Ever since I was a kid, I had a special love for trucks. From the off-road behemoths with monster tires to the classic 1950’s Chevys with wood panel beds that would cruise Route 66, they always captured my attention. Even the little 1990 blue Mazda B-Series pickup my dad drove every day held a certain allure that intrigued me. I realized more as I got older the joy in owning a truck is about it enabling you to do more of whatever you need to do, and customizing it down to a “T” with the best truck accessories for you.
For some, that means slapping some 35” tires and a lift kit on with an array of off-road gear to go 4x4ing, and for others that means tuning performance or aesthetic modifications, while still others prefer the mild utilitarian approach to their mods. At the end of the day, the individual style is completely your own, but the one thing that separates truck mods from other vehicles it the ultimate utility and rugged nature of them to take a beating and keep on, well, truckin’.
Protecting Your Truck with a Husky
When it comes to truck accessories, there is one name that everyone knows as a forerunner in the industry that’s been cranking out protective auto parts since 1988: Husky Liners. Based in Kansas, Husky Liners made a name for themselves with their namesake rugged floor liners that are all custom-fit and designed to put up with all the abuse you can chuck at it, while protecting your carpet underneath.
From their first entry into the auto accessory market with floor mats, they have since expanded outwards and tackled a variety other areas of truck accessories that aim to protect the interior and exterior from any abuse that naturally comes with owning a truck and adventure. One thing that hasn’t changed in the last 31 years is their lifetime guarantee on every and all product straight out, as well as the characteristic of being designed and made right here in the USA. When you talk about qualifying an auto part for durability, performance and spending your hard-earned money, there isn’t much more of a guarantee of quality than those two right there.
The Best Truck Accessories for Protection
While the floor mats and liners may be Husky’s most well-known effort to keeping the chariot protected, there are a handful of other truck accessories they have added to the lineup over the years to cover various parts of the vehicle inside and out.
Mud flaps, fender flares, wheel well guards, adjustable tow hitches, cabin storage compartments, and even truck (and car) cargo bed liners and mats all have made their way into the Husky lineup to keep the interior clean and exterior paint protected no matter what activity your vehicle sees.
To see what Husky Liners are really all about, I took their Weatherbeater floor mats and Mud Grabber fender flares for a test drive with my 2017 Toyota Tundra SR5 Double Cab for a couple weeks of daily use and some weekend abuse.
Truck Floor Mats
It goes without saying that to keep your carpet floor mats nice and clean, you need to get some rubber floor liners to protect them. Especially in a truck, where it isn’t out of the ordinary to hop in with muddy boots or other grime, installing a guard against wear and dirt is critical.
The problem with other floor mats that I’ve used is that they never have a perfect fit or stay in place. If you get generic floor liners, forget about keeping it in place during regular use. Even the ones I got from the dealership specifically for the truck have a moderate fit initially, but after a little transportation of cargo and humans, without a substantial traction they end up shifting and opening up corridors for dirt to sneak in and damage my (still new-car-smelling) carpet.
Also, the floppy rubber liners that come standard most often don’t provide the toughness needed to contain spills since the ridges are low and the mats flex too much to provide rigidity, even if they are marketed as “heavy duty” floor mats.
This landscape of subpar interior protection spawned the Husky Liners series of floor mats: X-Act Contour, Weatherbeater, and Heavy Duty, all with different strengths. One thing all Husky’s floor liners have in common is their FormFit Design: each model is specifically mapped out using precision lasers to seamlessly pair with the contours of the vehicle floorboards so there is no slipping or sliding around. Their Stay-Put Cleats dig into the carpet, while hooking onto the floor anchor posts in the front seat applications to add stability to the guards, giving an almost glue-like adhesion.
The X-Act Contour line is designed for the lightest abuse, with strength in a more comfort-oriented package. This mat has additional padding around the heel near the gas pedal foot, tailored more for the all-around driver who isn’t necessarily putting their vehicle through the ringer. Jumping up to the most aggressive mat in the lineup, the Heavy Duty floor mats have the most durability, and the highest raised ridges to trap the maximum amount of sand, dirt, mud, liquid, grime, and whatever else you can think of.
Weatherbeater In Action
I was initially keen on the Weatherbeater line for a few reasons that seemed to make it the perfect all-around floor mat and a critical truck accessory. It not only has a high raised grip pattern and a rugged all-weather carpet protection, but it has a nifty edge design that Husky dubbed the FormFit Edge.
This raised side ridge and extra rubber of the FormFit Edge covers the area between the door sill and the main mat, usually left bare by floor liners. This provides complete coverage of the carpet in the footwell on not only the driver and front passenger sides, but also the rear full-width section in my truck as well. For me, this is a key difference between the Husky Weatherbeater floor mats and the competition, and out of the three models in the Husky lineup I actually think these are the most all-around advanced protection you can get.
The door-side of the floor liner on the Weatherbeaters with the FormFit Edge reinforced sidewall stands far higher than the rest of the mat, which acts as a barrier to any spilled liquid, mud, or other gunk that gets tracked into your vehicle from being smeared along the door or sloshing back along the sill to the rear of the vehicle.
