5thGenRams Forums

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

  • We have been battling an on and off issue with registration verification emails not being sent out with certain users. We have finally got the issue resolved so if you have tried registering for the site but have not received a verification email, just request another verification email when you log in and you should now receive it. If you still don't receive the verification email, send us an email at [email protected] and we will get it resolved for you. Thanks!

Softopper Exoskeleton(Adarac)

My1stHemi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
319
Reaction score
276
Location
Planet Earth
After having a Leer canopy on my last truck, my DT was an opportunity to try something new for cargo protection and family recreation/camping. Over the last year I explored what flexible solutions might exist on the market and after considering a lot of options(which included custom fabrication) I decided to start my build with the purchase of a softopper about a year ago.
I have enjoyed the canopy as a part-time accessory and have accepted a few limited shortcomings. A RTT is on the horizon so I just installed the Adarac Pro as an exoskeleton around the softopper. This rack is aluminum, black, simple/clean, can be configured in many ways, is expandable, American made and reasonably priced. It checked all the boxes.
The rack is rated for 500# so I will be ordering a third upright and crossmember to increase the load capacity to 750# which will put me well into the safe zone with a 4person tent.
First impressions are that I am really pleased with how this is turning out. I was ready to have to modify or abort the plan but I’ve been able to make the rack and canopy interface with little effort. The forward uprights actually cover the front seam on the canopy which makes for a cleaner look. Win. 9988BA9D-E9FC-4DF0-BBD7-33E4423D0AFC.jpeg 0961A6E8-0BCC-48A0-B711-DC8450743B3A.jpeg

I’ll provide updates as the parts arrive. I’m pretty excited to get the RTT and try it out this winter.

Here is a quick photo shop of what a third member would look like.
Ram 3 Bar.jpg
 
Last edited:

Le_Slacker

Ram Guru
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
630
Reaction score
584
Location
London, Ontario
I don’t know if a 3rd set of uprights gives you another 250#

They are all attached the same 2 rails that are attached with 2 bolts each, into aluminum pieces that are only sandwiching a small amount of bed metal between the rail and aluminum plates

Adarac indicates 500# for the set, and I don’t know where the weakest point is
 

My1stHemi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
319
Reaction score
276
Location
Planet Earth
Fair point. But in my application its all vertical loading when parked and not another 250# of dynamic load, if your thinking about shear strength in the mounting hardware. The RTT only weighs 190#.
 

saylor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2021
Messages
307
Reaction score
223
are those Valentines Day lights on your house?
 

I35it

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
3
I love my soft top and have been thinking of going the same route as you so
It’s good to see it on! Looking forward to more updates.
 

Attachments

  • D6D523F3-5080-49E7-8F8F-36C7EFBB402E.jpeg
    D6D523F3-5080-49E7-8F8F-36C7EFBB402E.jpeg
    302.7 KB · Views: 155

My1stHemi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
319
Reaction score
276
Location
Planet Earth
so question for anyone with a softtopper, did you do anything for a 3rd breaklight?

Have you seen this yet??
I hadn’t seen that yet! Pretty cool.
Softopper has updated their website. Much improved.

I haven’t done anything for the third brake light. I’ve seen some people mod their softopper to add a third light, but I don’t really care. These LED brake lights are 1500x brighter than old tail lights. The incandescent single bulb brake light seems more like a box to check for DOT safety requirements than actually doing much good.
 

My1stHemi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
319
Reaction score
276
Location
Planet Earth
InkedRam in Snow_LI.jpg

Snow shot. :D

I added my 2500mm ARB awning to the rack as well. I was going to erect this awning and the awning room attachment last weekend in the mountains but we got snowed-in and the highways were closed.
This truck is so amazing in winter conditions.
 

Gdbstudios

Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Messages
20
Reaction score
16
So glad you bit the bullet and tried this out. I've been looking for solutions for a rack for a long time and Adarac always seems the most economical. I don't like the overlanding cage style. Looks like I'll be ordering an Adarak.

Do you know if the Pro and standard Adarak have the same angles?
 

