Suggestions : Popup Camper vs Aluminum shell

lzpup

Observer
Hoping the forum can help me with ideas:
I have an 06 mega cab 5.7 (soon to have fox 2.5), I am looking to do adventure travel: climbing , mountain biking, ice climbing etc. One of my main needs is to stuff 2 mountain bikes in the shell when we are off on a climb or kayak and not have them ripped off. I am trying to decide between a hard Shell and popup camper : 4wheel / ATC vs Tradesman topper from Access mfg. The Tradesman would be very water tight and secure, but I have some concerns about the bed flexing with with the fixed shell, vs a slide in that can kinda move around independent of the Bed. However, it looks kinda hard to stuff the bikes in the popup.

Anyone toss bikes in their popup? or run a aluminum shell hard off road?

Any help is appreciated, trying to get this off the ground while summer is still here...
 

chet6.7

Explorer
You can get a pop up with minimal features,that would leave room for gear.
What is your definition of hard off road?
 

lzpup

Observer
You can get a pop up with minimal features,that would leave room for gear.
What is your definition of hard off road?
Thanks for the reply

+40 in a wash, +60 on a dirt road , or very large rocks/ledges for crawling. I like the Pop up shells , just can't tell if I can toss bike through the small door, or if the shell is tall enough with the top down.
 

draaronr

Adventurer
Thanks for the reply

+40 in a wash, +60 on a dirt road , or very large rocks/ledges for crawling. I like the Pop up shells , just can't tell if I can toss bike through the small door, or if the shell is tall enough with the top down.
You need a flip pac
 

chet6.7

Explorer
Thanks for the reply

+40 in a wash, +60 on a dirt road , or very large rocks/ledges for crawling. I like the Pop up shells , just can't tell if I can toss bike through the small door, or if the shell is tall enough with the top down.
I don't know what product will hold up to that as it is faster than I drive,but I am not in the desert,or young.
I had a Callen but they seem to be unreliable these days,too bad as I would get another.
When I looked at the FWC site they showed some pictures of their shell,and gave the heights of the top lowered.It looks to me like a bike would fit,it would be a pain,but you could always take the front wheel off and lower the seat.I would call the manufactures you are interested in and ask what the measurements of the doors are.
I wonder how long your truck with a slide in camper(and the camper itself) will hold up to what you describe?
I put flat stock under the bed rails on my Callen.
If it were me, I would reinforce the bed rails,and consider buying used AL camper shells when they wore out.
 
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98dango

Expedition Leader
My are construction topper held up very well to the abuse wheeling racing and the few times I felt I needed to compete with American air lines on flight times.
 

pappawheely

Autonomous4X4
I have a pop-up. I have put bikes inside but it is not optimal. You need to pull the bikes out to cook, or sit inside. I've gone that fast in a wash but never in my crew cab:smiley_drive:

 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
I have a FWC Hawk shell and do those kind of speeds in mine all of the time. Putting bikes and other items in it is possible, but the door is your limitation IMHO, it's a little small for getting larger items in and out.

Have you considered Caravan Campers out of Reno?

http://caravancamper.com/

You can build it however you want (within reason) and the doors allow almost full access to the back. People around here sell their old trucks and put the camper on the new truck. Not cheap, but they can and do take an amazing amount of abuse.

Jack
 

lzpup

Observer
My are construction topper held up very well to the abuse wheeling racing and the few times I felt I needed to compete with American air lines on flight times.
That is hopeful feedback, Do you know if the panels are riveted or glued on on? Someone I was talking to the other day was saying that the glued on panes will hold up much better off road because they can move as the frame flexes with the bed of the truck. This sounds like it makes sense, one of the toppers I looked at has riveted panels, which makes it sound like it might be an issue.
 

