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What is the Best Camper Shell?

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Old 12-06-2010, 08:16 PM   #1
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What is the Best Camper Shell?

I just bought a 2003 Xtra Cab Black with the TRD off road package. My next move is to buy a camper shell. Based on my research and reading across many forums, it sounds like ARE is the way to go all around (but you do pay for it) Does anyone have any suggestions? I dont necessarily want the most expensive. But i am DEFINITELY concerned about security of the storage, and i plan to sleep in the back often. Leakage and paint quality are also of concern. What do you guys think?
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:37 PM   #2
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interested as well
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:38 PM   #3
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Look on Craigslist. There are tons of shells for Xtra Cabs. Most people will say A.R.E. or Leer.
I just got an A.R.E. I think it's a CX model, don't know for sure. Great so far, fits perfect. Haven't even had enough time to paint it yet.
Got mine for $300.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:39 PM   #4
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Leer makes a pretty good product, its a little pricey though.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:40 PM   #5
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And about locking the shell; I had to buy a new lock because the guy who I bought it from lost the key. It was about 20 bucks for everything. I always have mine locked, just a habit. No problems yet.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:43 PM   #6
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YellowDog, are you going to paint it yourself or have it painted? How much does that cost?
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:44 PM   #7
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I did tons of research and decided to go with century. It's owned by leer, comes with headliner, light, sliding windows, and no drilling standard. Plus lifetime paint. I was going to do leer or a.r.e but for the price/ quality I couldn't beet the century. I had a Leer 100r next to a snugtop and the century and by far the century was the best quality and had the most features.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pidro_el_pirata View Post
YellowDog, are you going to paint it yourself or have it painted? How much does that cost?
I had it quoted at $200 for a professional paint job. Going to wait a little bit before I paint it, I don't mind it right now. I think paint to do it yourself is 85 bucks or so.

Plus, I might be selling my truck in a year to get another Tacoma.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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Just bought a SnugTop Hi-Liner model. Great fit and paint. Headliner, slider windows with sliding screens, interior 12v light and drop-down front window (needed if you want to clean the rear window of cab and front cap glass) were included in the price. $1440 out the door. SnugTop offers cupons on its web site (unlike Leer) that saved me $100. Leer dealer here quoted me $1545 for similar cap (180 model), but an extra $105 for headliner and $85 to install. And tax on top of all that! I requested a quote via Leer web site, but never got a reply. I did get an email from Leer (after I'd ordered the Snuggie) offering $100 or $150 cupon and free headliner. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:11 PM   #10
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I got my ARE off craigslist for $300, it's a pretty nice shell, and it has a locking handle.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:12 PM   #11
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I have a Century that came with my truck. I think it looks great, even better than some A.R.E's. Its rock solid fit wise, doesn't leak at all, and the locking mechanism also seems very solid. I have some pictures of it on my profile. I sleep in it all the time, and would highly recommend it.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YellowDog01 View Post
And about locking the shell; I had to buy a new lock because the guy who I bought it from lost the key. It was about 20 bucks for everything. I always have mine locked, just a habit. No problems yet.
Where did you get the locks replaced or buy the parts to replace them? I have the same problem.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:39 AM   #13
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We have an A.R.E. Dealer hee in town.
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:54 AM   #14
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I think you will be fine with either an ARE or a LEER. If you can buy it used consider it. You will save a ton of cash. If you buy it new, find a dealer that you can trust to stand behind his sale.

I bought a new ARE "Z" series. Check out the search thread, you can read a ton of info. I have had absolutely no issues with my ARE "Z" series during ownership sp far. I would have considered looking at a snug top, but no local dealers.






GL
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:24 AM   #16
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a r e
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:08 PM   #18
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Right now I'm on my 4th Toyota Pick up. I should be picking up my 5th this weekend. I've had 3 Leers and an ARE Z series on this last one. They were all fine but I really like the ARE. Nice crank outs instead of sliders and frameless windows with a center rear latch. A real clean look, and the inside has a nice liner instead of the unfinished fiberglass.
I like it so much I'm thinking about having it repainted and installed on my new truck.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:35 PM   #19
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I've got a tacoma with a 6.1' bed and looking for a used cap. Anyone know what other makes/models that would have the same fit?
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:39 PM   #20
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Canvas is cool

Locks only keep honest people out. If they want what's in your bed they'll get it lock or not and destroy your shell in the process. With that in mind, I ran a Softopper on my 1999 reg. cab for over five years and it was one of the best additions to the truck I made in the 14 years I owned it. It didn't survive the recent wreck, however, so one of the first additions I made to my new 2013 reg. cab was another Softopper. They weigh 35 pounds, are pretty much waterproof, can be folded forward or taken off and carried away in one hand in just a couple of minutes. I did a lot of camping in my 99 and always stayed warm and dry. When it was hot out I just rolled up the sides and back. Well worth the $650.
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