Canopy Campers - a comparison of options

chorky

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In light of a few recent events, I am considering a change. There's various threads of different canopy campers here but figured it would be nice to maybe try and wrap up some main points into one thread - for myself as well as others looking at options. Please, by all means provide input because I can only comment on what I see in pictures and threads - which is helpful for folks to make decisions for their personal needs/desires.

There seems to be several options currently, with more on the way. I am missing a few here because I couldn't find the pages I had found days ago.

I will attempt to outline some primary differences, and pros and cons in the next post to serve as a central point of information. Hopefully this helps us all as much as it is intended to. Any additional comments I will edit and add to the following post - so check back as others chime in!

 
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chorky

chorky

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There are SO many options, and more being developed daily. In addition to great products, what a great way to support small businesses.

Alu-Cab
https://www.alu-cab.com/product/canopy-camper-basic/

$15,000 and up
465 pounds and up
Pro's​
Con's​
Stout and solid builtMost expensive option
Quality company with good supportHEAVY - at least 400 pounds without accessories
Large rear door - easy entryDid I say heavy? And expensive
Good accessories optionsRequires 'fitment' kits
Solid sleeping mattressLack of windows without custom work for doors
Modular sleeping frame optionLong overhang require relocation for sat atnenna
Protected lifting strutsFew color options
Super awesome option for Dickenson Marine heaterDoor lock style tends to freeze in winters
Good list of extra optionsRequires relocation of backup camera
Comments:



GFC
https://gofastcampers.com/pages/the-gfc-compact-truck-camper#quickSpecs

$8,000 and up
300 pounds
Pro's​
Con's​
Cheapest (currently) optionVery thin tent fabric appears easy to damage
Lightest option (currently)No window options for doors
Local - to me, factory in BozemanDoors are the sides, no room for mounting additional accessories unless on door
Large windows in tentCanopy style rear door (also a pro)
Color optionsLack of material to mount items to inside canopy portion
Great support from factoryDoor lock style tends to freeze in winters
Protected lifting struts
Comments:



Super Pacific
https://www.superpacificusa.com/

$13,000 and up
340 pounds and up
Pro's​
Con's​
Well built - I like the aircraft style construction a LOTNo windows (maybe coming soon)
Freeze proof locksHangover requires sat antenna relocation
Nice fabric color and materialExposed hinges - theft prone
Protected lifting strutsFew options available
Designed to be modular - open chase, etc...
Comments:



AT Overland (Atlas)
https://atoverland.com/pages/at-atlas-truck-topper

$13,000 and up
360 pounds and up
Pro's​
Con's​
3 camper style optionsRarely seen - maybe hidden problems?
Mid-weight compared to other optionsSmall windows in tent
Cold weather linerCanopy style rear door (also a pro)
WINDOWS for topper portionLittle information available
Protected lifting strutsSignificant overhang requires relocation of sat antenna
Freeze proof door locks (compared to others)
Small windows allow for mounting of accessories on sides where others have full length doors
Good list of extra options
Comments:



Camp King
https://campkingindustries.com.au/outback-series-ute-tub-camper/

$15,000 and up (IN GST???)
325 pounds and up
Pro's​
Con's​
Looks like solid buildNot many details - new product
Unknown weight
Unknown fitment
Exposed lift struts
Seems very expensive
Unknown quality
No door windows
Comments:



GAIA
https://gaiacampersusa.com/products/jeep-gladiator-2020-deposit-truck-camper

$10,000 and up (INTRODUCTORY PRICE)
350 pounds (guesstimated, no spec available)
Pro's​
Con's​
Introductory price is lowNot many details - new product
Using composite materials - innovativeUnknown quality
Nice 'air vents' to circulate air to sleeping areaNo door windows
Modular sleeping arrangement like Alu-CabSouth Korean made (could also be a pro - unknown)
Door lock style freezes in winters
Comments:



Harker EDC
https://www.googleadservices.com/pa...KOkaz6AhUYMTQIHfIPAbsQ0Qx6BAgCEAE&nis=8&dct=1

$9,000
300 pounds
Pro's​
Con's​
Light given the designDesign is not as secure for thieves and animals (griz country)
Unique design takes advantage of a down tailgate for more spaceLack of detailed information on website
Good list of extra options
Windows on side doors
Comments:



OVRLND
https://campovrlnd.com/

$8,400 and up
275 pounds
Pro's​
Con's​
LOTS of extras and options - customizable, this is a huge positive that others don't offerExposed lift struts
Unique barn style rear door optionFrame design may not offer modular mounting of items
Light weightUnknown canvas tent fabric options
Taller than other options
Comments:



TrailFort
https://trailfort.com/collections/t...ma-short-bed-2016-2020?variant=31630461567087

