Ah, the pickup truck. That open payload in the rear gives you the freedom to haul everything from bricks to gravel to your convertible bed. But, that open payload also leaves your gear and furniture exposed to the elements and the sticky fingers of parking lot bandits.
A lot of truck owners opt to install a camper shell because they want to safeguard their stuff from Mother Nature’s wrath and good-for-nothing crooks. However, this cuts down on their pickups’ versatility. You can’t exactly pack a full-size reproduction of the statue, Laocoon and His Sons, into your payload when it’s sporting a truck cap. There are clear advantages and disadvantages to camper shells, so consider these pros and cons before you make the investment.
Protection: Hands down – camper shells give you the most protection against nasty weather and parking lot Vikings. Because they’re lined with an insulated seal, rain water and slushy sleet should not be able to infiltrate your truck bed. And, the lockable latches on their access doors stop all but the most determined burglars from burgling your valuables.
Better MPGs: Camper shells improve your truck’s aerodynamics and can improve your fuel economy. You may not have known this, but your open payload is killing your MPGs. When air flows over your cockpit, it spills into your bed, hits your tailgate and creates drag. With a camper shell in place, air breezes smoothly across the roof instead of smacking into the back.
Less carrying capacity: Your truck bed is always constrained by its length and its width, but it also becomes constrained by height when you add a camper shell. Instead of having open skies overhead, there will be a fiberglass roof limiting the cargo that’ll fit. Because of a shell’s bulky size, lifting it on and off every time you’ve got a couch to move is just not practical, especially in impromptu moving situations like when you stumble across a free mattress in an alley. Of course, there are truck cap racks available to give you more room up top.
Extra weight: Don’t let the word “shell” trick you – camper shells are hardly as dainty as an egg. These sturdy truck caps are constructed from layers of fiberglass, and they weigh in at around 100 pounds. That kind of extra weight over the rear of your ride puts added stress on your shocks. Plus, it can cut into the fuel savings that come from the improved aerodynamics.
Choosing to get a truck is no small matter. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully before you shell out the big bucks for a shell.