Weight limit for roof of Camper Shell?

yalex

"The Kid"
Hey everyone, im looking at mounting a RTT sometime in the future, but i'd like to mount it on a camper shell for the convenience of storing gear securly. So would it be within the limits of the topper to mount a tent- perhaps a Eezi-Awn series 3 with two sleepers? Or is this too much weight for the topper to handle safely? Ive looked at the AT Flip pac which is sick, but is way out of my price range.

Any ideas/opinions are welcome!
 

zolo

Explorer
I had that setup for a while. RTT on a ARE shell. Nice ARE and it just did not seem to hold up over time. I wheeled it pretty hard a few times and the topper moved some with tree limbs pulling at the tent and it started to show stress cracks and wear pretty fast. I had the ARE set up with the Yakima rails flush mounted by the ARE dealer. with tracks and all the "correct" rack mounting. It was nice to have but ultimately seemed like a weak set up.

However plenty folks do it and have good success. This is just my experience.
 

robert

Expedition Leader
Too much weight for most fiberglass shells. You could mount it on one of the aluminum models with internal bracing.
 
Too much weight for most fiberglass shells. You could mount it on one of the aluminum models with internal bracing.
Funny I never had any issues running my Eezi-Awn On my fiberglass topper with 2 sleepers. Just utilize the alum tracks most shells come with as your attachemnt
(to distribute the load) and go camping.
 

enzo

Explorer
Just get a reinforced shell and you should be fine. Get 4 load bars to evenly distribute the weight.
 

robert

Expedition Leader
Funny I never had any issues running my Eezi-Awn On my fiberglass topper with 2 sleepers. Just utilize the alum tracks most shells come with as your attachemnt
(to distribute the load) and go camping.
Glad it's working out so well for you, hopefully it will for many years to come, but most manufactures don't recommend more than 200lbs or so on their standard shells. While I've exceeded that with mine before (Yakima tracks and bars also) I wouldn't want to do it often. Over time the fiberglass weakens and the vibration can't be good for it- the shell on my '95 Taco liked to creak and make noises with just two sea kayaks and a RocketBox on it when mild off-roading.
 

Yellowkayak

Adventurer
Bottom line is if your racks are placed on the outside edge of the topper, you should be just fine. I haul up to about 400 pounds at times on Thule Cross bars on my ARE and have not had any problems at all. Now bouncing along rough off road timber roads and hitting pot holes and ruts, now that would be challenging to the topper to hold up. Go slow and easy...NOTHING is indistructable...just remember that and you should be fine!

JJ
 

yalex

"The Kid"
Thanks for the info guys, looks as if i mount the tent correctly and dont go wheeling with people in the tent :sombrero: ill be fine!
 

photoman

Explorer
I just mounted my RTT on my ARE shell this past Friday. After talking with the mfg and the local dealer I was concerned with mounting directly to the shell. I chose to enlist the help of my friend and we built an internal cage in the truck bed. The cage has support mounts which match up to the feet on the custom roof rack we built. They are bolted together with the shell sandwiched in between and the RTT is then mounted to the roof rack. This takes the weight of the rack and tent off of the shell and puts it on the internal cage. This will hopefully limit any stress cracks to a minimum and be a system that works for many years.
 

Mrknowitall

Adventurer
Couple of thoughts-
*weight ratings are for DYNAMIC load, meaning weight you bounce down the trail with. That gives you a good margin for occupants, while parked.
*where do cross-bars above the side windows spread their load to? Right, Front and back is fine. Different story if you have a window-less model.
*I was never happy with my shell until I bolted it right to the bed rail. Broncos, Blazers, 4Runners and Jeeps don't clamp their hard-tops.
*Some glass caps are available in contractor models- reinforced for more load and with utility doors on the side.
 

Dipodomys

Observer
I went with a heavy-duty aluminum contractor shell for just this reason. Even though I have yet to attach a RTT, I wanted the option to do so in the future without having to worry about killing the shell. Fiberglass can be successfully reinforced as suggested by other commenters, but I figured a well-built aluminim unit would be lighter, stronger, and more durable in the long run. I paid about $2,200 for my shell, and it has lift-up windows on three sides, security screening on the windows, four internal lights, insulation, and an integrated ladder rack mounted to the roof and supported by the shell's internal framing. It was expensive but I really like it. It was made to match the angles of the truck so it doesn't look like a boxy grandpa camper. An ARE fibergalss shell was about $1,500 but it didn't have some of the features I wanted, so I spent the extra dough and went with the aluminum model. So far so good.

Since I guess you already have a fiberglass unit, I'd seriously lean towards installing some sort of interior bracing to which you can bolt your rack directly. Better safe than sorry. Alternately, consider a ladder rack mounted to the bed rails and then extending around and over the shell. That way you have no weight at all on the shell. I've seen that employed a few times and I've also seen that kind of setup posted on this forum. It seems to work really well and it can look pretty good if done right.
 

cwvandy

Adventurer
I, too, was concerned about the extra weight on the roof and in particular the lateral forces created when driving aggressively off road. I got a reinforced shell and then built and internal frame that comes off with the shell. It sits on the rails of the truck and is bolted through the roof to the tracks and rack on the exterior. It also provides a great place to store my axe, shovel, tow strap, high-lift, fire extinguisher and (on the ceiling) my two Snow Peak camp tables. All of this stuff is out of the way and takes up little internal space. Works like a charm. Metal Tech in the Portland area crafted this. They also built my rear bumper with swing out tire and gas can racks. Anyone in the NW looking for custom solutions to all types of Toyotas should contact these guys.DSC_0143.jpgDSC_0142.jpgDSC_0146.jpg
 
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