- Vladiator Build - Gobi

Vladiator

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Just moved back to California after six years abroad. I wanted to get the gladiator since I saw it. I came close to pulling the trigger on a Land Cruiser 200 series, then decided to go with the bronco, but after a significant delay in production I came back to the gladiator. I think I made the right decision. I’m looking forward to sharing my learnings from this build.
EB8CA792-1A27-4D6B-86AF-BCD14AF57B9C.jpeg





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Ok! So - after sinking 40+ hours of researching suspension (countless YouTube videos from shock surplus, reviews by trail recon, and speaking to reps at north ridge 4x4, Morris and quadratec) I’ve decide. I considered in all seriousness every brand that’s out there with an open mind. My key requirements where, A. Adjustable shocks for tackling everything from junk miles on the highway, to valuable miles on the dirt. I also didn’t want to go overboard for a rig that’s primary focus is driving to the mountains, and desert with some obstacles. B. I wanted a suspension system that has the same engineers working on the spring rate and the shock in house. After two decades of working in design - I feel a level of comfort knowing that the in-house engineers at tera flex have the opportunity for iterations (at least more so than working with a 3rd party shock MFG.) to perfect the product.

So....after many many debates and shopping cart builds.

I’m going with a teraflex 3.5” lift and falcon 3.3 shocks. I believe this will help with the load that I am planning on adding to the rig (Camper / RTT / 37’s / 4 people)
 
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Next up: wheels. I have some decisions
to make. I made a quick 5 min mock up to envision what I’m getting myself into.

1
1935B268-EDE3-455D-961D-15F83C867E6D.png

2
A78E85D1-4CCA-47B1-8DB0-59B18FE1445F.png

3
C788FDC0-1841-4F12-B6A3-B73F99363A21.png

4
853A411F-7438-4B13-B77A-27B4F6BAD31B.png

5
564F4CD1-F648-46B2-98D4-01838DA08F13.png
 

rjm727

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I am torn between #1 and #2. Both look great! Following to see where you go with it. Have fun.


Next up: wheels. I have some decisions
to make. I made a quick 5 min mock up to envision what I’m getting myself into.

1
1935B268-EDE3-455D-961D-15F83C867E6D.png

2
A78E85D1-4CCA-47B1-8DB0-59B18FE1445F.png

3
C788FDC0-1841-4F12-B6A3-B73F99363A21.png

4
853A411F-7438-4B13-B77A-27B4F6BAD31B.png

5
564F4CD1-F648-46B2-98D4-01838DA08F13.png
Torn
 
OP
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Vladiator

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I narrowed down my search onto three companies.

Spoke with Spencer from Super Pacific.
Spoke with GFC.
Spoke with RLD.

I would be happy with all three. This choice is tough and similar to the equivalent of picking a favorite child. We're splitting hairs in the differences and all three have their own strengths. This is a highly personal decision and I would have been happier with either three. But, being a crazy person I obsess over the millimeters. I mean, we don't have a toaster in our house, because I have yet to find one that looks beautiful enough to fit in with the harmony of the houses clean bold lines. I know what you're thinking. I'm probably thinking the same thing.

SO.....onto to it.
1611908750175.png

What I loved about the RLD was the clean square lines that worked well with cars appearance. and the ability to store tables on the interior roof while being able mount a roof top tent. What I didn't want to happen was to have three different design languages on my car. One from the jeep designers, one from RLD and one from ikamper. It was a no on this set up for me for that reason.

