View Full Version : Older and Wiser minds please chime in!

11-25-2011, 02:17 PM
Howdy!! I just returned from a trip out to high desert country in western Texas and had a great time with my Tacoma and my lady and our pup.

We packed out stuff (both clothes and food) in Tupperware's, and strapped them down in the bed of the truck. I have a RTT that sits on a rack above the bed.

Our stuff got covered in dust!! It also is a PIA to get the bins out from under the tent when it is set up.

So, here is the quandary. How do I solve the issue of wanting more dust free space. I have a cap for my truck, but it isn't strong enough to hold the RTT and us. I also worry that the tent would be rather high up and destroy our mileage.

So... Those of you with Tacoma's, how do you travel and keep your goods clean? Is this simply one of the speed bumps in the road with a truck?

Did any of you run into the same issue and then change vehicles? A drawer system in the Land Cruisers look pretty sweet right now...

I am ready to really start modifying the vehicle but don't want to put good money into the truck to simply turn around and sell it for a closed body vehicle.(FJ, 4runner, Land Cruiser)


Current setup.

11-25-2011, 02:34 PM
Would the tent and rack that you have now fit under a Softopper? If not, could a custom canvas cover/top be built to cover the back and keep most of the dirt out?
I considered that route. In the end I went to an offroad trailer.

11-25-2011, 02:36 PM
I had that issue a bit with my old Tacoma, but a fiberglass canopy solved that issue except for your RTT you could put some sort of lumber rack that rides on the side rails and goes up and over the canopy. The other option is a trailer, the bad is you have to tow it the good is all of your camping junk and RTT are ready to just hitch up and go.

Now having the 4Runner it is nice having most of my stuff under one roof with the weather we get up here, but I still have my trailer for camping just so I don't have to tote a tent around up top for mpg reasons.

11-25-2011, 02:40 PM
There is a member on the site here with a Tacoma with a cap on it same height as the roof line, and he has a Maggiolina tent like mine on it.


You could also go with a CanBack topper with a frame that can support the tent like these two did.
I forget who owns the Red Tacoma, but the white one was Wil's of Sierra Expedition.



If I had a Tacoma, I would go with the CanBack top with the tent on it.

All your gear will stay dust free.

11-25-2011, 03:18 PM
Double wrap the stuff. Using either large Rubbermaids, rooftop Cargo carrier (soft or hard), or a custom drawer system. I use Rubbermaid action packers, and try to double wrap things up inside. Everything stays dry, but dust does get in. The advantage to them, is they can be rearranged for different circumstances (firewood, fuel, garbage and for tailgate living. Having said this, if I had the bucks, I'd go with the canback style softopper. If you keep your sleeping bags in quality stuff sacks, they should keep clean.

11-25-2011, 04:22 PM
Are Canbacks still being made for short bed tacomas?

11-25-2011, 04:43 PM
+1 for Can-Back if you're satisfied with an RTT as your sleeping solution. The Can-Back is a really high-quality product although the company's business efficiency doesn't always inspire confidence. I had great service before and after the sale but others have not. Anyways, my Can-Back fared all weather conditions (dust, snow & rain) really well and was more than adequate with four cross bars to support a Technitop RTT, my wife, daughter and our dog. I had plans to add a roof rack to the two forward crossbars before we decided a truck camper was a better fit for us.

Here's a link to some photos of my set-up.


11-25-2011, 04:51 PM
Are Canbacks still being made for short bed tacomas?
I have a used Softopper (http://www.softopper.com) for a double cab. Picked it up from a member here. I bought it as parts for mine and sold my truck. It is complete and in good shape. I'd let it go CHEAP.

11-25-2011, 04:55 PM
if i was you ...i would get a flippack ?think thats it ...the tent in the camper shell ?would solve all your probs ...i have a fj and you would not be happy with the room ,coming from a truck ...i love my rig but i would prob get a taco next time ..

11-25-2011, 04:57 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought one of the main benefits of the RTT was that the tent itself remained dust-free when in the stowed position with the cover on? Is that not true? If your tent is indeed dust-free and the problem is the gear in the bed, there are number of easy solutions there, basically if you stow your gear in watertight bags, then air and dust won't be able to get in either.

I find it hard to believe that a soft topper will leave your gear "dust free." I've had 3 different kinds of fiberglass toppers and guess which one of them protected my gear from dust the best?

NONE of them. If you drive in the desert, your gear will get dusty, unless you seal the entire bed (because dust doesn't just get in from the top, it gets in from the side of the tailgate, and from the bottom of the bed, too.)

Given that the tailgate is the worst offender (take a look sometime and you'll see how much "daylight" you can see on the sides of your tailgate), the best way to go in terms of sealing would be to replace the tailgate. ARE makes a topper with a walk-in door on a panel that replaces the tailgate, I would imagine that if you seal up the drain holes in the bed, that would be pretty dust-proof. Be warned, though, it's hella expensive (circa $2500.)


And FWIW, the dust issue was one of the factors that drove me from a pickup (04 Taco) to a fully enclosed SUV ('99 4runner.) On my trip to Death Valley last March, I kept the windows tightly shut and the air recirculate on and while my interior wasn't completely dust free, it was way less dusty than those of my traveling companions, all of whom were driving pickups.

