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Thread: Truck Toppers

  1. #1
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    Truck Toppers

    I searched for this topic but did not find much.

    I was wondering the pros and cons of truck shells or toppers. I really like the idea, but am wondering whether anyone has gotten one and wished they hadn't. If you put a topper on, it seems like it is less of a truck and more of a SUV. You can't put a sled back there and you lose a little of the capacity to haul firewood and stuff if you have the topper. However, having a place to lock stuff up is nice and not shoveling snow out of the bed is a definite positive. I just bought a GMC Sierra and was thinking of buying one, but was curious as to what others think.

  2. #2
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    I take mine off in the summer because it's easier to load and unload stuff. I put it on in the fall/winter to keep my stuff dry. I have a Dodge QuadCab so there's lots of room inside for stuff too. Not much help, am I?

    I hung some chains in my shed so it's easy to take off and put on.
    If you have a problem & think that someone else is going to solve it for you then you have two problems.

  3. #3
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    Yep I take my topper off for haulin-less and less though as my trailer collection grows. Guess it depends on what your primary use of the truck is. You really can't go wrong with purchasing one-assuming you have a place to store when not in use.

  4. #4
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    I'd say it depends on what you want. Wouldn't be less of a truck, just a different type of truck. If you do get a topper, definately get a high-rise.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kya View Post
    If you do get a topper, definately get a high-rise.
    what he said. I think if you have a pickup you should at least own a topper. It's so nice in the winter to not shovel snow out.
    "It is not the result that counts! It is not the result but the spirit! Not what - but how. Not what has been attained - but at what price.
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  6. #6
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    Second on the high-rise cause you CAN get a sled in there. (Taligate down, Topper glass resting on seat, but it can be done.

    One thing to consider - you will be alarmed at the loss of visibility; but you get used to it. Enclosed space is $$$.

    Find a used on off Craiglist, paint the windows so the meth heads can't see the goodies. If your truck is older, consider adding lock hasps on topper glass frame and tailgate - the locks on toppers are for shit and easily defeated.

    Rig pulley system in garage to store topper above spot you park truck in - if you have one, you can easily install / remove the topper by yourself; otherwise, for a full size truck, its a 2 person job.

    Get good quality clamps - the ones that tighten with a wrench - not the cheesy hand tighen lever type.

    When not loaded, the topper will improve your fuel economy (bed / tailgate = parachute)

    Provides ample canvas for sticker montage.


    As you can see, the benefits are endless; get one!
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by flatNshallow View Post
    One thing to consider - you will be alarmed at the loss of visibility; but you get used to it. Enclosed space is $$$.
    The one absolute must have accessory for a pickup and the best 5 bucks you will ever spend = bug eye mirrors. You can use a smaller one for the left and a bigger one for the right. Head checking is stupid.
    "It is not the result that counts! It is not the result but the spirit! Not what - but how. Not what has been attained - but at what price.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by flatNshallow View Post
    Second on the high-rise cause you CAN get a sled in there. (Taligate down, Topper glass resting on seat, but it can be done.

    One thing to consider - you will be alarmed at the loss of visibility; but you get used to it. Enclosed space is $$$.

    Find a used on off Craiglist, paint the windows so the meth heads can't see the goodies. If your truck is older, consider adding lock hasps on topper glass frame and tailgate - the locks on toppers are for shit and easily defeated.

    Rig pulley system in garage to store topper above spot you park truck in - if you have one, you can easily install / remove the topper by yourself; otherwise, for a full size truck, its a 2 person job.

    Get good quality clamps - the ones that tighten with a wrench - not the cheesy hand tighen lever type.

    When not loaded, the topper will improve your fuel economy (bed / tailgate = parachute)

    Provides ample canvas for sticker montage.


    As you can see, the benefits are endless; get one!
    Does the high rise topper provide the same fuel economy benefits as a regular sized one?

    I think I would be worried that the sled would f up the carpet liner. Maybe I could just get thick rubber mats for when a snowmobile was being hauled.

  10. #10
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    don't put carpet in the bed of a pickup truck that shit'll just get nasty. rhino/line-x won't though if you need it.

    yes, a high rise topper should still give you good mileage benefits but don't expect it to be like 3 or 4 mpg.
    "It is not the result that counts! It is not the result but the spirit! Not what - but how. Not what has been attained - but at what price.
    - A. Solzhenitsyn

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by angler99 View Post
    Does the high rise topper provide the same fuel economy benefits as a regular sized one?
    I've never noticed a difference with my truck (98 Dodge Ram) between no canopy and my cab-high canopy. Newer trucks spend time in the wind tunnel and have better aerodynamics.
    If you have a problem & think that someone else is going to solve it for you then you have two problems.

  12. #12
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    Just some things to consider. A SnugTop Supersport shell goes for around $2,000. A.R.E Z Series is about $1900.

    A cheaper alternative if you want to keep the truck look, is to go with a Bakflip or K-Cover and a Softopper.

