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Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why?

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Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why?
Guys... and Dani,


Do You Like Yours With or Without?

I am looking ahead to my future when I will spend more time fishing/hunting while tent camping. I plan to get a Kodiak canvas tent which is a three season tent, four season if you use a heater. I have a 2002 Tacoma that runs great. I currently have a tool box and rack on the bed. I especially like the rack that makes it easy to tie down canoes, lumber and long fishing rods. I have been surprised how more useful my truck is with that rack. Here is a pic of my rig:



In the future, I will need more secure, waterproof storage. There are some nice options with waterproof storage boxes available now that fit in the bed but can be locked. Tractor Supply sells them. You can take those in and out as you need them and still have your pickup bed. You can also lock them to the bed; one way would be with a bicycle cable lock. Here is a sample of a Contico Tuffbin:


Obviously, many guys choose to simply throw a camper shell on the back of their pickup.

Those are nice, but they take away one of the best things about having a pickup: the open bed that you can lean on while having a beer or lean on while shooting the sh _ _ with your friends or throw things in without opening windows or door on the camper shell.

I know pickups or a very personal thing. Without starting an argument, do you like yours with or without?

With or without a camper shell, that is!?

This should be fun,
Larry

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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
One more thing about camper shells: I can't believe how expensive they have become. I could easily spend 1/3 what I spent on my truck ($7,000) on a camper shell from ARE or LEER.

Larry
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Once I installed my first cap, 4 trucks ago, I will not be without. There are rare occasions when it is limiting, but I use a utility trailer then. Yes, they can be expensive. Paid $1700 for the Jason I have now. The 2 before were ARE, which appear ti be top of the line. But it was $700 more this time. I prefer without the carpet liner, so I can hose it out and not mildew. You can go cheaper and get aluminum, which are lighter too so they can be removed when needed. I always get the side lift windows so I can get to the front without climbing in all the time.

Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
I go without and use tubs. For my uses I would be pulling the canopy off to often.

For the kodiak..get a tub with wheels! Those tents are heavy but nice.

If you need a canopy maybe an SUV is a better fit. I hunt with a few people who went the SUV route. They pull a small utility trailer when they need a truck.
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Dave,
I KNEW that would be your vote. When you were here, I saw the pride you have in your topper. I know it works well for you.
Larry
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
With !! You can sleep in it and with a good roof rack (Yakama) you can haul a boat up top. I wouldn't be without a good fiberglass topper. Just MHO. I am working on a new set up for my truck, hopefully pics to follow.
"There is nothing- absolutly nothing half as much worth doing as messing about in boats or with boats. In or out of 'em, doesn't matter." Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

Shiny side up,
Wicker T, Booker T & Charlie Brown
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
For a long time (94-08) I had a pickup with a camper shell. I loved the ability to keep whatever I carried safe and dry. The price of a new (or even good used) 4wd truck drove me to buy a small SUV. The versatility is great, they get better gas mileage, and to be honest, it will do most of the stuff my truck could do. Keeping a can of gas in there, or the bags of decoys does bring back the desire for a truck. I use a trailer, but once in a while get caught without it for some dirty project.

I've been debating going back to a truck with my next purchase and it would definitely be WITH the camper shell. I still like to keep the gear locked up and out of the elements, but if the gear is muddy, you just toss it in the back and wash the bed out later.


The perils of duck hunting are great- especially for the duck. ~Walter Cronkite
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Shop the used pickup shell mkt. larry. In my area for that year trk. they can be bought for about $300. Problem would be matching color to your trk. on a good find. Craigslist is a good place to look for starters. And no I don,t have one on my 2014 Sierra but do have the ladder racks for carrying canoe. Started to get a new shell when I bought trk. but have enough trouble seeing approaching vehicles if not squared up at an intersection. Mine is extended cab w/rear doors and has a bad blind spot at rear pillar if trying to see while on an angle. Probably not an issue w a true crew cab but no where easy as what I was use to w/ my prior expedition.
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
 

Cap works just fine. Good place out of the wet for stuff, for sure. We made a number of trips to Saskatchewan in the past and carried dogs, decoys, and gear, along with three of us. Put an air mattress in the back seat of the crew cab to provide one of us with sleep time while one drove and one navigated-aka, kept driver awake via scintillating conversation.Sly
george@runamuckdecoys.com

Last edited by:

george w: Aug 11, 2018, 11:14 AM
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Morning Larry,

Can't say much about without but the only two trucks I have owned have had them and I liked them. Only issue for me back then was climbing all the way back in to get the one thing that slid all the way forward. If I had a PU now I'd get a topper with side opening door.