1611908809337.png


What I liked about the GFC was how ridged and practical their product are. It has a rugged look due to its roots in metal fab. It has a great reputation in some circles. But there are also complaints of hard to get replacement parts, hard to find custom hardware and driving to Montana for installment and warranty. The cross bars that give the product its strength also gave me some pause. I want a big clear side door for ease of loading, My plan is to steal the idea from RLD and build a kitchen cabinet on the side. And the final reason this isn't the right camper for me is the lack of appreciation for design. I fear that there is a heavier emphasis with GFC on engineering. In my experience you don't have to sacrifice one for the other. The stance of the camper felt somewhat plain, generic, a bit boring. Maybe it's missing a surface treatment that has the same craft, that the car's designer had in mind when making the truck. Perhaps they'll get it done for V3? Something as small as adding a radius onto the shell and doors, or a contrasted panel would have given the GFC a level of crafted consideration. Yes this is very knit picky, but its out of respect for GFC and their engineering. Like I said this is a tough choice and I would be happy with the GFC. But since I'm hyper critical about design, engineering and how it personally will serve me - remember to take it with a grain of salt. Much respect to them. I'll continue to follow them.

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Screen Shot 2021-01-29 at 12.43.15 AM.png

Screen Shot 2021-01-29 at 12.43.23 AM.png

Screen Shot 2021-01-29 at 12.44.12 AM.png

It was a tough decision. After many sleepless nights pondering on where to invest in memories with my family. I decided on the Super Pacific. For starters, its the most beautiful camper on the market. I know that's a very subjective statement, but hear me out. The construction of this camper is closely connected to the pragmatism of military design, but yet with a consideration of a distinct image through engineering and surface design. The ethos of putting hangers, bosses, and many other attachment points to outfit the vehicle to adapt to your situation is brilliant. The riveted construction, the small utilitarian details, the hidden Internal wiring, the stance of the doors and the dynamic yet minimalist approach got me. They got me good. Even their web design, branding, and customer service had been above and beyond. This product is also a bit more flexible than either of the previous options. Is that a good thing? I genuinely don't know. However, after speaking to people who have ran these campers in the desert, in the pacific northwest with the tent hanging 3/4 from their roof– the didn't have a single complaint or damage. The product is also pretty light. But, the GFC is lighter by 15lbs (comparing taco to taco) if you're extremely pure in the approach.

Overall this was my logic. I hope its helpful to someone.

Delivery date in mid summer

I'll keep you posted.
 

jurfie

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I know what you're thinking. I'm probably thinking the same thing.
Yes. Yes, you’re right...we’re thinking it. 😬 ;)


That billet aluminum hinge is a thing of beauty.

I have to agree that the Super Pacific is the most attractive of the canopy campers I’ve seen so far. I’m still not a huge fan of the wedge-style tent most seem to use; I’d prefer it if it opened with a scissor-style hinge like the Ursa Minor tents on the JKs, if only for a bit more roominess. But I could overlook that if the quality is there. This one does seem to be well thought out for sure, which suggests a quality product.

Regardless, I look forward to hearing your thoughts once you receive it; please post lots of photos.

How easy would it be to put on and take off, do you think? Obviously a hoist would make it easier. Or is it a ”install it and forget it” type of thing?
 
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Yes. Yes, you’re right...we’re thinking it. 😬 ;)




That billet aluminum hinge is a thing of beauty.

I have to agree that the Super Pacific is the most attractive of the canopy campers I’ve seen so far. I’m still not a huge fan of the wedge-style tent most seem to use; I’d prefer it if it opened with a scissor-style hinge like the Ursa Minor tents on the JKs, if only for a bit more roominess. But I could overlook that if the quality is there. This one does seem to be well thought out for sure, which suggests a quality product.

Regardless, I look forward to hearing your thoughts once you receive it; please post lots of photos.

How easy would it be to put on and take off, do you think? Obviously a hoist would make it easier. Or is it a ”install it and forget it” type of thing?
Funny you mention Ursa Minor. I’ve asked them if they thought about developing pop up tent for the JT. That would essentially turn it into the defender 130.
98DDBD5F-D096-4CB6-9872-11D7CE4A4102.jpeg
I would love to work on making this conversion for the Gladiator one day.

As for putting the camper on and off that’s a good question. It weighs 300 pounds so a hoist would be very helpful for anyone that needs to also use this as a daily drover or has other hobbies like dirt bikes. What I like about the large doors is that I don’t lose the truck capability. I’m hoping that going to Lowe’s or the garden shop will still be easy enough. I don’t anticipate any compromise on being able to carry sheets of plywood or the like.

