Are Truck Bed Caps Universal [And Interchangeable]?

If you consider putting a bed cap on your truck for your next camping adventure, you may be curious, is it universal? And if you want a specific bed cap that's attached to another truck, can you interchange it with yours? We researched for substantial answers, and here is what we found.

Unfortunately, truck bed caps are not universal. The good news is that they are interchangeable. But, there are still considerations you need to watch out for. 

Read on as we elaborate on the said considerations, including how much truck caps cost. Additionally, we'll discuss used truck bed caps—if you can reuse them, and what things you should consider before buying one. We'll also give you a brief guide on how to install truck bed caps.

Cargo bed in Isuzu pick-up truck all new isuzu dmax 2022 orange metallic, Are Truck Bed Caps Universal [And Interchangable]?

What Are The Factors To Consider In Choosing The Best Truck Bed Cap For You?

These are the factors you need to keep in mind before choosing what bed cap to use for your truck:

1. Truck Compatibility

close up view of a car pick up truck bed on the side

Truck caps are available in various forms and sizes to fit every style and length of pickup truck bed.

Make sure to verify the manufacturer's specifications for each truck cap design to see whether it will work with the style and length of your truck bed.

You will experience several leakages and fit issues with your canopy if you choose to utilize a cap that isn't designed to fit on your tailgate.

2. Windows

Flap on the side of a pick-up truck canopy, which should be opened when driving on dusty roads to prevent dust being sucked inside.

Your camping trip might be made or broken by the truck cap's ventilation system. Cool air will enter your topper through one or two sliding windows. If your truck topper camping unit has a side wing window, you can use it to access the truckbed while standing outside the vehicle.

To reduce heat, promote privacy, and protect your camping equipment from prying eyes, you can also install a dark ceramic tint on your windows.

More windows will increase the amount of natural light, but more blackout curtains will be needed to keep the light out while you sleep.

3. Security

Security is one of the main reasons why people buy caps for their trucks. A cap offers a useful line of protection against having your belongings stolen, but there are other security-related factors to take into consideration.

The cap frequently locks, but you may assess the security of the locks by comparing various kinds. If you get a cap with windows, the locks for the windows are an additional essential security element. Tinting the windows will also be beneficial in preventing anyone from figuring out what you are carrying.

Click here for this truck cap lock on Amazon!

4. Truck Cap Material

It's crucial to safeguard yourself from the weather because rain, wind, and snow are always a possibility. That's why choosing the right material for your truck cap matters.

Due to its resilience in the face of extreme weather, aluminum canopies are currently the most popular option.

5. Truck's Load Capacity

pick up truck cargo bed open on the middle of the desert

Take your existing truck to a commercial truck scale to find out the exact weight of the vehicle if you plan to utilize it as a camper. You can determine the remaining carrying and/or towing capacities using that information combined with the truck capacity information.

To assist consumers with determining the manufactured capacity of the truck, truck manufacturers supply them with several ratings. Some of these ratings can be found in the driver's side door jam, the glove box's label, the owner's handbook, or in other written materials.

In general, toppers weigh between 170 and 200 pounds, with shorter beds weighing less and longer beds weighing more.

6. Usability

silver pick up on the car parking lot showing cargo bed

Whatever you're hauling in the back of your vehicle, you should choose a cap that makes it simple to get your cargo out.

For instance, if you're carrying several minor goods that you could reach through a window, side windows can be a helpful feature. If you need to collect something, doing this might be preferable to opening the cap's back, dropping the tailgate, and then attempting to climb through the truck's bed.

Some caps can also be installed with movable shelves, making it easier for you to get what you need.

6. Cost

The majority of modern truck canopies cost a lot of money. However, you may purchase a secondhand one for a reasonable price.

How Much Does A Truck Bed Cap Cost?

all new nissan navara goes off road trail white metallic paint

When installed, a new truck cap costs between $1200 and $1800. So it is a wise investment if you have extra cash. If you choose to purchase one, bear in mind that the bed liner and the topper can be sold or used again if you decide to buy another truck.

A used truck can cost anything from $50 to $500, or if you're lucky, you can get one for nothing. But be prepared to spend money on things like repainting, fixing gas window struts, and resealing windows.

Additionally, remember to get the truck cap measurements before purchasing any used ones to make sure they fit your truck bed.

Is It Alright To Install A Used Truck Bed Cap?

If you are on a tight budget, then you can install a used one! A used truck cap has all of the same advantages as a new one but costs a fraction of the price, which is fantastic!

Usually, it takes a month for a new truck cap to be specially made for your truck after you purchase it. This is okay for some people, but for individuals who require their vehicle cap immediately, a used cap would be the quicker choice.

However, given that they're used, you need to watch out for these things before getting one:

  • edge chips and corner spider cracks;
  • proper bottom seal;
  • dry rot on window seals;
  • bumps indicating a repaired crack or hole;
  • truck bed fit; and
  • window screens.

Additionally, here are some tips that might be useful when you decide to get a used truck bed cap:

  • It may not be cost-effective if the shell is damaged.
  • Truck beds, particularly more modern ones, aren't always rectangular; they could be narrower in the back than in the front.
  • The fit may occasionally be made more difficult by the shape of the rails, the cab, and the tailgate.

How To Install A Truck Bed Cap

orange colored nissan navara cargo bed pick up

Make sure to choose a truck bed cap that meets your demands before installing one. You'll need to take a few preliminary measurements before installing it. It'll be easier to move forward after making sure that the new cap and the bed of your truck are the same size.

Preliminary Process

To get the dimensions you need for your truck bed cap, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Start by measuring the length of your truck's bed. Place your measuring tape at the top of your truck bed's bulkhead. Measure from the inside edge of the top of your tailgate along your bed rail. Write down your measurements in inches. Then divide it by 12 to get the measurement in feet.
  2. Then, use the measuring tape to measure the width of your vehicle bed and note that value as well.
  3. Measure from the top of your bed to your truck's tallest point in the middle if you want your truck cap to be flush with the top of the truck.

Click here for this measuring tape on Amazon!

Installation Process

After that, you can now begin the installation process:

  1. Start lowering the cap onto the bed of your truck. It is highly recommended that you get the help of a helper for this phase because your new camper shell is likely to be quite substantial.
  2. Once your truck cap and bed are exactly aligned, use a socket set and six C-clamps to securely clamp it in place. Make sure to firmly clamp both the shell's sides, as well as all four of its corners, to avoid the shell abruptly breaking apart.
  3. Last but not least, reinstall your tailgate and test the strength of your newly installed shell by exerting some pressure. If it doesn't budge, then you're good to go!

Click here for this C-clamp on Amazon!

In Conclusion

Cargo bed in Isuzu pick-up truck all new isuzu dmax 2022 orange metallic

Although truck bed caps aren't universal, they can be interchangeable. However, some major factors to consider before choosing any truck bed cap are the truck's compatibility and load capacity, windows, security, cap material, usability, and cost.

Luckily, you can save money by buying and installing a used truck bed cap! Just remember the tips mentioned above before deciding to get one.

If you enjoyed this post, you can check out these other articles here:

What Trucks Have A 6 Foot Bed? 

How Big Is The Bed Of A Nissan Frontier?