Advice on purchasing a truck shell?

JDH

New member
I just purchased a 2017 Canyon with the Dmax and would like to get a shell for it. It will be used for camping, and exploring. I would like to possibly add a RTT down the line but I am concerned about the weight capacity of the shell. My short list is the Snugtop cab-hi, Rebel and the Leer 100xr. According to each companies website they can hold 150-175 lb. Snugtop also has an option of a HD upgrade up to 500lb.
With all that said what have those of you with this kind of setup done?
Thank you ahead of time.
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
I researched them on line and then in person at the dealers lots. I got the Leer that has the 500# rating for the RTT. It is now 2 years old and doing great. the tent rides on top and is solid. With the slight curve in the roof I made my own center cross bar. I use my truck off pavement and wanted a additional support for the RTT.
 

blacklbzbeauty

Active member
Important to have the manufacturer differentiate their weight ratings between static (sitting still) and dynamic (moving). Was not convinced any were able to provide an accurate number when researching. Ended up with an ARE supplemented with (4) custom supports inside to hold the weight of the rack, Ezee-Awn EXCLUSV and 270 awning. Has worked out great so far. Good luck!
 

DCGibbs

Observer
After talking too almost 50 Tacoma owners 70% had ARE's and were happy, with the Dealer, their Support. The ARE finish is really good. So we ordered the "Overland" Shell for our 2018 TRD Offroad, DC-SB. Could have really used it this weekend, to keep the Fly-fishing stuff dry, and warmer than ice... Great visit to the Grand Tetons valley. It was 30 degrees as 7:00 am, Heavy frost, and low clouds. DG
 

Explorerinil

Observer
I have an ARE CZ with the factory yakama rack, sliding windows and a carpet headliner. I really like it, it does what I need and is good for truck camping. I will say the ARE fit and finish is not as perfect as a snugtop, but my truck is not a show truck. Next go around I’ll buy an ARE aluminum contractor topper or really up the game and go with the best, caravan camper shell.
 

JDH

New member
Thank you guys for responding. Looks like I will have to look into ARE also. I spoke to one of the guys at the Yakima booth at the offroad expo and he also said to check out the difference between the static and dynamic weight. I believe he was running a standard snugtop with a RTT and hasnt had any problems.
One thing I have heard a few times is that Snugtop parts are expensive.
To bad none of the manufacturers make a pop top shell.
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
I have an ARE CZ with the factory yakama rack, sliding windows and a carpet headliner. I really like it, it does what I need and is good for truck camping. I will say the ARE fit and finish is not as perfect as a snugtop, but my truck is not a show truck. Next go around I’ll buy an ARE aluminum contractor topper or really up the game and go with the best, caravan camper shell.
The Caravan's are sure sturdy. We've got several on local trucks here.
 

MR. ED

Observer
I had the Snugtop Sport hi-liner on my F150. The fit and finish was great, and I really liked the mounting system. I had it stored in my barn and while lowering it it slipped out of the 2x6 cradles I made. It dropped about 2 feet and shattered the fancy rear glass door and driver side window. I bit the bullet and ordered up 2 new pieces of glass for it from Snugtop to the tune of $800ish. A week later the passenger glass shattered driving on a dirt road!
I had the sportsmans package added with the factory rails and Yakima rack. Never used the rack as it was too high. I was a bit concerned about how the tracks were mounted and the plastic bases of the rack system. Never had any significant weight up there but the topper was rated for 500 pounds. It was over $4k new and now 2 years later I can't seem to even give it away at $800. So now I'm searching for a used topper for my current truck.
 

