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Truck Topper Alternatives
So I have a 2016 Chevy 1500 with a 5'8" bed. I've scoured craigslist for the past 2 months and haven't been able to find anything that'll fit my truck. I don't want a truck topper that is on all year as I only want to use it when I head west elk hunting. I could buy a new one, but justifying 2k for something like that I even think is silly, especially when it'll be sitting in a garage for 50 weeks out of the year. I already have a tonneau cover and actually prefer this for most of my hunting, pheasants, whitetails etc.
Anyone else done the cargo net over your truck and just buy some heavy duty waterproof bins? Just looking at other options as two years ago with all the snow getting my stuff wet SUCKED. Looking on Amazon I could get the cargo bungee net with good reviews for like 30 bucks and then I could just buy some heavy-duty totes which I could use the rest of the year. Anyone else chime in?
Buddy had this. Worked out well.
Try going to Craig’s list and find trucks for sale with toppers, with same body/box style as yours. It’s worked for me before. Some may be willing to separate? Good luck!
Buddy of mine used to manage a Radco. They would rent toppers for situations just like yours. After a year or so, they would sell those a a reduced price.
Have you called around to topper dealers and asked about a possible rental situation?
What I did with my Tacoma's soft tonneau cover is install 1/2" plywood between the crossover support tubes by drilling and tapping the tonneaus frame. This provided some security for our gear while a Colorado cross country drive.
Have not called and asked about a rental yet, but that's a great idea, especially considering I don't need it all year.
You might check some local dealers. My cousin and I both purchased fiberglass toppers from our local GM dealer. They had taken them off trade-ins and they were sitting in a back lot. Mine was a perfect match, he had to have his painted. We both gave $150/each for them. Mine was a ARE and his was a Jason...steal of a deal on both!
I used to think I didnt want a topper.... until I got a topper.
Man, I wouldnt have a truck without one now. Keeps everything out of the weather, secure, and makes the truck ride nicer too.
But to each their own
WY base camp
WY base camp
I dislike toppers, but back in the day we rented one for a trip to Saskatchewan for bear hunting.
I still have this armor lid hard tonneau cover on my truck . Out of sight, out of mind.
My last two trucks have had a Leer topper 24/7/365 and I wouldn't go any other way, but I'm retired and don't have to haul bulky stuff anymore. On the rare occasion that I do, I trailer it or use my one-ton. I'm either hunting deer, coyotes, hogs, or prepping to do the same year 'round and all my crap stays under cover and out of sight. I have a poor man's "truck vault" built by a cabinet maker that is about a foot high and I can reach anything in the truck from the sides or back. Two drawers in it that hold tools and such. For me it's the way to go. YMMV
Check out Facebook Marketplace. I have been looking for a topper for my GMC and have seen a lot of Chevy short box toppers. The problem I'm having is I need a 8ft topper and the body style is only a 4 year span. I have seen a lot more toppers on FB marketplace vrs Craigslist.
Worked in the used car ind for 13 years. When they took in a PU with a topper they took them off and put them out back, check around at some larger used car shops. The thinking was that a topper was a downer. Just put a nice one on our truck right color wired and installed for $1200. Weighs 120 lbs and ain't bad to take off.
Always had a topper w/ a rack to put my poke Boat or ladders on and when taking my hunting dogs out.
When my son burn up his ice fishing tent I took his plastic deck and put it inside the bed, comes in very handy when putting items in the bed, I just slide it out or in, had many people ask me where they can get one for their truck, I just tell them is to burn their ice fishing tent and you got your slider. It takes very little to take the aluminum topper off and on, easier than fiberglass but not as good looking.
Whatever works for you and with it.
Check out retrax.com I had a topper that I took off and on for years. Once i saw this Im done with toppers. Its like a roll top door, or barrel door. tough and locks up also.
'Ike' (Phone)'s Link
Tough to beat an 8' Leer.
I camp in mine.
Lots of times I roll in late on some hunting or fishing trip, or need a rest along the way, and it sure is nice crawling in under a topper to catch a few Zzz's! Only time I regret having one is when I have to haul a fridge or something like that...which ain't often.
Some good advice here.
I am in the market for a topper. I had one on my Tacoma and have been missing it since I got a new truck.
Another one for diamondback
I’ll be the oddball. If your only gonna use it 2 weeks out of the year it makes no sense to me to own one. Buy the totes like you said and your good to go. They will come in handy for storage anyways. I dunno about you but I like having everything organized in plastic totes anyways.
I love my Diamondback , buy it only hurts once.
Another one for diamondback
Has anyone used the Diamondback in snow country? Does it periodically freeze up like many similar tops?
that diamondback looks badass. Personally I'm with Kodiak......I could not live without my full shell. A lot of people think it ruins a truck....but I live in this thing quite a few weeks a year.
Yeah, I wouldn't be without a topper either. Mine is on and off throughout the year. I made a rack that I can pull up next to and slide the topper off onto the rack. I can install or remove my topper by myself in about 15 minutes.
