How to Install Camper Shell

How to Install Camper ShellInstalling a camper shell is an easy solution for covering the bed of your truck. It will provide not only a camping cover, but a closed cargo area for other jobs as well. It can be done as a removable shell or permanent installation.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Measuring tape
  • Self-sticking foam rubber seal
  • Box cutter
  • C-clamps (possibly supplied by manufacturer of shell)
  • Camper shell
  • Socket set
  • Slip joint pliers
Step 1
Measure the truck bed to determine the size of the shell needed. Measure the length and width of the bed at the top of the sides, where the camper shell will rest.
Step 2
Measure the camper shell. When measuring the width of the camper shell, ensure that the rails will meet with the top of each side of the truck bed. This is where the tie down is made.
Step 3
Install the foam rubber seal. The foam rubber seal goes where the truck bed and the camper shell meet. A self-sticking seal is the easiest to use. You can get a 1" to 1-1/2" wide roll from your local hardware store. Starting at the front of the camper shell, cover the entire width. Forming a 90 degree angle, adhere it to one side starting at the front. Repeat the same process on the other side. The lift door will not need a seal installed as it should have a rubber seal on it.
Step 4
Place the shell on the bed of the truck. Align the front edge of the shell with the front of the truck bed. With both the tailgate and the camper shell closed, inspect the tailgate area to ensure that both align for a water-tight seal.
Step 5
Clamp the shell to the truck bed for a removable shell. If you purchased a new camper shell, the manufacturer will likely have supplied C-clamps. If not, you can purchase 3" to 4" C-clamps from your local hardware store. You will need four clamps for a short bed truck and six for a long bed--two or three for each side. Attach the C-clamps to the sides of the truck and camper shell. Space the clamps equally and at least 4 inches from the front and rear corners. Hand-tighten the clamps as firmly as possible.
Step 6
Check the installation. Look at the tailgate and door lift joint. The rubber flap attached to the camper door should lay flat against the tailgate. The door lift handle should twist and secure the door.

Tips & Warnings

To make the installation permanent, replace the clamps with bolts and follow the same instructions for rest of the installation. You will need ½-inch nuts and bolts for a permanent installation.

Article Written By Michele Hester

Michele Hester holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Georgia State University and received her Master of Arts from Dallas Theological Seminary. She is a certified Microsoft business management solutions professional and has 20 years of experience in accounting and ERP consulting. Her writing has been included on Associated Content, and

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