TOPPERS/CAMPERS Camper shell?

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Drake7

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Hey everyone! I’m new to the Tacoma world and just bought my new 2018 Tacoma. I bought the truck because I do a lot of hunting and camping and it seemed like the best one for the job. I recently just bought a camper shell to throw on it but now I’m feeling like I should of got a roof rack with tent on top of the cab. I’ll also be throwing a bed inside the shell and wondering where the rest of my camping gear is going. What’s everyone’s thoughts? Who’s got a camper shell and loves it? Or who prefers the roof rack tent set up?
 

AZ_CAVALRY

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Hey everyone! I’m new to the Tacoma world and just bought my new 2018 Tacoma. I bought the truck because I do a lot of hunting and camping and it seemed like the best one for the job. I recently just bought a camper shell to throw on it but now I’m feeling like I should of got a roof rack with tent on top of the cab. I’ll also be throwing a bed inside the shell and wondering where the rest of my camping gear is going. What’s everyone’s thoughts? Who’s got a camper shell and loves it? Or who prefers the roof rack tent set up?
I was going back and forth between a shell or bed rack/rtt. I figured it would be nice to have the shell with the rack on top, but after the shell and paint match, then rack/rtt it was well over my budget. Plus I had to think about it fitting in the garage if I put an rtt up there. I recently bought a 10"bed rack and tent. I have a tonneau cover as well, so I think that helped with the security worrries.
 

Drake7

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Yeah I figured with the rack and tent is just as much as the camper shell. Just the security will worry me. But after all I’ll be sleeping on my truck. Might be selling the shell shortly after I get it.
 

Nick BBP

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I have a shell, plan is a prinsu roofrack (cab and shell, one of those shells on the cab for recovery gear tent on the shell) then a drawer system inside the shell itself.
 

Drake7

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I like the drawer idea a lot.
 

Mr. Nobody

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I've got a shell and a rtt and am very happy with my setup. Check out my build thread to see exactly what I did. Link is in my signature.

And welcome to T3G!! ?
 

Bad Larry

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Mr. Nobody, can you offer any insight with having your shell/rack/rtt combo? I'm looking to put an ARE Z series on mine and put a rack and and rtt but i'm worried the weight of the tent and us sleeping up there will crack the shell. I've seen some use the Z series but can find any reviews about limitations or anything. I just don't want to drop a load of cash on something i'm going to break.
 

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Mr. Nobody, can you offer any insight with having your shell/rack/rtt combo? I'm looking to put an ARE Z series on mine and put a rack and and rtt but i'm worried the weight of the tent and us sleeping up there will crack the shell. I've seen some use the Z series but can find any reviews about limitations or anything. I just don't want to drop a load of cash on something i'm going to break.
My buddy does it on his LEER cape, I’d recommend the prinsu roofrack and getting a track system installed in the cap. With that much weight however even with just the cap 100% but bed stiffeners from Rago fabrications or somewhere diplomas because the weight will push our composite bedsides out
 

Bad Larry

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My buddy does it on his LEER cape, I’d recommend the prinsu roofrack and getting a track system installed in the cap. With that much weight however even with just the cap 100% but bed stiffeners from Rago fabrications or somewhere diplomas because the weight will push our composite bedsides out

Ya I was looking at either a prinsu or a front runner, still trying to make up my mind on that part. Thanks for the heads up on using the bed stiffeners
 

Nick BBP

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Ya I was looking at either a prinsu or a front runner, still trying to make up my mind on that part. Thanks for the heads up on using the bed stiffeners
I like prinsu because it’s cheaper and it’s lower so in my opinion that looks better
 

Bad Larry

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I like prinsu because it’s cheaper and it’s lower so in my opinion that looks better

I was kinda thinking the same thing, but what is its weight load limits? I'm wanting to hang an 270 degree awning off the side.
 

Nick BBP

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I was kinda thinking the same thing, but what is its weight load limits? I'm wanting to hang an 270 degree awning off the side.
I don’t know exactly but enough for people in a rooftop tent and awning for sure
 

0uTkAsT

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They both have their pros and cons. I also had a soft topper at one point but did not like that option for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that it jettisoned itself 30ft into the air at 80 MPH when the front seal failed on the interstate one day. :oops:

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I loved the fiberglass camper shell setup when I had a 6' bed, even without drawers, bed slides or a sleeping platform that would've made it even better. But this was also back in the day when I was a younger man doing solo trips, or at most just taking the dog or girlfriend. The camper shell was hands down fastest and most convenient way to camp. It was quite comfortable to sleep in (I'm only 5'8" so take that with a grain of salt) and it was quite versatile for everyday use as well. I really enjoyed the security and weatherproof storage the camper shell provided without the drawbacks of an SUV interior, which was especially important when we had a smaller cab with limited interior storage.

