Jeep stamps its name on slick, modular pickup camper shell system
It didn't take too long following the Gladiator's 2018 debut for the overland market to create camper solutions for the Jeep pickup's unique dimensions, and then the floodgates opened to let in a big wave. Now, years later, Jeep itself is getting into the market, re-upping its collaboration with Utah's Addax Overland in creating a flexible, multifunctional Gladiator camping system. Instead of the usual single-piece pop-up topper, the new Jeep x Addax Gladiator Overlanding Camper brings a flexible multi-piece construction with retractable-roof shell, rooftop tent and additional accessories. Buyers will be able to keep it sleek, cheap and simple or blow it up into a multi-personality micro-RV.
As you might recall if you keep abreast of such things, Jeep announced its original partnership with Addax just under a year ago at SEMA 2022, showing a burly little nugget of co-branded micro-camping. Rather than simply slap its powerful brand name onto just any ol' squaredrop trailer that rolled its way, Jeep was careful to save it for something a little different, a tiny, 850-lb (386-kg) rolling steel toolbox meant to shadow a kitted-out Wrangler loyally on the gnarliest, most boulder-choked stretches of trail imaginable, something you might not want to try with a big, luxury-loaded live-in box trailer, "XXtreme package" or no.
With their second collaboration, Addax and Jeep go for that same level of unique, innovative design, albeit with a little less distilled minimalism, a little more modular versatility. The new system starts off as a basic truck cap, equipped with a retractable top that allows the owner to open it up and stand in the pickup bed, access the roof rack above, or carry tall cargo without having to remove the entire cap.
The cap is built from 16-gauge stainless steel for the rugged integrity and corrosion resistance needed to bounce around on top of the Gladiator box. It also has flip-up hatch doors on both sides, complete with flush-mounted windows nearly as clean as those on the Tune Outdoors M1.
Overlanders could theoretically camp under just the steel cap, enjoying breezy evening views through the open roof, but given the Gladiator's single 5-foot (1.7-m) bed size, they probably won't want to do that unless they're particularly short or enjoy sleeping with their knees bent. Instead, those with Jeep-top overnight ambitions will want to add the accompanying aluminum-framed rooftop tent (RTT) that mounts seamlessly to the cap without the need for crossbars or a platform rack.
The 175-lb (79-kg) wedge tent looks particularly high when open because it's designed to offer more headroom than average. In fact, Addax lists headroom at 76 in (193 cm), which suggests the tent must employ an open floor or removable panel that allows campers to stand in the pickup truck under the open tent. That would be a pretty nifty way of creating a proper camper interior, rather than just a rooftop tent carried on a truck cap.
Inside the tent, an oblong 106 x 59-in (269 x 150-cm) foam mattress offers plenty of legroom for two sleepers – much comfier than a sideways crouch on an inflatable pad atop the Gladiator bed floor.
The system also features integrated interior LED lighting in both the shell and RTT, 200-W solar panels and an adjustable-speed exhaust fan on the tent roof, and a sound-dampening foam headliner with Moab topo pattern. Additional planned options include a 270-degree awning, rack system, truck bed organization and kitchen kit.
Jeep quietly previewed the new Addax camper during the debut of the 2024 Gladiator held at last month's Detroit Auto Show. Next week's SEMA show seems like a good venue for a broader introduction, unless maybe Jeep plans to hold it for next year's Easter Jeep Safari. The cap itself will start at US$4,000, and the first deliveries are planned for (Northern Hemisphere) spring 2024.
Source: Addax Overland