    A Softtopper is about $600. The Bakflip is about $700 for a GMC. $1300 total for the combo. You can add the softopper quickly for camping purposes, as well as remove it and store it easily yourself vs dealing with a fiberglass cap. The backflip will give you full access to all of the bed as well as serve as a knife resistent, secure hard cover.

    I have a SnugTop SuperSport and kind of wish I went the Softopper/Bakflip route simply because that configuration provides maximum flexibility in my opinion. I have a Titan, otherwise I'd offer to sell you my Snugtop.

    Regarding gas mileage - I haven't seen any improvement in gas mileage with a topper. Mythbusters did a show on this showing that that a truck is most aerodynamic with an empty bed and the tailgate up. Check out Mythbusters for some data points. http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2005/11/e...s_cures_f.html - middle of the page, and http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2006/12/e..._revisite.html

    Couple of notes from my experience:
    My MPG decreased by ~1-1.5 mpg with the SnugTop.
    I didn't really notice a loss in visibility. The view is darker -more tinted, but I can see fine.
    A BedRug is an excellent addition to the truck bed. Highly recommended. Super tuff, water resistent and can be hosed off easily when dirty. www.bedrug.com
    bakflip: http://www.bakflip-tonneau.com/features.asp
    Softopper: http://www.softopper.com/
    Your results may differ, but this has been my experience.
    Last edited by Bullet; 09-21-2007 at 08:30 PM.

  13. #13
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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Nice first post!!!
    Hadn't seen the BAKflip before, that might just be the ticket for my taco.
    Thanks!
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  14. #14
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    A lined shell also is very handy when things start condensing and velcro sticks to it quite well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MakersTeleMark View Post
    ...and velcro sticks to it quite well.
    I love that. I think that's one of the coolest parts. I stick everything in there with velcro.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kya View Post
    I love that. I think that's one of the coolest parts. I stick everything in there with velcro.
    Like a bunch of cheap Rolexes?

  17. #17
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    The bestop supertops are also pretty cool. Basically the same thing as the softopper.

    Wish I had the money for a locking fiberglass shell, though.

  18. #18
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    I've been looking in to the bestop/softtopper/canbak type thing. Bestop seems to be winning out due to the inexpensive nature of it and my experience with them on all of my jeeps...they're pretty heavy duty and the company has always done me right.

    that bakflip is a bit pricy.

  19. #19
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    Wind Noise

    I am a bit of an audiophile so I thought I would throw in a comment about the wind noise I notice in my pickup w/ and w/o the topper. Granted it isn't as loud as tire noise but it is much more notable over music. I even went to the trouble of putting in Dynamat to provide more insulation from the noise but it only made a marginal difference.

    Being able to toss wet gear in there after a deep day is great! I don't even have to pack it so it won't blow out on the long drive home. So I suppose it's a mixed bag.

  20. #20
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    I take mine off every summer but I find it a MUST for winter. I never have to worry about all my gear getting wet/dirty/stolen and I often sleep back there when at ski resorts and trailheads. The only downfall that comes to mind is having to get used to using only my side mirrors as the rear view becomes useless once the rear window of the topper gets filthy.(which happens in about 5min with winter road conditions)

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    Quote Originally Posted by oZzmith View Post
    I am a bit of an audiophile so I thought I would throw in a comment about the wind noise I notice in my pickup w/ and w/o the topper. Granted it isn't as loud as tire noise but it is much more notable over music. I even went to the trouble of putting in Dynamat to provide more insulation from the noise but it only made a marginal difference.
    Are you saying it's noisier with the shell or without the shell?
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    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    Are you saying it's noisier with the shell or without the shell?
    I notice no difference.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill.H View Post
    .

    Regarding gas mileage - I haven't seen any improvement in gas mileage with a topper. Mythbusters did a show on this showing that that a truck is most aerodynamic with an empty bed and the tailgate up. Check out Mythbusters for some data points. http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2005/11/e...s_cures_f.html - middle of the page, and http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2006/12/e..._revisite.html
    Um, I saw that show, and they didn't test toppers, they tested tailgate down, tailgate up, mesh gate, and a flat bedcover, as I recall, and the flat bedcover did the best, gate down was the worst.

  24. #24
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    any recs for a 2004 Tacoma?

    Leaning toward SnugTop, but curious about all the options.

    sounds like getting a lined roof is key and perhaps the extra roof room, as well.

    suggestions, recommendations greatly appreciated (thinking something that will be substantial for winter truck camping and also maximum lock-up)
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
    any recs for a 2004 Tacoma?

    Leaning toward SnugTop, but curious about all the options.

    sounds like getting a lined roof is key and perhaps the extra roof room, as well.

    suggestions, recommendations greatly appreciated (thinking something that will be substantial for winter truck camping and also maximum lock-up)
    I would suggest a high rise and a lined roof is key. It's a little more quiet sleeping in there when it's raining and you won't have condensation dripping on you in the morning.

    Get the hi rise type and build a little platform in the back. You can stash your gear underneath and still sleep back there.

    I have an ARE but I really have no preference. I have friends that have Snugtops and Leers and they're all about the same unless you get the pimp spendy ones.

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