Truck Cap vs Topper vs Camper Shell

Posted by Holly Cherry - March, 19

ntruck cap vs topper vs camper shell

When it comes to customizing the back of your pickup truck, there are a few options that you're likely to come across: truck caps, truck toppers, and camper shells. 

And if you're new to all this, these terms might seem confusing or even interchangeable at first glance. But fret not! They each serve a unique purpose and offer a variety of benefits for your truck. 

Whether you're hauling gear for work, planning a weekend camping trip, or looking for a way to protect your cargo, there's an option that fits your needs.

In this article, we'll break down the differences, benefits, and uses for each type, helping you make an informed decision for your truck. 

Truck Cap vs Topper vs Camper Shell: Which One Is Best for Your Truck?

In the world of truck customizations, understanding the different purposes and benefits of truck caps, toppers, and camper shells is crucial for maximizing your truck's functionalities, comfort and security. 

These accessories not only improve the appearance of your truck but significantly enhance its utility, each catering to different needs and lifestyles.

With that being said, let's get a closer look at truck caps first and dive into how they can transform your truck's functionality and style, one customization at a time.

Truck Caps - Gear Up for Adventure!

Truck caps, also commonly referred to as truck canopies or truck bed caps, are essentially tops that are mounted onto the bed of a pickup truck.

Truck Caps Uses and Benefits

The primary role of a truck cap is to provide weather protection or security for cargo. 

They transform the truck bed into a weatherproof compartment safe from rain, dust, and snow. 

Plus, they offer a security measure for stored items.

Types of Truck Caps

Truck caps come in various materials, including fiberglass, aluminum, and plastic. 

Fiberglass caps are popular for their durability and the ability to paint-match them to your truck, offering a seamless look. 

Aluminum caps are lightweight and economical, preferred for commercial use.  Meanwhile, plastic caps provide a balance between durability and cost.

Advantages of using Truck Caps

  • Some include enhanced security for cargo with locking capabilities.
  • Protection from weather elements like rain, snow, and sun.
  • Flexible installation and removal options.

Limitations of Truck Caps

  • May reduce visibility or access to the truck's rearview.
  • Can limit the height of items you're able to transport.
  • Some caps may not offer locking capabilities.

Why Choose Truck Caps?

If your primary concern is securing and protecting your cargo while maintaining a stylish look, a truck cap is your go-to option. 

They are particularly beneficial for those who frequently transport tools or equipment and require a reliable, lockable storage solution.

That being said, if you are looking to invest in a premium heavy-duty canvas material that is completely waterproof, then WildTop's Canvas Truck Caps are the best choice for you.

Whether you plan on using it for carrying tools and ladders to the work site or for taking a roof-top tent on camping trips on the weekends – WildTop’s patented design that is efficient in maximizing cargo space and carrying up to 220 lbs in weight will never let you down.

Truck Toppers - Expand Your Truck's Horizons!

Truck toppers are somewhat synonymous with truck caps in many aspects but are typically associated with softer, more flexible materials.

Truck Toppers Uses and Benefits

A prime advantage of truck toppers is their flexibility and ease of installation and removal. 

Toppers cater to users who desire a temporary solution for cargo protection without committing to a more permanent, hard shell. 

They provide a decent level of protection from the elements and can be conveniently stored when not in use.

Types of Truck Toppers

Most truck toppers are fabricated from vinyl or canvas material stretched over a frame that clips onto the truck bed. 

They're available in varying levels of thickness and quality, with some offering windows and additional features for accessibility and ventilation.

Pros of Using Toppers

  • Generally more affordable and lightweight compared to hard shell caps.
  • Easy to install and remove, offering flexibility in usage.
  • Some models can be rolled up or folded, allowing quick access to the truck bed.

Cons of Using Toppers

  • Material can be cut through, offering limited protection against theft.
  • Most toppers don’t require professional installation or extra truck modification.
  • Materials like vinyl can deteriorate from UV exposure, requiring replacement.

Why Choose Truck Toppers?

Pick a truck topper if you're after a lightweight, flexible option that offers basic protection against weather. 

They’re perfect for recreational activities where you might need to cover equipment or goods temporarily.

Camper Shells - A Shelter on Wheels!

Camper shells transform your truck bed into a mini-camper. 

Longer and taller than a standard truck cap, camper shells extend over the top of the truck's cab to provide additional space.

Camper Shells Uses and Benefits

The most apparent advantage of camper shells is the extra space they provide. 

This space allows for comfortable sleeping arrangements or more substantial storage capacity. 

Enhanced with features like interior lighting, windows, and sometimes even climate control, camper shells are ideal for camping and long road trips.

Types of Camper Shells

Camper shells can be made from fiberglass, aluminum, or composite materials, each offering different benefits in terms of weight, durability, and insulation. 

Fiberglass models are popular for their customizability and insulation properties. 

Aluminum and composite shells offer a balance between durability and weight.

Advantages of Using a Camper Shell

  • Converts the truck bed into a secure, weatherproof space for camping or storage.
  • The higher clearance allows for transporting taller items securely.
  • Some models come equipped with windows, vents, and other amenities for comfortable camping.

Considerations and Drawbacks of Camper Shells

  • Can be significantly more expensive than toppers or simple caps.
  • Increased weight could impact fuel efficiency and vehicle handling.
  • May require professional installation and the addition of supporting hardware to the truck bed.

Why Choose Camper Shells?

If you're an adventure junkie or someone who spends a lot of time on the road, camper shells are a durable long term investment. 

They provide a secure, weatherproof space that can be customized for sleeping, storage, or as a mobile office.

How to Choose Between Them

Choosing between the different types of truck bed covers like a truck cap, topper, or camper shell boils down to your specific needs and lifestyle.

We summarized the practical considerations and the factors influencing decision making in 10 key points to make it easier to choose the right option for your truck:

1. Functionality: Determine how you plan to use your truck. Are you using it for work, recreation, or both? Assess your storage needs and how each option can fulfill them.

2. Budget: Evaluate your budget and compare the costs of truck caps, toppers, and camper shells. Factor in any additional expenses such as installation fees or customization, and maintenance.

3. Installation and Removal: Consider the ease of installation and removal. Determine if you need a permanent fixture or an option that can be easily taken off when not in use.

4. Durability: Assess the durability and lifespan of each option. Look for materials that can withstand the elements and frequent use without deteriorating quickly.

5. Size and Compatibility: Ensure that the option you choose is compatible with your truck's make and model. Consider the size and dimensions to ensure a proper fit.

6. Security Features: Evaluate the security features offered by each option. Look for features such as locking mechanisms or reinforced construction to protect your belongings.

7. Ventilation and Access: Consider ventilation and accessibility features. Determine if you need windows, vents, or access doors to easily retrieve items stored in the truck bed.

8. Weight and Payload: Assess the weight of each option and its impact on your truck's payload capacity. Choose an option that allows you to carry the necessary load without exceeding weight limits.

9. Aesthetic Appeal: Consider the overall appearance and style of each option. Choose one that enhances the look of your truck and complements its design.

10. Environmental Impact: Evaluate the environmental impact of the materials used in each option. Look for eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes if sustainability is important to you.


Whether you opt for a truck cap, topper, or camper shell ultimately depends on what you value most: costs, security, flexibility, durability, or space. 

Each option has its unique set of benefits tailored to different types of truck owners and their needs. 

Remember, investing in a quality product not only enhances your truck's function but also its value. 

WildTop understands this and is dedicated to providing quality options that meet your needs and exceed expectations. 

So, take the time to assess your requirements, and don't hesitate to reach out to our experts who can guide you in finding the perfect solution for your pickup truck.