My1stHemi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
319
Reaction score
276
Location
Planet Earth
I took a leap of faith trying this setup and the pro was a safer bet on clearance with the softopper. I have a feeling the std Adarac would work. Clearance from top of softopper to bottom of crossbar is 3in.
EDCB508E-D9D5-4779-8A85-9510C9C4B6A1.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • 9E22C808-104C-4B9A-9A8E-C031EFF10E6B.jpeg
    9E22C808-104C-4B9A-9A8E-C031EFF10E6B.jpeg
    110.2 KB · Views: 84
  • 02D35E4B-7F92-4457-9FD7-C3287CAF7CAF.jpeg
    02D35E4B-7F92-4457-9FD7-C3287CAF7CAF.jpeg
    114.5 KB · Views: 78
  • C99D57EB-38BB-4573-A03B-1C371ACAAEBD.jpeg
    C99D57EB-38BB-4573-A03B-1C371ACAAEBD.jpeg
    117.2 KB · Views: 78
  • A392D45D-0979-4DAB-A086-9B41790169A8.jpeg
    A392D45D-0979-4DAB-A086-9B41790169A8.jpeg
    168.7 KB · Views: 85
  • 1F7E290F-E14E-4432-AAC8-35DEA8EE2B60.jpeg
    1F7E290F-E14E-4432-AAC8-35DEA8EE2B60.jpeg
    151.5 KB · Views: 82
  • 5C0D84F0-F9CA-425D-AD03-D4899EA7623B.jpeg
    5C0D84F0-F9CA-425D-AD03-D4899EA7623B.jpeg
    163.3 KB · Views: 82

Engineerd

New Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
One question for you guys with soft toppers. I used to have an F-150, had a hard cap on it and it worked pretty well (like hard tops do). We do camping and move back and forth to visit family from time to time. I recently purchased a 2019 RAM 2500 Laramie (Mega). Its an amazing truck thus far and one thing I will be needing is a topper. We have two very big dogs (lab and a newfoundland/St Bernard mix). Adding a crate for the bigger one is not possible so we had to let them "free" roam in the back when we go camping or go visit family. Anyway, that was just some context... My main question is would a soft topper work for hauling dogs? Even on the highway?

We camp in the spring/summer months (East coast) and some trips are 5-6 hour drives (mostly highway). With the f-150 we opened the back window and had an AC hose from our truck going into the back which helped keep it cool. We were thinking about a portable AC unit to put back there but haven't decided on one yet. Anyway, your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!
 

TNRamGuy

Ram Guru
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
747
Reaction score
867
Location
Knoxville, TN
One question for you guys with soft toppers. I used to have an F-150, had a hard cap on it and it worked pretty well (like hard tops do). We do camping and move back and forth to visit family from time to time. I recently purchased a 2019 RAM 2500 Laramie (Mega). Its an amazing truck thus far and one thing I will be needing is a topper. We have two very big dogs (lab and a newfoundland/St Bernard mix). Adding a crate for the bigger one is not possible so we had to let them "free" roam in the back when we go camping or go visit family. Anyway, that was just some context... My main question is would a soft topper work for hauling dogs? Even on the highway?

We camp in the spring/summer months (East coast) and some trips are 5-6 hour drives (mostly highway). With the f-150 we opened the back window and had an AC hose from our truck going into the back which helped keep it cool. We were thinking about a portable AC unit to put back there but haven't decided on one yet. Anyway, your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!
Yes it could, they make a couple things that you can add for dogs, there is a dog window "cut out" that looks like it adds a Velcro flap to be able to open the softtopper to the sliding rear window. They also have a screen rear window replacement that would just Velcro in. should work great.
 

Engineerd

New Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
Yes it could, they make a couple things that you can add for dogs, there is a dog window "cut out" that looks like it adds a Velcro flap to be able to open the softtopper to the sliding rear window. They also have a screen rear window replacement that would just Velcro in. should work great.
Yeah, I've seen the "cut out" they make. I guess I'm more worried from a reliability/stability perspective. If I take this on the highway hours at a time, will the ride be to rough for them?
 

