RSI SmartCap vs Leer vs ARE for build out?

Mdsertell

New member
I have a 2021 Ram 2500 PW (fully loaded) that I am wanting to build out for overland camping and hunting trips and possible travel baseball weekends.

I am really intrigued by RTT style setups. I need to get a topper for my Ram due to having 2 labs that go on almost all of my waterfowling adventures and, well , most all other trips I go on.

Weather in west central ohio, I believe, rules out a rack system that would not keep out snow and/or rain. My Previous truck had a Leer topper that was ok. I really like the look and concept of the newer RSI SmartCap but they seem very hard to get. Trying to decide which topper meets my needs:

My plan would be to get a new topper and mount a RTT and awning (& possibly some LED light bars )on the topper. I will build a “decked” system to mount the dogs’ kennels to and get ready to travel and make memories. Topper would need to have “windoors” to access kennels in the front and solid rack system to support RTT/awning.

I appreciate you reading this and giving your opinion!


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SDDiver5

Expedition Leader
Considered a GFC?

If you get a RSI they're like 4k ish plus a good RTT and your bed build out you're creeping up to about what it would cost to get a GFC. GFC has just about everything you want combined into one platform. The amount of space inside when opened is quite surprising. Few buddys have them and they are a total game changer in my opinion.

I've been very intrigued by RSI caps recently. Have only seen them on the road, never inside one. I have also heard they are hard to get.

Just a thought.
 

Explorerinil

Observer
Considered a GFC?

If you get a RSI they're like 4k ish plus a good RTT and your bed build out you're creeping up to about what it would cost to get a GFC. GFC has just about everything you want combined into one platform. The amount of space inside when opened is quite surprising. Few buddys have them and they are a total game changer in my opinion.

I've been very intrigued by RSI caps recently. Have only seen them on the road, never inside one. I have also heard they are hard to get.

Just a thought.
I’ve seen one in person, it looked well made but didn’t fit the truck as well as a leer or are. I was not impressed at all, espically with the cost and long wait. I would get a caravan camper shell over an rsi any day. Or an are overland.
 

jadmt

ignore button user
My Buddy had an RSI and after spending time around it I absolutely want one. The positive vent feature is super nice. For me definitely worth the premium price
 

Mdsertell

New member
Looked up Gfc but not what I’m looking for. Need to sleep 4 in the RTT

ARE overland does look nice as well. My dogs’ trainer has one and likes it


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Regcabguy

Oil eater.
Get anything with a raised top with the decked system you want to build or you'll be 1' from the ceiling.
 

BigBrokenZJ

Active member
I’ll chime in with my two cents on this, having had both an ARE and RSI cap on the same body style truck.

My ARE was used, had interior and exterior racks, bin on the driver side, and door on the passenger side.

I set my RSI cap up similar.. bin driver side and open door on the passenger.

Pros of the ARE..
-used shell picked up for 700 off CL..
-rear door is full size
-bin is deeper for more storage

Cons

-on the heavy side
-interior rack/bins not meant for heavier weight (wound up gusseting the hangers) like saws, dolmar, recovery gear

RSI

Pros
-well built. Everything fits together fantastic.
-the interior supports already have rivnuts to accept whatever you want to bolt inside (ie. their table setup)
-the side doors’ height is awesome. Can fit everything I want.
-the wiring harness was 100% plug and play never experienced this on a shell. Beautiful. (However it didn’t ship with my shell, had to request it through customer service)
-I’ve crawled all over the top, put weight up there, etc.. super solid (not factual at all, but purely observational)
-last one. The latches rock. Feel nice. Crisp. I could see them needing the ninja covers like @St8ton has in inclement weather

Cons
-rear door is not tall due to the taper. Taller stuff has to go in from the sides (I have a decked system now so there’s more height from side than tailgate)
-cost. It shuts the wallet, pure and simple, but it’s really not that much more than a custom built shell from another manufacturer
-only available in flat black or contractor white

FWIW.
-I love my RSI.. I got it through offroad alliance couldn’t be happier. Minus the lighter wallet.. But with that being said, If you find a used shell that fits your build abs budget, you could do a lot worse while you fill the piggy bank for something else. When I sold my ARE I feel both of us got a good deal ..
 

