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Truck Toppers for Overlanding :: Buyers Guide

Our recent, meticulously cataloged soft and hard shell rooftop tent buyers guides were a massive hit as we compiled a list of the premier rooftop tents available on the market today while highlighting those we felt deserved special mention. We would be remiss if we did not now turn our attention to camper toppers, but before we dig deep into another buyers guide, let’s first take a look at the pros, cons, and reality of living and traveling with a bolt-on camper topper. The vast majority of camper toppers are inspired by combining a rooftop tent with a topper to create an alternative to the rooftop tent and a traditional camper. Camper toppers, also known as truck caps or bed shells, are a popular addition for overland travelers who use pickup trucks for their adventures, offering a blend of convenience, security, and shelter.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of a camper topper is that, with one purchase and installation, overlanders can transform almost any pickup into a camper complete with sleeping, shelter, and, often, cooking amenities. A camper topper effectively increases the usable storage space of a pickup truck, allowing for the organization and protection of gear and supplies; some newer models even come with built-in storage solutions. Camper toppers provide a secure, lockable space for storing gear and valuables, protecting them from theft and the elements; this security is crucial for overlanders who often travel with expensive equipment or to locations inhabited by wild animals. A camper topper offers protection against rain, snow, and sun, keeping the truck bed and its contents dry and shaded. This is particularly valuable for travelers who encounter diverse weather conditions. Many overlanders use the space under the topper for sleeping, which can be more comfortable and secure than a ground tent. This setup is also quick and easy, saving time during camp setup and breakdown. And, as this buyer’s guide demonstrates, a wide range of camper toppers are available, with various features and customization options to suit different needs and preferences. These options include side windows, roof racks, and interior lighting, to name a few.

However, there can be some notable drawbacks to purchasing and installing a camper topper. For instance, a camper topper’s added weight and altered aerodynamics can reduce fuel efficiency, a critical consideration for long-distance overland travel. High-quality camper toppers can be expensive, and with prices increasing with additional features and customizations, this initial investment may be prohibitive for some travelers. Depending on the design of the camper topper, accessing gear stored in the truck bed, especially items located towards the front of the vehicle, may be hindered. Some designs mitigate this accessibility issue with side access windows, but these can add to the cost. The increased height of a truck with a camper topper might limit access to certain areas, such as low-clearance garages, but dense forest trails should not be a problem. Without proper ventilation, the living space of a camper topper can become stuffy and prone to condensation, especially when used for sleeping, a problem easily solved with windows or fans. One additional drawback is that semi-permanently installing a topper can reduce the functionality and usefulness of the pickup bed., as opposed to, say, pulling an overland trailer instead. Herewith is the Camper Toppers Buyers Guide.

AluCab ModCap

The Alu-Cab ModCap is a highly adaptable modular vehicle accessory system designed to enhance the functionality and versatility of pickup-style vehicles with truck beds ranging between 5 and 6 feet. This innovative system includes various interchangeable components, such as canopies, cabins, and campers, allowing users to customize their vehicles according to their specific needs and preferences. The Campers, weighing roughly 400 pounds, are fully equipped modules that transform vehicles into mobile living spaces. They typically include sleeping areas, storage solutions, and sometimes kitchen facilities, providing a comprehensive solution for overland adventures. The Canopies are durable and versatile covers that provide additional storage space and protection for the vehicle’s cargo area.

They are designed to withstand harsh environments and are suitable for recreational and professional use. The Cabin offers enclosed, secure spaces within the vehicle, which can be customized for various needs, such as sleeping quarters or workspace. Whether for camping, work, or other purposes, the ModCap system enables easy swapping of components to create the ideal setup, and the design emphasizes both flexibility and convenience; the components are built with durability in mind, ensuring they can withstand the rigors of different environments and uses. The ModCAP’s modular nature also means that users can upgrade or change their setup as their needs evolve without investing in a completely new system.

