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Old 07-14-2003, 07:27 AM   #15
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Austin , Texas
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Whatever you call it,

Camper top, fiberglass shell, topper, bed cap, is the way to go! Tonneau covers are a total waste of space. If I have anything that is too big to fit in my truck I just use a small utility trailer.

I've got an ARE cab high that is painted to match my truck. I agree that getting to the stuff inside is a pain but take a look at my pic and check out my BedRat slide out tray. ( I apologize for the mess, just got back from a trip) It pulls out the entire cargo, very stout, extruded aluminum channels with heavy duty steel rollers and detents to lock it in place. It is made by Weatherguard, pricy yes, but since I make a living out of my truck doing commercial building maintenance I was able to justify the cost, right around $1200. I also have a 4'x4' PackRat bin mounted on top of it for all the small parts I carry. I also built a headache rack at the front just to keep everything in place.

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Old 07-14-2003, 08:41 AM   #16
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1959 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
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I have had both. Overall I like the Fiberglass shell the best. Seemed most of the larger things I wanted to cary would fit in a shell but not uder the bed cover. Basicly the bed cover was never on because of this. My big complaint with the shell was getting things at the front. If I ever get another I'll get one with opening side doors. I might even go for one of the steel units because you can get shelving for the one side and the otherside be open to the bed.

The visibility issue never bothered me. I use to drive moving vans and I'm very use to using outside only mirrors and I always put a convex on the passengerside. It's more of a issue of retraining yourself.

1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
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Old 07-14-2003, 01:31 PM   #17
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I have had a GemTop shell on my Silverado for thirteen years and haven't had any problem reaching things up front. The reason is that I have an antique can grabber like used in old grocery stores to reach things up high. Just reach for an item and grip the handle, the other end fingers grab it and out it comes. Some old things just can't be beat.
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Old 07-14-2003, 01:35 PM   #18
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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I'd go with a hard top. More space than the tarp type or "lid" type enclosures. Some can be purchased with the same factory color as the truck.

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Old 07-14-2003, 02:11 PM   #19
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Tim, I had the SnugTop Tonneau cover on my last truck and really liked it but when I recently bought a new truck I thought I could get more toys in a cab-high shell. After discussing the pros and cons I decided the tonneau cover provided easier access to things in the front of the bed. I carry firewood in the front of the bed and it would be really difficult to get at it with the shell. I removed the legs from my Webber grill and installed six inch long galvenized pipe in their place so it fits under the lid nicely. I chose the SnugTop brand because it seems to be more sturdy than some other brands. I installed the Yakama rails directly on the lid so I can carry my bikes, skiis and kayak on top.
Good luck with your decision.
Jerry Sullivan
'01 Limited
'01 Safari
On The Road, USA
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Old 07-14-2003, 05:24 PM   #20
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2001 34' Limited
The State of , Ohio
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Like John_HD, I'll sometimes need every inch of the 8' bed for my Harley. I had the sliding snap Lund on my Toyota 4X4 and the bed was always dry, but it was a little slow to use.

This time I got the velcro Lund. It has tension locks at the rear that stretch the cover tight enough that you can't pull it up far enough to get a good look at what's in the bed.

Unlike another brand that I forget, it doesn't have the supports sewn into the cover, but I just pop them out, lay them on the cover, and roll them up in it. It's quick and easy, and I still have full use of my bed.
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Old 07-15-2003, 04:46 AM   #21
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Tipton , Iowa
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a little different perspective...

Tim, the question I'd ask you is: what works the best for you for the 99% of the time you use your longbed Chevy and you're NOT camping? Whatever decision you make for you camping outings, you're going to have to live with all the rest of the time when you use your truck.

I've had several pickups over the years, and a couple of them came with toppers. The toppers were always too short, or what I wanted was in the front of the bed. I ended up taking the toppers off and selling them. I use a truck to haul brush, lumber, lawnmowers, bicycles, and other tall 'stuff'. When I pulled our Safari with our '77 Ford F250 extended cab, the blue (gray water) tank, levelling boards, stabilizer jacks, bicycles, and 'stuff' went into the bed. 'Stuff' that I didn't want to get wet went either inside the trailer or inside the cab, unless it was 'truck bed dry stuff'. If it was 'truck bed dry stuff', I wrapped it in a poly tarp and left it in the bed.

If you just leave 'stuff' in your truck all of the time, and you want it to stay secure and dry then a topper is great, but they can be a real pain to take off and put on when you want to. If you occasionally use your bed for BIG 'stuff' but generally the bed is unused, or you keep small 'stuff' in it, then the roll-away tonneaus are good. If you fill and empty 'stuff' out of your bed regularly, you might want to save yourself a lot of money and effort and just tarp the 'stuff' that needs it when you camp.


AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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