camper shell recommendations

stonewall

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
54
Location
TX - Texas
I'm looking to buy a camper shell. a guy at church has bought a few for work trucks - he isn't crazy about a snugtop that he has, but does like the "ranch" brand camper (yet snugtop is supposed to be > than ranch)

any recommendations, thoughts, suggestions?
 

Mosby

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2015
Messages
317
I bought an ARE and really like it. I wasn't impressed with Snugtop either and they are expensive. When I was shopping I went and looked at different dealers to not only look at the difference between the brands but pricing and experience of the dealer installing camper shells. I found a family owned dealer who did nothing but sell and install camper shells. Not a chain that sold wheels, lift kits etc.,
His place was really clean and organized and he did shell repairs. Over 20 years experience. I think the quality and experience of the dealer is really important. If they don't put it on your truck correctly, its going to leak and if they are torqued, could break. I also wanted somebody who could fix it if and when I break it. Some brands are regional. I found a brand made in Iowa that I really liked but no one sold it locally. If I lived in Iowa near the factory, I would have bought it. I think finding the right place to get it from is as important as the brand of the shell.
 

Fatcamp

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
675
Location
Sodak
I have a fiberglass one I am selling. Hate leaving it on my truck and it is very heavy. Gonna find an aluminum one this summer.

Great for hunting season, but we pull trailers which doesn't mix well.
 
OP
S

stonewall

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
54
Location
TX - Texas
thanks for the feedback. great point about looking closely at the dealers - so far it's only been by phone.

i plan to leave this on the truck permanently

which model from ARE did you get? one dealer is pushing me towards the CX (because free carpet if purchased this month). i honestly don't see much difference between that and the v series tho (but i'm only looking online right now). did you do any add-ons? lights? tilt down front glass? etc
 

Fatcamp

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
675
Location
Sodak
I will say that mine is carpeted and has the fold down window which makes for a nice space. I think it's ARE. Great topper, just more than I need.
 

Fatcamp

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
675
Location
Sodak
I think so. It obviously holds some dust, but is good insulation and gives it a "homier" feel that bare aluminum or fiberglass.

I want aluminum so I can toss it on for a weekend when we have to travel fast and don't have time to set up a full camp. My wife isn't really strong enough to lift it off with me.
 

texans42

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
1,135
I have a ranch and I’d tell you I’m less then impressed, fiberglass work is subpar. The latches are subpar also.
 

Roughout

Junior Member
Joined
May 14, 2014
Messages
26
I have ARE, uncertain which model but carpeted. Also have front opening/sliding glass and side windows up/screened. The front glass helps access truck rear glass for cleaning.. I can’t imagine having one that windows do not open for accessibility. Went with read LED, it’s fine I’m sure after market produce better options. It’s on 365, backing small trailers/boats is problematic but you’ll make due. Security, sleeping option, and gear out of elements make them a no brainer for me.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

dschmidt

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Messages
33
Location
Portland, OR
have the ARE CX Evolve on my f150. Only had it for like 6 months, so far so good. aside from a few initial mishaps that delayed getting it installed for a few weeks (truly believe they were just accidents, but still frustrating nonetheless) it has been great. got the carpet and the tilt down front window. if you plan on sleeping in the back i feel like carpet is a big plus. and cleaning the front window and back cabin window is pretty necessary imo. living in the northwest i feel like shells are almost a must with the rain. it isnt absolutely watertight but doesn't let in enough water to worry about, hopefully it stays that way. kind of wish i would've got the windoors on the side, but damn they were pricy
 

MikeG

Member
Joined
May 17, 2018
Messages
73
Location
Idaho
ARE Z series on my f150. I love it, especially the led dome and strip lights that turn on automatically when you raise the glass, they're super bright. I like the looks of the gasketless windows too, it's just nice and clean.
 

wytx

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2017
Messages
439
Location
Wyoming
We've had nothing but Leers on our trucks for 25 years. Kind of expensive but no issues. We have been lucky enough to find deals on package toppers with Tule roof racks for decent prices.
The carpet really helps with condensation if you sleep in the back of the truck. It may "rain" on you all night if no carpet on roof.
We also pull a trailer all the time with no issues.
 

Fatcamp

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
675
Location
Sodak
We've had nothing but Leers on our trucks for 25 years. Kind of expensive but no issues. We have been lucky enough to find deals on package toppers with Tule roof racks for decent prices.
The carpet really helps with condensation if you sleep in the back of the truck. It may "rain" on you all night if no carpet on roof.
We also pull a trailer all the time with no issues.
Ya, I was referring to fifth wheel trailers not working with toppers. Our horse trailer is a bumper pull and works fine.

Good point on condensation. I may need to rethink ventilation with an aluminum topper.
 

JWP58

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2013
Messages
1,761
Location
In a van
I've had A.R.E. and Jason fiberglass and aluminum. They seem about the same...
 
Last edited:

Mosby

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2015
Messages
317
thanks for the feedback. great point about looking closely at the dealers - so far it's only been by phone.

i plan to leave this on the truck permanently

which model from ARE did you get? one dealer is pushing me towards the CX (because free carpet if purchased this month). i honestly don't see much difference between that and the v series tho (but i'm only looking online right now). did you do any add-ons? lights? tilt down front glass? etc
I have the ARE Z model, I think. I have a short bed Chevy Colorado, so my options were more limited than other trucks. I have vented win doors on both sides. I would not buy a cap without them. Great for getting stuff in and out and I have hunting dogs, so I wanted to be able to get air in the back. I also have carpeting and lighting.
 

El Gavilan

Senior Member
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
255
I had an ARE on my 2004 Duramax and it was great. Got a Leer on my 2017 and it sucks, the biggest issue is the sliding front window has no latch and is constantly coming open, also the fiberglass out side is wavy, you can look down the edge and see it easily, I’ll never buy a Leer again.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

MTbowhunter36

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2012
Messages
419
Location
Kalispell, MT
I have an ARE on my Dodge. I've had it for probably five years. Since I've had it, I've spent probably 100+ nights in it and it's been nice having it on. Not sure what model it is, but it's pretty basic.

It has the sliding windows which are a must for sleeping to crack open to prevent condensation.

It's great to use to stay mobile when hunting as I'm not tied to a spot.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

curt514

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
35
Just check our local classifieds or Craig’s List. There are lots for sale and if you wait you will probably even be able to find a color match. I picked up a Snugtop with fold down front window, sliders in the sides, full carpet kit and a bed rug for $500. Is the paint perfect? No, but now I don’t have to worry about scratching it myself.
Shells are great sometimes and a pain others. Might as well let someone else take the depreciation.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ChrisHanson

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2019
Messages
10
I'm an aluminium fan. Less cracking from UV and battle rattle. They're usually framed with 1" tubing, so I run 1" polystyrene insulation and a skim sheet of maple veneer to cut condensation. Also a fan of side access doors.
 

Austink47

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
68
I had a snug top that had the gasket to the the cab and loved it. It was way better than the flip down window ARE I have now. The gasket did do a number on my paint. I fly fish and the gasket allowed me to put rods through with out issue. Carpet is nice, less dust and rattling and it doesn’t hurt when you hit your head. My buddy got snug top with a flip down side window which is great.
 
Top