OT- Truck Camper Shells

My Santa Fe was the first completely new vehicle I had ever purchased, and I was planning on driving it until the wheels fell off.

Unfortunately, it had other plans.

Fortunately, though, its demise coincided with a promotion. So, I went ahead and bought what I'd had my eye on for a while...a new Tacoma.

Unfortunately for my bank account, I think I have decided it won't be complete without a camper shell. I've been doing some initial shopping around and as of this post am leaning toward a Leer 100XL, subbing the side windows for windoors, and throwing on a roof rack...possibly a rooftop tent. Shopping has me accessorizing like a mofo.

I have absolutely no experience in this area. So, I need you all to do what you do and give me your suggestions, stories, advice, and what have you.

Guys, the ass pocket you save may be your own if we're tailgating at Lot 18 and the sky opens up.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


I have the LEER 180 for my truck and absolutely love it.

Vroom Vroom

Man I'm jealous. I am somewhat in the market for a new truck (though a Silverado). Enjoy!

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Yeah, I'm loving it.

...until Sept. 1st.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

Take a look around TacomaWorld.com. There's a ton of info and good community there.

I had a Tacoma for 4 years until I sold it because I needed something bigger (went up to a Titan). One friend had a Leer (not sure what model) and really liked it with no issues, and another friend had a Leer (not sure what model) and had constant issues with the lock handles on the rear window seizing several times. I know a lot of guys who have SnugTops and love them with no issues at all, but I believe they're a decent bit more expensive.

I never had a hard camper shell, but I had a Bestop Supertop and loved it. It wasn't watertight when there was a heavy wind-driven rain, but with some extra weather stripping around the tailgate it was good enough that I could leave stuff in there most of the time and not have to worry about it. It was nice because the side windows zip in and out easily so I could still access my tool chest, and it could fold down out of the way when I needed to haul larger things. Biggest downside to them is that they aren't lockable and don't offer much security beyond a visual barrier.

The cap seals at the bed will leak so don't expect a totally dry truck all the time. Make sure you can reach into the truck bed far enough to justify those windoors. My F150 bed is too tall to reach much. I have had a Century cap on my truck since purchased new in 2007. Bought it to keep stuff I was hauling from coming out, dogs, trash, camping gear, and moving my kids stuff all around B'burg every time they changed apartmentsšŸ™. I have Yakima rack bars and landing pads. The landing pads permanently attach to the cap so I only have to attach the racks to those when I need the rack. I like the cleaner roof look. This was my Family go to the beach rig for 10+ years. Two yaks on top, all the stuff crammed in the back, bikes on the hitch rack.

I did have that thought about the windoors, but I'm tall enough and the truck is short enough that I am pretty sure I won't have an issue. I would be more worried if it was an F150 or larger.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

I've got no input on the camper shell cause I didn't have one but you're gonna love that truck.

My last truck was a completely base (i'm talking hand crank windows, manual locks) 2wd 4 banger Taco and I loved that thing only got rid of it cause 2wd on a truck that weighed basically nothing was less than ideal in CO and NE.

(add if applicable) /s

Trucks are like gold, and they're valued like it.

Congrats on your new purchase.

I bought a Silverado in 2012 that sold 9k below what I bought it for last month. I had done ZERO research until I was ready for something new and was pleasantly surprised at what I got for it.

Resale value was part of the reason I bought it. I was actually looking at used ones at first, but when I saw '17 & '18 models for over 30k, I said what's the point.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

Do not go to xoverland.com or mountainstateoverland.com

Previously LowBrau.

Can't decide whether to punch or kiss you.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

Yeah, it's tough. If you watch a few episodes, especially some of the Xoverland stuff, you could get addicted.

my 4runner is currently in the shop getting a lift, new suspension, tundra brakes, new wheels and tires, rear bumper, and a few other odds and ends.

it's a very expensive hobby...

Previously LowBrau.

you're gonna need to post some pics when it is finished!

Will do.

Its Maroon sorta, lot of folks are trying to stop me from adding orange. Was hoping to do the bumpers and rock sliders. We'll see though.

Previously LowBrau.

How handy are you? Just found this link. Not sure how much the Leer goes for, but this is going for $7200-$8900. I could be wrong, but from the pictures I see, I'd be willing to bet I could build something like this for $2,000 or so. It looks like aluminum sheeting over plywood, anchored to the bed rails. Then some canvas work (I'd be willing to learn to sew if it was for something like this).

Here's a link for a place that sells outdoor fabric. I bet you could make your own awning in (at least close) VT colors. They even sell samples of fabric.

Hell, this is kinda making me want to try making something like that for the bed of my truck.

You can also use fiberglass to cover it. Similar to what this guy has done in his custom built pull-behind camper.

"Poor mans fiberglass"

Recruit Prosim

Are you referring to aluminum sheeting over plywood? If so, that's what a lot of enclosed cargo trailers are made out of as well.

No it's like a canvas with waterproof glue

Recruit Prosim

Gotcha. If you're referring to what what I'd said in my first post about canvas work, part of that is because they have the expanding top that looks like canvas, so would need to be non-rigid. I haven't done anything like that before, but seeing the pictures makes me think I could.

Sorry I've looked into this before so I already know a lot about it and don't know what others don't know.

