Whereas visiting Nice Falls, Montana, just a few years in the past, I requested a neighborhood about good spots to camp. He regarded on the Jeep I used to be driving and mentioned, “You’ll want a rooftop tent.” In response to the look of perplexion on my face, he continued: “Bears. You don’t wish to be at snack peak.”
I shopped for rooftop tents, however I by no means discovered one which justified the expense, ungainly bulk, and the few hundred kilos it added to the worst attainable place on my truck. So I averted tenting in locations with bears.
Then GoFastCampers (GFC) outdoors Bozeman, Montana, launched its Platform Camper for the Ford Maverick; a mixture pickup mattress topper and rooftop tent that claimed to handle all of my reservations. The Platform Camper was mild, regarded good, and at $7700, it price lower than comparable models. When enterprise took me again to Montana, I pinged GFC, which led to an appointment to tour the corporate’s amenities and some days with a Maverick outfitted with the corporate’s Platform Camper.
“The whole lot on that is designed to final perpetually and to be price restoring,” GFC co-founder Graeme MacPherson mentioned in regards to the Platform Camper. This assertion applies to the 620-some-odd bits that go into each Platform Camper.
“The first design ethos of our product is to not look horrible in your truck. You would not be embarrassed to point out up with the Maverick wherever in a metropolis,” MacPherson continued. The totally assembled and put in Platform Camper hits an approachable center floor between two aesthetics that will disconcert urbanites: van down by the river and tactical prepper.
How the Platform Camper Is Made
GFC buys aluminum tubing and rods, then produces its personal components to show them right into a Platform Camper. In a comfy metal constructing room known as “Machine City,” Haas Automation CNC machines mill aluminum parts from uncooked inventory.
The items for a whole camper are reduce, milled, drilled, and polished collectively, then positioned into their respective slots on a single cart reserved for a person buyer’s Platform Camper. GFC doesn’t construct a Platform Camper till ten days previous to set up.
I have been on loads of manufacturing unit excursions, and the whole lot I noticed on this tour of GFC’s amenities spoke of high quality. Lasers reduce the patterns for the 300D denier ripstop cloth earlier than extra lasers weld the panels and the anodizing on aluminum components meets architectural requirements, so gadgets comparable to brackets and hinges received’t fade or flip purple after years within the solar. Moreover, the corporate matches a strong UV safety movie to the translucent composite honeycomb roof panel. And that is simply scratching the floor.
The Platform Camper accommodates no natural supplies. As a substitute, the rig depends on composites and milled parts as a method of bettering the camper’s energy with out including pointless mass. GFC made a video that reveals the aluminum spaceframe mattress topper supporting a 5000-pound static load.
In the meantime, the camper’s pop-up tent contains tracks across the roof’s perimeter, which permit customers to put in equipment comparable to crossbars or an awning. The rig’s high is able to supporting as much as 800 kilos with the tent stowed, and 75 kilos with the tent deployed.
GFC claims its Maverick-compatible Platform Camper weighs round 250 kilos—a meager chunk out of the Maverick’s 1500-pound payload capability. The topper panels can be found in 9 colours at no further price.
Set up, in the meantime, runs $175. That is if it is executed in Bozeman. Go for certainly one of seven different accessible areas positioned throughout the nation, and that sum rises to as little as $600 and as a lot as $1299. The Platform Camper we borrowed for just a few days rang in at $8689. That sum included the aforementioned $175 set up price, $525 price of tent home windows, and a $289 Mantis Claws ladder.
It took one purchasing journey to search out my sole gripe with the Platform Camper: the exceptionally fiddly key cylinders on the six locks securing the topper panels, none of which simply accepted the important thing every time I tried to lock or unlock a given panel. That mentioned, the whole lot else in regards to the Platform Camper felt well-built and of top of the range.
The camper roof sits 6.5 inches above the Maverick’s shark fin antenna. Save for the occasional chirp when the wind hit the truck excellent, I might have by no means identified there was a camper nesting within the compact pickup’s mattress. GFC stories the Platform Camper cuts a few miles per gallon from the Maverick’s gasoline economic system.
I first tried the camper as an workplace, stopping on the Pilot Journey Middle south of Nice Falls, Mountain and promptly getting on a Zoom name. It took roughly 90 seconds to boost the tent and rearrange the composite, modular mattress panels to play the a part of a standing desk for my laptop computer. With the assembly over, I promptly locked the whole lot up and was again on the highway in lower than two minutes.
I had only one evening accessible to truly camp within the Platform Camper. A chilly entrance made my time on the Dwelling Gulch campground extra treacherous than anticipated, with high-speed gusts cascading down from the ridge above my campsite rocking the Maverick.
Sub-50-degree Fahrenheit temperature solely added to the problem of falling asleep within the soft-sided and uninsulated tent of GFC’s Platform Camper. Regardless of this, the rig by no means confirmed any indicators of misery as a result of subpar climate. I heard not a single creak or rattle throughout my evening within the camper.
Due to the sleeping bag I introduced with me, I discovered no situation with the skinny two-inch thick reminiscence foam mattress of the Platform Camper. Extra discerning sleepers would possibly wish to deliver further padding with them previous to calling it an evening within the Platform Camper.
That mentioned, I needed GFC outfitted the tent with some further small-item storage comparable to a pouch or two sewn into the partitions. Likewise, the Platform Camper would profit from a lantern-friendly strap on the internal portion of the tent’s roof.
After three hours of shivering and swaying within the bluster, I known as it quits and drove to Helena. Don’t fret, although, as a result of I plan to move again to Montana with my very own truck to repeat this identical take a look at. Solely subsequent time, I plan to spend not less than one full evening tenting within the GFC Platform Camper. Climate or bears be damned.