What was really impressive about this in action for me was just how naturally the floor mat lined up with the contours of the footwell: it was an absolute perfect fit. Since I like to hit hiking trails, camp, and take my dogs out frequently I find that trapping the dirt in its place is something critical to guarding my carpet from permanent damage.
Pairing this neat edge and the FormFit Design, Stay-Put Cleats and anchor points, I found that no matter how much I tried to get the mats to slip or fold, my attempts were thwarted by the engineering team at Husky: they win this round.
The Coffee Spill Test
Since I couldn’t get the floor liners to fail me in their ability to maintain carpet coverage, I decided to put their fancy design to the test at trapping an unwanted mess in a real-life scenario. Some of the Husky advertisements I’ve seen show a cup of coffee taking a nose dive towards the mat, and it got me wondering if their floor liners could actually contain a cup of Joe.
Being the curious individual I am, I filled up a cup of coffee in my 10oz mug and promptly dumped it on the mat without hesitation. The coffee didn’t even cover half the space of the floor liner, and also didn’t satisfy my curiosity. How much liquid could the Weatherbeaters hold? I was on a mission to find out.
Since I needed as much coffee as I could find to fight the dreaded 2pm lull, I switched to water. 12oz came tumbling out of my mug, onto the dead center of the rubber floor mat and uneventfully sat there. 14oz, then 16oz both failed to push the limits of the FormFit Edge. By now I was getting irritated, and tired of my failed attempts— no more playing around. I grabbed my canteen, and 40oz of water came pouring down with a smug look on my face. Surely this would be the Husky Liners breaking point.
By the time the water settled, my smirk had vanished. The entire puddle of water was contained within the edges of the floor mat, not even breaching the raised rim of the floor anchor points, which was my theorized Achilles heel to the liners. I was blown away; the liquid and debris containment of these floor mats not only makes them a critical truck accessory, their whole line is a must-have for anyone who takes pride in keeping their ride in tip-top condition. Heck, this would be enough in and of itself for me to say these are the best vehicle floor liners out there for anyone.
While truck accessories are the bread and butter for Husky Liners, they actually have floor mat applications for a wide range of vehicles to protect everything from your tame grocery-getter to the big and bad off-road beast in the cargo storage areas as well as the footwells. Just think about that the next time you toss a carton of milk into the cargo area when you are heading home from the market— can your current floor mats keep that contained if it spills?
Truck Fender Flares
Since Husky obviously knows what they are doing when it comes to protecting the vehicle interior, I was interested to know how their exterior protection accessories would fare. While all vehicles can keep their paint protected from splashing through puddles and mud with mud flaps, trucks and SUVs with larger all-terrain or off-road tires have some additional challenges to deal with.
The larger and more aggressive the tread pattern for off-road tires, the greater the chance rocks and hard chunks of debris can get picked up and flung back towards the vehicle. Mud flaps keep the lower section of the vehicle protected, but often the damage (and just general water and mud splatter) can occur everywhere north of the tire on the fender itself. That’s where fender flares come into play.
The selection of fender flares for trucks that Husky offers follows their mission of providing maximum vehicle protection, and their Mud Grabber fender flares are a working example of what truck accessories can do for paint preservation.
How the fender flares work is by adding a blockade that runs interference between the edge of the tires and the corner of the wheel well, which in turn guards against and deflects anything that might pop up from the road. The Mud Grabbers come in two different widths, a 2 3/4” width and a 3 1/2” width. I tried out the 2 3/4” model, and tried my best to put them to work.
Before slapping them on, I noticed the thickness of the rubber they utilized and was surprised. About 3/8” thick, the synthetic rubber is quite hefty and definitely heavy duty. They have a ridge that holds them in place up against the body of the truck while using the included self-tapper screws and washers to secure them to the wheel well lip.
This was something I initially wasn’t too keen on: screwing into the body of my truck to keep mud off, but in the end it isn’t visible and provides more protection than ultimate damage. I will say that doing this install is far easier with a friend to help hold the rubber in place, since it is not rigid and does tend to flop around without the screws in place. Once everything was bolted down though, it was off to find some dirt trails and mud to play in.
Without too much trouble I was able to find just the dirt road and little muddy spot I was looking for, and went wild trying to make a mess as possible. After a little while of fooling around, I hopped out to survey the damage. Had the Mud Grabbers done their fair share of grabbing or would I be disappointed? Sure enough, the extra inches of protection guarded my prized paint job from being splattered with rocky mud. Now I wasn’t doing any mudding or anything extreme, but I would say that these did the job quite well under normal circumstances. Also, if you’re planning on doing some serious 4×4 mudding chances are you want to wear the badge of honor that comes with a caked-on layer of mud across your rig, so there’s that.
Keep it Rough and Rugged
Whether you are a Toyota, Chevy, Dodge or Ford fan, there’s a great sense of pride that comes with owning a truck and making it yours. From the first minor truck accessory you add to the major mods, there’s a special joy that comes with upgrading your vehicle. When it comes to keeping the interior and exterior protected, the gear at Husky Liners is rugged enough to handle anything the weekend warrior missions or the daily grind can throw at it and keep you in the action.