As the weather warms up, you’re looking for fun ways to beat the heat. Over the past few years, some pickup owners have observed that their truck beds can easily be converted to pools. Though this might sound like an easy, cheap, and amusing way to stay cool during the summer, it rarely works. However, two models can handle the weight of a truck bed pool: a Ford F-Series and a Ram. But they aren’t cheap.
What is a truck bed pool?
A truck bed pool is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Pickup truck owners place a tarp along the bottom and edges of the truck bed and fill it with water using a garden hose. Add some friends and good music and, theoretically, this should be a quick and easy way to throw a party.
Logically, it makes sense, and over the past few years, many people have tried it for themselves. Truck bed swimming pools have become fairly trendy, even appearing on TV shows. Unfortunately, however, this is one instance where a cool idea is too good to be true.
Why the truck bed pool concept often doesn’t work
The problem with turning your truck bed into a pool is that water is incredibly dense. In fact, according to DualLiner, water is about twice as dense as redwood. One cubic foot of water comes out to 62 pounds, and the average truck bed can hold anywhere from 30 to 80 cubic feet of cargo. This adds up quickly, with even a small truck bed pool weighing approximately a ton. Larger truck bed pools can end up weighing nearly 5,000 pounds — and that’s before you add people.
No matter how powerful the vehicle, most trucks aren’t designed to hold such a significant amount of weight in the bed. Even filling only half the bed with water typically won’t solve this problem. DualLiner evaluated 24 trucks and found that 67 percent couldn’t handle half a bed full of water, while 96 percent couldn’t handle a full bed of water.
Though it seems a truck bed pool should work, automakers build truck beds not to accumulate water. DualLiner points out truck beds have drain holes to prevent damage to the suspension in the event of heavy rainfall.
The only trucks that can handle the weight
If 96 percent of trucks in this evaluation could handle a full bed of water, that means two supported a truck bed pool. The winners are the 2014 Ford F-450 Dually and the 2014 Ram 3500HD Dually. More recent vehicles could also handle the weight of a pool. For example, the 2021 Ford F-350 Lariat has a payload capacity of 6,960 pounds, Cars.com reports.
Before you rush out to buy one of these vehicles, however, it’s worth noting that even used, they can often cost up to $60,000. By contrast, HomeAdvisor states the average price of installing an inground pool is $51,817. Smaller inground pools can cost as little as $38,685 — almost half the price of some of these pickup trucks.
If you were looking to purchase a truck to use it as a swimming pool, it might be more cost-effective to install an actual inground pool instead. However, if you already happen to own a pickup with a maximum payload capacity that can handle a truck bed pool, there’s no reason not to take advantage of it. Just be mindful of your truck’s suspension.