JimJustJim

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
After having a Leer canopy on my last truck, my DT was an opportunity to try something new for cargo protection and family recreation/camping. Over the last year I explored what flexible solutions might exist on the market and after considering a lot of options(which included custom fabrication) I decided to start my build with the purchase of a softopper about a year ago.
I have enjoyed the canopy as a part-time accessory and have accepted a few limited shortcomings. A RTT is on the horizon so I just installed the Adarac Pro as an exoskeleton around the softopper. This rack is aluminum, black, simple/clean, can be configured in many ways, is expandable, American made and reasonably priced. It checked all the boxes.
The rack is rated for 500# so I will be ordering a third upright and crossmember to increase the load capacity to 750# which will put me well into the safe zone with a 4person tent.
First impressions are that I am really pleased with how this is turning out. I was ready to have to modify or abort the plan but I’ve been able to make the rack and canopy interface with little effort. The forward uprights actually cover the front seam on the canopy which makes for a cleaner look. Win. View attachment 80648 View attachment 80649

I’ll provide updates as the parts arrive. I’m pretty excited to get the RTT and try it out this winter.

Here is a quick photo shop of what a third member would look like.
View attachment 80650
I'm so glad I found your post. I am in your same situation, looking for a softopper friendly rack system alternative to the $1k+ options out there.

This looks to be the idea solution for me, as we are looking to add a rack for some more storage for our upcoming move to Alaska. This could allow us to get a basket or storage box on top and free up space in the bed/cab during the move as well as offering some kayak, ladder, or RTT options in the future.

So how's it going? Have you tried the RTT yet?

Also the other options make dropping the topper impossible. This one looks like it wouldn't interfere with lowering and raising it. Is that the case?
 

My1stHemi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
319
Reaction score
276
Location
Planet Earth
I'm so glad I found your post. I am in your same situation, looking for a softopper friendly rack system alternative to the $1k+ options out there.

This looks to be the idea solution for me, as we are looking to add a rack for some more storage for our upcoming move to Alaska. This could allow us to get a basket or storage box on top and free up space in the bed/cab during the move as well as offering some kayak, ladder, or RTT options in the future.

So how's it going? Have you tried the RTT yet?

Also the other options make dropping the topper impossible. This one looks like it wouldn't interfere with lowering and raising it. Is that the case?
Lowering the canopy under the in-place rack only works if you disconnect the canopy from the center pivot points or, what I do is disconnect the canopy from the bed and slide it out while it is still fully erected and then I take it apart for storage. That way is actually pretty easy. It’s not perfect but it’s better than most other systems I’ve seen.
I am sure you could get something made that would be ever so slightly more functional but you would spend more money for sure.
This system/configuration is working pretty darn well.
I have had the RTT (Thule Tepui Autana 4) on for a few months now and have used it twice now that camping weather is upon us. After a few times of setup and breakdown sequences, I am pretty happy with how “easy” it is. I do prefer it over ground tents and my little boy thinks it’s just about the coolest thing ever. Like camping in a treehouse. Because my garage door is not tall enough for my truck with tent to enter, I leave the tent on the truck full time for now. The tent is too big and heavy to pull on or off by myself, so I used a forklift at work to install it. I ditched the factory Thule brackets and drilled bolts through the crossbars for a more clean look and permanent/secure mounting solution.
Without the canopy on, the tent provides the pup cover from the sun when she rides in the back of the truck around town.
Because of how well insulated these trucks are, I cannot really hear much discernible wind noise from the rack or RTT. With the bigger tires(speedo corrected) and RTT I lost maybe 1.5-2mpg. Oh well.
F29CA7AE-465B-4B52-9007-A79AA9148CE8.jpeg
46A542BE-4440-4DA5-9BC6-6C78447806A1.jpeg
C092D7B4-EBD6-4703-A75E-8561D96E0965.jpeg
041137AC-FE5A-4F7F-836F-C792A00B8741.jpeg
 
Last edited:

JimJustJim

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Lowering the canopy under the in-place rack only works if you disconnect the canopy from the center pivot points or, what I do is disconnect the canopy from the bed and slide it out while it is still fully erected and then I take it apart for storage. That way is actually pretty easy. It’s not perfect but it’s better than most other systems I’ve seen.
I am sure you could get something made that would be ever so slightly more functional but you would spend more money for sure.
This system/configuration is working pretty darn well.
I have had the RTT (Thule Tepui Autana 4) on for a few months now and have used it twice now that camping weather is upon us. After a few times of setup and breakdown sequences, I am pretty happy with how “easy” it is. I do prefer it over ground tents and my little boy thinks it’s just about the coolest thing ever. Like camping in a treehouse. Because my garage door is not tall enough for my truck with tent to enter, I leave the tent on the truck full time for now. The tent is too big and heavy to pull on or off by myself, so I used a forklift at work to install it. I ditched the factory Thule brackets and drilled bolts through the crossbars for a more clean look and permanent/secure mounting solution.
Without the canopy on, the tent provides the pup cover from the sun when she rides in the back of the truck around town.
Because of how well insulated these trucks are, I cannot really hear much discernible wind noise from the rack or RTT. With the bigger tires(speedo corrected) and RTT I lost maybe 1.5-2mpg. Oh well.
View attachment 95417
View attachment 95418
View attachment 95419
View attachment 95420
Thanks for the quick response.