On the other stuff on your list, double thumbs up for the Kodiak tent. I bought one in May of 2014 and so far have slept in it at least 214 nights - mostly in the first 3 years. It is a mite heavy at about 70 lbs but not unmanageable. Have had mine in all kinds of nasty weather including downpouring rain, 7" of heavy, wet snow, high winds etc. and it has never leaked a drop. Showing a little wear now but after 4 years it owes me nothing.

I also have a Tuffbin and it is a great storage box though it is also a mite heavy - even when empty. Everything inside has always stayed dry and secure.

Another piece of gear that I can now recommend is an RTIC cooler. Half the price of Yeti and works just as good, I have both the 45 and 65 qt. but if I had to have only one it would be the 65. Only downside is, again, a mite heavy when empty.

Oh, almost forgot, a Mr. Buddy heater works great in that tent and with a 20# bottle of propane will warm it up so you can get dressed in comfort. I don't leave it on all night but in colder climates it's available when I want it on.


Pete


MOLON LABE [mo 'lon la 've]

Technology has it's place, hunting isn't it.

Life's a blink, never have to say ....... "I should have"!

"That human optimism & goodness that we put our faith in, is in no more danger than the stars in the jaws of the clouds." .................Victor Hugo
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Larry,

For me, I am firmly in the "with topper" group. I do have an enclosed utility trailer for hauling stuff I do not wish to haul inside my topper.

If the trip is with others, we are usually tent camping or staying in a cabin. The topper provides a dry secure place for all our gear. In the roof of the topper itself, I have installed a set of roof rack bars for hauling a canoe, kayaks, ladder, etc.

I make many many trips solo, for those trips, the "topper" is transformed into a "camper", albeit a spartan version. The details; topper is a fiberglass ARE (brand unimportant); it is and "extended height" about 5 inches higher than cab high; slider window on side and slider in front for ventilation; table with LP cook stove (serves as heater in cooler weather); sleeping bunk; double set of LED interior lights on the ceiling

The bunk and table are NOT fastened down but ride in there respective places just fine during daily driving. I very rarely take them out unless I need the space. The sleeping bunk is 30 inches wide and 6'5" long where as the table is 20/22 deep and 46" long. The bunk sits on 5 legs and the wheel well on one side. This height allows storage underneath while allowing me to sit on the bed without hitting my head (main reason for the extended height topper).
The table is supported by two edges resting on the lower lip of the topper shell. A single leg supports the remaining corner of the table. The key to this table is that it is locked in place due to the "topper clamps" holding the topper shell. I routered out two cutouts for the table to set over top the clamps and the table edge is long enough to protrude "under" the widow frame on that side. To install, the table edge is set on the topper lip. Then the table is tipped up at an angle allowing the edge to slide under the lip of the window frame. Once the table has moved outward under the lip, the previously mentioned routered pockets are lined up with the existing clamps holding the topper. With the pockets providing the needed clearance, the table can be lowered back to a horizontal position and is now trapped in place, by the position of the clamps and the window frame. Sounds complicated but takes longer to describe than to go thru the motions. A 20# LP tank is strapped to the table leg and a LP 2 burner Coleman stove rides on the table top boxed in with a couple small retaining blocks.

Mounted on the underside of the table are two slide out trays which give me additional table space for eating and food prep.

I can go from a fully functional yet spartan "camper" to a bare empty "topper shell" in about 5 minutes tops using no tools. I've made trips in all seasons of the year and for up two 6 weeks in duration. The stove is used for a heater but ONLY operated while I am awake. I warm the place up , climb into my -20 below rated bag and shut the heater off. I also leave the windows open a fair amount to eliminate moisture condensation. If raining I can usually leave the front slider open as it is protected by the truck cab.

This system has worked great for me. The only major drawback is it is strictly designed for the solo person.

