Aluminum Truck Caps for Beginners
Work or play? Whatever you’re doing, you want to make sure your cargo is secure. A truck cap is ideal for most situations. Some people call them by different names, but they’re all basically the same thing. You might hear truck caps referred to as:
- Truck tops
- Bed toppers
- Camper shells
- Truck canopies
- Box shells
You get the point. Basically, truck caps are enclosed toppers for your pickup truck bed. They’re different from tonneau covers because they give a heightened enclosure, with a look similar to that of an SUV.
Truck toppers are used by anyone who wants to make more of the space their truck offers while keeping the contents secure and weatherproof. Particularly popular with construction workers, other professional tradespeople, and truck campers, classic aluminum toppers are many people’s quick and easy go-to truck accessory.
Well, they’re pretty simple and effective. They’re not the most beautiful thing, but hey, they get the job done. They’re a pretty durable cap and come in mid-rise, high-rise, and cab-high sizes. Aluminum truck caps are easy to install, and although some brands do vary, they usually just require some heavy-duty clamps.
If you’re in the market for an aluminum truck cap, stick around. Here’s what we’ll be covering:
The Great and Not-So-Great About Aluminum Truck Caps
- Aluminum is lightweight. They’re usually made to be aerodynamic and fitted to your particular truck model, so it’s better for mileage (compared to a deluxe commercial unit or fiberglass cap).
- It’s easy to repair a section if it gets damaged.
- They’re cheaper than fiberglass or commercial options. So, it’s a good choice if you don’t have a ton of spare cash lying around.
- They are easy to install and remove, which means your truck can still be used as a regular pickup truck when necessary.
- This one’s for us rough and tumble tree-huggers out there: the scrap material is recyclable.
- While a section of aluminum is easy to fix, it’s also pretty dang easy to dent. An aluminum truck cap might need regular repair with everyday use, especially if you’re driving in heavily wooded areas. Or… if you’re allergic to keeping your driveway trimmed back.
- They’re way more prone to leaks.
- They’re harder to keep clean, so they tend to age badly… which just means the resale value isn’t as high as fiberglass truck caps.
- Aluminum truck caps typically only come in white, black, and gray/silver. So you’ll have to fork over some extra cash to get a matching color.
- Without much insulation or ventilation, they tend to be hotter in summer and colder in winter. This could affect all your gear stored inside, and we just can’t be having that.
How Much Do Aluminum Truck Caps Go For?
So, how much are you looking at for an aluminum truck cap? Pricing will vary for all kinds of reasons, including the size of your truck bed, the size and type of topper, and the add-on features you choose. But let’s say the average price for a new truck cap with standard features is around $900 bucks.
However, if you’re a “buy once, cry once” kind of guy, factor in the price of:
- Any built-in storage or custom shelving
- Ladder racks
- Roof racks
- Tinted windows
- Custom hinges or t-handles
- That custom paint job you’re likely gonna need
That receipt might look a lot longer now. (Buy hey, you told your spouse you’re buying it for WORK, right?)
Where to Find Aluminum Truck Caps
These are some of the best manufacturers on the market. Check out what they offer and where they are located to find an authorized dealer near you. The advantage of buying new is that most come with at least a year warranty.
- Unicover has a full range of fully customizable truck cap options, available in 5 basic colors. A choice of sides (solid or various window options) as well as rear door access choices and a whole range of built-in storage options.
- Century has a good selection of rear door and side window options, storage and rack choices, and comes in 4 colors. (Two of them are white. We told you.)
- A.R.E. truck caps are fully customizable with value and reliability in mind. They’re sturdy and come with several window and rear door choices. Their aluminum choices are available in 3 color options.
- LEER has a few aluminum options that are all made to look good and reflect your personality, just like your truck. Fully customizable windows and rear doors and unique storage options combined with solid construction make them a popular choice.
- DECKED, while not technically a truck cap manufacturer, still provides the same storage, security, and organizational solutions as truck caps without presenting most of the problems that truck caps have. Made in the USA, DECKED is a modular, affordable, and 360-degree storage solution for your truck bed.
Secure Your Gear with DECKED
Now that we’ve covered the basics of aluminum truck caps, let’s take it one step further.
It’s time to add the DECKED Drawer System to your truck bed, too. DECKED drawers are custom-made to fit just about any truck, and you can still install a Drawer System even if you have a truck cap. (About 25% of DECKED users have both.)
DECKED with a truck cap
- You won’t have to climb in the truck bed at all. The drawers slide out to you at waist height, giving full access from the rear without wasting time getting in and out to find all your bits and pieces.
- If you go overlanding or truck camping often and sleep under your truck cap, it gives you a bigger, flat sleeping platform by covering your wheel wells.
- Keeps your equipment and gear secure, dry, and safe in any kind of weather.
- You don’t need a truck bed liner or extra shelving; just opt for our modular organization solutions.
- It keeps all the stuff you need access to easily accessible and organized in modular compartments, rather than floating around among the pile of things under your cap.
DECKED without a truck cap
All of the above still applies, but here are some added bonuses:
- DECKED keeps your gear secure and out of sight (does this better than a truck cap because you can’t actually see inside).
- Is not as expensive and comes with a 3-year warranty.
- You’ll never have to worry about it leaking, denting, or rusting. It keeps all of your gear fully protected and bone dry. Watch us put it to the ultimate test.
- You can still load bulky things like an ATV, fridge, or a bunch of plywood on top.
Aluminum truck caps are great if you’re on a tight budget and have the skills to carry out regular maintenance and repairs. They’re not going to weigh your vehicle down too much, but they will limit your truck’s flexibility (it’s that dang welded frame).
So, why not pick DECKED?
DECKED drawers have it all and will fit with any truck cap to provide a perfect streamlined setup.