Soft topper / no soft topper

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Fig33

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First time posting here!!! So I have an F150 and I love my truck! That is the vehicle I want to use to build my overland rig. So what is the general opinion here, should I use a soft topper underneath the bed rack in order to keep my items dry and as dust free as possible, or is having everything on tough boxes enough? Does anyone with just a bed rack for the RTT and no actual cover on the bed have any issues with rain and or dust on all the items on your bed? I’m torn on whether or not to get a rack big enough to fit a soft topper, or just get something smaller and use tough boxes for my items on my bed. Advise please!
 

Fig33

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I love my hard shell with a rack that fits around the outside. It works very well for my needs. It is not Overland fashionable but I go for function over fashion, being old school and all.
I’ve see a lot like that as well! It does look great too! I’ve even seen some hard shell with some side storage capabilities as well, that the window opens up to a storage box. That’s definitely an option I’m looking at as well! Thank you!
 

MMc

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If you do get a hard shell think about getting opening side windows or doors. In height case the windows are shoulder high so not for me but it was lower it would be big plus.
 
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Road

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First time posting here!!! So I have an F150 and I love my truck! That is the vehicle I want to use to build my overland rig. So what is the general opinion here, should I use a soft topper underneath the bed rack in order to keep my items dry and as dust free as possible, or is having everything on tough boxes enough? Does anyone with just a bed rack for the RTT and no actual cover on the bed have any issues with rain and or dust on all the items on your bed? I’m torn on whether or not to get a rack big enough to fit a soft topper, or just get something smaller and use tough boxes for my items on my bed. Advise please!
.

If you're talking about an open cargo bed with no cover and just a rack above, I can't imagine doing any adventuring of any length with my gear just in tough boxes and cases. Maybe just overnight or two if you know for certain the weather is going to be great and you're going somewhere there will be no issues with security or animals.

- Yes, rain and dust will be a problem, in my experience. Not all cases are weatherproof, much less waterproof, and traveling at speed is likely to suck dust and moisture into every nook and cranny possible. It's also no fun opening cases of food or clothing that are wet or dusty, or worse, have a slurried mix of both. You and your gear get wet and/or filthy. Keeping your stuff tight and dry is invaluable.

- You're inevitably going to end up with gear that doesn't fit in tough boxes, like fishing poles, shovel, ax, traction boards, firewood, etc that you'll want at times to conceal or out of the weather.

- You'll be far less worried about your gear if it's out of sight, even if just under a soft-topper, when away from your vehicle when camping or in town.

- Having a hard shell or soft-topper gives you a space to get out of the weather when retrieving or messing with gear. Even if you have a rooftop tent, being able to get in under cover and possibly stretch out, and even sleep when on the highway without deploying the tent is very handy. You won't be able to set up your tent everywhere you are for a nap or overnight on the road.

- If you have a hard shell or soft-topper you can leave gear, valuables, whatever else in there with far greater security even when home and not out adventuring.

At the least, a good tonneau cover over the bed and under the rack is advisable. I have a trailer with a cargo area the size of a long-bed pickup, with an elevated rack for my hardshell RTT. I absolutely love having a hard-rolling cover to conceal and protect my gear. It's rugged and durable and keeps everything dry and dust free. No one is going to just slash through it to get to my gear. It also provides another solid surface on which I can strap stuff down.

That's it rolled up at the front of the trailer in the images below. It secures down nicely when covering. When the tailgate is up and locked, it makes a great, safe, out-of-the-weather and away-from-prying-eyes place for my gear.

xv-2-cargo_2216-900.JPG
...

packinglanes-2-900.jpg
..

loaded_6062-900.jpeg
You can secure a lot of gear on top of a good hard-rolling cover when needed.

.
 

Fig33

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Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida, United States
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Lictor
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First time posting here!!! So I have an F150 and I love my truck! That is the vehicle I want to use to build my overland rig. So what is the general opinion here, should I use a soft topper underneath the bed rack in order to keep my items dry and as dust free as possible, or is having everything on tough boxes enough? Does anyone with just a bed rack for the RTT and no actual cover on the bed have any issues with rain and or dust on all the items on your bed? I’m torn on whether or not to get a rack big enough to fit a soft topper, or just get something smaller and use tough boxes for my items on my bed. Advise please!
.

If you're talking about an open cargo bed with no cover and just a rack above, I can't imagine doing any adventuring of any length with my gear just in tough boxes and cases. Maybe just overnight or two if you know for certain the weather is going to be great and you're going somewhere there will be no issues with security or animals.

- Yes, rain and dust will be a problem, in my experience. Not all cases are weatherproof, much less waterproof, and traveling at speed is likely to suck dust and moisture into every nook and cranny possible. It's also no fun opening cases of food or clothing that are wet or dusty, or worse, have a slurried mix of both. You and your gear get wet and/or filthy. Keeping your stuff tight and dry is invaluable.

- You're inevitably going to end up with gear that doesn't fit in tough boxes, like fishing poles, shovel, ax, traction boards, firewood, etc that you'll want at times to conceal or out of the weather.

- You'll be far less worried about your gear if it's out of sight, even if just under a soft-topper, when away from your vehicle when camping or in town.

- Having a hard shell or soft-topper gives you a space to get out of the weather when retrieving or messing with gear. Even if you have a rooftop tent, being able to get in under cover and possibly stretch out, and even sleep when on the highway without deploying the tent is very handy. You won't be able to set up your tent everywhere you are for a nap or overnight on the road.

- If you have a hard shell or soft-topper you can leave gear, valuables, whatever else in there with far greater security even when home and not out adventuring.

At the least, a good tonneau cover over the bed and under the rack is advisable. I have a trailer with a cargo area the size of a long-bed pickup, with an elevated rack for my hardshell RTT. I absolutely love having a hard-rolling cover to conceal and protect my gear. It's rugged and durable and keeps everything dry and dust free. No one is going to just slash through it to get to my gear. It also provides another solid surface on which I can strap stuff down.

That's it rolled up at the front of the trailer in the images below. It secures down nicely when covering. When the tailgate is up and locked, it makes a great, safe, out-of-the-weather and away-from-prying-eyes place for my gear.

View attachment 197322
...

View attachment 197323
..

View attachment 197324
You can secure a lot of gear on top of a good hard-rolling cover when needed.

.
WOW! Thank you!! I had not thought of a lot of these things! You are definitely right! Right now I can only do the weekend warrior, but I do plan on doing longer and longer trips as I develop the experience. Eye of sight, out of mind it’s a smart way to avoid any issues. That trailer set you have is amazing, great job! Thank you again for such a detail explanation of everything!
 
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MidOH

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Tough boxes are fine. Things that can't get a little wet go in a garbage compactor bag. Backpacks can go in a 55g garbage bag.
 
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