The pictures show a camper unit sitting on the other side of my boat and truck, That camper unit belonged to the late Jim Bosanny (senior). Oh and I do have a thick rubber floor mat in the bed of the box. The roof rack is not visible as it is removable form the permanent bases bolted to the topper roof. The extended height topper will fit in a 7 foot door or commercial parking ramp, with out the roof rack attached.






Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging

Last edited by:

Huntindave McCann: Aug 11, 2018, 6:11 AM
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Larry~


I won't weigh in here - as I am an SUV devotee. However, I did own a Ford Ranger P/U for 13 seasons. I built racks (ladder, lumber, canoe) out of some nice vertical grain Doug Fir. Pickups came with stake pockets back then.



And, I built a weather-tight tool box out of plywood and 'glass. It'll surprise no one that I contemplated (and drew designs for) a cap - of plywood and 'glass. I never pulled the trigger, though. Didn't really need it AND the truck rusted out beneath my feet (literally) first.



Thanks for a great thread - interesting reading!


All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
I have been about 50/50 with my pickups. The best was when I had two trucks one with and one without. It seems like I put caps on small/mid-size pickups. I haul enough stuff in the full-size trucks a topper either needs to be easy to remove or it is in the way.

Tom
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
I had a top on my F150 for 15 years, loved it. Liked being able to keep stuff locked up inside, being able to sleep in it, etc.. Would not have another full size pickup as my primary vehicle without one.
3 years ago we got a full size SUV, and my wife started using the F150 as the around-town vehicle, so I took the top off. Easier for her to see out the back.
190K on my 2000 F150 and still going strong.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
I wouldn't be without a cap on my F-150. I am on my 8th or 9th F-150, and they've all had caps. I had one with a 6' bed; I got rid of it within a couple months. I haul way too much 8' stuff to deal with the open tailgate. Also, I make a lot of 1200 mile roundtrips to Canada - wouldn't like to have all my gear exposed to the elements and shady characters. Having said that, I had to go all the way to near Boston (Quincy, actually) to find an F-150 with the 8' bed. Scarce as hen's teeth. It has a super cab, too, so it's a pretty long truck. I specified a sliding rear window in the cab of the truck AND in the new cap I had to buy (Aluminum ARE, $1600). I have hangers from the ceiling of the cap that allow me to carry 14' Spey fly rods fully assembled, passing thru the windows of both the cap and cab. I do wish Ford would quit changing their bed/tailgate design every couple years....makes it impossible to find a used cap, especially for later models, like my 2017.
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
I firmly go with topper... you can keep waders, game, decoys... or even a dirty dog in them safely. If I am going to be out for awhile.. I will opt for the camper.

Duck boats are easily towed by a Cummins in the 3500 or 5500.


---------------------------------------------------------------------
***Phil (Chesapeake Boy) Nowack***

http://www.mapleridgetaxidermy.com
http://www.philnowackphotography.com

Nothing like the north wind pushing snow at your back, a bird in your hand, and chessie with ice on his coat at your side.

Birds brought to you courtesy of Nikon, Benelli, and Kodi

Last edited by:

Phil Nowack: Aug 11, 2018, 4:58 PM
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to


---------------------------------------------------------------------
***Phil (Chesapeake Boy) Nowack***

http://www.mapleridgetaxidermy.com
http://www.philnowackphotography.com

Nothing like the north wind pushing snow at your back, a bird in your hand, and chessie with ice on his coat at your side.

Birds brought to you courtesy of Nikon, Benelli, and Kodi
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Canopy, unless you are going to be hauling gravel or things you can not fit in the restricted size of the topper. I have always had a truck with a cap. A hindrance at times, but you can always take them off if you need to haul something that won't fit in the confined space. My pet peeve with my ARE is the back window of my canopy drains water into bed area when raised since it doesn't extended past the sides. I agree on the bedrug, spray in bedliner next time for me, then a chunk of rug in if needed.

Put the tailgate down and sit for that beer, but I guess you could do that either way.