The canvas is stretched over the plywood and then covered in waterproofing material to make "poor mans fiber glass". This is to avoid having to use any aluminum sheeting on the exterior

Recruit Prosim

Gotcha - makes sense. I would probably want to use the aluminum sheeting where possible, and only the canvas or similar material for any awning type or expanding tent-type enclosures on top of the main structure. Hard to describe, but you can see what I mean if you look at the pictures at the link in my first post (scroll through the entire gallery (if you're interested that is).

Really hoping this thread devolves into people posting their cool @ss truck pics...

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Wow...I'm debating getting a new Tacoma (I currently have a base 4x4 short bed 2010) and am looking to replace it with a new one. I'm not sure what you're planning to do with the camper shell, if it's the short bed (i.e. 60") and you get a top on it, it will be very hard for you to camp back there in it. I live in the desert southwest, so it's super easy for me just to sleep in the bed since I don't really have to worry about it raining on me, but fitting into the short bed with a camper shell above the bed will be challenging. If you get the long bed (66") it would be much easier to camp in there. I've been looking either into a teardrop camper or a "rooftop" tent that sits on top of a frame that is attached to the bed (note that this is not my current rig but what I'm looking to do):

If this is not what you're planning to do, please disregard this post...but admit it, it's pretty damn cool

A little inspiration. Set that Taco up right.

Previously LowBrau.

I know this is slightly off-topic from the thread but that could be the motto of TKP. I have a 2016 Taco with the towi package and have been looking for a lightweight camper for about two years now. More specifically, I have been looking at Coleman, Jayco, and Forest River. If anyone has any recommendations that have a gross weight of 5,500 lbs. or less, I would love to hear them.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

Why you gotta swoop in and steal my next thread topic?

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

Two of us constitutes a reason for a new thread. It's settled.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

I have a older hardside pop-up that weighs less than 2,000 lbs. My F150 hardly knows its back there.

If you are worried about weight, look at the hybrids. We have a 3 bed hybrid with a couch slide out and it works really well for our family. The Rockwood Roo (by Forest River) is pretty popular. We have a KZ Coyote - We got ours used, I'm not sure if KZ makes hybrids anymore.

It's an unwritten law that it's my lunch pail. I've issued the challenge. If someone outworks me, they can get it.
Darryl Tapp

Had a cool A Liner for several years. Overpriced and not enough storage for us, but it was cool how easily it set up and broke down, towing like a dream. Some of the knock off A frames have much more in amenities and space, though. Folding down so compactly and weighing so much less than full sized campers, it's nice to have visibility behind you and a barely noticeable drag on your tow vehicle.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Any suggestions for a camper shell for this?



Hell no, don't you dare. El Caminos and Rancheros are too cool for that.

Can we start a cool ass off road rig pic thread as asked above?

Well, I am sad to report that shopping had to get thrown on the backburner, for the immediate future anyway. But I appreciate the input from everyone.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

I've had trucks with camper shells and also ones with roll up tonneau covers. I personally like the roll up bed covers better. You can still get a lot of gear in the bed of the truck and they keep the stuff back there dry and secure. The big advantage is if you need to haul something large, they roll out of the way easily. There were so many times with my last truck that had a camper shell that I would need to haul a large box, dresser, scoop of mulch, etc and couldn't because of the camper shell.

I currently have the Truxedo LoPro cover and really like it. Really the best of both worlds in my opinion.

I've had aluminum and fiberglass shells, slept under them both. Thought the fiberglass was a little warmer in cold weather, but both would gather moisture from the two adults and the dog/dogs while sleeping, then as the morning would warm, the frozen droplets would melt and drip down onto us in our sleeping bags. Good way to kick your butt out of the bag after a cold night, but not all that great in retrospect. All shells have security issues, easily broken into regardless of locks, and some would eventually develop leaks along the bed rails, but the fiberglass shell was far and away more substantial and I never had a leak. I fastened my shells with clamps to the truck, so while I didn't like to do it, I could remove the shell for using the bed unhampered. I likely had to replace the seal more than if I'd gone with a more permanent affixation, but that really wasn't that bad. I could easily remove the aluminum shells by myself, but the fiberglass one took two of us to handle. The fiberglass one had side windows that opened out for easy access from the sides while the aluminum ones only had sliding windows with screens on the side. We only camped in the fall, so we didn't need screens for air at night, so the fiberglass windows not having screens was fine with us. Almost all of our camping was done out west, but in the fall, it was too cold to sleep in an open bed, rain or not, and in one case, the number of coyotes that climbed onto my Dakota and shell had our little dog shaking and buried in the foot of my bag, so open air wasn't an option for us. Either way, we ended up with a 15' hard sided pull behind trailer, then ended up having to buy a bigger Dodge pick up to haul it without having to draft behind big trucks for our three day run to Tucumcari bucking 60 mph headwinds the whole way out.
Ahhhh, the good ol' days.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Bumping this as I've acquired a new truck and I'm shopping tonneau covers. Anyone got any recommendations for soft cover non-trifold options?

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

I used to have an Access Loredo Tonneau On my Tacoma. that I liked I a lot. It's low profile and had pretty easy one handed operation. It wasn't fully watertight but I never got a ton of water in it during the 3 years I had it, mainly around the tailgate.

I got the truxedo truxsport. Been really happy with it. Link
That's the link to amazon for a Chevy with 8' bed, but it has links from it for other trucks as well.