Fast, light pickup shell creates a low-cost Toyota Tacoma adventure RV
Utah's Harker Outdoors has an RV alternative that's both affordable and ready to travel and camp at a second's notice. Like a Sahara cap for your truck, the EDC (that's Everyday Camper or Expedition Driven Camper, depending upon whom you ask and when you ask 'em) is a light pickup topper that buyers can use as a simple roof over their heads or customize into an off-road mini-camper. Starting under US$8,000, it skips the prohibitive cost of entry of other RVs.
Pop-up pickup toppers offer one of the quickest, simplest means for turning a pickup truck into a light camper. Their light overall weights make them compatible with midsize pickups like the Toyota Tacoma and Jeep Gladiator, trucks that lack the payload for more traditional pickup campers.
Instead of coming as a fully shelled unit with floor, toppers secure to the truck's bed rails, rolling the pickup bed into their interior design, thereby saving material, weight and price. When closed up, the Harker EDC looks quite similar in style to other wedge-style pickup toppers, such as the AT Overland Summit or Vagabond Drifter. Fully deploy it, though, and you have a larger pop-up tent that dangles down the back of your ride like the party end of a magnificent mullet.
Instead of merely flipping up or swinging out to the side, the EDC's locking hatch door above the truck tailgate removes completely and, optionally, attaches to the side of the truck as a worktop. This clears the way for a tent frame extension hoop to pull outward and carry the tent fabric out over the rear of the truck, working as something of a small awning.
For fuller coverage, the annex fabric zips into this upper awning, snaps to the EDC sidewalls and straps to the vehicle chassis for a tight fit. The annex adds extra interior space, incorporating the dropped truck tailgate into the floor of the tent camper. Most other pickup toppers of this kind end at the closed tailgate.
Further adding to the spaciousness of the EDC is an extra-long 58 x 90-in (147 x 229-cm) sleeper platform, which comes in just 2 inches (5 cm) shy of a residential queen's width with 10 added inches (25 cm) of length. That creates enough sleeping length for even NBA-center-sized campers.
On the downside, the annex tent's snap-and-strap closure doesn't appear to create quite the same level of weather- and insect-proof security you'd get with the usual zippered tent fabric and weather-sealed topper walls.
Harker is based in Utah's Wasatch Mountains just north of Salt Lake City and builds its campers up to the task of exploring the rugged high and canyon country around its HQ and environs. That involves an aluminum/alu-composite skin atop a fully welded 2-in tubular steel frame. A 300-lb (136-kg) base weight makes the EDC ideal for midsize trucks, leaving a chunk of payload for carrying passengers and filling or outfitting the bed with kitchen and general camping equipment. The EDC also has aircraft-grade L-track on the sides for mounting gear and comes with a crossbar-ready roof capable of holding 250 lb (113 kg).
Harker sells the EDC shell for a base price of $7,499, and buyers can add a variety of options, including an electrical package with a 100-Ah deep-cycle AGM battery, 200 watts of roof-integrated solar, a control panel and lighting. The EDC is built to fit short- and long-bed Toyota Tacomas, short-bed Chevy Colorados and GMC Canyons, and Jeep Gladiators. Build time is currently six to eight weeks, according to Harker's website.
Harker also offers custom bed build-outs to create more complete campers. We were quite impressed with the Jeep Gladiator interior it had on display at last weekend's Outside Adventure Expo. The layout included a mini-kitchen with Camp Chef stove/oven, collapsible sink basin with water canister and fridge/freezer, along with a fridge-height bench with integrated under-seat storage chest and pass-through indoor/outdoor pantry. The company told us a similarly equipped package with full electrical would retail for roughly $19,000, not including the base truck.
Harker has a number of tutorials and walkthroughs on its YouTube page, but this three-minute action clip does a nice job of summing up what the EDC is all about.
Source: Harker Outdoors