Fiftyten makes Jeep Gladiator a go-anywhere modular adventure camper
Ruggedized, tent-topped Jeep Wranglers have long been a staple of Overland Expo, so when the Jeep Gladiator debuted last year, it was obvious it'd only be a matter of time before another style of Rubicon-grade Jeep camper started showing up — without any need to chop the back off the cabin or add extra chassis length. Fiftyten becomes one of the first to drop a camper on the back of Jeep's pickup, replacing the stock bed with a rugged tray and bolting on a versatile storage/living canopy and fast-popping hardshell tent. The German company creates a modular camper and utility truck for journeys of every style, size and destination.
We first looked at Fiftyten's modular overland truck topper system after it snagged a BrandNew Award at ISPO 2018. The kit breaks the pickup camper down into building blocks that secure together to create a light, versatile living/storage area.
It all starts with Fiftyten's "Tray," the flat bed that serves as the stout foundation of the system and brings along aircraft tie-downs and under-bed storage drawers. Above that, the meat of the sandwich is the cavernous, gull-winged "Box" canopy that can serve purely for utility, hauling tools and equipment, or as the heart of a camper. The topper "Tent" completes the camper trio, adding sleeping space for two on a Froli spring mattress that lifts away to create standing room inside the canopy.
Fiftyten initially designed its system around European mid-size pickups like the Volkswagen Amarok and Toyota Hilux, but it's been working on bringing it to the US, which involves adapting it to trucks actually sold on American soil. At Overland Expo West earlier this year, it showed the Full Size system designed around America's most popular breed of vehicle, the full-size pickup truck, and now it's launching the Mid Size kit atop the Jeep Gladiator.
The Mid Size setup looks similar to the European kit, but it's marketed solely as a camper system and none of the info, specs or photos that accompany it suggest the roof-top tent is removable. If, in fact, the tent is permanently affixed, it would cut into the system's versatility a bit, but it would also simplify the design without eliminating the possibility of using the canopy for tool/gear storage rather than living space.
For those that want to go full-on truck camper, Fiftyten's first American distributor, overland camper interior storage and sleep system specialist Goose Gear, can get it done. Dipping into the California company's new customizable S-Series line of camper modules, Fiftyten buyers can fill out the interior of the Box canopy to create a more fully equipped camper cabin.
The modules, which are also available for vans and other truck-back campers, piece together to create functional camper floor plans and are built specifically for rough, rowdy overland travel.
The Fiftyten Gladiator pictured still has an empty canopy, but Goose Gear has fitted out the Ford F-Series-mounted Full Size camper since its May appearance at OX West. The design shows a simple but cozy layout with dual benches, under-seat storage, a worktop, a small corner sink and a fridge/freezer.
We admire Fiftyten's multifunctional approach, but it also comes with some sticker shock. The Mid Size system debuting on the Gladiator is listed at US$32,880, and that's before any S-Series interior outfitting. That seems like a lot of coin for an empty camper shell with canvas-sided roof-top tent, and we just can't fathom spending it when the market has been so busy spitting out light, affordable pick-up pop-tops like the Snap Treehouse and Leentu Sunzal. If we were leaping up into the $30s, we'd want a fully equipped pickup camper.
But trays aren't cheap, and the explosion of the American overland market has created many different buyer profiles with very specific needs, ideas and budgets. What seems overpriced to us may just be a glove-like fit at a feasible price point for others.
The Fiftyten Gladiator will debut at Overland Expo East 2019, which starts on Friday. The show moves this year to Infinity Downs Farm in Arrington, Virginia.