Camper tops for pickup trucks allow easier camping and safer storage of equipment and cargo during normal vehicle operation. They are also more affordable than a full recreational vehicle or camping trailer.
The term "camper top" can refer to either a full-sized truck camper or a camper shell. The former is essentially a miniature RV with insulation and room for a bed and other amenities. The latter is a simple shell, usually made of fiberglass, that covers the bed of the truck. Both allow people to camp easily in remote areas that may be inaccessible to more traditional RVs, which often have low ground clearance and poor maneuverability.
Even full-size, state-of-the-art truck campers are less expensive than an RV of comparable quality. Because most states do not require registration or insurance on them, maintenance costs are cheaper. They also use less fuel, which saves money on long road trips.
Camper shells are also very affordable and are useful in everyday life. Most have a locking mechanism that allows the owner to store valuable cargo safely with less risk of theft. They protect equipment and cargo from the elements. Although they have fewer amenities than a full truck camper, they still enable easy camping by providing a dry shelter and some insulation from the wind and cold.