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I’m considering getting a bed cap for my 2008 2500 HD (w/ the 8’ bed) so I can camp in it or put my dog in the back. I’d like to hear about the experiences of people that have them on their beds. Is the visibility out the back pretty bad? Can you still get up in the bed to move around cargo? Any advice?
 

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I got an aluminum one with barn doors so I do not have to crawl over the tail gate to get in and out. even though I only have the short helps immensely being older.
 

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I’m considering getting a bed cap for my 2008 2500 HD (w/ the 8’ bed) so I can camp in it or put my dog in the back. I’d like to hear about the experiences of people that have them on their beds. Is the visibility out the back pretty bad? Can you still get up in the bed to move around cargo? Any advice?
I have had many caps over the years. Current truck is a 2019 Silverado 2500 HD. I have been told by cap dealers that only dark tinted windows are available to the cap manufacturers. The dark tint in the tailgate window of the cap, combined with the dark tint in the back window of the truck, plus the dark tint in the front window of the cap, reduces visibility significantly as the driver is looking through several layers of dark tint. I have also been told by cap dealers that no matter who the cap manufacturer is, they pretty much all get the windows from one window maker, and they no longer produce clear glass windows. Whenever I want as clear rear vision as on an empty truck bed, I frequently remove the cap. I have absolutely hated my fiberglass caps in the past as they are too heavy to easily remove and replace. In addition, fiberglass caps have more material beneath the side windows which also harms rear vision the the sides. Aluminum caps tend to locate the windows closer to the top edge of the truck bed. I was lucky enough to find a small, independent truck cap maker who was able to produce an aluminum cap with nearly full view side windows, in clear glass, with the tailgate window in very light tint for the 2019 Silverado 2500. The combination of aluminum, clear full vision side windows, and light tint tailgate has the small but important details to give the best vision possible, and light enough weight to permit removal when it still gets on your nerves or when you need the open bed.
 

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2014 GMC Sierra Z71
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I have a 2014 Sierra double cab and recently put an old Leer 180 on it. Then I put a short Trac Rac on that for kayaks. I love the cap. Yes, the very back tailgate glass has a medium tint, my rear window has a light tint. But I dont thinkp that the "front" sliding glass of the cap is tinted. However the sides are. I dont really have much of a vision problem through it per se, but you do have to constantly be watchful compensating for it when backing.

Also, as trucks have developed, so have these caps. A cap for a 98 Ford may not sit right on an 08 chevy, even if they are both considered 8 foot beds. I was lucky, the 2007-2013 cap fit my next gen 2014 truck, but it's not quite the right fit.

Camping should be great, especially if you have industrial carpet on the inside of the cap itself to limit condensation and provide a bit of insulation and sound deadened. A pad or nice air mattress and a sleeping bag and you should have plenty of room in an 8 foot bed. It will still leak as there are gaps in the front corners of the bed itself and where the tailgate closes. These can be sealed with weather strip. Also, make sure to put weather stripping on the under side of the cap where it will be contacting your truck bed. That will help to seal out moisture and wind as well.

I dont like to keep my dog back there when on the highway, as it is not structural like the roof of a Tahoe or Suburban. I have a double cab so I have a Kurgo seat cover/ hammock and Scout the Thundah Beagle's harness hooks into the seatbelts receiver. If the back window of my truck had a slider, I might consider building a little shelf about where the top of a cross-over toolbox would go, so Scout could be secured at the belt in the back seat but wander into the shell and onto his shelf, and back into the cab. But my truck doesnt have a rear sliding window so that's a moot point. If I only had a regular cab truck, yeah, I would definitely insist on rear slider glass and build him out a nice shelf- bed and make it nice and sturdy, maybe frame it up a little boxy for structure, God forbid. But I wouldnt let him wander loose back there on the highway.

In terms of cargo, a couple weeks ago I loaded the back full of concrete blocks for a friend who was building a wall. Very heavy. Just about the limit the truck should take. The Leer 180 has a slight rise, a 4 inch rise over 4 inches back, then levels off. Its ceiling is about 4 inches taller than a cab-high. I'm 6 feet and I had to crouch and squat in there, stacking the blocks as my buddy took them off the pallet and put them on the tailgate. What was the alternative? If I didnt have the cap on I would I have dropped the blocks in over the side? Probably not. Too high and easy to scratch. But I wouldnt have had to crouch quite as low, and it wouldnt have gotten so hot in there. Obviously you are limited, you cant just toss things in the back with reckless abandon, gotta make sure they fit, etc. I had 2 1990's big K5 type Blazers, so I'm used to having the cargo covered anyway.

