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Old 10-02-2014, 08:09 PM   #1
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1993 25' Excella
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Camper Shell or Tonneau Cover

I have a 2014 Ram 2500 4x4 long bed and a 25 ft 93 Excella. I really am not sure whether to buy a camper shell/topper or a tonneau cover. Would the shell make it harder to back up the trailer? Would it get in the way? I have had a roll up tonneau cover and a bakflip on previous trucks and the bakflip was excellent but expensive. For a couple of hundred more I can get a camper shell. Thoughts/Recommendations ? Pros/Cons ?
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:14 PM   #2
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I'm sure you'll get some serious opinions on this one, but I like the camper cover because I have more storage inside, and a place for kayak racks on top. It does restrict you vision a bit out the back, but I'm used to using the mirrors.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:23 PM   #3
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The two pickups I have owned both had the shells. I never seemed to have an issue with backing up or visibility. There is also more covered storage area height-wise.
However here is an issue with accessability to the bed. The one I liked the most had side windows that flipped upward to reach the sides and front of the bed. I believe it was designed more for a contractor then the stylish streamlined ones you mostly see now.

Just my opinion,
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:26 PM   #4
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I had a tonneau on my 3500 for several years but last spring put on a topper. As said there is some restriction to visibility from the center mirror such as on lane changes but don't see any difference on backing up the trailer. The extra room inside is why we made the change.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:39 PM   #5
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The camper shell has more storage, and you can put racks on top as mentioned, but I like the camper because I can let my dogs (2-100# labs) hang out in the back when we're camped. They love it and it's like a safe place for them. Also, they love to swim and it's a good place for them to dry out without getting the trailer mucked up, and they don't get muddy like they would if tied up outside.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:08 PM   #6
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I know a few people with the tonneau and they seem to be restricted as to what they can haul. I have a Cap (shell) and have no regrets.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:14 PM   #7
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Check out Undercover brand. Lightweight and very sturdy...you can walk on it.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:25 PM   #8
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Same boat here. I cant open my tailgate while hitched so I think access into a camper shell may be tough. Leaning toward the cover for that reason.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:46 PM   #9
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I've had one of these for a couple of months and am very happy with it. Easy access whether hitched or not. I think with a full cover I would also need a slide to reach the stuff in the back. Didn't make sense for me.

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Old 10-02-2014, 09:50 PM   #10
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I have had camper shell on my last 4 trucks. That is my preference because of larger dry storage space. I can drop my tailgate or open the rear hatch while hitched to the trailer. The only thing I have an issue is when washing the truck I have to stand on the rear bumper or use a ladder and use a brush to wash the top.

One caution if you park in a garage. Make sure your truck will fit through the door with a topper. Mine has a 4" rise above the cab and it barely clears the top of the door opening.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:10 PM   #11
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I also have had both. I prefer the cab height shell vs the cover but would liked to have the full length tip up windows on the sides. The cab height shell also makes the combination more aerodynamic; even better would be the shell that is cab height in front and tapers upward towards the rear. Again it is the height of my garage door that limited my choice.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:45 PM   #12
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I like the cab high for most of the above reasons, storage, dogs etc. as well as I was able to mount and virtually hide 3 100w flexible solar panels between the roof rack rails.

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Old 10-02-2014, 10:59 PM   #13
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We have the camper shell for three reasons:
1. More stuff and tools will go in and be kept clean and dry on the road.
2. We can "walk" in--crouched over--but easier to access the stuff and tools.
3. Better security for the above. I doubt if DH's tools or the generators would survive a tonneau cover; we prefer not to take the chance.

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Old 10-03-2014, 12:19 AM   #14
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I also have the tip up windows on my Cap which makes access to the sides and front of the bed. Of course I carry around too much junk so I often have to climb inside. My F150 has a slide out step along with a handle so getting into the bed is not a problem.
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:43 AM   #15
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We have one of these, which looks like a factory "trunk lid":

LT Sport Tonneau Covers - The aluminum truck bed covers by Lazer Lite

Everything is out of sight, dry and secure. However, our Tundra isn't a work truck. We use it like a tall, wide limousine, when we aren't towing.
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Old 10-03-2014, 05:49 AM   #16
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Anybody ever had one of these? This would allow for me to carry my scooter and then have some "out of sight-out of mind" security and weather protection.

Softopper Collapsible Folding Retractable Truck Bed Cover Camper Shell Truck Bed Covers
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:21 AM   #17
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As I sit here waiting to move my neighbor's trailer on a rainy morning, I'm remembering that it is very challenging to back up in the rain with the camper topper on my truck. Not only do you have two additional foggy windows to peer through, but my unheated rearview mirrors are also temporarily useless.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:01 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Anybody ever had one of these? This would allow for me to carry my scooter and then have some "out of sight-out of mind" security and weather protection.

Softopper Collapsible Folding Retractable Truck Bed Cover Camper Shell Truck Bed Covers
Looked at your info. Interesting, but they don't make one for my truck.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:05 AM   #19
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I have both. I have an ARE topper on my 1999 Silverado extended cab, which I usually do not use for towing, other than a utility trailer. What is nice about it is the fact I can ride dogs back there. I opted for the optional rear door hatch... it looks like a door (opens to the side), and extends to the bottom of the hatch. The hatch also opens as well. What is nice about it is the fact that you can see through the glass door where a tailgate would be. That said, the extended cab makes it a tad harder to get that viewing angle. The dogs like the easy entry and viewing out the back too! Here's a link to the "Walk-In model": http://www.4are.com/product/walkin/ With the hatch up, its easy to load the bed beause the tailgate isn't in the way. It generally feels lower than lifting over a tailgate as well. I think the issue with the tailgate hitting the trailer jack may be alleviated as well. The hatch makes a nice rain/sun shield as well. I like to use the bed as a workbench for that very reason. The door makes quick access easy and is useful when someone parks behind you at the Home Depot and you just want to pop a few dirty items in the bed without worrying about dropping a tailgate.

My other vehicle is an Escalade EXT with the hard three piece cover. Love it too, but the dogs have to ride in the crew cab. Visibility is not an issue as it has a rear view camera. I can also attach a Yakima rack to the three piece cover by slipping clips under the cover from the side and supporting the towers directly on the cover itself. Very sturdy and has a variety of uses. What sets this vehicle apart is the midgate which allows easy access to stuff in the front of the bed from the inside of the crew cab. Use action packers for quick loading/unloading. Don't care much for those flip up tonneau covers, but to each their own...
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:07 AM   #20
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My previous truck had a roll-up cover which we used for years. It had space limits and leaked. When we traded trucks, I went with the shell for the additional room and weather improvements. Aware that getting to stuff in the front could be a problem, I bought a slide-out bed. Been very happy with the combination. I load the front of the slide-out first and cinch the tote boxes with a ratchet strap, slide it in some and load the next row of totes and so on. I'm 70+ and don't enjoy climbing into the truck bed. For me this combination works best. Good luck with your decision.
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