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  1. #1
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    School me on Truck Toppers

    I'm sure there is a thread dedicated to this topic but searching didn't find anything from this decade. Just bought a 17' F150 with the 78" bed and need a topper.

    Leer, ARE, and Snugtop seem to be the most popular and widespread. Any recs on smaller companies who make good products? I'm open to spend a little extra dough for something that will last 10+ years. Used market looks hit or miss, but I'm guessing lead time on something new is a few months out or more?

    I'd prefer pop open side windows vs sliding glass but I'm curious to pros and cons of both. I'll likely remove the topper for a few months a summer to haul fire wood, camp under the stars, move work equipment, ect.. so having the ability to take it on and off easily is important-ish.

    What are ya'll putting on your trucks these days?

  2. #2
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    Mar 2008
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    the pop open side windows are nice if you need to acess your gear at the back of the bed, I know a couple of guys ( carpenter & SWRT )who use the truck for work so the ability to get in the side is nice

    up here in BC its Leer you see on trucks, they are sold by Capit or thru the truck dealers and the prices were about the same everywhere but by phoning around I manged to find another ( Raven accesories ) dealer in BC who sold the same product 500$ cheaper

    if you want it color matched to your truck it might take awhile or maybe you find a used cap cuz F-150's are pretty common, back in the day I got a cap for 200$ from a ski bud for my Ranger which was a pretty common truck for many years
    Last edited by XXX-er; 09-11-2022 at 01:24 PM.
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  3. #3
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    Nov 2006
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    Used is tough but not impossible. Stay diligent, I did and scored. Had it painted to match for $400. Total in to it was around $1200. Perfect condition snugtop, which is the brand I was hoping for. Leer is nice but their quality has seemed to fallen off the last 10 years. Know a few guys who had to send them back for structural issues.
    Front slider plus drop down was a must for me. For sides I prefer the slider only option. Buddy has the pop up slider combo and barely uses the pop up feature. Some aspects are cool but items need to be very close or you still need to climb up and in from the back.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  4. #4
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    Jan 2020
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    Danby
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    I have an ARE. I bought a black cap. Easier for resale, black matches everything. I think I have the classic cx. I should of done more research. I got the front sliding window that folds down. Absolute must as someone already mentioned. Washing the window is way easier. I got screen sliding windows. They suck. I have no use for them. I should of gotten side opening windows. Itís very inconvenient to climb into my bed, especially with a Decked in it, to get stuff from the front of the bed. I also would of gotten the painted side windows. My truck is big enough that I canít see out the back side windows most of the time and if thereís stuff in my bed most of the time I canít see anyway. Also the painted windows keep people from looking in.

    I wish the roof had more payload on the cap I bought as well. I have the Yakima bars and put a box on and itís fine, except I need a 4í ladder to get shit out, but the payload is like 250 pounds. I could sleep in a roof top tent alone, but no can do for two people.

    the quality is good overall of my cap. And it goes on and off easily. And it seals well.

    oh and if you have LED tail lights on your ford, good luck finding a wiring diagram and which wire to tap to make the cap light work. I gave up on that. If you donít have LEDís then itís fool proof.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    471
    Iíve had a ARE for 11ish years and itís holding up well. Iíve never taken it off but itís never leaked and had it installed at the shop.

    I would recommend getting it carpet lined, and the pop out windows on at least one side. I only got my side since the slider is bigger and easier to dog proof. I wouldnít buy a topper without the pop out, especially a 78Ē bed would be hard to crawl back there .

    The bumped up top of the ARE is great to camp in for a night or two. I built basic shelving and drawers to holding camp equip underneath and can still fit plenty of firewood on top or will rent a u haul trail which I find easier than taking the top off

    Getting the rack tracks on top is also worth while
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  6. #6
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    Sep 2010
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    Shuswap Highlands
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    Lear cap on our 2015 Silverado, bought new. Yakima high towers, slide windows, single latch rear window, standard height with front sliding window. Iím happy with it. Brake light LED failed, but love the LED in the cap which still works fine. The slide window plastic runner thatís hit by the sun when parked at home is warped but other side is fine. Rear window slider is great if I ever needed it, but I very seldom camp in it.

    Not sure if access side windows would interest me; Iíve replaced the rear window struts once thus far. Insulated roof and carpeted, but I think those were(are?) both standard Lear ďoptionsĒ. Would probably get a mid-rise top next time round if only for the head room when inside there. With the tower racks on the cap, and another yak rack on the crew cab , and I can load the canoe and 2 bikes up high, which is necessary when hauling the travel trailer. I never take it off - I have the old taco if I need an open bed for any reason.

