Can You Lock a Truck Topper From the Inside?

Many people enjoy traveling in truck toppers for camping or travel. Security is a top priority if you’re considering sleeping in your truck. You may wonder if you can lock a truck topper from the inside instead of merely closed with exterior handles. 

You can lock your truck topper from the inside using a vice grip, a c-clamp, chains and s-hooks, or steel cables to the lock bars to keep the liftgate window closed. These DIY methods are affordable and require minimal effort, though some need more components than others.  

This article will explore a few popular approaches to meet your needs so you can choose what works best for you. You’ll learn which parts and tools are involved in getting the job done, secure your vehicle and have that peace of mind to get a good night’s sleep.

you can lock your topper from the inside

Why You Need DIY to Secure Your Truck Topper

First, let’s talk about your truck topper. The most popular ones have hard tops of fiberglass or aluminum instead of soft covers. The toppers usually have windows to convert your truck bed into an RV. So let’s assume you own a hard-top shell and plan to go camping. 

Most toppers have one or two handles on the outside, with a “rod and latch assembly” to keep the window closed by turning the handle. However, this doesn’t lock the window, which is why you need to use a DIY method to keep this liftgate window closed. 

One exception is a high-end truck shell with the option to purchase a remote control feature that essentially closes the back end when you’re ready to sleep. 

How To Install Various Components

Let’s explore four main ways to lock the camper shell in the back securely. These methods should work with most camper shells. 

If you’re game for one of these DIY approaches, it’s important to consider the equipment you’ll need. More importantly, are you willing and able to devote time to the project? The projects range from quick and easy to more time-consuming. I’ve described each method and detailed the tools you’ll need for each below.

Using a Vice Grip With Lock Bars

Here’s a straightforward and inexpensive idea. You attach a vice grip to the handle lock bars, which prevents them from turning. This is a great place to start, though it offers minimal security. 

Here is how to attach a vice grip and what you’ll need to accomplish this task. Again, this prevents your horizontal lock bars from moving. 

What you’ll need: 

  • Needle nose vice grip
  • Pepper spray or bear spray (for extra security)

Installing Clamps With Chains

Another easy idea is to attach a small C-clamp to the lock bar behind the clip inside the window. If someone outside attempts to open the handle, the clamp catches against the clip and keeps the bar from moving into the open position.

Alternatively, use swivel clamps attached to the interior window’s handle screws. Attach these with a small chain anchored to a bolt inside the truck.  

What you’ll need:

  • C-clamps
  • ¾ inch (1.9 cm), 100 lb (45.36 kg) Everbilt variety swivel clamp 
  • Chain link (fit to the length you need)
  • Optional lock for tailgate

Check out this method demonstrated on a Nomad truck:

Installing S-Hooks and Chains

This method provides a higher level of security than the previous approaches. However, it requires drilling into your truck’s interior and securing your window handles with chains and hooks to prevent intruders from opening the liftgate of the shell. 

What you’ll need: 

  • Cordless electric drill
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Single jack type of chain 
  • Package of steel 2.5-in (6.35-cm) open S-hooks with 100 lb (45.46 kg) capacity 
  • Two sheet metal screws (to fit through the chain links)

Here’s a handy DIY video demonstrating this approach: 

Installing Steel Cables and Hooks

Next is a more involved method, and you’ll need to purchase several components. 

The steel cable method requires attaching two steel cables inside the canopy door to make it highly secure. This method is time-consuming and involves several components. Below is a list to help you prepare for installing steel cables and hooks. 

  • Tape measure
  • Wrench
  • Steel cable cutters such as the Hetai Heavy-duty Wire Cutter (available on This cutter is compact, makes clean cuts, and is easy to maintain. 
  • Length of steel cable, 1/16″ (0.15-cm) width; cut in half, with each end measuring 9-10 inches (23-25.4-cm) length
  • Two turnbuckles – 5 in (12.7 cm) long, adjustable, sold at Home Depot
  • Swage clamp tool (create a loop on one end of steel cable )
  • Swage sleeves to match 3/36-inch (0.21-cm) cable (attach to canopy door and cable)
  • Electrical tape (wrap around ends of sharp wires)

Because this project is more complex, this step-by-step video shows how to secure your camper with steel cables:

Other Options and Tips

At this point, perhaps you’re thinking you don’t have the time or skill level for the more complex projects. Well, you have a few more options to add the level of security you’ll feel comfortable with. For instance, I suggest you hire a contractor to advise you about the best options for improving security in your truck topper. 

Another option is to contact experienced dealers with camper shells that fit your truck brand. They may have suggestions or offer to outfit your existing truck with aftermarket accessories for increased security. 

Lastly, some brands offer add-on security features if you’re in the market for a new camper shell. With the demand for security increasing, do your research to explore what’s coming on the market.  

While we’re on the topic of truck toppers, let’s consider another common question about them: whether you need brake lights for truck toppers. I’ve written an in-depth guide answering this question. Don’t miss it.

a camper shell can increase security


In conclusion, you’ve now explored ways to outfit your truck and camper shell for increased security and peace of mind. While these DIY methods may not be 100% foolproof, they can serve as an extra measure of security to provide peace of mind.

Consumer reviews are helpful if you’re looking for more advice or a new camper shell. Some popular truck topper brands include AT Overland, ARE, Century, Leers, and SnugTop.