The Lightweight Pop-Top Truck Camper Revolution

The Lightweight Pop-Top Truck Camper Revolution

Filed under: Camper & RV  Truck 

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The hottest trend in the car camping/overland world right now is the lightweight pop-top truck camper. They combine a truck topper shell and rooftop tent. These go-anywhere truck campers are ready for adventure!

Light pop-top pickup truck camper

The pop-top truck camper gives you interior standing room, a comfortable bed, and a large, locked storage area. It also offers up a solid platform to mount all your big adventure sports toys, like kayaks and bicycles, on the roof. The lightweight pop-top truck camper fills the void between the traditional truck topper and a full-featured, RV-style, slide-in truck camper.

The idea of an integrated tent in a truck bed topper/canopy isn’t new. Lately, though, there’s an all-new crop of this camper type sprouting up. And most of them incorporate wedge-shaped rooftop tents.

Let’s take a look at the current offerings in the lightweight pop-top truck camper space. Which would you buy?

AT Overland Equipment Summit

AT Overland Equipment Summit

AT Overland Equipment has been making quality products for the North American overland community since before most people had ever heard the word “overland.” The company started with off-road-capable adventure trailers.

Over the past few years, AT has moved into rooftop and truckbed living systems. The brand delivered more than 100 Habitat flip-open truck campers in the less than two years it’s been on the market.

AT Overland Equipment Summit

The new wedge-style Summit truck camper was introduced at Overland Expo West this year. Theis new camper is built on the same architecture as the proven Habitat. The big advantage over the Habitat is that you can leave up to 100 pounds of gear on the roof when you pop the top. No one wants to take down their adventure sports gear to make the bed!

The Summit is made of a lightweight honeycomb composite skinned with aluminum. This construction allows for impressive strength, low weight, and quality insulation, separating it from the competition.

AT Overland Equipment Summit

The Summit’s bed is 48-by-80 inches, the length of a queen-size bed. It has a 2.5-inch-thick mattress and pivots upwards out of the way when not in use, assisted by gas springs. And there’s enough room between the sleeping platform and closed roof to leave bedding in place. Making your bed at camp was never so easy!

With the bed up out of the way, the space between the truck bed and tent ceiling measures 8 feet.

AT Overland Equipment Summit

AT is also the only builder of this style of camper that currently has a full continent-wide dealer network. This allows you to buy the Summit and get product support much closer to home, or wherever your travels might take you.

AT Overland Summit

  • Price: $8,900
  • Available: Direct and retail sales channels, deliveries starting late Sept. 2018
  • Weight: 340 pounds
  • Materials: 5052 aluminum and honeycomb composite shell with wax-impregnated, fire-retardant canvas tent
  • Fit: 5-foot and 6-foot bed in midsize trucks (Tacoma, Colorado, Frontier); 5.5-foot and 6.5-foot bed in full-size trucks (Chevy, Ford, RAM, Toyota).
  • Options: Windows, access hatches, skylight with lighting, roof rack, solar power systems, heater, insulated tent, cabinetry, toilet, water systems
  • Website: www.atoverland.com
  • Location: Prescott, Arizona
  • Company established in October 2001

Go Fast Campers (GFC) Platform/Platform XL

Go Fast Campers Platform

If you want a little bling, and by far the easiest access to gear in the truck bed, the GFC Platform Camper is for you. This extremely lightweight camping system is designed for “go fast” camping adventures in remote off-road environments. The Platform is designed for midsize trucks while the Platform XL is designed for full-size trucks.

Go Fast Campers Platform

Low weight and immense strength are the ideas behind the Platform. GFC says, “We build these things to jump.” The Platform frame is made of steel tubing similar to a roll cage. This allows the camper to be extremely rigid and for all the sides to open, as they aren’t part of the structure. The crazy strong and very sexy roof latches and hinge mechanisms are all machined from aluminum.

Go Fast Campers Platform

If the weather is nice, there’s no better camper to be in. The GFC Platform fully opens up like your own personal cabana. And GFC makes all this camper’s components in-house. This allows them to control, modify, and upgrade everything in the Platform Camper system as the company grows and they receive more customer feedback.

Go Fast Campers Platform

Go Fast Campers

  • Price: Platform $5,750; Platform XL $6,250
  • Available: Direct sales since Oct. 2017
  • Weight: Platform 275 pounds; Platform XL 290 pounds
  • Materials: CNC machined and extruded aluminum, honeycomb composite panels, DOM steel tube
  • Fit: Tacoma, Tundra, Current RAM (1500, 2500, 3500), Ford (F150, F250, F350), Colorado/Canyon
  • Options: Lights, racks, vent fan
  • Website: www.gofastcampers.com
  • Location: Bozeman, Montana
  • Company established in August 2017

Snap! Outfitters Treehouse

Snap! Outfitters Treehouse

Snap! Outfitters was born out of necessity. Not a single camper of this style was available two years ago. After over a year of testing, the Treehouse has finally come to market. This Aluminum truck camper is feature-rich and built to order. That means it will fit your truck and your needs.

Snap! Outfitters Treehouse

One of the coolest integrated features of the Treehouse is the three-step ladder from the truck bed to the sleeping platform. Everything on the Treehouse is designed for ease of use by nearly anyone.

