Habitat flip-top camper turns the Tacoma pickup into a rugged explorer

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The Tacoma Habitat is one of the latest solutions for exploring and camping on and off road(Credit: AT Overland)

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The Jeep Wrangler might be the most well-known adventure vehicle in the US, but the Toyota Tacoma is also a very popular choice, as our Tacoma-heavy tour of the recent Overland Expo proved. Arizona's Adventure Trailers (AT) Overland already has a neat, integrated flip-top camper for the Jeep, the JK Habitat, and now it's added a Habitat for the Tacoma. The new bed camper transforms the popular small pickup into a capable expedition vehicle.

AT Overland launched the JK Habitat in 2011, not long before it began experimenting with the Action Camper. Designed in collaboration with the pop-top roof experts at Ursa Minor and the tent pros at Nemo, the JK Habitat design integrates a tent camper into the JK's roof, allowing the roof to flip open and surround up to four people with overnight shelter.

The Wrangler is an ever-solid choice, but it's not everyone's cup of tea. So five years after launching the JK Habitat, AT has decided the time right for a Tacoma-specific Habitat model. In its own words, the new camper is designed "to provide a lightweight yet robust camping platform for todays' fuel efficient trucks while still leaving room for the individual owners to customize it to their specific needs." Just like the new BundutecUSA Bivak, the Tacoma Habitat is aimed at filling the middle ground between truck topper and full-blown pickup camper.

The Habitat pickup-bed camper shell isn't quite as original as the pop-top roof-based JK Habitat, as there are already fold-out pickup tent campers on the market, including the well-known Flip-Pac. The Tacoma Habitat differs from both the JK Habitat and Flip-Pac in that part of its 15-foot-long (4.6-m) tent extends off the back of the truck instead of hanging over top the hood. While that looks a little less stable to the eye, the advantage is that the tent doubles as a weather-absorbing awning for sitting on the tailgate, preparing meals, etc. A set of 6061 aluminum rods keeps the suspended sleeping platform stable and supports up to 600 lb (272 kg).

With its integrated gas struts, the Habitat opens in a about a minute at the hands of one person. The waterproof-breathable tent is built by Nemo and sleeps two standard on the insulated, cantilevered bed platform with built-in mattress. It can be optionally upgraded to sleep three or four. The tent includes a clothing gear loft and four pockets and doesn't require a separate rainfly (Flip-Pac's website indicates that its tent is not waterproof and requires a separate fly for heavy rains). Occupants can enjoy up to 7 feet (2.1 m) of headroom when standing in the pickup bed.

The Habitat's shell is made from insulated aluminum composite panels. The camper weighs 340 lb (154 kg) and can hold up to 350 lb (159 kg) on its roof.

Beyond those basics, it's up to the customer. Adventure Trailer offers options such as a sliding-bar roof rack for atop the Habitat, interior lighting and cabinetry, and forced-air heat. The camper is available for 5- and 6-foot Tacoma beds. The base model is priced at $8,600, and each camper is built to order. Lead time is currently listed as six to eight weeks on AT's website.

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