I love the option of being able to sleep in the back of my truck while I'm on a road trip or when being mobile and moving around to different hunting spots. It's really nice when you pull in late somewhere and can't or don't want to set up a tent.
Luke, you could always stick some 2x4's in your stake pockets and make a redneck topper of 2x4's and plywood. ;^)
I built a shell for my Dodge out of 2X2's, and 1/4" plywood that I've used it for 10 years and It cost around $150. I could have bought an aluminum one for $600, but why. It has tapered corners to cut down on drag, with 50"s of head space. When it isn't traveling to Colorado, it hangs in the rafters in my barn.
Mike maybe the next beer night with you and Les you could help me design it and we can get away from some of your women problems :)
Now you guys got me considering to hell with it and ordering a decent one that just stays on it all the time. Would be nice to throw the dog in after he's caked in mud pheasant hunting I suppose, or gets blasted by a skunk for the 2nd time in a week (not that I'm speaking from experience or anything).
I'll keep scouring Craigslist and I imagine something will pop up this spring or summer. I've got a buddy that paints tractors for a living so I imagine I could pay him to do a topper as well. Anyone in northwest WI or metro looking to get rid of a topper that fits a 5'8" box for a GMC/Chevy 2014-18? haha
I've never seen those diamondbacks before- they look pretty awesome! I may have to look into one of them.
We all have girl problems Luke, some guy's girl problems are just more entertaining to talk about!
I used to haul my dog around in my topper and it was really convenient. Make sure you get sliding windows with screens for ventilation.
I still like the plywood idea though, like what 8point did...
Those Diamondbacks do look nice but that's more than I paid for my pop-up camper...
I love my shell and my brother loves his. Facebook Marketplace and I use a site called searchtempest.com that searches craigslist all over the country. You might give it a try and if you don't mind driving a bit might find something. Good luck.
Another vote for Diamondback. I've always had fiberglass shells in the past but I like the Diamondback so much better. It's strong enough to haul an atv on top if you buy special ramps for it. (I haven't). But I do have mine set up with a bike rack and it's perfect for what I do.
My topper is set up very similar to Cheesehead Mike’s.
Many times I just drive over to areas I want to scout, sleep in the back and keep going. I also like the fact I can sit on the deck and put my boots on.
With my tailgate locked, all my tools, chainsaw and gear are secure under the deck.
You guys can have the tonneau covers, etc. I have that t-shirt. I was always cussing it because I had to load the remainder of my gear in my cab. Coolers wouldn’t fit right, frustrating....
I ordered a new tooper last week and I’m not looking back.
I had a rigid tonneau cover and ratchet strapped 2-1”x1” steel tube bars to the top of the bed rails and Across the tonneau cover, and then bought one of those big plastic luggage carriers and attached that to the tubing. I was able to fill my whole bed plus that. Worked to bring all my stuff to Canada for a bear hunt.
I'd keep checking Craigslist. Sooner or later you'll find one that fits. As mentioned aboe, also check out trucks your age for sale with topper and ask if they want to sell the topper separate. There's nothing like having gobs of room for gear and to sleep where it's warm and dry!
Check out Jeraco toppers. When I bought my ‘12 Silverado I had a helluva time finding a used one. A few cap dealers told me that they were getting 70-80% for a used cap. I then bought the Jeraco. I believe I paid $1200 out the door painted to my color.
I couldn't live without my topper. Sleep in the back and never worry about weather. That's a great set up Mike!
Mike the Carpenter's Link
Diamond back is great. Never any issues with freezing. I've had three now on different trucks. I carry ATV's, etc. on top. Even use it haul plywood. Lockable, waterproof, and look great as well. Not cheap, but well worth it over the years. Bill
Here is what I did a couple weeks ago...
I'm a Diamondback fan as well! You can run all kinds of things on top of the bed! I've had two quads, SxS's, kids bikes while pulling the camper, lumber, etc. all while the bed is used to keep things out of the weather. Love it!
It's pretty handy being able to throw the quad up on top of the diamondback. Saves me buying a trailer and having it in my driveway all year.
Welp...so much for that idea. Said to hell with it and ordered one Monday, looks like I'm a topper guy now. Everyone here seems to like them and I've never been led astray here right???
Found a used one at a used car dealership for $350, black topper on a white truck ain't so bad couple weeks out of the year, hanging on homemade rack in shed by barn rest of year.
Question for you guys putting atvs on the diamondbacks, what ramps are you using and how long are they? How are you securing them during loading and unloading?
Another possible source for a topper/cap is the local junkyard. Ours has quite a few of various sizes and colors. I have a cap now and will get one on my next truck too. One lesson learned....do not break your cap's rear glass. I had a bear of time finding one for mine. As I was told, only one company makes the glass now for all the caps and the other one that did make the glass for mine went out of business. I found just one in the state and it cost me dearly.
+1 JL - My back-up camera looks backwards and downward. A low tree branch through the back window cost about 1/3 the cost of a complete new shell. I thought about just a sheet of plywood for a week before I broke down and ordered the part from my dealer.