  7. #7
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    May 2009
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    inpdx
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    Quote Originally Posted by benk View Post
    I’ve had a ARE for 11ish years and it’s holding up well. I’ve never taken it off but it’s never leaked and had it installed at the shop.

    I would recommend getting it carpet lined, and the pop out windows on at least one side. I only got my side since the slider is bigger and easier to dog proof. I wouldn’t buy a topper without the pop out, especially a 78” bed would be hard to crawl back there .

    The bumped up top of the ARE is great to camp in for a night or two. I built basic shelving and drawers to holding camp equip underneath and can still fit plenty of firewood on top or will rent a u haul trail which I find easier than taking the top off

    Getting the rack tracks on top is also worth while
    Click image for larger version. 

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    ^^^ basically what i have too
    ARE color matched, carpeted lid and flip up side windows w/ the sliders/insect mesh. They are great on a full size bed if you're tall enough to reach in over the bed rail -- you can just grab stuff from that end of the bed; and good for warmer sleeping cross ventilation.

    i was jealous of a buddy's LEER that had remote locks that went to his key fob, but ultimately not a must-have

    i did have to replace my rear gas struts once because driving around with the rear glass up @ highway speeds is apparently bad for them -- but super cheap replacement via amazon & easy install

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    X10 on the ARE. Also the side opening doors with sliders. At least for me. I also opted for the framed rear window with double locks instead of the single center lock. Sturdier, easier to replace if broken, and better locks. Make sure your keys match all six locks. I had a leer with different keys for the side. Super annoying.

    And these things will support far more than they are rated for. Iíve had an RTT on top of a few toppers and never had a problem with my fat ass and my wife overloading anything. I think the ratings are dynamic load ratings. So donít drive around with people in the RTT.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2012
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    SW, CO
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    Lots of interesting info. I have a buddy who bought a leer for his tacoma and is really disappointed in the build quality. Guess I am leaning towards snugtop/ARE in that case.

    Sounds like popup w/sliders on the side is the best of both worlds option and having a drop down front window is important too. I'd have likely skipped the front window otherwise. I want bars for sure. The utility is hard to beat.

    Pricing wise it looks like 3k+ for something new from a dealer. I'm going to keep trying to find something used for now but damn these things are kind of pricey.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Big Sky/Moonlight Basin
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    12,878

    School me on Truck Toppers

    I no longer own a pickup, but in the past I have owner a Leer and a smaller brand called Ranch. Not sure if Ranch is still in business but the quality far surpassed the Leer I owned. Everything on the Ranch topper was heavier duty, hinges, struts, everything was bomber. But online forums people bitched the Ranch toppers were too heavy. DuhÖ.








    edit: still in business. If I ever get another pickup (doubtful) I would definitely go with a Ranch topper over a Leer.

    https://www.ranchfiberglass.com
    "Zee damn fat skis are ruining zee piste !" -Oscar Schevlin

    "Hike up your skirt and grow a dick you fucking crybaby" -what Bunion said to Harry at the top of The Headwaters

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
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    453
    I bought a topper last year and after a bunch of research it seemed like SnugTop was considered the "best" or at least the most well built. So I went for one of those - SnugTop had literally just changed manufacturing from USA to Mexico when I ordered. It took like 5-6mo to get the topper and it was a total POS. It basically self destructed during a road trip immediately after install.


    • The front sliding window rattled / squeaked incessantly beginning about 3 hours after picking up the topper (which I eventually fixed, but that's bullshit on a $3k topper).
    • Paint was super orange peeled but I figured I could live with that.
    • The rear windoor got stuck on one side and was impossible to unlatch - locking all my ski gear in the bed of the truck. Ended up being able to pull it out through the pass through in the cab. So it didn't destroy the weekend.
    • Then one of the side windows shattered - taped that up so I wasn't just shedding glass shards on the 300mi drive home.
    • The dealer managed to get the windoor unstuck (but it never opened or closed reliably after this regardless of how much adjusting I did) and replaced the side window - but the new window didn't fit very well and eventually the fiberglass around the window began to cave in and the paint started to crack around it.


    SnugTop was pretty useless and refused to speak with me (despite being a local business) - the dealer negotiated with them on my behalf and got them to agree to replace the topper entirely. Two more months went by and the new topper arrived, got it installed, and it seems like they updated the mold based on how it fits inside the bed. The new topper is fine - no issues with it at all.