From $4,128 | OK4WD

The Far-Out Canopy

The base model Far-Out Canopy is not a feature-laden camper and does not include luxuries such as a full kitchen or indoor plumbing. However, it makes up for what it lacks in built-in comforts with practicality. The canopy/topper caters to a wide range of needs, from hunters and outdoorsmen to cyclists, long-distance travelers, and motorsports enthusiasts. This topper is ideal for families of up to four adventurers. Its design balances functionality and durability, providing a reliable solution for various outdoor activities. Constructed from black powder-coated aluminum alloy, the lightweight design doesn’t compromise on strength, allowing it to securely store dirt bikes, quads, tools, and other equipment. The canopy’s construction includes corrosion-resistant and UV-stable materials, and rain gutters on all openings enhance its weather resistance. A large, lockable rear door facilitates access, while side panels feature locks for added security.

The roof system supports extended drop-down beds equipped with stainless steel hinges for durability and comfort, offering a large area for sleeping and living. Setting up the canopy is straightforward, thanks to self-lowering struts for the drop-down beds. It includes two high-density mattresses with washable covers, ensuring a clean and comfortable sleeping space. The canopy’s tenting is made from mildew-resistant material, promising longevity and ease of maintenance. Additional features include tent supports and integrated LED lighting. Customization options are available, including a 175-watt flexible solar panel, a portable propane stove and sink, a fold-down table, a heater, an electric generator, side and back door mounting rails, wall-mounted storage, storage netting, curtains, steps, and a bed extension with a mattress.

From $18,600 | far-0utcamping.com

The Go Fast Campers Platform

The Go Fast Platform camper allows you to carry gear, tools, toys, and pets while providing a standing-height shelter and a cozy sleeping space. It is designed to withstand extreme use and adds minimal weight to your truck. The Platform camper weighs 275 pounds, depending on the truck bed size, sleeps two adults and a dog or child, and has a dynamic roof load capacity of 500 pounds. The upstairs tent provides all-season protection, shedding rain, snow, hail, wind, and sun. Made from 300-denier honeycomb ripstop, it is fully waterproof with zippered exterior rain doors. Its wedge shape is designed to withstand extreme weather, with heat-welded seams for added waterproofness. Passive ventilation ensures comfort, with lower perimeter air intakes and forward side windows that create a crossflow effect. Accessing the sleeping area is achieved via the Transform-A-Floor design, allowing movement from the truck bed to the tent without going outside.

A ladder and optional side doors provide additional access, ideal for frequent nighttime movement or when carrying a lot of gear. The low-profile Platform camper also serves as a strong topper that protects items in the truck bed from weather and theft. The aluminum access panels feature two locks per panel for added security, with off-road-specific locks and improved dust flaps. At the same time, the hinge design resists forced entry and ensures durability. The GFC offers full access to all three sides of the truck bed with Cabana Mode, creating an open, outdoor-like experience. This design allows easy access to bed contents, even with bracing, accommodating items like full-sized coolers.

From $8,450 | gofastcampers.com

Four Wheel Campers Project M

The Project M by Four Wheel Campers (the GOAT Topper manufacturer since 1972!) is a versatile and lightweight (from 352 pounds) pop-up truck topper designed for adventurers seeking minimalism and durability. It attaches to the bed rails of a truck, using the truck bed as the floor, which allows for full use of the truck’s bed space. The Project M offers a base model starting at $11,495 for short beds and $11,995 for 8-foot long beds, with compatibility for various mid-size and full-size trucks, including the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Jeep Gladiator, among others. Constructed with a welded aluminum frame and a one-piece aluminum roof, the Project M is built to withstand rugged off-road conditions. Its lightweight design enhances maneuverability and fuel efficiency while providing a sturdy platform for outdoor adventures.