I am so happy to hear this solution is working well for you. It looks great in the new pics!

I kind of expected that pin would have to be pulled in order to collapse it. Either way, there doesn't seem to be anything on the market that offers any easier solution.

You've all but sold me that this is the best solution for my needs, but I have a couple more questions, if you don't mind.

Was any drilling or cutting involved?

Could you share the part numbers with me? I can find the black aluminum Pro on vendor sites but I can't find an extra set of uprights anywhere.

Thanks again for sharing your experience here. I believe you may save me hundreds of dollars!

*Edit* so I did some more research. The uprights themselves appear to simply slide along the rail system. Correct? It looks like the rail is secured via an adapter in the stake holes at the corner of the bed. My Softopper frame actually partially covers the stake holes on the rear of the bed. Was that the case for you? Did that cause any issues?
 
Last edited:

My1stHemi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
319
Reaction score
276
Location
Planet Earth
Thanks for the quick response.

I am so happy to hear this solution is working well for you. It looks great in the new pics!

I kind of expected that pin would have to be pulled in order to collapse it. Either way, there doesn't seem to be anything on the market that offers any easier solution.

You've all but sold me that this is the best solution for my needs, but I have a couple more questions, if you don't mind.

Was any drilling or cutting involved?

Could you share the part numbers with me? I can find the black aluminum Pro on vendor sites but I can't find an extra set of uprights anywhere.

Thanks again for sharing your experience here. I believe you may save me hundreds of dollars!

*Edit* so I did some more research. The uprights themselves appear to simply slide along the rail system. Correct? It looks like the rail is secured via an adapter in the stake holes at the corner of the bed. My Softopper frame actually partially covers the stake holes on the rear of the bed. Was that the case for you? Did that cause any issues?
Adarac offers a slightly taller upright that may give the clearance you need but I can't confirm that would solve the problem.

For the Adarac Pro system(aluminum) the bottom stringer/baseplate is an extruded piece that has a channel that holds the nuts that the uprights bolt to at the base. The fact that the nuts slide in this slot allows for "infinite" adjustability in terms of longitudinal positioning. My RTT is 72" long when collapsed, and I have a 76" bed, so my front and rear uprights are about 2in from the outside edge of the RTT rail. I added the 3rd upright and cross bar for added capacity and increased rigidity to the system(although one could probably do without it.) The adarac rail pinches the bottom edge of the snaps/canopy fabric and I have never had leak issues along this edge. Softoppers are not super water tight but I never struggle with water intrusion into the bed of the truck unless I am powerwashing and it blows in at the corners.

You are right that the softopper rail covers the rear stake pockets to some degree. What I did to overcome this conflict was to install my Adarac first, and at the rear stake pockets only, I dropped and rotated the inset mounting bracket and then pushed it out an inch such that the softopper snap/bottom rail would then fit. To explain it another way, if the drop-in stake pocket brackets for the Adarac are a rectangle that fits within the rectangle of the stake pocket, the bracket is no longer sitting flush, its dropped about a 1/4in(rolled edge of sheetmetal on stake pocket) and then clocked 30deg? so that the bolt can be pushed to the outside edge of the stake pocket which then gives the canopy room at the tailgate end of the bed. The stake pockets at the bulkhead do not need to be modified since the pickup bed rails are not square, they taper to the rear for aerodynamics. My canopy is mounted right now and covers this up, otherwise I'd take a picture for clarity. See attached sketch(not to scale). I also upgraded the fasterners to button head stainless bolts for the endcaps on the crossbars and the bottom rail... they look much better than the supplied hardware IMHO.
Capture.JPG
rack 1.jpg rack 2.jpg
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top