Ford Maverick GFC is the cheapest US camper truck, if you can find one
The American RV market has plenty of prohibitively expensive Ford-based campers, from US$2 million EarthRoamers to $135K Loki base camps, so it's always nice to find one that's truly affordable. The Ford Maverick is a natural place to start, as the least expensive pickup truck in the US, but its small 4.5-foot (1.4-m) bed doesn't play nicely with an accessories market based around 5- to 8-ft (1.5- to 2.4-m) beds. It took a purpose-built Maverick design from the good Montanans at Go Fast Campers to make the Maverick camper truck a reality. Since GFC offers one of the most affordable camper solutions out there, the resulting pop-top truck becomes the most affordable brand-new camper pickup in the US ... for those who can pin down an elusive Maverick.
Go Fast Campers already offers its Platform Camper for the spectrum of American full-size and midsize trucks, and the lightweight alu-space-frame design is a natural for the Maverick's limited 1,500-lb (680-kg) payload. As built for the smaller bed of the Maverick, the Platform Camper weighs even less than usual, coming in at 255 lb (116 kg) stock. That leaves plenty of payload for truck upgrades and accessories, camping and sports gear, and the most important thing of all ... the family and friends doing the camping.
The Maverick Platform Camper features GFC's well-established formula of aluminum space frame, machined-from-billet components, embassy hinges, modular bed platform, translucent roof and T-track. The floor-less topper attaches to the pickup bed sidewalls and uses a manually lifted pop-top to turn the truck bed into a simple camper interior with enough headroom for everyone shorter than a very tall NBA center.
The bed platform folds up out of the way to clear that headroom during the day, dropping down at night to support a 50 x 90-in (127 x 229-cm) multi-cushion mattress. That's a very comfortable night of sleep for a couple and likely enough to fit a small child or two, creating a viable light camper for a young family when paired with the five-seat Maverick.
So what about that low pricing? The Ford Maverick is easily the least expensive pickup truck in the US, and the base 2023 Maverick XL with 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain starts at $23,690 after destination. The Maverick-spec GFC Platform Camper costs $7,770, so that puts the before-options price of an all-new 2023 Maverick and fresh-out-of-the-factory Platform Camper at $31,460 – cheaper than many regular passenger vehicles.
The Maverick GFC will also save money at the pumps. RVs are notorious for poor fuel economy, slashing the already-low mpg numbers of their large truck or van base/tow platforms with loads of added weight and aerodynamics-diminishing bulk.
The base Maverick hybrid boasts an impressive EPA-estimated 37 mpg (6.4 L/100km) combined, and GFC says its camper will have minimal effect on that fuel economy. The weight of the camper is no more than a pair of passengers, and GFC does its best to keep the over-cab roof just 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) above the height of the Maverick's roof antenna.
Those looking for more of an off-road camper truck can upgrade to Ford's 2.0-liter turbo all-wheel-drive for $2,220. That comes with a fuel economy drop down to an EPA-listed 25 mpg (9.4 L/100km) combined, still good for a pickup truck.
Buyers can further ruggedize the truck for off-roading by upgrading to the $25,950 XLT or $31,675 Lariat trim, which opens up the option of an Advanced 4WD and a $800 FX4 package with all-terrain tires, skid plates, front tow hooks, hill descent control, enhanced engine cooling and more. That's the package GFC used for its original development truck.
Another $2,995 will upgrade the buyer to a Tremor, which includes the Advanced 4WD system with differential locking, Trail Control system, off-road suspension with lift, hitch receiver and more. The Tremor also involves opting up to an XLT or Lariat.
The bad news ... Ford closed the order books on the 2022 Maverick earlier this year due to high demand, and barely a week after MY2023 Maverick orders opened in mid September, headlines about closed order books started popping up once again.
So the most difficult part about owning this particular affordable camper might not be the camper itself but the truck on which it rides. But for those who own a Maverick, have one on order or are able to find one to purchase, it promises to be a uniquely compact, affordable, efficient camping vehicle. And maybe Ford will manage to start building enough trucks to meet demand sometime before year-over-year Maverick pricing rises to less-affordable levels.
For those looking for something even more efficient (but certainly not as affordable), GFC also recently showed a Platform Camper installed on a Ford F-150 Lightning. Unlike the Maverick, the Lightning features a standard 5.5-ft (1.7-m) pickup box and dimensions shared with the ICE F-150, so it didn't require a resized Platform Camper.
Source: Go Fast Campers