Mdsertell

New member
BigBroken….thanks for your honest feedback…I plan to have this truck for quite a few years and wife has give her blessing to set it up the way I want.

Do you have a rack on top of your RSI?


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BigBrokenZJ

Active member
BigBroken….thanks for your honest feedback…I plan to have this truck for quite a few years and wife has give her blessing to set it up the way I want.

Do you have a rack on top of your RSI?


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I do, but it is homemade from aluminum extrusion. I have a 270 awning and a regular awning as well as my solar panel on it. I’ve put a massive pelican, recovery tools, and traction boards on it for a longer trip.
ded42c29d9c71c3e55c5a4f096e2da99.jpg


The rack isn’t the most beautiful thing out there, but it does it’s job.

Another thing I forgot to mention was I went with the contractor model..

1. Because it had the solid side doors.. didn’t want to advertise what I had in it
2. Because it was in stock (still took a couple maybe few weeks with freight and all that
 

Wilbah

Adventurer
Have you looked at ARE's DCU Caps? I worry about fiberglass caps lasting especially with a RTT and rough back roads (even though many claim to have additional strength in the roof). Maybe I'm overthinking it (and I certainly like the looks of many of the newer fiberglass ones) but it seems the strength of something more commercial would last longer. But I think "cheap" doesn't fit for good ones either.
 

Mdsertell

New member
Have you looked at ARE's DCU Caps? I worry about fiberglass caps lasting especially with a RTT and rough back roads (even though many claim to have additional strength in the roof). Maybe I'm overthinking it (and I certainly like the looks of many of the newer fiberglass ones) but it seems the strength of something more commercial would last longer. But I think "cheap" doesn't fit for good ones either.
Wilbah - I had the same thought as you about the fiberglass caps holding a RTT and awning...that's what makes the RSI so intriguing...The (RSI) static and dynamic load ratings are considerably higher than ARE or Leer.

I have enjoyed researching all the different options and getting 'real-world' feedback from people who've actually used products. In an age where being smart with money has taken on a whole new meaning, I want to really use my funds wisely. After all, I have 2 young, teenage-boys who are watching their parents and we want to set a good example for them!
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
There's also RLD Design which is very similar to the RSI Smartcap. If they made an 8ft Smartcap Commercial topper for my RAM 3500 long bed I would have had one a year ago. They claim to be planning for an eventual 8ft model but no word on when and I don't have time to hurry up and wait, I did enough of that crap for Uncle Sam. Tough choice to make between the two you're looking at but if funds aren't an issue I think the Smartcap is worth the coin and will leave you happier in the long run.
 

ukrboy

Observer
Try pricing out a Leer with all the features that are standard on the RSI. You’d be surprised at how expensive they get. I was fortunate enough to find a slightly used RSI that fit my truck for a great price.
It does leak. Especially around the little windows. But overall - it’s awesome.
Mine came with a table that goes up in the ceiling and a side tub. Both are convenient. I wouldn’t get the kitchen they offer. As with the PW your stove top is at six feet off the ground.


cde5411af80013903a4dbfcaad538a63.jpg
 

BigBrokenZJ

Active member
Try pricing out a Leer with all the features that are standard on the RSI. You’d be surprised at how expensive they get. I was fortunate enough to find a slightly used RSI that fit my truck for a great price.
It does leak. Especially around the little windows. But overall - it’s awesome.
Mine came with a table that goes up in the ceiling and a side tub. Both are convenient. I wouldn’t get the kitchen they offer. As with the PW your stove top is at six feet off the ground.


cde5411af80013903a4dbfcaad538a63.jpg

That’s a sharp truck, I always liked the katlas..

I like the design of the RSI table storage for sure. I think I may booty-fab something similar for mine.
 

Mdsertell

New member
Try pricing out a Leer with all the features that are standard on the RSI. You’d be surprised at how expensive they get. I was fortunate enough to find a slightly used RSI that fit my truck for a great price.
It does leak. Especially around the little windows. But overall - it’s awesome.
Mine came with a table that goes up in the ceiling and a side tub. Both are convenient. I wouldn’t get the kitchen they offer. As with the PW your stove top is at six feet off the ground.

Ukrboy:
I have and you are correct...local Leer dealer, I used for my last topper (was a Leer), quoted me a price that was actually higher than the RSI....Your PW looks really sharp! Mine is the black 75th PW edition.
 

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