All You Need To Know Before Buying A Totoya Camper Shell in 2020 – Types, Uses & Costs
The Toyota Tacoma and Tundra series trucks were highly regarded as one of the top-performing full-size pick-ups in 2019. From off-road travelling to long-distance hauling, these trucks have exceeded all expectations of truck owners. And if you own a Toyota Tacoma, you definitely need to install a top-notch camper shell to add to the efficiency of your valuable investment.
Before you go on deep-surfing the internet to find the best Toyota Tacoma camper shell for your truck, here are some essential factors you need to be aware of:
How Do You Intend To Use The Camper Shell?
First, you need to understand that there is no one ‘best’ camper shell for fits for all trucks. Every topper may provide a distinct advantage over other toppers making it more suitable for a particular line of work. Hence, your best camper shell will be the one that is best suited for your general use and necessities. Here are some crucial questions you need to answer which can help you understand what exactly you must be looking for:
- Do you need a topper that has enough room to stand, or for tall cargo, or with a “high rise”?
- Would you be using the entire bed at all times? If yes, then does it have access windows that open on sides? Does it have preinstalled sliding bed cargo trays?
- Are you planning to have an additional mount on the topper? If yes, then does the topper come with appropriate roof rails too safely hook camping gear, kayaks, mountain bikes, ladders or other equipment?
- Do you carry expensive gear? If yes, then is the topper installed with heavy-duty steel or aluminium locking? Are there locks for drawers and toolboxes?
- Are you planning to camp in your topper? If yes, then is the topper adequately lined from the inside to retain heat and block noise?
What Material And Price Range Are You Looking For?
The material used to design the topper primarily drives the cost of it. You must choose a material that is substantial to hold in the type of cargo you’d be carrying. This way, your topper can prove to be productive while being cost-effective.
Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Tundra camper shell typically come in three materials:
Plastic or Composite Camper Shells:
Plastic or composite toppers are entirely new and are being considered to be a good compromise between aluminium and fibreglass toppers. Though they’re available in limited colour variants, they provide all the benefits of an aluminium topper while also maintaining a stylish look and feel. As these composite toppers can be added with multiple other features, their prize range can vary from $1,200 to $1,800 with the installation.
Fibreglass Camper Shells:
The most significant advantage of a fibreglass topper is that they are highly customisable to match your truck’s colour and design. However, the downside of their design is the heavy load they add to your truck which is around 200lbs. Fibreglass toppers for commercial use are quite difficult to find and the ones available can be as expensive as $2000.
Aluminium Camper Shells:
If you’re not that worried about aesthetics, then aluminium toppers can prove to be your best choice available at $900 or even less. Commercial aluminium toppers comprise of all essential add-ons such as shelving, locking toolboxes, double doors on the sides, etc. also, aluminium is light in weight which also reduces the weight added by the camper shell. The major disadvantage is their design, which almost always comes in white and starts looking dented over time.
What type of shell would suit your purpose?
Once you have a brief idea of what you need the camper shell for and what material suits those needs, now you can investigate which type of Toyota Tacoma camper shell may best serve your purpose. These camper shells are typically designed in five variants: cab high, high-rise, commercial, pop-ups, and full-size campers. Let’s look at each of these types individually to help you judge which topper would be right for your truck:
Cab High Tacoma Camper Shells:
These campers can be designed to match the height of your truck and blend in with its colour. They are usually designed with fibreglass, but a cheaper version made with a cloth over metal frames are also available. Their typical structure includes fixed, sliding, or hydraulic side windows with a hydraulic hatch window in the rear. They are also available without side windows and can be installed with barn doors and roof racks. They are relatively cheap, lighter in weight and more comfortable to install as compared to other shells.
High-rise Tacoma Camper Shells:
High-rise campers are designed taller than your truck’s cab to shelter large cargos. The height is increased towards the rear end to maintain an aerodynamic shape which also reduces the chances of installing roof racks. They can have hatch doors or barn doors at the rear to access the entire height of the shell.
Commercial Tacoma Camper Shells:
If you’re using your truck for utility purposes and require multiple storage compartments for distinct items, then a commercial caper shell is the best one to go. They’re built with solid metal for higher versatility and durability. With multiple compartments, shelves and spaces constructed in and around the bed, you can easily add roof racks and rails for more storage and hauling power. Although they aren’t designed in a large number of variants, they can be customised to match your truck but with that additional cost.
Pop-up Tacoma Camper Shells:
These shells can be considered to be a ‘semi-camper’ with all the amenities of a small RV or camper van. They aren’t as high up from your truck’s cab and fit in subtly but are much taller when spread out in the rear. These shells can fit in a bed, few shells and even a sink within making them ideal for over-landing or weekend trips when you wish to stay off the ground for a while.
Full-size Tacoma Camper Shells:
If you’re literally looking for a ‘camper’, the one where you can live in, then pop-up campers might be precisely what you’re looking for. They are bulky in size and spread out to literally mimic a camp in the rear of a truck. When folded in, they are still high up your truck’s cab, which makes them less suitable for everyday use or weekend trips. Even though they are relatively expensive and difficult to install and disassemble, they are much cheaper than a full-fledged RV or camper van. Hence, you can custom order of these full-size campers for your Tacoma and go into the forests for camping at a much lesser expense.
Some Of The Top Camper Shells Brands And What They Cost:
The ‘Rebel’ range by SnugTop is designed to provide a perfect colour-matched option along with necessary windows and locks at the same price as the ARE Overland. SnugTop also designs multiple cab-high and high-rise models for campers which provide a wide range of advantages.
The most famous line of cab high, high-rise, and commercial campers which are highly regarded by truck owners come from the ARE brand. Especially, the ‘ARE Overland’ model, which is designed with Bedliner-type spray at high-stress points is one of the most durable and highly prefered Tacoma camper shell. With their quality and reputation, ARE camper shells may cost anywhere around $2000 depending on the additional features.
LEER designs the most stylish, secure, durable, and versatile campers in all cab-high, mid-high or high-rise shell variants. Being one of the top manufacturers of fibreglass and aluminium truck caps in North America, their products are largely varied and seamlessly available at any camper shell dealer in America.
If you wish to save time in analysing the myriad of Toyota Tacoma camper shells available and find the best quality toppers today, then all you have to do is visit the California Camper Shell Inc. Trusted by a varied population of truck owners in America, California Camper Shell Inc. is one of the largest suppliers of Toyota Camper shell in the USA today, and you can order from a narrowed down list of high-end bed covers online from their website