Overall, I like mine. Before I got it, we drove to Florida and back and our luggage got damp in a storm even though I wrapped it in a tarp and tied it down. This will keep the luggage and camp gear much more dry on the next road trip.

And the windows can display stickers of all the places you've been
 

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1998 S-10 LS ext cab, 4.3 Vortec 5spd M/T rwd
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I drove vans for thirty-nine years, where there IS no center rear view and NO rear window. Side mirrors are the only thing necessary for safe driving; IF you are a safe driver.
On an unrelated note, half a century ago, half a dozen of us would often take trips in a friend's Chevy pickup. He had built a plywood box on the bed that reached just a little above the cab; not enough room to stand, but sufficient to move around.
In that closed box we couldn't see anything, as there were no windows. But when traveling at night, there were sufficient pinholes that we could see what we were passing projected on the interior; backwards and upside down. :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies. Good Information from those with experience. I'm still researching the idea and exploring local suppliers. I may go talk w/ them in person, maybe sit in a truck with a cap.
 

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2014 GMC Sierra Z71
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My last 2 trucks were 90's k1500 Blazers 5.7's and I loved having everything covered. Every now and then I wished it was open so I could fit a fridge or something.

When I got this 14 Sierra, it had a soft tonneau. Looked nice but way too easy to take what you want. Out of sight but not hard to lift or cut it. Nothing was remotely secure.

So I went with a diamond deck cross to box. I really like this for trucks. Lockable storage, utilitarian.

Then I wanted to go back to my covered storag when I knew I'd be driving out west.

Rockne is right, though. I've also driven vans and commercial vehicles with no back window. You rely a little more on your mirrors. But this isnt even like that. You have the windows. They just are a little less clear at night but work fine
 

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I was staying out of this discussion because I had nothing to add. I've never used a camper top; but reading about the window tint and I kept wanting to say I don't use the rear window to reverse.
Then, after reading @rockne10 's post, I realized why I use the mirrors; same reason, I learned to reverse in a van using the mirrors; and when the kids were home we had a travel trailer.
Sure, I use the rearview to look through the rear glass; but I'd be perfectly comfortable if it wasn't there.
The beauty of using the side mirrors is that it allows you to get into a spot with less than an inch of clearance.
@trackbird , I would encourage you to use the mirrors, you'll love the ease that they add to backing.
 

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I have had many caps over the years. Current truck is a 2019 Silverado 2500 HD. I have been told by cap dealers that only dark tinted windows are available to the cap manufacturers. The dark tint in the tailgate window of the cap, combined with the dark tint in the back window of the truck, plus the dark tint in the front window of the cap, reduces visibility significantly as the driver is looking through several layers of dark tint. I have also been told by cap dealers that no matter who the cap manufacturer is, they pretty much all get the windows from one window maker, and they no longer produce clear glass windows. Whenever I want as clear rear vision as on an empty truck bed, I frequently remove the cap. I have absolutely hated my fiberglass caps in the past as they are too heavy to easily remove and replace. In addition, fiberglass caps have more material beneath the side windows which also harms rear vision the the sides. Aluminum caps tend to locate the windows closer to the top edge of the truck bed. I was lucky enough to find a small, independent truck cap maker who was able to produce an aluminum cap with nearly full view side windows, in clear glass, with the tailgate window in very light tint for the 2019 Silverado 2500. The combination of aluminum, clear full vision side windows, and light tint tailgate has the small but important details to give the best vision possible, and light enough weight to permit removal when it still gets on your nerves or when you need the open bed.
My buddy is highly considering a cap for his Silverado. He prefers a tinted though but not that dark. Going to look one after we finished installing the parts from napa and 4Wheelonline this week.
 

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I have a cab-height fiberglass cap from the early 90s with lightly tinted windows. It also has a sliding front window that corresponds to my '89 GMC K1500 rear window slider. The side and rear views are good but for one thing. There is a tremendous amount of reflection at certain times of the day which makes visibility poor through the cap's windows. Really like having the security of a cap and the passenger side window is full-length and pivots upwards for good accessibility. The driver's side window is screened and slides open.
 

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Except for 1 window (front of cap, meaning right behind our rear windows), this is the same as any K5 Blazer. Old hat here
 
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