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Now as a family man, having to go with the double cab necessitated the short bed to still be able to park in the garage, making the camper shell setup pretty much useless to me since I could no longer sleep in it and storage options would be far more limited. You also have to carry a lot more shit in a lot smaller space when women, kids and dogs are a constant factor. As a result I switched to the bed rack / RTT setup. It provides much more sleeping room for everyone which translates to better overall comfort and the tent configuration produces a purer camping experience than sleeping in an enclosed fiberglass shell. You do gain back most of the downsides of an open bed with the height limitations of a topper, but you'll generally maintain easy side and rear access to bed contents, and you do pick up a lot of storage space with your sleeping gear and tent being mounted to the rack rather than taking up valuable footprint inside the bed.

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Last edited:

mmrocek

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I did the bedrack with RTT for a while. I even had all my gear ready in dry boxes to head out and explore almost every weekend. Worked out great for what it was intended. I decided to remove it all however because it was also my daily at the time and I was putting about 40K miles a year on the truck. This put a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the RTT and carrying all that weight was not the best for daily driving. Not so much for the MPG's as I get about 14mpg's even now (with 4.88's and 285/70) but the truck is under-powered to start with and with all that weight driving anywhere is a pain - IMO. So I decided to go with a camper shell and full rack system for kayaks, etc. and put my RTT and all the gear into an offroad trailer.

IMO: If you do put your tent on the truck, do not put it on the cab if you're going to leave it there perm or quasi perm. The wind resistance with kill you. Did that on the jeep, it was horrible. If you decide to get a bedrack, get one that once the tent is on, it does not stick up above your roofline/cab rack line. - Again wind resistance is a pain.

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And now:

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mmrocek

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I was kinda thinking the same thing, but what is its weight load limits? I'm wanting to hang an 270 degree awning off the side.

Hey I have prinsu and love the design, but do yourself a favor and upgrade your hardware. The bolts it comes with snap easily (at least in my case.) Also the fasteners/loops/slide-in-bolts can be purchased much cheaper online in quantity - let me know if you need links to them.
 

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Bad Larry

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Hey I have prinsu and love the design, but do yourself a favor and upgrade your hardware. The bolts it comes with snap easily (at least in my case.) Also the fasteners/loops/slide-in-bolts can be purchased much cheaper online in quantity - let me know if you need links to them.
Sweet! Thanks for the heads up
 

Haq_79

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Hey everyone! I’m new to the Tacoma world and just bought my new 2018 Tacoma. I bought the truck because I do a lot of hunting and camping and it seemed like the best one for the job. I recently just bought a camper shell to throw on it but now I’m feeling like I should of got a roof rack with tent on top of the cab. I’ll also be throwing a bed inside the shell and wondering where the rest of my camping gear is going. What’s everyone’s thoughts? Who’s got a camper shell and loves it? Or who prefers the roof rack tent set up?
I also have a 2018 taco offroad and i bought an ARE shell the first month because i go camping and hiking a lot and to be honest i am glad i got that before anything else, keeps all my stuff safe and dry, i can always put a roof tent later on top of it.
 

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Jesse Rizo

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I also have a 2018 taco offroad and i bought an ARE shell the first month because i go camping and hiking a lot and to be honest i am glad i got that before anything else, keeps all my stuff safe and dry, i can always put a roof tent later on top of it.
I really like the hard shell taco look if u don’t mind me asking how much did u get it for?
 

Haq_79

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I really like the hard shell taco look if u don’t mind me asking how much did u get it for?

Its an ARE V series with side slider windows and front tilt slider window so i can clean my back glass, i paid $1600 took about 5 weeks to get.
 

Nick BBP

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I really like the hard shell taco look if u don’t mind me asking how much did u get it for?
got mine on craigslist for $800, can google search "used truck cap inventory" and search dealers as well they might have your color, dealers normally ask for $1200ish used try and talk em down to $1000
 
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