    So, long ass post to tell you that I don't think it matters what brand you buy but I'd inspect the hell out of the topper either way. And make sure you buy it from a dealer that has good reviews.

  12. #12
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    Mar 2008
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    northern BC
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCMtnHound View Post
    Lear cap on our 2015 Silverado, bought new. Yakima high towers, slide windows, single latch rear window, standard height with front sliding window. I’m happy with it. Brake light LED failed, but love the LED in the cap which still works fine. The slide window plastic runner that’s hit by the sun when parked at home is warped but other side is fine. Rear window slider is great if I ever needed it, but I very seldom camp in it.

    Not sure if access side windows would interest me; I’ve replaced the rear window struts once thus far. Insulated roof and carpeted, but I think those were(are?) both standard Lear “options”. Would probably get a mid-rise top next time round if only for the head room when inside there. With the tower racks on the cap, and another yak rack on the crew cab , and I can load the canoe and 2 bikes up high, which is necessary when hauling the travel trailer. I never take it off - I have the old taco if I need an open bed for any reason.
    BTW for future reference Raven in PG is 500$ cheaper for the exact same Leer product and its just a few blocks from juniors house, i asked the guy at Raven whats the difference and he said there was none
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  13. #13
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    Sep 2010
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    Shuswap Highlands
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    BTW for future reference Raven in PG is 500$ cheaper for the exact same Leer product and its just a few blocks from juniors house, i asked the guy at Raven whats the difference and he said there was none
    Interesting, but that is minus $200 in gas, and a dayís drive to PG and back. Not much for savings unless there is another reason to visit. Maybe if the daughter goes to UNBC in 8yrs, and when this truck gives up the ghost, Iíll re-evaluate

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    409
    I have had two Jeraco's and currently have an ARE, all in fiberglass. I'd say build quality is about the same. I would expect the offering by Leer to be just as good. A wise old guy told me make sure to get windoors when you order your topper. Absolutely a game changer. Worth the upcharge. I have had them on all three I've owned. Don't be fooled to think you don't need them on your short body PU.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    2,189
    Windoors coupled with a ski pole to swat at whatever rolled into the middle of the truck bed is awesome. That said I've got a Nissan Frontier so it's not like I'm dealing with a huge truck bed I'm trying to access.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASmileyFace View Post
    I'm sure there is a thread dedicated to this topic but searching didn't find anything from this decade. Just bought a 17' F150 with the 78" bed and need a topper.

    Leer, ARE, and Snugtop seem to be the most popular and widespread. Any recs on smaller companies who make good products? I'm open to spend a little extra dough for something that will last 10+ years. Used market looks hit or miss, but I'm guessing lead time on something new is a few months out or more?

    I'd prefer pop open side windows vs sliding glass but I'm curious to pros and cons of both. I'll likely remove the topper for a few months a summer to haul fire wood, camp under the stars, move work equipment, ect.. so having the ability to take it on and off easily is important-ish.

    What are ya'll putting on your trucks these days?
    Are you planning on building a platform and sleeping in the bed? A higher rise one might be more useful then. Or a rack + RTT above? Then a flat one. Or a Go Fast, at that point.

    Your choices are basically fiberglass or metal, and the pros and cons of each. And there are contractor oriented ones, with more storage compartments built in, at the cost of flexibility.

    AFAIK all toppers install more or less the same, and they're all heavy, so not easy to remove or reinstall. And you'll have to store it somewhere without it getting damaged.

    If this is more just to lock cargo and skis, what about a bed cover? Generally much easier to remove / replace when you have a bigger load and need an open bed, and cheaper than toppers. Someone here had a folding one for sale for a Ford pickup - search if that's of interest.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  17. #17
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    Jan 2020
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    Danby
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    I have a ford factory rolling cover I would part with for cheap. It came on my truck and I took it off immediately to fit my rack and took boxes. It’s for the superduty but I’m pretty sure the f150 bed is the same in that size. If anyone is interested shoot me a pm. Might be a bastard to ship but like I said I’d sell it cheap.

    as far as a platform, I really like my decked after three or four years with it.

