Many campervan owners will readily admit to having lost sleep over the decision of which roof to put on their campervan. Choosing a roof option for the Ford Transit Custom Campervan is no different. The FTCCV can have two different types of roof: the pop top and the high top each having their own advantages and disadvantages.
The Pop Top Roof
This is the most common type of roof found on campervans and has the potential to cause problems over its lifetime. For many, the increased flexibility it offers is worth the risk of having to repair or even replace it after several years of use.
- Reduced height which allows the van to pass under most 2m height barriers.
- It offers space for sleeping another two adults or children.
- It is cooler in summer and offers a more camping-like experience.
- Due to a lower profile fuel economy is higher.
- It needs regular maintenance and care.
- The material can be damaged relatively easily.
- It is not really suitable for use in strong winds and heavy rain.
- In winter it is almost impossible to heat the van with the roof up.
- Expensive to install, maintain and replace.
Pop Top Roof Manufacturers
There are several manufacturers of pop top roofs for the FTCCV worth considering and all come with a 5 year warranty (in alphabetical order):
Whilst it is possible to fit your own pop top roof when converting a van it is not recommended unless you are confident you can manage the task. When investing such a large amount of money it is probably worth paying extra to have it fitted professionally.
Austops are a UK based company with a solid reputation for making low profile pop top roofs. They do not fit or supply roofs directly to the public so you have to order through one of their approved fitters. Prices start at just over £3000 depending on what extras you order. It is worth nothing that they have a new scenic canvas where the front and sides can be rolled back to give a full view outside. You can also buy the canvas in one of many different colours if you like to stand out from the crowd!
Drivelodge started in 1981 as a motorhome builder but now only specialise in roofs. They offer pop tops and high tops for both the SWB and LWB Ford Transit Custom. They will fit a roof at their factory in Yorkshire or you can approach any of their approved fitters located UK wide. Prices again start at just over £3000. If you want to learn more about them or exactly what is involved in the manufacture of pop top roofs be sure to watch this factory tour on YouTube.
Here is an image showing the roof in the lowered position. It is a slightly higher profile roof that the Austops, for example, but it still does not overtly mark the van as a campervan.
The HiLo roof is probably the slimmest roof on the market and one of the most expensive starting at just under £4000 for installation. They offer roofs for SWB and LWB but you cannot store a mattress in the roof in the lowered position. A panoramic canvas is also available at extra cost. They have an excellent reputation among VW owners and are TUV approved.
The FAQ section on their website makes very interesting reading and helps to build trust in the company. They even claim that the roof will withstand a wind speed of 80mph; sleeping in these conditions is not, however, guaranteed!
Reimo are a German company and are probably the most famous of pop top roof manufacturers. They are also the most expensive. A fitted roof conversion from one of their UK fitters will be in the region of £4500 depending on options. They also offer a scenic canvas which allows you to fold back the material and see the world outside.
Here is an example of pricing taken from www.vanguard-conversions.co.uk in March 2021.
Reimo Ford Custom SWB Super flat roof & frame £3462.50 + VAT
Bed frame & mattress £491.66 + VAT
Factory Colour Coding £495 + VAT
Fitting £1041.66 + VAT
Delivery from factory £200 + VAT
Other Pop Top Manufacturers
While we have discussed the main four companies which supply the majority of pop top roofs there are of course many more to consider (listed in alphabetical order):
It would be great to hear from anyone who has experience of any of the roofs mentioned, or indeed, any others that we have not listed. Please use the comments at the end of the article.
Get Pop Top Roof Quotes
You can request a quote for a new pop top roof from the converters registered on this site. Get Quotes
The High Top Roof
There are two options for high top roofs on the FTCCV. The first is to use the standard L1H2 Ford Transit Custom Van which adds about 0.3m to the L1H1 taking the total height to 2.36m. The main advantage of this is that there is no cutting or adding of parts to the van. Be aware that if your height is above about 180cm (depending on the conversion) you may not be able to stand completely upright in this van.
The second option is to use a custom made High Top roof such as the one used on the unique looking Nugget made by Westfalia. These increase the height of the vehicle even further with the Nugget topping out at a record 2.8m!
The Nugget roof is not available to buy as a separate item but Drivelodge offer this high top if you want the extra headroom.
- There is no need to spend time elevating and lowering the roof.
- It can offer space for sleeping another two adults or children.
- It is more secure when parked when compared to a van with the pop top elevated.
- Reliability is higher and maintenance costs are lower.
- It offers a year-round, all-weather camping option.
- Much of the space can be used for extra storage.
- Limited to car parks with a suitably high barrier or no barrier.
- Decreased fuel economy due to decreased aerodynamics.
- It makes the van stand out as a campervan which could attract thieves.
Which Roof is the Better Option?
In short, there is no better option. It depends entirely on the specific needs of the user. There will almost always be some level of compromise. What roof did you choose and, with hindsight, are you happy with your choice? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Next: Accredited Converters and QVM for the Ford Transit Custom Campervan
Leave a Comment