rear-most part of the chassis.


The drop-side has a flat tray with hinged panels rising up on the sides and the rear. The hinged panels can be lowered independently. Sometimes they can be removed completely by the driver in order to carry oversized loads. Rear indicators and brake lights are usually mounted hanging underneath the tray or on a bracket from the rear-most part of the chassis.

Well-body or style-side

The bed is enclosed on the sides with body panels, usually made from pressed steel. A hinged rear tailgate is almost universal. Rear indicators and brake lights are usually fitted to the rear corners of the body in a manner similar to sedan rear lights.

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