Snap! Outfitters Treehouse

The barn door-style rear entry and swing-open side hatches are also unique to Snap!. These features make it incredibly easy to access gear in the truck bed while also keeping the elements out.

Snap! Outfitters Treehouse

Snap! Outfitters is owned by veterans. It manufactures the Treehouse in rural Pennsylvania to each customer’s individual needs. For example, if you want side windows instead of side hatches, they can do that.

Snap! Outfitters Treehouse

  • Price: $6,999.00
  • Available: Direct (possibly retailers soon), deliveries started Feb. 2018
  • Weight: 340 pounds
  • Materials: Aluminum
  • Fit: Custom built to fit any pickup
  • Options: Windows in the cap doors, wired for solar, color matching to the truck
  • Website: www.snapoutfitters.com
  • Location: York Haven, Pennsylvania
  • Company established in January 2017

Vagabond Outdoors The Drifter

Vagabond Outdoors The Drifter

The owners of Vagabond Outdoors have over 12 years of pop-top camper ownership under their belts from a variety of manufacturers. They have used that experience and knowledge to build what they think is a better product. The Drifter pop-up wedge-style truck camper was born in early 2017 and just recently went into production.

Vagabond Outdoors The Drifter

One killer feature not currently being offered by competitors is a standard drop-down cab window. This allows for a crawl-through to the cab of the truck from the truck bed — if the truck is fitted with a large enough opening rear window to crawl through.

The bed in The Drifter is a full 3 inches thick and sports a high-density mattress with waterproof cover. The lid/bed design also keeps bedding in place when the camper is collapsed.

Vagabond Outdoors The Drifter

Besides focusing on The Drifter’s production, Vagabond Outdoors is also striving to become the premier overland outfitter in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s currently a dealer for top brands like; Frontrunner, Goose Gear, Blueridge Overland Gear, Dometic, Total Chaos, and Baja Designs.

Vagabond Outdoors The Drifter

Vagabond Outdoors The Drifter

  • Price: $6,500
  • Available: Direct sales model, deliveries began in March 2018
  • Weight: 315 pounds
  • Materials: 1/8-inch 5052 aluminum, aluminum tubing, vinyl-coated polyester, stainless steel, composites
  • Fit: Tacoma and Colorado (possibly Frontier)
  • Options: Fantastic fan, roof racks, additional lighting, side access windows, insulation
  • Website: www.vagabondoutdoors.com
  • Location: Benicia, California
  • Company established in January 2018

Leentu Campers

Leentu Campers

Leentu has been perfecting their truck camper design since 2015. It’s had two prototypes on a wide variety of terrain and in a variety of weather conditions. The final design is extremely unique and offers lots of interior living space and an aerodynamic shell.

Leentu Campers

The less payload you add to a vehicle, the better it will perform — especially off-road. The Leentu Camper should offer up impressive fuel economy and retain payload for supplies and adventure gear. With a target weight under 150 pounds, this thing should be crazy lightweight!

Leentu Campers

The loft bed converts to a lounge seat or stows in seconds. When the camper is popped up, the interior standing room in the entire truck bed measures over 6 feet. Standard features of the Leentu Camper include a full host of LED lighting, charge ports, and a ventilation fan. It’s also pre-wired for solar, and the Carbon model includes a 60-watt solar panel.

Leentu Campers

Leentu Camper

  • Price: $10,295 (fiberglass); $13,995 (carbon fiber)
  • Available: Direct sales model, November 2018
  • Weight: < 150 pounds (fiberglass); < 100 pounds (carbon fiber)
  • Materials: Pre-impregnated fiberglass or carbon fiber, honeycomb-core,
    weatherproof canvas tent
  • Fit: Long-bed (6 feet) Tacomas (second- and third-generation, 2005-present),
    short-bed (5 feet) Tacomas (pre-orders being taken later this year), and all midsize and full-size 2019 trucks (based on consumer demand)
  • Options: Solar and color matching upgrades available for the standard Leentu Camper; both are included with Leentu Carbon
  • Website: https://www.leentu.com/
  • Location: Founded in San Francisco, California, with production starting in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Company established in January 2017

OVRLND Pop Top

OVRLND Pop Top

The OVRLND Pop Top is a full pop-up design. This lightweight aluminum pop-top camper is custom-made to order. It can work with any truck and be fully customized to the buyer’s specifications.

OVRLND Pop Top

Throughout the truck bed, the Pop Top offers a standing height of 6 feet 5 inches. Vertical sidewalls also maximize interior space, which is unlike other designs that angle in to conform to the truck cab shape. A queen-size sleeping area offers more width than any of the other campers here.

OVRLND Pop Top

OVRLND is a one-man shop, so don’t expect mass production on the Pop Top. What you can expect is one-on-one attention and a custom build that fits your needs exactly.

OVRLND Pop Top

  • Price: $7,400 for midsize trucks; $7,900 for full-size trucks
  • Available: Direct sales model, deliveries began in March 2018
  • Weight: < 350 pounds
  • Materials: All aluminum tubing and siding, wooden bed platform (honeycomb composite option)
  • Fit: All trucks (custom-made to order)
  • Options: Windows, roof rails, barn doors, jerrycans, benches, tables, lights, storage, taller standing height, full custom builds to customer specs
  • Website: campovrlnd.com
  • Location: Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Company established in December 2017
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