The topper features ample space for customization, allowing users to add power solutions, gear tracks, awnings, roof racks, and other accessories to tailor the setup to their specific needs. The Project M is designed for simplicity and ease of use as a reliable camping solution without the complexity of a traditional slide-in camper. It includes options for power pre-wiring, interior LED lights, and lithium battery power solutions with solar capabilities. The camper’s minimalist approach does not compromise essential features, offering a comfortable sleeping area with adequate ventilation and weather protection. The Project M is today’s most affordable Four Wheel Camper option.

From $11,495 | Four Wheel Campers

The Super Pacific USA Switchback X1

The Switchback X1 by Super Pacific USA is a versatile and robust truck camper designed to enhance outdoor adventures with a blend of durability and flexibility. Priced between $13,495 and $13,995, the X1 is available for both mid-size and full-size trucks, supporting models from popular brands like Toyota, Ford, Chevy, GMC, Nissan, Jeep, and Honda. The X1, weighing 340 pounds, features a four-season, marine-grade fabric tent that provides protection and comfort in all weather conditions. Its spacious design includes an adjustable vent system to control condensation, and the Exped Megamat Duo LW+ mattress ensures a comfortable sleeping experience. The tent’s three screened doors offer panoramic views and ample ventilation.

The camper’s structure uses aerospace manufacturing techniques, combining laser-cut sheet aluminum and solid aircraft rivets for maximum strength and durability. The canopy offers full side access, making loading and unloading gear easy, while secure locking mechanisms protect belongings from theft and weather. Customization is a key aspect of the Switchback X1, allowing users to personalize their camper with various options, including different colors for the canopy and tent fabric. The camper is designed with modular organization in mind, providing multiple mounting points and anchor slots for gear. Overall, the Switchback X1 is engineered to withstand rugged off-road conditions while maintaining a lightweight profile that does not compromise performance or comfort.

From $13,500 | Super Pacific

The Tune M1

The Tune M1 is a lightweight, customizable pop-up truck camper designed for adventure enthusiasts. Weighing between 360 and 450 pounds depending on the truck size, the M1 is engineered to be compatible with most popular trucks, including Toyota, Ford, Ram, Chevy, and Nissan models. This camper features a robust aluminum construction with a patent-pending winged-extrusion design and super-strong polymer corner brackets, ensuring durability and resilience in rough terrains. The M1 offers ample living space, including a large sleeping area that can be expanded to an approximate king-size with an optional slide extender. Depending on the truck model, the interior provides headroom of up to 6 feet and 10 inches and a standard queen-sized foam mattress.

The camper’s innovative design includes an integrated T-track for infinite customization, allowing users to mount and organize gear efficiently inside and outside. Standard features of the Tune M1 include panoramic views from the interior, large side-access lockable awning doors, perimeter halo lighting, and a three-year warranty. Optional upgrades like tempered, smoked glass windows and a Goal Zero Yeti 1500 power system enhance its functionality and comfort. The M1’s advanced engineering and modular components make it easy to fit, assemble, and repair, providing a reliable mobile base camp for all outdoor pursuits. The range of canopy and tent color options sets the M1 apart from the competition. The OD Green Canopy with a Navy/Oyster tent color gives us the fizz.

From $13,500 | tuneoutdoor.com

AT Overland Habitat Truck Topper

Those who attended Overland Expo West in 2016 will remember that the AT Overland Habitat Truck Topper was all the rage. This innovation was quite unlike anything before it or since. The AT Overland Atlas Truck Topper is born from that heritage and is a highly functional and durable pop-up shell designed for modern trucks, offering a blend of lightweight construction and robust features. Weighing 360 pounds, the Atlas is built using an aluminum and honeycomb composite, ensuring strength and insulation. This construction provides a sturdy yet lightweight solution for overland travel enthusiasts. The vertical pop-up design allows for significant interior space, enabling one person to stand comfortably while another is in bed, enhancing the usability of the space.

