A tonneau cover or a Camper shell, also known as a cap can be a great choice for securing the goods in your truck. Even though both of them make excellent solutions, it might be a bummer to choose one between them.
Tonneau vs Cap Gas Mileage
According to aerodynamics, an empty truck bed makes air drag due to its shape. A tonneau cover prevents the extra air resistance. Even though it may not seem significant, you can see a noticeable reduction in fuel consumption after a long period.
According to studies, one of the best ways to improve the truck’s fuel consumption is to attach a tonneau cover. Some studies show a tonneau cover can improve gas mileage by as much as 10% by reducing aerodynamic drag.
However, it’s unclear if a cap helps with better mileage or not. The shape is very less likely to help reduce gas consumption. If the cap/camper shell has a higher shape than your cab, it creates wind resistance which can result in lower fuel mileage.
Tonneau Cover vs Camper Shell
Here, we present you with some comparisons that might help you choose between them.
Tonneau covers are automobile equipment protection for the back of a pickup truck for securing the truck’s contents. They also add a sleek look and better aerodynamic shape.
Tonneau truck bed covers are made from various kinds of materials such as Molded ABS Plastic, Aluminum, Vinyl, Canvas, Fiberglass. They come in many styles and a variety of hard one-piece fiberglass covers, and even flip-up and roll-up covers. Some details of these covers are described below.
Roll-Up Covers come with a frame that attaches to the truck bed and requires no drilling. There are rear rail locks into the side framework that offer additional security when the vehicle equips with a locking tailgate. There are both soft and hard roll-up tonneau covers. Soft covers are generally made of vinyl fabric and tend to be budget-friendly and durable. Hardcovers are made with either plastic or lightweight metals like aluminum.
One-Piece Fiberglass Tonneau Covers
These are one-piece, durable, and good-looking covers that come with a secure locking system. These truck bed covers are light-weight, easy to install, and even easier to remove when you need true full-bed access. Allows you to store goods safely in your truck bed. However, they can limit the shape and size of any cargo that can be stored unless you completely remove the cover.
Canvas Tonneau Covers
Canvas covers deliver durable and lightweight protection. Canvas in a tonneau cover makes it heavy-duty. With a premium canvas tarp, the canvas covers offer easy to use folding design with smooth, sleek looks and unmatched durability. It has a fabric kind of texture.
Vinyl Tonneau Cover
Vinyl tonneau covers are one of the most popular, and available covers in the market. Crafted from marine-grade material, these tonneau covers come with excellent stitching work. Vinyl provides a durable layer of defense of your stored goods in rugged weather. Most rolling truck bed covers are made from vinyl.
Pros of Tonneau Covers
Tonneau covers provide great advantages for your truck.
- Security- Tonneau cover ensures the security of your truck. You may have to park or stop your vehicle several times and if you have goods or emergency items in the truck, you want to ensure their safety.
- Sleek Looks- A tonneau cover not only secures your goods but also adds an aesthetic appeal to your truck.
- Better Gas Mileage– As mentioned earlier, the tonneau cover adds aerodynamic shape to your truck which results in less air resistance and better mileage.
- Weather-resistance – A properly installed tonneau cover offers full weather resistibility, making it completely watertight. So, your goods are secured either it’s scorching heat or heavy rainstorms.
Cons of Tonneau Covers
A tonneau cover may cost you a few bucks and needs regular maintenance. Also, the shape of the cover can limit the space for storing goods.
On the other hand, camper shells are designed with a rear door opening upward and work as a fully functional storage option. These camper shells are available in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They’re usually made of either aluminum or fiberglass and most of them have windows.
Types of Camper Shell
Camper shells come in a variety of shapes, dimensions, and materials. Generally, camper shells are made from either aluminum or fiberglass. Fiberglass is the most common material for a camper shell. Fiberglass caps can be painted to match a truck’s factory color.
“Cab-hi” camper shells offer the same height as the truck cab. These are a popular choice and can look natural as the height adjusts perfectly.
There are walk-in or slide-in camper shells as well.
Pros of Camper Shell
Either you want to store your goods or make a mobile dog house, whatever the reason is, a shell above the truck bed makes it better. One of the pros are:
- Storage space- Camper shells offer more storage space than a tonneau cover as the height or size is much bigger. So, it’s a better option for storing larger objects.
- Durability- Camper shells are super durable, made to withstand any kind of difficulties.
- Aesthetic Appeal- A camper shell adds an aesthetic appeal, makes it blend with the truck.
- Weather-resistance- A camper shell is perfect weather-resistant for your goods. In any rugged climate or rainstorm, it provides great assistance.
Cons of Camper Shells
A camper shell has many windows which lower the security measures. Also, you need to remove the entire shell if you must carry anything that doesn’t fit through your door something too tall in height. If your cap/camper shell’s size is higher than your cab, it will create wind resistance, making negative effects on fuel economy.
Tacoma Tonneau vs cap
The top 10 Toyota Tacoma Tonneau cover model suggested by experts are:
- RetraxPro XR
- Tyger Auto T3
- Bak Revolver X2
- BakFlip MX4
- Extang Trifecta 2.O
- Rugged Liner E-Series Hard
- TruXedo Lo Pro
- Tonno Pro Soft Tri-Fold
- Undercover ArmorFlex
- Gator ETX Roll-Up
Some of the best multi-purpose camper shells are:
- Kimbo 6
- Scout Yoho 6.0
- Four-Wheel Camper Fleet
- AT Overland Summit
- Four-Wheel Camper Project M Topper
- Phoenix Mini-Max
If you just plan on just storing stuff and not hauling anything then a camper shell would be the right choice. Generally, the price of a camper shell can cost up to $3000. A good quality folding tonneau cover from Bakflip or Undercover Flex ranges from $700 to $1000. It’s a great option for hauling mulch since it doesn’t fly all over the highway.
Leer Camper Shell vs Snugtop Camper Shells
Both of the Leer camper shell and Snugtop camper shells are made out of fiberglass material. 31% tinted safety glass and coated with base clear coat paint.
Snugtops are quite a popular brand and serving customers for years. The parts are quite expensive to buy and replace. It got a fixed top window and carpet lined. Snugtops have buttons and knobs in the glass door. Snugtops are more west coast company.
On the other hand, Leer Camper Shell has the same type of rear door. The hinges of the door are not so necessarily strong, same as Snugtops. They provide a clamp ring on the inside. Leer is a nationwide company and provides service all over the US.
Are Leer Truck Caps as Waterproof as Snugtop Shells Are?
No truck caps are 100% waterproof, and can still potentially get some water inside in the upper bed corners usually. They’re made weather resistant but not weatherproof.
How Much Do They Cost?
Snugtops cost around $1,200-$1,800 (installed) depending on features. LEER 100XR camper shells starts at $1,859.
Tonneau Cover Pop up Camper
Pop-up campers are the most budget-friendly option available in the market for camping purposes. It’s much worth it if you only camp a few times per year rather than spending lots of money on a full-size travel trailer.
How Heavy Is a Camper Shell?
Most camper shells or caps weight made of fiberglass toppers are around 130-150 lbs.
Tonneau covers and camper shells both have their own pros and cons. Choose according to your own preference and usability.