Cheers
RD
"You had to be there" Jimmy Buffett
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Larry,

I'm in the "with" category. I've hunted with buddies who don't have toppers and then Steve that has had the topper on both of his trucks that I've hunted out of. I like to be able to toss stuff into the back and not worry about the stuff just walking off because it's not secured....we carry LOTS of stuff when we travel to hunt so we'd have cable locks out the wazoo if he didn't have a topper on the bed. Plus, it's nice to be able to keep something out of the elements but not worry if it will fit in the cab or not. When Steve had to reach something in the very back of the bed, he had a hook on a pole for pulling most everything forward. For me, I'm too short to be able to reach very far in the side of the bed of both of his trucks so with or without the topper, I'd have to crawl into the bed to get to stuff in the back of the bed.

The next vehicle I get may be a pickup with a topper. Only real reason I'm not absolutely positive it is because of the size of pickup trucks anymore. I like the smaller frame of my FJ Cruiser. Lots of places we can get in and out of in my truck that it would be a major pain in either of Steve's trucks.

Dani
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
I'm glad to see all these pro cap responses because just last night I went and saw Jeff's dad and picked up the cap for the Toyota Pickup. Jeff took it off many years ago and I don't ever remember seeing it on the truck. I decided, for the reasons stated above, to put the cap back on. It is in remarkably good shape and should clean up nicely. It will be painted to match the rest of the truck.

The keys for it are long gone. I take it I can get a replacement lock cylinder? I hope they all use some standard going back to the 80s so I can replace mine and make it lockable. Like Dani I hate the thought of its contents walking away. I remember too well when Jason Russell's hand carved decoy rig was stolen from his at the boat ramp.

Eric
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
This is an interesting thread...

i think the canopy is a false sense of security. if a low life wants to break in they will break in. Don't leave anything in your truck while in the marsh will save break ins if this is an issue in your area.

If your gear fits with a topper its the way to go. no worries about strapping!

I will remain the odd duck in the bunch and stay topless.
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Buddy wrote:
This is an interesting thread...

i think the canopy is a false sense of security. if a low life wants to break in they will break in. Don't leave anything in your truck while in the marsh will save break ins if this is an issue in your area.

If your gear fits with a topper its the way to go. no worries about strapping!

I will remain the odd duck in the bunch and stay topless.


I'd say your argument is weak. I'm just going to leave it at that.

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
I have always had a canopy and would not go without. I also have a utility trailer for when I need to haul gravel or yard debris or whatever. I also think it is a false sense of security. I have never had anything stolen out of the back of my truck but it being out sight is better than just hanging out in the back. I have never locked my canopy in twenty five years and 12 of those I lived in a not so favorable part of Portland. The Cab was broken into 3 times but nothing has ever been taken out of the bed. I'm not even sure if I have the key to my current canopy. The main reason I like it is for keeping everything out of the elements. Here in the northwest it rains a bit for about 9 months out of the year and unless you want whatever is in the bed to get wet then you need a canopy. I have an emergency kit and the dog crate that stay in the bed year round. Also My wet dog and gear can go back there without stinking up the cab. I used to have a setup with bed length drawers on one half so the crate would fit on the other half. Flyrod tubes and guns were out of sight and I could sleep on top. It was great when I was younger before children and went all over the state chasing fish and ducks.
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Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Locks keep honest people honest ... Truck, house ... Whatever ... It may not stop someone that is motivated to break in. But it will detour the guy walking by the sees something in the box and just has to grab it. If you have that big of an issue at the marsh... You love/hunt in the wrong spot.

Keeping things out of the elements is a big of a reason to have a topper as anything .

---------------------------------------------------------------------
***Phil (Chesapeake Boy) Nowack***

http://www.mapleridgetaxidermy.com
http://www.philnowackphotography.com

Nothing like the north wind pushing snow at your back, a bird in your hand, and chessie with ice on his coat at your side.

Birds brought to you courtesy of Nikon, Benelli, and Kodi
Quote Reply
Re: Do You Like Yours With or Without? And why? In reply to
Larry Eckart wrote:
Guys... and Dani,

Those are nice, but they take away one of the best things about having a pickup: the open bed that you can lean on while having a beer or lean on while shooting the sh _ _ with your friends or throw things in without opening windows or door on the camper shell.

With or without a camper shell, that is!?



You just need one of these larry.

https://www.topperezlift.com/

Take care,

Ed L.
East Moline,
Illinois
_________________________________________
If I'd had asked what they wanted they would have said faster horses" - Henry Ford