Truck Bed Pools Will Destroy Your Truck and Hurt Your Wallet

Public pools will open soon, but the thought of having your own private pool party seems more appealing. However, backyard inflatable pools are in high demand this time of year, and large in-ground pools are very expensive. This leads some people to consider: why buy a pool when they can just use their truck beds?

Given the fact that trucks can haul so much and have wide cargo beds, it seems like an obvious solution. Some trucks also have cooled drink storage boxes and premium audio systems to make for a proper tailgate party. Still, the experts at DualLiner caution that doing this is a nightmare for your truck.

How do you make a truck bed pool?

Anyone with a tarp and a garden hose can easily make their truck into a portable pool. All you do is line the truck bed with the tarp and fill it up with water. Some people also use heavy-duty duct tape to keep the tarp secured to the cargo box.

It seems like a feasible idea, since many truck beds can hold up to 80 cubic feet of cargo space. However, DualLiner’s study proves that water is heavier and denser than most people think at 62 pounds per cubic foot. By comparison, a cubic foot of redwood only weighs 28 pounds and a cubic foot of asphalt weighs 45 pounds.

DualLiner tested several trucks on their ability to hold cargo boxes full of water. The Ford F-150’s bed can hold over 81 cubic feet, with a payload capacity of 1,560 pounds. However, filling this bed up with water would add over 5,000 pounds to the truck’s weight. 

The Ford F-250 and F-350 also aren’t equipped to handle that much water. Even more startling, half the trucks used in DualLiner’s test aren’t even built to hold half a bed of water. Trying to force your truck to carry more than it can hold puts massive stress on the truck’s suspension.

Many people also don’t consider the added weight of swimmers inside the truck bed. People and water together are equally dense, so five people won’t stretch the total payload too much. 

Still, DualLiner estimates that most people keep 20 percent of their bodies out of the water. Considering that, you can add at least 175 pounds to the mass of the truck bed pool.

How badly can water damage your truck?

Too much water itself can lead to premature rust and corrosion, especially if you’re not draining the bed sufficiently. On a lengthy vehicle like a truck, repair costs can easily exceed $1,000. However, damaging the suspension is the biggest issue with truck bed pools.

According to Costhelper, replacing a non-luxury vehicle’s suspension can cost as much as $5,000. Replacing just the shock absorbers might be $1,500, while just repairing the joints might only cost $350 apiece. If you notice your truck drifting around turns and excessively jiggling, your suspension is probably damaged.

Which trucks could comfortably accommodate bed pools?

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If your heart is truly set on a truck bed pool, only two pickups can do the job. The heavy-duty Ford F-450 Dually and Ram 3500HD Dually can stand the weight, but cost over $60,000 on the used market. New versions of these trucks with upgraded towing capacities can retail for over $90,000.

It might seem like a fun idea, but the long-term risks of truck pool beds greatly outweigh the rewards. Trucks can do a lot of things, but being a pool just isn’t one of them. You’re better off using yours for a tailgate party by the beach or lake.