World's strongest pickup cap holds a truck and chills like a cabana
For years, Montana's Go Fast Campers (GFC) has been building a bulletproof reputation for lightweight, affordable aluminum vehicle camping solutions. Now it's going a little simpler with a utility pickup shell that can be used for a combination of cargo security, serious gear hauling and general truck bed revelry. And if you want to crane a second pickup truck on top of the first just for fun, it's ready to help out there as well. The space-frame-bolstered GFC Platform Camper is rated for multiple times the dynamic weight of other toppers yet still weighs less.
Overland startups have been flooding the market with lightweight pop-up camping toppers over the past decade. Perhaps feeling the effects of saturation or realizing that simple, fixed-roof truck shells appeal to a much broader market of potential buyers, at least a few of those startups are turning some attention in a new direction. We recently saw Radica Products emerge with one innovative take, and the Platform Camper is GFC's contribution.
Unlike GFC's previous releases, the Platform Topper isn't designed so strictly for camping. Just like caps from ARE or Leer, it could serve as a low-profile pickup camper for those who don't mind barebones sleeping quarters with limited headroom, but it's really meant as an everyday utility shell that encloses tall cargo, locks up contents and adds a roof to double storage area. GFC explains that it's designed to be a burlier, more capable breed of truck topper, as ready for overloaded off-road adventures as it is daily trips down the highway.
Go Fast has built its brand on ultralight, ultra-tough aluminum construction, and that definitely applies to its first truck shell. It hangs aluminum panels on a billet hardware-reinforced tubular aluminum space frame designed to spread weight evenly across the pickup bed. The upper structural surround includes integrated T-track for mounting crossbars and accessories and holds the translucent, UV-resistant thermoplastic honeycomb roof panel in place.
Using that unique construction, GFC bills the Platform Topper the world's strongest, touting a very impressive 800-lb (363-kg) dynamic load capacity. Previously, the highest capacity we'd seen was the 770-lb (349-kg) rating on the stainless steel RSI Smartcap, and that figure is not nearly as close as it looks because that's a static load rating – the dynamic load capacity falls to 330 lb (150 kg).
Perhaps even more impressive, the GFC cap achieves ant-like strength, offering that much capacity at a base weight of only 135 lb (61 kg, sized for a short-bed Toyota Tacoma), well below the 150- to 200-lb (68- to 91-kg) weights common for other mid/full-size pickup shells. The lightest consumer Smartcap weighs just under 212 lb (96 kg) when sized for a short-bed Tacoma.
To really drive home the Platform Topper's superior might, GFC dropped a 4,500-lb (2,040-kg) Ford F-250 on top and rolled the cameras. The topper itself was up to the challenge, but the company had to build a 500-lb (227 kg) custom tubular steel cage reinforcement inside the Tacoma to prevent the truck bed from failing.
The Platform Topper's three flip-up hatches provide easy access inside from every available side of the pickup. Flip one or more of those hatches open, and you create what GFC calls "cabana mode," a light, airy shelter perfect for sitting out rainstorms or escaping the beating sun during a midday meal.
GFC launched the Platform Topper last week, and the midsize-truck version is now available for the Tacoma, Jeep Gladiator and Ford Ranger at a starting price of US$3,995. A model for the full-size Ford F-150 (electric Lightning, too!) will follow in the future, with other truck models joining the lineup as dictated by demand. The cap is designed to work seamlessly with up to four of GFC's Beef Rack crossbars, each of which is rated to 200 lb (91 kg) of dynamic load.
Yes, GFC recorded some video of the Ford F-250 test, and it also made it a head-to-head challenge against a fiberglass cap. You can easily guess what happens, but it's more fun to watch it unfold. The first 10 minutes get into some detail about exactly how the Platform Topper is made, why it's made that way, and how it compares to a traditional fiberglass shell – interesting stuff if you're interested in going that deep. If you aren't, the background on the Tacoma reinforcement starts around 8:50, and the actual truck-on-truck action starts just after 10 minutes.
Source: Go Fast Campers
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I've seen vids of stock '70s Toyota pickups carrying entire semi tractor bodies by laying them on top and driving away into the Indonesian wilderness. I wonder how long those stock leafs hold up under those conditions.
I cannot foresee any possible use of a super strong shell for a pickup, especially STARTING at only 4 grand. I have carried a ton of gravel (1/2 yd) in my Tundra shortbed, tho.