Explorerinil

Observer
I had the Snugtop Sport hi-liner on my F150. The fit and finish was great, and I really liked the mounting system. I had it stored in my barn and while lowering it it slipped out of the 2x6 cradles I made. It dropped about 2 feet and shattered the fancy rear glass door and driver side window. I bit the bullet and ordered up 2 new pieces of glass for it from Snugtop to the tune of $800ish. A week later the passenger glass shattered driving on a dirt road!
I had the sportsmans package added with the factory rails and Yakima rack. Never used the rack as it was too high. I was a bit concerned about how the tracks were mounted and the plastic bases of the rack system. Never had any significant weight up there but the topper was rated for 500 pounds. It was over $4k new and now 2 years later I can't seem to even give it away at $800. So now I'm searching for a used topper for my current truck.
Toppers are great until you want to get rid of them, I have cut a few into pieces with a sawzall and threw them into the trash,
 

BAM298

Member
I've had 2 LEER's on trucks in the past few years, but I've gotten lucky on both and found them on craigslist within a few hundred miles in the right color for $5-600 each, and got that out of them when I sold a year or two later. No complaints on fit/finish on either.
 

GoinBoardin

Observer
For any kind of camping, I'd be going for a high top. I've camped under a cab height Leer in a Tundra quite a bit and found the height the limiting factor of comfort. Another 6" would have been huge.
 

kb1ejh

Member
I have an ARE CX with the OTR finish on it. Overall I like it better than the painted ones as I don't need to worry about dropping RTT spring bars or anything else on it. What I don't like is the lack of quality that ARE now has. My first one that I bought years ago was fine. The new one leaks on the aluminum seams on the side panels and the panels get stuck and you can't get it open easily as it is wedged shut. ARE made the frame too small for the door as you can see where it is spaced fine on the top and sides and then rides up on the bottom middle of the side doors. Unfortunately it's the same with most stuff today, they just throw it together. If you are looking for a shell be prepared to wait. Mine took well over a month to get. They are in no rush to throw them together and send them out the door even if they do a crappy job making it.
 

tatanka48

Active member
learned neary 30 years and 3 toppers ago that having lift up(like tail gate) side windows is jam handy

had 2 FRP units that were bought new and color matched

now have an aluminium service topper that i took the side access shelving out of for the open concept

the aluminium rack is brown & smells bad (poop)

the most i'm comfortable hauling on that rack is a coupla canoes/kayaks and a set of tepee poles

if i intended to use an RTT i would give considerable thought to building/having built what amounts to a commercial metal ladder rack that is 3 sided on the bed top rail that the topper slides into(all bolted to the bed)

the weight capacity listed by manufacturers I WOULD FEAR doesn't take windage into consideration which is where the greatest stress would come from

please understand these are MY FEARS and wont necessarily be agreed with in this community

the greatest distance on any individual trip where i carried canoes on top of a topper was only 2000 miles and only encountering 30-40mph cross winds

BONNE CHANCE

T
 

s.e.charles

Well-known member
… if i intended to use an RTT i would give considerable thought to building/having built what amounts to a commercial metal ladder rack that is 3 sided on the bed top rail that the topper slides into(all bolted to the bed)...
I've kicked this idea around a bit, too. has anyone here had a good experience doing this?
 

Explorerinil

Observer
I have an ARE CX with the OTR finish on it. Overall I like it better than the painted ones as I don't need to worry about dropping RTT spring bars or anything else on it. What I don't like is the lack of quality that ARE now has. My first one that I bought years ago was fine. The new one leaks on the aluminum seams on the side panels and the panels get stuck and you can't get it open easily as it is wedged shut. ARE made the frame too small for the door as you can see where it is spaced fine on the top and sides and then rides up on the bottom middle of the side doors. Unfortunately it's the same with most stuff today, they just throw it together. If you are looking for a shell be prepared to wait. Mine took well over a month to get. They are in no rush to throw them together and send them out the door even if they do a crappy job making it.
Yes ARE fit and finish is not that great, however the topper works well and it priced right, I paid about 1800 ish for mine. It keeps my stuff dry and secure and works, it’s not as nice as the 3200 snugtop counterpart.

Next go around in an aluminum contractor topper or if someone donates some money to me I’ll go with a caravan camper shell for around 9k
 
Top