chet6.7

Explorer
It is good the read that toppers are holding up these days.
My experience was different but that was a long time ago.
My bed flexed so much that eventually the aluminum holding rear door on split.When I would load and unload the topper, the side walls would move a couple of inches.
I got rid of the tailgate,cut some siding to fit the opening,had a door in the center.
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
Hoping the forum can help me with ideas:
I have an 06 mega cab 5.7 (soon to have fox 2.5), I am looking to do adventure travel: climbing , mountain biking, ice climbing etc. One of my main needs is to stuff 2 mountain bikes in the shell when we are off on a climb or kayak and not have them ripped off. I am trying to decide between a hard Shell and popup camper : 4wheel / ATC vs Tradesman topper from Access mfg. The Tradesman would be very water tight and secure, but I have some concerns about the bed flexing with with the fixed shell, vs a slide in that can kinda move around independent of the Bed. However, it looks kinda hard to stuff the bikes in the popup.

Anyone toss bikes in their popup? or run a aluminum shell hard off road?

Any help is appreciated, trying to get this off the ground while summer is still here...
Your Dodge has a stiff hydroformed frame rail on it. Way stiffer than anything out there. It should help with whatever you choose. Sage Carli mentioned that on his Ford blog. He purchased a newer F-250 gasser for suspension development. Lots of frame flex.
There's a guy in the neighborhood with an old IFS Chevy 2500. His Caravan Camper should outlast the Chevy.
 

WAND3R3R

Adventurer
I have been very happy with my second ARE topper. It is well built and relatively secure compared to other fiberglass caps. You can order an ARE with many options to meet you needs, as you mentioned you wanted to carry bikes you can order a higher top than mine, pictured below. They also offer various door styles.





-AK
 
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redthies

Renaissance Redneck
Having owned a few pop-up campers as well as caps/toppers/canopies/whatever I'll just say this: it doesn't matter what you buy as far as putting your bikes etc inside (they WILL fit in a camper), either way, your going to be moving them out for the cooking, eating, sleeping times.

Personally I'd rather move the bikes or 'yaks out and then grab a cold one out of my fridge and sit at a table with the furnace on, then roll into a nice comfy bed, and make breakfast at the stove when it's pissing down rain in the morning than crawl into a metal box over my tailgate. Others however, may prefer to grovel...
 

WAND3R3R

Adventurer
Having owned a few pop-up campers as well as caps/toppers/canopies/whatever I'll just say this: it doesn't matter what you buy as far as putting your bikes etc inside (they WILL fit in a camper), either way, your going to be moving them out for the cooking, eating, sleeping times.

Personally I'd rather move the bikes or 'yaks out and then grab a cold one out of my fridge and sit at a table with the furnace on, then roll into a nice comfy bed, and make breakfast at the stove when it's pissing down rain in the morning than crawl into a metal box over my tailgate. Others however, may prefer to grovel...
redthies, I agree... for comfort, a camper wins out, hands down! My F350 w/ camper is soooo much nicer than my Tacoma with topper when it comes to comfort! But there is beauty in the simplicity of a topper! I can sit comfortable in my truck w/ topper's cab and eat, use the computer and read a book. Toppers are much less expensive too. Also, I never worry about vehicle height in the Tacoma w/ topper, it fits in any parking garage.... which brings me to my point.... yes I have a point.... before one buys anything, I think they should make a list, rank that list from top to bottom, most to least important and see what offers the best fit for them... truck with topper or camper.
-AK
 

FullTankHank

Adventurer
redthies, I agree... for comfort, a camper wins out, hands down! My F350 w/ camper is soooo much nicer than my Tacoma with topper when it comes to comfort! But there is beauty in the simplicity of a topper! I can sit comfortable in my truck w/ topper's cab and eat, use the computer and read a book. Toppers are much less expensive too. Also, I never worry about vehicle height in the Tacoma w/ topper, it fits in any parking garage.... which brings me to my point.... yes I have a point.... before one buys anything, I think they should make a list, rank that list from top to bottom, most to least important and see what offers the best fit for them... truck with topper or camper.
-AK
Great post.
 
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