$12,500
420 to 520 pounds
Pro's​
Con's​
Unique design offers more space upstairsHEAVY - even heavier than AluCab
Unique door hatches - front 'hatch' area could be used to specifically mount electrical componentsUnique design can introduce leaks
Very large tent windowsNot much information available
Plastic windows can allow light in while keeping heat in (like old school tents)No windows
Unknown build design/quality
Does not appear to support roof racks
Comments:



Enduro
https://www.endurocampers.com/#model-poptop

$12,000 and up
320-350 pounds
Pro's​
Con's​
Freeze proof handlesExposed lift struts
Fabric appears to be canvasFabric seems loose
Door windows availableUnknown structure - standard old-school tried and true metal canopy design - yet stated to be composite
Bed platform listed as an optional add-on??
Comments:



Vagabond Drivter
https://vagabondoutdoors.com/product/the-drifter/

$7750 and up
XXX pounds - weight not listed
Pro's​
Con's​
Clear vinyl windows in tentWeight not listed??
Door windows availableLong overhang requires relocation of sat antenna
Freeze proof handlesHinges for lift top appear to be from general hardware store - construction?
Protected lift struts
Decent list of options
Comments:
 
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Andy29847

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fourfa

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^ that’s the Super Pacific

you can also add:

Harker EDC
OVRLND
TrailFort
Enduro Lobo
Vagabond Drifter (find some very annoyed and disappointed pre-orderers on ExPo)
 

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I"ve seen the Camp King in person at Rhino Adventure Gear in San Marcos, CA. That thing is a solid piece of construction and I was impressed. I like the GFC for its simplicity and lighter weight. If I was out all the time though I'd probably want something a little more beefy.

There are a lot of canopies out there that's for sure and more coming out all the time. (but the price isn't coming down with the competition)

I just did a 3600 mile trip from CA > OR > WA > ID > MO > WY > UT > back to CA. Any of these options would have been better than how I'm camping out of an ARE shell and a Gazelle tent. But also much more expensive!

The real deciding factor for me if I ever convert over to a canopy like these is 1. How often am I going to use it to justify the cost? 2. How can I ORGANIZE everything in it and the bed - this is always my major hassle with truck bed living (more like truck bed chaos). Ratchet straps everywhere holding down cargo boxes, electric cooler, portable battery pack to power everything at camp etc. Doing he gear shuffle / gear explosion all over camp. If you want to do it "right" it will cost half as much again as the canopy in Goose Gear or similar, unless you can build it yourself, but it will change your camping game forever.
 


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chorky

chorky

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I met this guy near the top of Mount Princeto in Colorado. He was from Portland, OE and I think I remember that he said he bought the topper in Washington. It looks different than the ones you have shared (notice the hinges).

Truck Bed Campers | Wedge Roof Top Tent | Super Pacific (superpacificusa.com)


i-wNKwX22-X3.jpg
THANK YOU! I knew I was missing this one but just couldn't remember it. I will add it to the list!


^ that’s the Super Pacific

you can also add:

Harker EDC
OVRLND
TrailFort
Enduro Lobo
Vagabond Drifter (find some very annoyed and disappointed pre-orderers on ExPo)
Oh yes, I will do some research and add these as well. Feel free to give any input you would like. I'm of course weighing options myself but really hope that this can help others compare things too.


The real deciding factor for me if I ever convert over to a canopy like these is 1. How often am I going to use it to justify the cost? 2. How can I ORGANIZE everything in it and the bed - this is always my major hassle with truck bed living (more like truck bed chaos). Ratchet straps everywhere holding down cargo boxes, electric cooler, portable battery pack to power everything at camp etc. Doing he gear shuffle / gear explosion all over camp. If you want to do it "right" it will cost half as much again as the canopy in Goose Gear or similar, unless you can build it yourself, but it will change your camping game forever.
These are some huge considerations! At first - I thought the conventional canopy with a RTT that is removable would be the best way to go - but.....maybe not. On another thread someone was talking about the truck bed tents, and a few chimed in about how they hated the idea because they want to use their bed for truck things. Totally reasonable. So everyone has a different reason, purpose, and desire for use. I agree that the cost is a HUGE factor. I mean.....its not like most of us just have $15,000 at the ready to spend on any random thing. Thats a LOT of money (to me). The GFC is cheapest as of now I think - and its actually the same cost as if one were to get a canopy and then a RTT...but it has some pretty big downfalls IMO. But the other options are a lot more expensive. Which is why it's so hard to decide.

