Camper shells (also known as canopies or truck caps), are great for adding a ton of utility to your truck.
In this post, we’ll help you learn the basics of camper shells and determine if a camper shell is the right choice for your truck.
Why get a Camper Shell?
No matter what you do with your truck, chances are you can find a great use for a camper shell. Avid or novice camper? Get a camper shell and sleep in your truck off the ground (and get your gear there safely). Contractor? Keep your tools safe from theft and the elements. Dog lover? Make a mobile dog house for your favorite little hairball.
All camper shells share one common goal: added security. Whatever you want to keep safe, you can do so when you have a shell. If you can think of a situation where you’d want added security for your truck, then you may want to consider a camper shell.
Camper Shell Types
These days, camper shells come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. No matter the truck, you can find a shell that matches its style perfectly.
Generally, camper shells are made from either aluminum or fiberglass. Fiberglass is the most common material, allowing a shell to appear factory-made with a custom-fit. Fiberglass units can be painted in standard colors to match a truck’s factory color as well.
Fiberglass units come in different heights that can all look great. “Cab-hi” camper shells are the same height as the truck cab. These are a popular choice and can look like a natural part of any truck. Because the fiberglass can be molded in a stylish and aerodynamic fashion, even units taller than the cab can look natural. Camper shells generally include tinted windows both for aesthetics and security.
Camper Shell Features
SnugTop, Leer, and Century (some of the most popular brands) make several different models with various features in a range of prices.
Entry level camper shells have standard sized side slider windows with screens and a standard black-framed rear door with 1-2 locks. As you move up from entry level, the features get nicer and nicer.
For example, the Leer 100XR has a nice large side slider and a frameless curved glass rear door, which is easier to open and looks a bit sportier. The Leer 100XL & 100XQ and the SnugTop Super Sport all have frameless side windows that pop out for ventilation and even better-looking rear doors. These models are considered by most to be the best-looking camper shells available. Higher-priced camper shells also have more sophisticated locking systems, providing added security for your truck—some can even lock from the inside for camping purposes.
Taller camper shells are now available with traditional windows and doors or the new frameless style windows. The SnugTop Sport Hi Liner and the Leer 180XL are tall campers that show off these features.
- Keyless entry
- Roof racks (like Thule and Yakima)
- Carpet headliner
- Front sliding window at the cab
- Removable front window for easy cleaning
- Roof-mounted storage boxes (like the Leer Locker)
- LED lights
Buying a Camper Shell
If you’re interested in a camper shell for your truck, it’s important to make sure you’re getting quality that will last a long time.
You should always buy from a trusted and established brand, so that, should something go wrong, you have avenues to correct the issue. Say you break a window or door: with an established brand, you can be sure that parts will be available for replacement.
On top of a quality product, you want a quality installation as well. An incorrectly installed unit may not only function improperly but also pose a safety hazard. Always buy from a trusted dealer that does installations on a consistent basis. Both Campway’s and Truck Tops USA install several camper shells daily, so you know the installation will be done correctly.
Come to Campway’s and Truck Tops USA
Campway’s has been in the truck accessory business since 1970. If you’re in the market for a camper shell, we can help you pick the perfect one that fits all your needs and also looks great on your truck.
Campway’s and Truck Tops USA stock and sell more camper shells than anyone else on the West Coast. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, we can order it factory direct, usually in 2-3 weeks.
Stop by one of our locations in the Bay Area—our experienced team members can help you find what you’re looking for. Ask about our loaner and expedite programs!