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Alu-Cab Contour as a Sleep-In Camper Shell?

Discussion in 'Tonneau Covers, Caps and Shells' started by SoullessGinger, Aug 30, 2023.

  1. Aug 30, 2023 at 12:17 PM
    #1
    SoullessGinger

    SoullessGinger [OP] New Member

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    Haven't bought it yet. Currently reserved.
    Tldr; Have you used the Alu-Cab Contour as a camper you sleep in (no RTT)? Is it a good idea and is there any advice you'd give about it?

    Hello all! Newbie Tacoma buyer here that's switching over from an F-150 that should probably be put out to pasture at this point.

    A little background: I've decided to get 2023 TRD OR DCLB and have a reservation on one currently. I originally was going to go with a ACLB, but those are pretty hard to come by now. I'm a bit worried about the newness of the 2024 powertrain which led me to pull the trigger now on a 2023. I'd like to have something more reliable even if it's a little less powerful and/or fuel efficient.

    I've been busy dreaming of all the mods I can get for my new truck, but the first one I want to start out with is a shell that I can sleep in. It's one of the reasons I'm getting a long bed. I don't want to add the weight of a RTT and sometimes you might not want to announce you're sleeping in your vehicle. Currently, I plan on camping in it on climbing and surfing trips, so nothing too crazy. I want to be able to throw all my gear in there and have room to expand some non-essential amenities in the future.

    I've looked at a lot of options and I really like the Alu-Cab Contour because of the light weight and style. It is designed more as a secure storage system it seems, with no ability to open from the inside and limited weather sealing. So I wanted to see who here uses it as a camper and how you set it up. Is there something else I should be looking at for what I want to use it for? I'm mainly trying to keep the total weight down since payload quickly becomes an issue (plus it looks badass).
     
    Nightsky22, apreston1 and Thunderball like this.
  2. Sep 18, 2023 at 10:24 PM
    #2
    GRIZZLIES

    GRIZZLIES Member

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    I just bought and installed the Contour and might camp inside it once before winter comes. I'll come back to this thread when I do.

    Did you look at other options? It's really expensive from where I'm from and my initial reaction is that maybe I should've just bought something cheaper and used the extra money for another accessory.

    FWIW it does look badass and I've seen multiple used RSI smartcap on FB market recently but no Contour.
     
  3. Sep 19, 2023 at 7:30 AM
    #3
    SoullessGinger

    SoullessGinger [OP] New Member

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    Haven't bought it yet. Currently reserved.
    I've looked at other options for both fiberglass and the direct competitors of the Contour (RSI, RLD, and GFC). Like I mentioned in the OP, I wanted to go with the Contour because of the light weight (I think it's about 50-70 lbs less than a fiberglass) and looks. I have heard there seems to be consistency issues with either the RSI or RLD.

    I've thought about the GFC topper. I know those can be opened from the inside and it's about the same weight. But damn if it doesn't look like you put a black Lego on the back of the truck to me. They just seem so boxy.

    I could do a soft topper, but I'm a bit worried about it being too easy to slash open and get gear. I know nothing will stop someone who wants to get in, but that definitely lowers the barrier in terms of risk/reward.

    It's definitely easier and cheaper to find a fiberglass shell. And I'd like to get a TopperEzLift with it but not sure of the compatibility with these aluminum toppers. But with the DCLB, my payload is limited and it'll be a while and a lot of savings before I can do anything to the suspension. Things to think about I guess.

    For your Contour, once the outside latches are closed (but unlocked) can you flip the latch from the inside or is it secure until you press the button on the outside latch?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2023
  4. Sep 19, 2023 at 7:33 AM
    #4
    mrtonyd

    mrtonyd Well-Known Member

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    i have one on order and was hoping to sleep in it some nights in the winter. summer will be a rtt since the bed will most likely be filled with toys and stuff. winter will be a lot less gear. i sure hope i can open it from the inside. we'll see.

    if not, i think there are replacement locks you can get and swap them out with. not ideal, but a solution
     
  5. Sep 19, 2023 at 9:48 AM
    #5
    GRIZZLIES

    GRIZZLIES Member

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    From what I can tell with a quick check, no you can't open it if the latches are closed. When I'm sleeping inside, I plan on holding the panels with a paracord. That way I can "open from the inside" and just pop the tailgate.

    Here are some of the things I've found to be annoying or concerning after using it for a few days.
    Note: I have AC 6ft bed. This is my first ever truck and canopy so some issues might be found in all other canopies or specific to my model.

    1. You can't shoulder check. With my ACLB I have to peak through the back window to properly shoulder check but the canopy completely blocks it. I'm going to have to add a new side mirror now.
    2. I don't think this is designed to be winter or rain camping. Mine didn't come with latch covers and I can see how it can freeze overnight and block access. The roof is bare as well so I'm concerned about the rain noises (will test this out later).
    3. The locks are annoying as hell. They're not consistent if up or down key position is locked or not. I find myself retrying key positions more often than using a USB 2.0.
    4. There's a weird lighting trick where your middle monitor bounces off the additional back glass and you can clearly see it in your rear view mirror. I find it annoying.
    Like I said, not sure if points like 1) occurs with other canopies so hopefully others can chime in.
     
  6. Sep 20, 2023 at 8:03 AM
    #6
    SoullessGinger

    SoullessGinger [OP] New Member

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    Haven't bought it yet. Currently reserved.
    I know they make latch covers for them and from what I've seen, they're really good at keeping the latches from freezing up. Probably a must have if you're doing a lot of winter camping.

    I've already planned on getting blindspots mirrors. Tacoma mirrors seem pretty small coming from a full sized pickup.

    I think the main worry is that someone could shut the latches from the outside and lock you in, on accident or otherwise. Probably not a concern that it could happen if you're out in the wilderness or campsite, but could be troublesome if you're stealth camping somewhere.
     
  7. Sep 20, 2023 at 8:06 AM
    #7
    SoullessGinger

    SoullessGinger [OP] New Member

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    Haven't bought it yet. Currently reserved.
    If you have a link or run across one for those replacement locks, let me know. I'd be interested in that as a solution. I haven't run across that while searching, but I'll give it another shot.
     
  8. Sep 20, 2023 at 8:08 AM
    #8
    mrtonyd

    mrtonyd Well-Known Member

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  9. Dec 13, 2023 at 9:31 PM
    #9
    Thunderball

    Thunderball Well-Known Member

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    Hey, anyone try winter camping/sleeping in their contour canopy yet? Any feedback?
     
    WVLungbuster likes this.
  10. Jan 9, 2024 at 11:24 PM
    #10
    PCHWoods

    PCHWoods Active Member

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    I did. Lots of condensation, but nothing fell on me during the night. I have a Contour 5' w/out windows and a short bed so I use a DAC tent extension that lets me stretch out my mattress over the tailgate. I got the mid size version although I can only find the full size version when I search Amazon now. DAC Full - Size Truck Tent for Tailgate https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007WT1GYQ
    My current setup works great for me so I've never slept in the canopy all shut closed.
     
    Thunderball[QUOTED] likes this.
  11. Jan 10, 2024 at 7:27 PM
    #11
    Thunderball

    Thunderball Well-Known Member

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    Nice! thanks for the info.! I have a 6' contour w/o windows on order. I'm anxious to see how it'll do with all sides shut
     
  12. Jan 10, 2024 at 11:28 PM
    #12
    PCHWoods

    PCHWoods Active Member

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    I recommend a BedRug as well. It's tough and adds a needed final touch that makes experience feel nice and cozy.
     
    Thunderball[QUOTED] likes this.

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