Storage is also important like you said. Personally, I am doing a more modular system rather than a fully integrated and dedicated camping rig (more like conventional camping). So things like a normal camp stove, and cooking on a camp table, and a box of cooking supplies, and a bag for clothes, etc. Some things like a water pump (for more than just camping) and air compressor and every day carry tools will be hard mounted. So, for me, it will be a half way between the two ideas. I also think like you that a person can do it just as good and better than a Goose Gear setup, for less than half the cost. Goose Gear is cool stuff. But awful costly. Although I do like the rear seat 40 delete option. But it all depends on what one wants.

The canopy camper seems like a really good option for those who want to go frequently or sporadically, but maybe dont have the ability, time, or are too busy to just stay in one spot for several days at a camp ground or hunting camp. Or (in the Alu-Cab case) someone that is long term exploring or living in their rig. Plus, it still functions like a normal canopy when hauling larger items for say house repairs, etc...

The primary thing I was thinking when considering to make this thread is - how often would I TRULY remove a RTT. Probably....never. Just being honest. They're heavy. I'm single. And dont have a garage for a lift mechanism. Another factor is, although RoofNest Sparrow can carry things on top of it like a kayak, its just not as secure as a canopy camper, IMO. Because your carrying something on top of something else.

Its awesome we have so many options to choose from though
 

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These are some huge considerations! At first - I thought the conventional canopy with a RTT that is removable would be the best way to go - but.....maybe not. On another thread someone was talking about the truck bed tents, and a few chimed in about how they hated the idea because they want to use their bed for truck things. Totally reasonable. So everyone has a different reason, purpose, and desire for use..
That’s another good consideration. If you still want to use your truck as a truck make sure you get one of these canopy options that retains your tailgate.

Yet another concern is when you build your camping into your truck and you stay somewhere multiple days but want to go see things that might require driving you have to pack up the truck to go do that instead of leaving camp at camp and driving away. Then when you get back to your camp you have to open camp back up. The more organized and permanent it is in the truck the easier that is though I assume.
 
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chorky

chorky

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Yet another concern is when you build your camping into your truck and you stay somewhere multiple days but want to go see things that might require driving you have to pack up the truck to go do that instead of leaving camp at camp and driving away. Then when you get back to your camp you have to open camp back up. The more organized and permanent it is in the truck the easier that is though I assume.
this is a good point right here and I think the reason for some of the integrated kitchens. I think its the big distinction between those who have “overland” setups and those who dont. But roof top tents inherently are the same idea. Just a different way. this reminds me of when I was a kid and going on the annual camping trip some people had huge tents with multiple chairs and tables and all sorts of things. I myself have one chair, one table, a cooler (or fridge), stove. Thats it. But it is a good consideration though because maybe one gets to their destination early and sets up but then wants to go down by a lake to kayak. So good points.
 

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I have had the Alucab Canopy Camper on since December 21 and have driven with over 16,000 miles and have slept in it 54 nights very comfortably. I have no complaints whatsoever,yes it is heavy, mine is 600 lbs, yes it’s expensive but as far as I’m concerned it’s worth the price, I considered other units but the big door in the back was the deciding factor, I don’t have to climb over the tail gate. The canopy camper which ever anyone decides on will find that these units take camping and overlanding to new levels. I have used RTT’s for over 6 years and the canopy campers are way ahead of them, when encountering bad weather I’m locked inside. I also deleted my back seats and built my own interior in the camper, it was a lot cheaper than Goose Gear

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I don't see any mention of dust/water infiltration. A definite pro for the Alu-cab Canopy Camper is the tailgate delete. It's a lot easier to seal the canopy camper from dust/water infiltration than options that retain the tailgate. Is it perfect? No, but you can get pretty close.
 
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chorky

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On the expensive end is the Skinny Guy camper
Just did a quick search. Wow those are expensive for what it is. Does have some near ideas tho. I will add it to the list after looking at it more. Thanks!
 

jeventures

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If we didn’t have two kids to take with us I would have the GFC because it’s so good for daily, lighter and low for hard off-roading, and minimal compromise for travel (those cross bars everywhere seem silly after having the Alucab but not a big deal). With two kids we have the canopy and an ikamper. It comes off if we are home for more than 3 weeks or going to an off road park near home.
 

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Well on the lighter side. Ovrlnd camper is on the lighter side. I know that one person on here has one for sure. One other has his on the way and mine is on order. Fully customizable absolutely. Jay and Maggie (owners) are a joy to deal with. You have an idea he can make it happen. Tent material. Can be verified as a super heavy duty guide raft material. Three options on doors for the back. Lift hatch with tailgate. Twin half doors with tailgate. Full barn doors no tailgate (my option) also my option is a 75-25ish split full barn doors. I was on my way through Flagstaff got to see their process. Fully handmade in house totally custom. Jay can do virtually anything you want. I'll let @montechie and @PsyRN verify my claims if they want to chime in.

 

 
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