I have owned a 4 wheel hawk and an outfitter caribou lite 6.5, both popups.
I don’t like popups. they add setup time to camping, don’t allow you to move
with top up, sweat on the inside of popup during below freezing weather, are a nightmare to close in new snow, cause anxiety while up during snow storms.
If you don’t deal in below freezing, snow, etc. I’d look at one of the new aluminum popup canopies out of AZ.
If you do choose the ‘gut it” route, you need a good stomach for remodels, and a lot of time looking for a wood framed camper with no water damage that fits your truck well.
Wood framing will be alot easier to work on than aluminum or a fiberglass shell like a bigfoot or northern lite.
Finding said wood framed camper may be hard. I’d look for a Lance 815, older Norstar Laredo, possibly a fleetwood angler,
A light weight wood framed gutted, 8 foot even camper, with extended cabover should come in about 1,400 lbs.
Fix jacks with easy to remove keeper pins, and pull them, to save 100-250lbs when
you travel. Remove tailgate to save 70 lbs.