Truck Cap Features

t4rFL

Adventurer
considering getting a truck cap/topper for my Ram. They have so many options, what is important for traveling/camping in one? it would cost too much to get every option. anything you wish you had that you don't? i'm sure you can add things later on, like crossbars, etc..
 

02rangeredge

Adventurer
1) be conscious of your roof carrying capacity
2) roof rack

side note, if you are going with fiberglass as a lot seem to, know that the sealant that they use to attach the rails (that clamp it to the bed) does fail over time (not sure how long it takes, my truck was 14 when I got it with the cap and 1 length of the bed was almost completely separated)and in order to be dealt with well it has to be done by the manufacturer
 

malibubts

Adventurer
Just put a Leer 100XL on my 15 Ram about a month ago. In interest of saving some money, I did not opt for many options. I went with the front tilt out window for cleaning both that window and the truck window, it would be impossible to clean these with the cap on otherwise. Also since my Ram has the electronic tail gate lock I went with the power lock on the cap, this was definitely a good choice for convenience sake. Haven't camped in mine yet, so hopefully someone else can chime in on that. As far as options outside of what you'd get from the factory I will be rigging up a curtain system for the windows and also getting a tailgate seal kit since a decent amount of water and dust can work their way in there.
 

kmcoop7

Observer
OPTIONS

The feature I use and like the most and I felt was the best value: LED lights on the top. I run two rows on the top and have a ton of light.

Other things to consider:
1. clamping system. LEER and Snugtop have integral clamps that don't protrude in the bed. ARE still uses old bulky aluminum clamps
2. roof load rating. the commercial Leer/are models have increased roof load ratings. Snugtop has an "outdoorsman" option that ups the rating to 500 lbs
3. windoors. These are pricy but I love mine. If you have a really tall truck, they begin to lose their usefulness
4. fold down front window. Crucial for cleaning windows.
5. I like to have slider windows on the sides for ventilation for the dog or my self when sleeping
6. definitely get a carpeted headliner. you will have fiberglass splinters with out and it makes a big difference keeping it cool backthere in the summer
7. Racks: you can add racks anytime. Most mfgs use Thule or Yakima and I recommend you look @ Rhino rack. Way more options in terms of accessory attachments, heights, ect.
 

HMBxplore

New member
Here's my 2 cents. I have an '04 Ram with an ARE topper. I have decided to get a lumber rack slightly customized for cargo and a RTT. I don't want to put the stress on my topper when off-road.
1) the fold down front window is a must have.
2) Carpet is nice, but mine wraps under the rail causing water to wick inside (I have a spray in liner) I will shave off excess carpet next time I pop the top to re-seal the back window in the cab.
3) Get LED lighting.
4) I wish I had the side windows that fully open, and if I were to buy a new shell I would opt for the side toolboxes over windows in a hot second.
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
HPIM1385.JPG

I have a 2004 Super Duty with a 2006 A.R.E. Z-series shell on it. It uses the old style C-clamps to mount it and does not have the electric lock on the door, but it can be added as an option. It does have the gray carpeted interior and the front tilt down window for cleaning. It also slides open in the middle in case you have a sliding back window in your truck, which I do not. The side windows open slightly in the rear, but that's all. I bought this vehicle used and the shell was already on it, however it has been one of the best shells I have ever owned, and I've had a bunch of them!

Post #4 and #5 pretty well covered all the good stuff to get, but there is one more thing I wish I had on mine. I'm converting an ambulance for camping now, so I don't sleep in the back of mine anymore, although that used to be my preferred method. Having side windows that open is almost mandatory for sleeping in the rear, however mine only swing out about 3" with the hinge being vertical, more like the rear seat vent window on my truck.

Once you put a shell or topper on a truck, accessing things in the front of the bed become a real pain in the butt. I have a Drawer System in mine right now, but that only solves a few problems, and creates a new set of it's own. So, I wish I had full length side windows that would open by swinging upwards like the rear door does. Then I could run full length side boxes that sit on top of the wheel wells, and are accessed from the top to keep all my tools, recovery gear, emergencies supplies, etc. in. The full width and length of the bed, along with the full height of the shell (with the drawer unit removed) would then be available for use.






Update: Apparently poster #6 posted while I was writing this. It also looks like he has the same idea about the side windows that I do. Isn't is amazing how great minds thing alike! :)
 
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Paddy

Adventurer
There are some toppers that have a feature that's hard to overlook. If you're camping in it I'd say that would be a key feature.
Any truck bed is great for sleeping in, as long as you don't have any gear.
 

Attachments

::Squish::

Observer
I ended up wit a hard side truck camper. But this is what I learned about my cap.
Old truck was a 2003 Taco pre-runner supercab with a Verns cap.
If I was to do it again, set up a camper shell for camping.

Near vertical back door one even slightly bowed out.
LED lighting
Roof weight capacity.
Slider window at the front not just a pass through.
Ability to open and close door from the inside
Way to keep it from being locked from the outside while in it.
Fans to cool it off. Solar panel and one battery.

Look for camper shells that have edge bits
fall over the edge of the truck. So that there is an edge that keep water from running into
 
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