For those who enjoy camping under the stars, or who want the flexibility to hop in the truck and head across the country on a moment's notice, the purchase of a camper shell to fit atop your truck bed can seem like the perfect way to inexpensively accomplish your travel goals. However, inexpensive can sometimes mean in need of repair, and you may find yourself facing a broken or even missing window when you're able to find the perfect camper shell for your truck at the perfect price. Read on to learn more about the factors you'll want to consider when replacing a camper shell window, as well as your most cost-effective and durable window replacement options.
What should you consider when repairing or replacing the windows in your truck's camper shell?
Even if you've repaired or replaced a car or truck window on your own before, there are a few additional factors you'll want to take into account when deciding how to proceed with a camper shell.
First, you'll want to consider exterior security. Although no one wants their vehicle to suffer a break-in, dealing with a smash-and-grab burglary in a mall parking lot is much different than dealing with a similar burglary while you're camping in a secluded spot inside your vehicle. You'll want to ensure that your camper shell's new windows can withstand impact enough to fend off all but the most determined burglars -- which usually means that temporary shielding options like thick plastic sheeting aren't the safest to use when traveling.
You'll also want to consider security from the inside out. If your camper shell doesn't allow a method of egress other than climbing through your truck's back window, or if this shell fits in your truck bed in such a way as to prevent you from unlatching the rear tailgate from the inside, you'll want to install windows that can be easily opened or even kicked out in an emergency. Otherwise, you could find yourself trapped in your truck bed if a fire breaks out or if carbon monoxide begins leaking into the cabin.
Finally, you'll want to consider ventilation. Although some camper shells come standard with solid windows that don't open, this may not be the best option for those who plan to do a lot of camping or who live in regions with wide temperature swings. If you're able to replace your solid windows with ones that crank or slide open, you'll be able to reduce the amount of fuel you use to get your truck to a comfortable sleeping temperature during extra hot or cold weather.
What are your best camper shell window replacement options?
With those factors in mind, there are a couple of replacement options that should be able to provide you with security and durability without breaking the bank. Regardless of which type of glass you choose, you should be able to save money by installing the screened windows yourself.
The first choice for camper shell windows may be plexiglass. This plastic-based glass is lightweight but difficult to shatter, and can give you the extra room that may be needed to convert a solid window to a crank or sliding window. If you live in a sunny area or plan to do a lot of traveling in warm-weather regions, you may opt to have this plexiglass treated with special UV-resistant chemicals to block the sun's rays from penetrating the inside of your truck bed.
Another viable option is safety glass. This glass is the same type used in your vehicle's windshield and windows, and is designed to shatter into safe, blunt-sided pellets that shouldn't pose any harm. This can be a great choice for camper shells that tend to block other methods of egress, as you can ensure you won't be injured in the unlikely event you need to break this glass to escape.
For more advice, contact a company specializing in auto glass repair.