What is a camper shell?

What is a camper shell? The Whole Truth

red camper shell

What is a camper shell?

A camper shell is a hard cover for a truck bed. It is a shell with a roof and open sides, often used for camping.

Camper shells are manufactured in three styles: fiberglass, hard plastic, and aluminum. Fiberglass is the most expensive material to buy but it can be removed from the truck easily if necessary.

Why Should You Use a Camper Shell?

There are many reasons to why you would use a camper shell. Some of the best reasons will be listed below:

  • Keep your stuff from getting stolen: When you have a truck with an open-bed, items that are left inside can get stolen. This is especially true if the items are left in plain sight. Having a camper shell would put an end to that problem, because no one would be able to tell there's anything inside.
  • Keep your stuff dry: If you're camping during rainy season, having a camper shell will protect your things from getting wet or damp due to rain. No more worries about what you'll wear tomorrow.
  • Gives you privacy: Sleeping in the back of the truck without any covers over your face might give you privacy but it also makes you easier to spot at night by passersby and robbers alike. With an enclosed shell, it will be much harder for them to see into the truck bed while still affording you enough light to comfortably sleep.
  • Keeps your stuff safe: Whether it's groceries or camping gear, having a place to store them securely will protect you from lost items and theft. A camper shell is the perfect way to make sure they don't go rolling all over the backseat during sharp turns on the road.
  • Stay warm/cool: You can equip your new shell with insulation or even an AC unit. These are things that would be expensive to install in your car itself but camper shells let you choose exactly which features you want without buying a whole new vehicle at the same time.
  • Protect your belongings from the sun, rain and snow: Keeping all your belongings in the elements unprotected will cause them to be damaged in some way. Being exposed can cause rust, stains and other damage over time. The camper shell keeps your items safe in the back of your truck while you go about hunting or fishing or doing whatever it is that you enjoy when camping!
  • Block some noise from the outside: If you own a pickup truck, chances are that most of the sound from outside will hit your roof first before reaching the back seat. That's why most camper shells have insulation materials on them to help deaden some of that noise for ensuring a more comfortable ride for your passengers.

What are the different types of Camper Shells?

When looking for a camper shell there are several options that will determine what type you should buy. The best options to consider will be listed below:

  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass is a strong material that can sustain heavy weights without issue. It does not fade in color over time and requires little maintenance. However, fiber glass will cost more than other materials because it must be molded into shapes after production. Although it is easy to install, taking it on and off the truck bed can damage it if you are not careful.
  • Aluminum: A lightweight type of camper shell that is very durable and requires no maintenance. They cannot sustain heavy weights but do protect against light impacts such as hail or tree branches. Aluminum shells are often rust proof and will not change color over time which gives them a sleek look as well as lasting durability for many years before needing any work done on the shell itself. On average, aluminum shells are the least expensive to buy.
  • Bonded Fiberglass: A slightly stronger version of fiberglass that is covered in resin for added durability. Nowadays, most camper shells are made out of fiberglass due to its lightweight properties and high impact resistance qualities which make it perfect for the outdoors. They also do not rust or corrode over time like an aluminum shell can which makes them last years longer than their aluminum counterparts. On average, bonded fiberglass shells are more expensive than aluminum but less expensive than ABS plastic shells.
  • ABS Plastic The strongest type of camper shell available on the market today because ABS is non-corrosive and very dense so it can withstand heavy objects being placed on top with no risk of cracking or denting. Many are made with two layers to help prevent the shell from warping. However, ABS shells are usually more expensive than other materials.

How much does a camper shell cost?

Camper shells can cost less than $1000 depending on the material used. A camper shell can also get very expensive costing over several thousand dollars. These prices will vary depending on the material and design you choose.

How long does a camper shell last?

The average life of a camper shell is around five years. A high quality fiberglass camper can last longer than a less expensive plastic model but will also cost more. It is however always best to spend more money on a camper shell that has more material and is made with fiberglass or aluminum.

Should you buy a camper shell new or used?

Buying a camper shell is a big decision that can affect a driver's safety. One should never buy a used camper shell as the previous owner may not have maintained it well, which could lead to rust or wear and tear that can't be seen by just looking at it from the outside.

One should always buy a new camper shell, because it will be made of quality materials that have never been used and will most likely come with a warranty.

Should you get an aluminum or fiberglass camper shell?

Buying a camper shell is a big decision that can affect a driver's safety. One should never buy a used camper shell as the previous owner may not have maintained it well, which could lead to rust or wear and tear that can't be seen by just looking at it from the outside.

One should always buy a new camper shell, because it will be made of quality materials that have never been used and will most likely come with a warranty.

Should you get an aluminum or fiberglass camper shell?

This will mostly depend on your budget. If your budget allows it, then you should go for the more expensive option which is fiberglass. Aluminum is a good option if you are on a budget, but you should always make sure that the aluminum shell has support feet that go underneath the camper shell because it will be sitting on your truck bed and without support feet, it can dent your truck bed.

Also, if you are planning to get an aluminum one, it is recommendable to get a thicker camper shell made of 6mm or 6.5mm aluminum so that it doesn't bend easily which could lead to cracks. Aluminum also does not allow for major modifications like fiberglass parts because of how stiff it is.

Will I need any alterations?

This would depend on the specific model you want to purchase. If there are no alterations needed then great! You just saved yourself some money! If there are however, then you will have to hire someone to help you. If you want, ask the store selling the camper shell if they can cut it up for you before buying. It's not expensive, but still an added cost that you need to consider.

Conclusion

Camper shells are a great way to enjoy the outdoors without having to camp outside. They provide an excellent place for anyone to relax, read, or take in some of nature's beauty while still being able to be at home with their family and friends. Whether you're looking for fiberglass, hard plastic, or aluminum camper shell options, or anything else related to camping that we haven't covered yet, you can contact us through email if you have any questions.


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