The topper has gas springs that facilitate easy opening and closing, even when loaded with up to 100 pounds of cargo on the roof. This feature is particularly beneficial for travelers who need quick access to their vehicle’s interior. The Atlas also includes a locking rear liftgate and double-pane windows, enhancing security and comfort. These windows are designed to provide insulation, keeping the interior temperature regulated regardless of external conditions. The base price for the Atlas Truck Topper starts at $14,300, reflecting its high-quality materials and advanced design. This price point positions the Atlas as a premium option for those serious about overland travel and seeking a reliable, versatile, and comfortable camping solution. The topper is tailored to fit modern fuel-efficient trucks, making it an ideal choice for adventurers seeking to maximize their vehicle’s capabilities without compromising comfort or durability.

From $14,300 | atoverland.com

The Topo Topper

Topo Toppers offers two primary products: the Badlander and the Mesa, both designed to enhance the overland travel experience through durable and lightweight pop-up camper shells. The Badlander is tailored for adventurers who prioritize strength and spaciousness. Its robust design ensures reliability in rugged environments, making it an ideal choice for those who require ample space and easy setup. On the other hand, the Mesa is crafted with a minimalist approach, balancing simplicity and functionality. This design caters to users who prefer a streamlined setup without sacrificing durability. Manufactured in Southern California, the Badlander and the Mesa are built to fit mid- and full-size trucks, providing flexibility for different vehicle types. The Badlander starts at $8,950, offering a high-end option for serious overlanders, while the Mesa starts at $6,950, presenting a more affordable choice without sacrificing quality.

Both models emphasize ease of use, and the lightweight construction of these camper shells ensures that they do not significantly impact the vehicle’s performance, making them practical for long journeys and off-road adventures. Topo Toppers builds their camper shells using precision fabrication and high-quality materials. The process includes CNC cutting, TIG welding, and powder coating to ensure strength and durability. Each topper is designed for a perfect fit, providing functionality and aesthetic appeal. The company emphasizes meticulous craftsmanship and quality control, resulting in a reliable product that meets the demands of overland travel. The Badlands and Mesa toppers are both built to fit mid-size and full-size pick-ups and will be available from August 2024.

From $6,950 | topotoppers.com

The Lone Peak Camper

The Lone Peak Camper is designed to provide a blend of comfort, security, and practicality for outdoor enthusiasts. It combines the features of a waterproof, lockable topper with the spaciousness of a rooftop tent. The camper is custom-made to fit various truck bed sizes and includes a bed gasket and fit kit for secure installation. Key features of the Lone Peak Camper include a 4×80-inch foam mattress, which can comfortably accommodate users up to 6 feet 10 inches in height. The bed platform, made from aluminum honeycomb, supports up to 600 pounds and can be easily pushed out of the way using dual gas struts, providing an additional 32 inches of standing room in the truck bed.

The camper also features open-air tent windows, a rear rain guard to increase interior volume and provide weather protection, and a durable polyester canvas tent with a 5,000-millimeter PU coating for waterproofing. Constructed with aluminum extrusions, composite panels, and stainless steel hardware, the Lone Peak Camper is lightweight yet robust, weighing approximately 375 pounds. It offers a quick setup time of 60 seconds, allowing users to maximize their time enjoying their surroundings. The camper’s design ensures it does not interfere with the everyday use of the truck bed, making it a practical choice for adventurers. The camper can be installed for free at Lone Peak’s facility in Wenatchee, Washington, or shipped to a certified installer or directly to the customer for self-installation.

From $5,995 | lonepeakoverland.com

The Skinny Guy Camper

The Skinny Guy Camper is a versatile, self-contained truck bed camper designed for adventurers who need a durable and functional mobile living space. It features heat, light, water, and power, making it suitable for various outdoor conditions. The camper has a 1/8-inch aluminum shell and an Aqualon tent, providing a robust and weather-resistant structure. Skinny Guy Campers come in seven models to fit different truck bed sizes, from mid-size to full-size trucks, including a special model for the Jeep Gladiator. Each model offers ample storage, a sleep structure, a tie-down system, and various standard amenities.

