No one can deny that a pick-up truck is a must-have for the hunter, camper, farmer, service tech and avid do-it-yourselfer. Problem is, the budget might dictate only one vehicle to accomplish a variety of tasks. One pickup can become a workhorse, provided you dress it right. The right outfit is the key to gleaning the benefits of having your own camper shells.

Consider the lowly truck cap, a low-profile affair that fits snugly into the cavity of the pick-up truck bed. The cap offers easy and secure attachment, a lockable door to allow access to the stuff in the truck bed, and usually sports operable windows to allow for ventilation on hot days. A cap can provide the means for rustic camping, comfortably fit with an air mattress. It provides adequate room for a cooler and fishing gear, as well as offering a wide platform for securing a canoe on top.

The cap can likewise protect building supplies trucked home by the do-it-yourselfer. The farmer can transport bags of seed that need to stay dry, or tools for repairing equipment while working in the fields. The hunter can fit the truck bed with cages to accommodate his furry hunting companions, or the service tech might have drawers and bins installed to hold necessary replacement parts.

A step up from the cap is an in-bed camper. This fits wholly within the truck bed, allowing the tailgate to be closed. Since the camper is higher than a cap, it allows for standing upright once inside. Some campers are designed with a bunk portion that extends forward over the cab of the pick-up, making space to sleep one or two people. Other designs may bevel the leading edge instead, to allow wind flowing over the truck cab to be diverted over the camper. Yet other types incorporate special house-peak shapes that allow for standing in a central corridor while bunk areas, equipment or animals are held in appropriate bins or cages to each side.

In-bed campers have a rear access door and can be fit with a sink, sparse cupboard space, a tiny refrigerator, and a table with padded benches that converts to a bed. Bunk rails can also be installed over this bed area to accommodate suspended cots for sleeping small children. The perfect short-term cabin, campers need only a fairly level spot to drop down the stabilizers before getting on to business. They can be powered with propane or electricity, and accept and store water.

The in-bed camper’s big cousin, the full camper, offers a lot of the same amenities, and more. The back of the full camper extends out past the limits of the pick-up bed and cantilevers over the rear bumper. This translates into an additional one to two feet of length, and a wider stance of the camper overall. The truck bedside rails help the bed to carry the weight of this larger camper, adding more room for amenities such as a furnace, bathroom, larger refrigerator and integrated holding tanks for water and waste.

The ultimate option is the installation of a fifth-wheel hitch into the bed of the pickup to transform it into a traveler’s dream complete with everything. For the auto enthusiast or the sports fan, the professional horseman and the avid hunter, a fifth-wheel camper can be whatever you want it to be. Whatever the budget, camper shells are the means to stretch one vehicle to fulfill a lot of needs. Camper shells save money, simply by eradicating the expense of owning too many vehicles.

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