11-25-2011, 04:57 PM
I have a used Softopper (http://www.softopper.com) for a double cab. Picked it up from a member here. I bought it as parts for mine and sold my truck. It is complete and in good shape. I'd let it go CHEAP.

I need something that will cover the bed and support my RTT and awning. Thanks anyway though.

11-25-2011, 05:05 PM
I need something that will cover the bed and support my RTT and awning. Thanks anyway though.

No problem. Mounting the tent at bed level to reduce drag and having a top that folds open is what I considered doing. I too was worried about drag from the tent mounted above the truck. That would still leave you pulling boxes from under the RTT mounted low though. That might be a PITA.

11-25-2011, 07:02 PM
I've been using a Thule Xsporter rack for a while now and love it but would like to have covered storage.

11-25-2011, 07:16 PM
I've been using a Thule Xsporter rack for a while now and love it but would like to have covered storage.

Could a tonneau cover be fitted underneath your rack?

11-25-2011, 07:29 PM
Unfortunately there is no way that would work, the Thule mounts to the factory tracks in the bedsides. I think a Canback would be awesome but for what they charge for them I could buy a campershell.

11-25-2011, 07:37 PM
I would make a custom tonneau cover out of plywood & vinyl that would fit under the rtt plus a custom slide out system for the bed. :sombrero:

11-25-2011, 09:00 PM

I posted this one up while looking for a flippac for my ride. I think its one of the older models, but if its for a Ranger, it should fit your truck, and you get the ambulance doors to boot!

I have a DC 03 Tacoma, and I just purchased a flippac from a member on here. I have a shell and a Wildernest on a trailer, but now that I am getting the Flippac, I am selling off the shell and the Wildernest to offset the cost.

Where did you end up going? Big Bend Ranch?

11-25-2011, 09:05 PM
Putting a shell on will help a lot, but as Martin said, the bed isn't sealed and the newer Tacomas are much worse than the old ones in that regard. I went through and taped my seams, pulled the side cubbies and ran a bead of silicon around them, got up underneath and put rubber strips over the openings that the tabs for the rear cubbies have and put one of those rubber tailgate seals on mine. It's much better but it still gets some dust in it and it hasn't even been in the desert yet. My recommendation? Trash bags and/or waterproof bags. Pelican style case if they're within your budget.

11-25-2011, 09:19 PM
Wow!!! What a response! Clearly I am not the only guy having this problem!

I will have to see about that Flippac, as new they are way out of my price range. The canbaks are an option I will have to look into.

My RTT stays nice and clean inside it zip on cover. The items in the bed are what get dirty. That includes everything from our chairs to our action packers. Its a pain to get out for the night, and have 1/4 inch of dust between you and your clothes.

Thanks for all the ideas! I have a topper but it sits a bit high already. I'll snap a picture to show you what I mean! I think I picked up the worst option for a cap for a RTT on top.

11-25-2011, 10:04 PM
I have a CanBack and really enjoy its flexibility.


I can roll up the sides and run it as a surrey top and it's the only soft top rated to carry a load designed to attach to the spreader bars and uprights such as a RTT or basket rack. The penalty is decreased aerodynamics and fuel economy, and a higher center of gravity.


It provides protection for all my gear which I load out in 2 blow-molded plastic, mil-type footlockers and a couple smaller mil-grade containers. I chose that type of container to keep my kit clean and dry.


But if you do this...


...you will get dust on your gear; that's the nature of the beast.

11-25-2011, 10:30 PM
On my 1990 Xtracab 4x4 truck I had many years ago, dust was not an issue getting in with a Brahma canopy.
But then I had it sealed all around, and strips off to the sides on the tailgate.

11-25-2011, 10:33 PM
Maybe I have a higher tolerance for dust than others but I found the Can-Back to be dust-resistant enough to design a slide out cabinet system to make it easy to slide out the essentials.


I didn't complete it because my wife got interested in a 4WC and we coincidentally found the exact model we wanted only a month or so later at a great price.

11-25-2011, 10:54 PM
A couple Pelican 1650's do the job for me. Picked them up used in the classified section.

Jeff Wanamog
11-26-2011, 12:56 AM

Just throwing out another idea.
Your wife will love the heater.

11-26-2011, 01:12 AM
That is nice Jeff.
A woman at my work has one on her Tacoma.


Yes, it rains every day in WA. :D

11-26-2011, 01:37 AM
Jeff, what is that? Where can I find some more info on them?

11-26-2011, 02:41 AM
Jeff, what is that? Where can I find some more info on them?

Here's the Portal's forum for pop-up campers.


There are several current manufacturers...Four Wheel Camper, All Terrain Camper, Phoenix and Hallmark.

They'll just about go anywhere.


Jeff Wanamog
11-26-2011, 01:26 PM
Here is an entire forum that is dedicated to the pop up style camper, modifying and remote camping in them: http://www.wanderthewest.com/forum/index.php?/index

I am warning you, if your wife sets foot inside of one, you may never sleep in a tent again! It is truly glamping. (glamour camping)
If you like to tinker, you can find a used camper and make it yours.