  18. #18
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    Oct 2007
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    Check out the "Flated" inflatable toppers. I feel like it could actually be pretty cool.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCMtnHound View Post
    Interesting, but that is minus $200 in gas, and a dayís drive to PG and back. Not much for savings unless there is another reason to visit. Maybe if the daughter goes to UNBC in 8yrs, and when this truck gives up the ghost, Iíll re-evaluate
    well just a heads up for reference, on a 2700 $ product Capit is 500$ more than Raven, the info is of course no use to American users

    Of course you gotta have a reason to go to PG or there is no net gain, I visit at least 5 times a year

    I talked to Raven on the phone, gave them the paint code to match the Taco silver, put 1000$ deposit on visa, when they call a month or 2 later and pay the difference get it instaled ... save 500 $
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  20. #20
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    Mar 2008
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    northern BC
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    what do folks use for racks I have been carrying 17' Kayaks so racks that mount to just the cap are too close togetehr

    I have a Yakima on the the very back of the canopy mounted with bolt-on drip channel adapters and a Yakima with rubber feet that clamps on the middle of the truck cab, a setup ihave used for 2 trucks

    makes for lots of distance between bars and it also reduces the amount of weight on the canopy
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  21. #21
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    Nov 2010
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    Montrose, CO
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    Are you planning to camp under it? Mid or hi-rise is nice if so. Build quality is pretty similar between Leer, ARE, and Snugtop.

    My choice would be made based on what local dealers you have, as I've had pretty different customer service experiences when buying parts over the years. I've never bought a new shell though, so that's probably part of that.

    The fold-down slider front window and windoors are both options I'd get if buying new. I bought a cheap shell for my current F150 that doesn't have either, and I kind of regret not spending the money on new.

  22. #22
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    School me on Truck Toppers

    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    what do folks use for racks I have been carrying 17' Kayaks so racks that mount to just the cap are too close togetehr

    I have a Yakima on the the very back of the canopy mounted with bolt-on drip channel adapters and a Yakima with rubber feet that clamps on the middle of the truck cab, a setup ihave used for 2 trucks

    makes for lots of distance between bars and it also reduces the amount of weight on the canopy
    Yup, I have yak towers mounted like yours on the cap, plus a third rack on the crewcab. Same issue with a 17ícanoe - just the cap racks are too close, and also too wide for a couple of yak bike racks. The third rack over the rear door of the crewcab makes the best of both worlds and shares the load a bit better as well. But it does require carrying a stepladder to get the adult bikes up & down without mishap.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    Are you planning on building a platform and sleeping in the bed? A higher rise one might be more useful then. Or a rack + RTT above? Then a flat one. Or a Go Fast, at that point.

    Your choices are basically fiberglass or metal, and the pros and cons of each. And there are contractor oriented ones, with more storage compartments built in, at the cost of flexibility.

    AFAIK all toppers install more or less the same, and they're all heavy, so not easy to remove or reinstall. And you'll have to store it somewhere without it getting damaged.

    If this is more just to lock cargo and skis, what about a bed cover? Generally much easier to remove / replace when you have a bigger load and need an open bed, and cheaper than toppers. Someone here had a folding one for sale for a Ford pickup - search if that's of interest.
    Quote Originally Posted by snowaddict91 View Post
    Are you planning to camp under it? Mid or hi-rise is nice if so. Build quality is pretty similar between Leer, ARE, and Snugtop.

    My choice would be made based on what local dealers you have, as I've had pretty different customer service experiences when buying parts over the years. I've never bought a new shell though, so that's probably part of that.

    The fold-down slider front window and windoors are both options I'd get if buying new. I bought a cheap shell for my current F150 that doesn't have either, and I kind of regret not spending the money on new.
    Luckily my truck came with a cheapish bed cover. I plan on using that until I find a shell and probably will save it for summer travel use as well.

    I'm 100% planning on building a bed platform w/sliding drawer underneath once I get a topper. So, I'm looking for a mid/high rise style. I love the idea of something like a Go Fast Camper, but the cost is hard to justify unless I'm planning on doing 30+ nights out of the vehicle a year. I expect to spend 15-20ish nights a year in the bed so I like the utility of the cheaper topper instead.

    Did you go with with someone in Montrose? Based on my quick google searches it looks like there are a couple choices in GJ and one in Montrose and Durango. I'm still not 100% sure what my budget for this will look like so I'm just in the gathering info phase.

  24. #24
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    Nov 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASmileyFace View Post
    Did you go with with someone in Montrose? Based on my quick google searches it looks like there are a couple choices in GJ and one in Montrose and Durango. I'm still not 100% sure what my budget for this will look like so I'm just in the gathering info phase.
    The topper I have now was a KSL buy, but I did buy a cheap used topper from the place in Montrose for a different truck years ago. I think the place I bought it from, Big Country?, sells new as well.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    northern BC
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    up here the guys at the mill / the locals call a tonneau cover

    a tunnel cover
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

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