Pickup trucks are one of the most, if not the most versatile vehicles ever invented. The truck bed feature stands apart from other vehicle types because you can easily haul using it. But, the bed's lacking a cover to protect your load is where the addition of a truck cap comes in. So you might wonder how much a truck cap weighs; can you vehicle sustain one? In this article, we have researched truck cap weights, and this is what we found.
Branded truck caps or toppers, whether canvas or fiberglass, can typically weigh anywhere between 170 to 200 lbs, but this can still depend on design as some are even lighter. The truck's bed size (short or long bed) is another factor to weigh in. Cap weight also depends on the brand or manufacturer that creates them.
Interested to learn more about truck caps? Continue reading as we discuss other matters about the subject, such as pros and cons, registration for truck caps, air drag on tailgates, and more. We will also be suggesting other related articles at the end of this write-up, so go on and finish reading.
How heavy are truck caps?
Truck caps are lighter than they look; some can be very lightweight, especially if they are only make-shift ones. There are also more rigid designs comprised of several retractable sheets that fold or are even removable. Others offer roll-up designs
The more common cap constructions are rubber and fiberglass ones that seemingly make a pickup truck look like an SUV as it fully encloses the entire truck bed.
Now the weight of these truck caps is intentionally and specifically designed to be as light as possible. This is because since it is not a stock part of the car, it contributes to the payload capacity.
Let's say, for example, that your truck's payload is rated at 3,000 lbs and your truck cap weight at around 150 lbs; the weight of the topper is automatically deducted from the overall payload capacity of your vehicle. This gives you now only 2,850 lbs worth of load.
You would still have to factor in yourself and passengers (if any) to share the remainder of your payload capacity. If you pile heavy cargo on your truck, chances are you will be overloaded, especially if you will not be weighing your hauls.
What are truck caps for?
There are plenty of reasons why truck caps are installed in pickup trucks. It depends on the intention of the owner. Some owners use it for utility and purpose, while some just like its aesthetic and style. Others try to install toppers just for the heck of it.
Meanwhile, for utility reasons, truck caps serve as primary cover for the item or load that you are covering in the back of your truck.
The one thing that separates pickup trucks from other vehicles is their open truck bed design. This gives you more space for cargo, especially vertically. It also adds more towing and payload power as lesser weight is at its rear for the lack of roofing and other accessories that SUVs and sedans have at their rear.
But this design can also be one of the disadvantages for pickup trucks. This exposes the cargo to the elements and lacks security compared to hauling things at the back of a fully roofed vehicle and closed rear access.
Uncovered cargo can be subject to theft if left on the bed of your truck. Some cargo requires covering due to sensitivity to rain, wind, or direct sunlight.
Luggage that contains clothes and other personal essentials needs to be protected from the weather, especially on long interstate drives, as weather can be pretty unpredictable.
A truck bed cap makes your pickup truck look like an extended SUV with a very long cargo bed for your load. Although some don't like the aesthetics of it, their functionality and utility are undeniable, especially if they really work well for you.
Can passengers ride in a truck bed with truck caps
Different laws apply in different states. Some states do not have any provision for passengers being on the truck bed, while some completely disallow this practice. Here is the list of states that do not have any laws regarding passengers on truck beds.
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
The laws in some states do allow you to carry passengers in the bed of your truck, granted that you follow some of their provisions. An example is in Colorado, where you can ride on the truck bed as long as there is some type of covering. This makes a truck cap very handy.
While in states like Florida, Connecticut, Nevada, and Georgia have age restrictions on whom can only board a moving truck on its bed and be a passenger (16 for Connecticut while 18 for the rest of the states mentioned).
Pros and Con of truck caps
Truck caps are amazing pieces of equipment used in a variety of ways. Its multiple benefits are cargo protection, additional anti-theft, and in some instances, even privacy.
But its main pro use is serving as a truck bed. This gives you a lot of flexibility with the things that you can do and store on your truck bed with it being covered.
Camping can be made easier as you can lay on your truck bed, and with your truck cap, it can protect you from the sun, rain, and even insects and animals.
Some disadvantages include the added weight, which can translate to poor gas mileage. This is because the engine would have to work harder due to the additional load. Another one is space. With a truck cap, the vertical space of your truck becomes limited as it covers over your bed.
When you decide to not use it, you would need to provide some space where you can store the topper properly. If you have a small garage or parking space, it would be a challenge.
Do you need to register truck caps or camper shells?
In states like California, campers need to be registered. A truck cap can be constituted as a camper if it will be used for human habitation. So if you plan on using your truck cap as a makeshift tent or sleeping quarter like in an RV, then you would need to register it.
Now it depends on which state you live in; if provisions say that you need to register your topper, then register it to avoid any problems with the law. This is one way of avoiding any hassle if ever you encounter a checkpoint with authorities.
Laws regarding registration of car accessories like truck caps, racks, and sometimes even external fog lights vary from state to state. It is best to check in with your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle) to make sure that you are not disregarding laws.
Truck caps vs. tonneau covers: which is better?
Tonneau covers are significantly smaller, cheaper, and easier to install compared to a truck cap. It offers good protection for cargo as well but allows much less space compared to a topper.
Tonneau covers lay flat on the top of your truck bed, meaning that all of your cargo needs not to be taller than the side of your truck bed, or else you won't be able to close your tonneau cover.
You can even camp in your truck cap, but with tonneau covers you cannot as you could only fit in your truck bed by laying down just to access it.
But one great feature of tonneau covers is their lightness. Compared to toppers, they are far more light and with this, they are more fuel-efficient. They also offer better aerodynamics as they close the gap between the cab and the truck bed, where air can cause drag when it enters as you drive.
Click here to see tonneau covers on Amazon.
Do tailgates cause drag?
The belief about driving with your tailgate open to reduce drag is a myth and is wrong. According to a study, lowering down your tailgate as you drive is disastrous for the car's wind resistance; it does not promote any positive wind effect. An open tailgate causes more air to come to the bed, causing wind resistance instead of slicing through it.
Truck caps are purposely built to be light, as the lighter it is, the better. They offer a ton of advantages, from cargo protection to even aesthetic purposes. They can also allow you to carry passengers on the bed of your truck. It provides many utilities for owners and can provide aesthetic features as well that truck lovers appreciate.
Here are some previous readings that we have written for you to consume. Go ahead and check them out.
What Half-Ton Trucks Have The Best Towing Capacity?
What does Payload Capacity actually mean in a Pickup Truck?
10 Best Silverado Bed Covers (Special Edition for Chevy Trucks Fans!)