RTTs on Fiberglass toppers.

fla_cracker

Observer
Hey there,

I'm waffling around trying to decide what truck topper to get for my 2019 Ranger. I seem to be hung up on whether I should buy an expensive metal topper (4-6k, RSI smartcap...AluCab..ect) or can I use a less expensive fiberglass one (2-3k, ARE...LEER...ect)? It seems there is not much info about weight ratings for fiberglass toppers, although I have seen many RTTs mounted on them. The difference in cost is about half. 2-3k buys a lot of fuel.
As far as use goes, the truck is my daily and will be used for expeditions only occasionally so the RTT will not be mounted permanently. More than likely, only for "big" trips. My main reason for it is dry storage and security. With that being said I am planning a very big trip in 2 years to Alaska from my home state of Florida. I am expecting some very rough washboard roads during this trip.

Any experience and help is greatly appreciated.

Cory
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
I would go the fiberglass route and add some tubular steel ribs inside or even find someone who does fiberglass to reinforce the top where needed. Spreading the weight out with the mounts would be a good idea too. Also use glue instead of just bolts.
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
Oh man, here we go again... :) You'll get people saying to never do this, then they'll talk about the rating for roof carriers and toppers, then how they would never do it... There are other threads if you search a bit.

In the end, it's your call. Lots of them out there, no problems with most. Make sure you get a good topper, preferably with rack that is at least rated for the weight of your RTT.
Most rack weight ratings generally consider dynamic loading, aka while you drive. Once you are stopped, a 150lb rated system would probably safely hold 1000lbs, but nobody really publishes that info...

FWIW, I bolted Thule "artificial gutters" to my topper so I could run Thule gutter mount cross bars. Zero issue carrying all sorts of stuff, including a roof top tent, and lots of lumber. I also bolted the topper down with large fender washers, rather than running clamps, as I found that the clamps loosened over time. My fiberglass topper is in far better condition than the aluminum topper on a newer truck that I just bought, which is all cracked apart even with no roof rack.
 

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Shredgnar

New member
I had a hardshell RTT on my fiberglass Leer on an F150 for a year and drove on some pretty rough roads around CO and UT. No problems whatsoever.

It was mounted onto Thule Aerobars on tracks. Slept 2 people up there. I was pretty worried about the weight because there's no info on the internet and the manufacturer of course doesn't recommend it, but I just went for it and it was fine.
 

fla_cracker

Observer
Oh man, here we go again... :) You'll get people saying to never do this, then they'll talk about the rating for roof carriers and toppers, then how they would never do it... There are other threads if you search a bit.

In the end, it's your call. Lots of them out there, no problems with most. Make sure you get a good topper, preferably with rack that is at least rated for the weight of your RTT.
Most rack weight ratings generally consider dynamic loading, aka while you drive. Once you are stopped, a 150lb rated system would probably safely hold 1000lbs, but nobody really publishes that info...

FWIW, I bolted Thule "artificial gutters" to my topper so I could run Thule gutter mount cross bars. Zero issue carrying all sorts of stuff, including a roof top tent, and lots of lumber. I also bolted the topper down with large fender washers, rather than running clamps, as I found that the clamps loosened over time. My fiberglass topper is in far better condition than the aluminum topper on a newer truck that I just bought, which is all cracked apart even with no roof rack.
Yeah, I knew this was probably a topic that has been hashed out before......but I didn't find any "recent" threads about it. Most were over 5 years old. There are always those "never do this" crowd. lol But I was honestly hoping for folks like you with actual experience to chime in. Really glad to hear about your Thule bars holding up on a fiber topper. Thanks!
 

fla_cracker

Observer
I had a hardshell RTT on my fiberglass Leer on an F150 for a year and drove on some pretty rough roads around CO and UT. No problems whatsoever.

It was mounted onto Thule Aerobars on tracks. Slept 2 people up there. I was pretty worried about the weight because there's no info on the internet and the manufacturer of course doesn't recommend it, but I just went for it and it was fine.
Awesome. This is the direction I am going....with a hard shell RTT. Really glad to hear your experiance. If I may ask....which LEER topper did you use? They have quiet a few to pick from.
 

highwest

Active member
Most topper companies offer a reinforced option for all of their shells that bumps the max weight to ~500lbs. I had to specifically ask the distributor to ask the manufacturer about it, because they were clueless. At the time, with SnugTop, I think it was called the Sportman’s or Outdoorman’s Package or something silly like that.
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
I got the Leer 180CC on my 2016 Tacoma. The top is rated to 500 #. I haul on my Thule bars the Autohome Extreme RTT. I also haul limber and a basket rack also. I have had no problems. I also had the mountaing rack track installed atthe time of the build. The extra 4" is great for the added amount of added storage. I run 3 cross bars on the top. The top has a very slight cirve to it so I built my own cross bar to keep the center bar from being to high.

They have a stronger rated cap but it is aluminum.

Da Frenchman
 
ARE makes an HD series designed for heavy loads up top. Also, I have a ARE Z series fiberglass top and I contacted ARE about a rack and RTT they said no problem. The factor would be the limitations of the rack/bars and tower set up. They didnt offer the HD series when I bought my top and I didnt even know what a RTT was then either. But, now? Hmm. Everything being equal id go Vagabond, GFC type deal with the tent integrated with cap. But thats 8-9 K.

So, If its my cash and we like playing these games....I'd go with the HD whether ARE, LEER or Jason whatever....cap, rack set up and then buy whatever tent you want prob save you a couple thousand bucks to spend on a battery separator/with water pump and fridge set up..Solar panels etc. But, thats if it were my money...
 

gnel

Active member
Snugtops Snugpro has a weight capacity of 500 lbs. I had a snugtop before and they are a quality product.
 

fla_cracker

Observer
ARE makes an HD series designed for heavy loads up top. Also, I have a ARE Z series fiberglass top and I contacted ARE about a rack and RTT they said no problem. The factor would be the limitations of the rack/bars and tower set up. They didnt offer the HD series when I bought my top and I didnt even know what a RTT was then either. But, now? Hmm. Everything being equal id go Vagabond, GFC type deal with the tent integrated with cap. But thats 8-9 K.

So, If its my cash and we like playing these games....I'd go with the HD whether ARE, LEER or Jason whatever....cap, rack set up and then buy whatever tent you want prob save you a couple thousand bucks to spend on a battery separator/with water pump and fridge set up..Solar panels etc. But, thats if it were my money...

This is EXACTLY why I posted this question. 1500-3k buys a few other toys or LOTS of fuel! Really just trying to nail down what I "need" versus what I want. If this was a full time overland rig, I'd totally spend for a GFC or AluCab.....but it's not. It's my daily and sometimes needs to do truck duty.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 
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Ducky's Dad

Explorer
I used Yakima tracks, towers, and their heavy duty crossbars on a standard cab high Snug Top shell (not reinforced). I have carried as much as 1100 pounds of lumber on that setup with no damage other than bending the crossbars. Reinforced is better, but not really necessary for a RTT with two people in it.
 
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