The campers are available in two trim levels: Skin ’N Bones includes basic camping necessities and a portable toilet, while the Kit’ N Kaboodle adds more luxurious features like a flushing toilet, a propane gas system, and a kitchen module with a cooktop and sink. The design provides a spacious interior with 84 inches of headroom, ensuring comfort and convenience. Innovative features such as the slide-out galley kitchen, flushable toilet, and solar-powered energy enhance the camping experience. The lightweight and compact design makes it easy to install and remove, maintaining the truck bed’s utility. Skinny Guy Campers are designed to handle both short overnight trips and extended overland adventures, offering a balance of comfort, functionality, and durability.

From $25,000| skinnyguycampers.com

The Hardsider Truck Camper

The Hardsider truck camper offers a combination of durability and efficiency with its slick and modern hard-sided folding design. Utilizing advanced materials like aircraft aluminum and honeycomb composites, the camper is relatively lightweight yet robust, weighing approximately 450 pounds. This construction ensures the camper is sturdy without needing fiberglass, wood, or rivets, making it durable and easy to handle on various terrains. Hardsider’s patented Origami technology allows the camper to unfold in one simple motion, providing the comfort and security of a hard-sided camper with the ease and efficiency of a folding model. The camper is designed for year-round use, featuring weather-ready insulation that keeps the cabin cool in summer, warm in winter, and dry in all conditions. The sound-insulated space includes a full-size mattress, ensuring a comfortable sleep experience. The camper’s minimalist design reduces drag, improving fuel efficiency for longer journeys and making it compact enough to fit in a garage. It features bash-ready corner hardware for protection on rough trails and a dual air intake system to prevent condensation, ensuring a dry and breathable interior. Hardsider offers customizable options for various adventure needs, from base models to fully equipped versions with additional furniture, storage, and advanced electrical systems. The camper is designed to easily adapt to different truck models, allowing users to continue their adventures without interruption. Look at the equally slick and modern website to build your topper.

From $18,000 | hardsider.com

Harker Outdoors EDC

Last but not least, the Harker Outdoors Expedition Driven Camper (EDC) merges the convenience of a rooftop tent with the spaciousness of a wedge camper. This camper is designed to maximize interior living space while maintaining ease of use, setting up in just 60 seconds. It features a canvas zip tailgate annex, a lift-away sleep platform, and an L-track mounting system for efficient gear storage. Weighing only 300 pounds, the EDC is compatible with most mid-size and full-size pickup trucks, ensuring broad usability across different vehicles. The camper’s design prioritizes functionality and comfort, offering enough space for travelers to move around freely. The annex creates additional enclosed space, which can be used for changing clothes or as extra storage.

The lift-away sleep platform provides a comfortable sleeping arrangement, while the L-track mounting system allows for secure and organized gear storage, enhancing the overall travel experience. The EDC supports optional features such as solar panels and lithium batteries, catering to those who need additional power for extended trips. These options make it possible to remain off-grid for longer periods, appealing to adventurers seeking self-sufficiency. The base price of the camper starts at $9,000, and the current lead times for delivery are estimated at four to six weeks. We featured this topper on Expedition Portal late in 2023, and it remains one of our favorites thanks to the combination of space, build quality, innovation, and price point.

From $9,000 | Harker Outdoors

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Graeme Bell is an author and explorer who has dedicated his life to traveling the planet by land, seeking adventure and unique experiences. Together with his wife and two children, Graeme has spent the last decade living permanently on the road in a self-built Land Rover based camper. They have explored 27 African countries (including West Africa), circumnavigated South America, and driven from Argentina to Alaska, which was followed by an exploration of Europe and Western Asia before returning to explore the Americas. Graeme is the Senior Editor 4WD for Expedition Portal, a member of the Explorers Club, the author of six books, and an Overland Journal contributor since 2015. You can follow Graeme's adventures across the globe on Instagram at graeme.r.bell