Also, I’m likely going to dedicate this rig as a vacation and weekend truck and keep pushing further into the backcountry. I’m probably just going to leave the camper on and remove all the overlanding external accessories when not on a trip.
 

Lucrob

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Funny you mention Ursa Minor. I’ve asked them if they thought about developing pop up tent for the JT. That would essentially turn it into the defender 130.
98DDBD5F-D096-4CB6-9872-11D7CE4A4102.jpeg
I would love to work on making this conversion for the Gladiator one day.

As for putting the camper on and off that’s a good question. It weighs 300 pounds so a hoist would be very helpful for anyone that needs to also use this as a daily drover or has other hobbies like dirt bikes. What I like about the large doors is that I don’t lose the truck capability. I’m hoping that going to Lowe’s or the garden shop will still be easy enough. I don’t anticipate any compromise on being able to carry sheets of plywood or the like.

Also, I’m likely going to dedicate this rig as a vacation and weekend truck and keep pushing further into the backcountry. I’m probably just going to leave the camper on and remove all the overlanding external accessories when not on a trip.
Me too on the Ursa JT, but I don't see how it's possible since the bed and cab flex independently of one another.
 

Lucrob

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I narrowed down my search onto three companies.

Spoke with Spencer from Super Pacific.
Spoke with GFC.
Spoke with RLD.

I would be happy with all three. This choice is tough and similar to the equivalent of picking a favorite child. We're splitting hairs in the differences and all three have their own strengths. This is a highly personal decision and I would have been happier with either three. But, being a crazy person I obsess over the millimeters. I mean, we don't have a toaster in our house, because I have yet to find one that looks beautiful enough to fit in with the harmony of the houses clean bold lines. I know what you're thinking. I'm probably thinking the same thing.

SO.....onto to it.
1611908750175.png

What I loved about the RLD was the clean square lines that worked well with cars appearance. and the ability to store tables on the interior roof while being able mount a roof top tent. What I didn't want to happen was to have three different design languages on my car. One from the jeep designers, one from RLD and one from ikamper. It was a no on this set up for me for that reason.

1611908809337.png


What I liked about the GFC was how ridged and practical their product are. It has a rugged look due to its roots in metal fab. It has a great reputation in some circles. But there are also complaints of hard to get replacement parts, hard to find custom hardware and driving to Montana for installment and warranty. The cross bars that give the product its strength also gave me some pause. I want a big clear side door for ease of loading, My plan is to steal the idea from RLD and build a kitchen cabinet on the side. And the final reason this isn't the right camper for me is the lack of appreciation for design. I fear that there is a heavier emphasis with GFC on engineering. In my experience you don't have to sacrifice one for the other. The stance of the camper felt somewhat plain, generic, a bit boring. Maybe it's missing a surface treatment that has the same craft, that the car's designer had in mind when making the truck. Perhaps they'll get it done for V3? Something as small as adding a radius onto the shell and doors, or a contrasted panel would have given the GFC a level of crafted consideration. Yes this is very knit picky, but its out of respect for GFC and their engineering. Like I said this is a tough choice and I would be happy with the GFC. But since I'm hyper critical about design, engineering and how it personally will serve me - remember to take it with a grain of salt. Much respect to them. I'll continue to follow them.

1611909693511.png

1611909716220.png

1611909747563.png

Screen Shot 2021-01-29 at 12.43.15 AM.png

Screen Shot 2021-01-29 at 12.43.23 AM.png

Screen Shot 2021-01-29 at 12.44.12 AM.png

It was a tough decision. After many sleepless nights pondering on where to invest in memories with my family. I decided on the Super Pacific. For starters, its the most beautiful camper on the market. I know that's a very subjective statement, but hear me out. The construction of this camper is closely connected to the pragmatism of military design, but yet with a consideration of a distinct image through engineering and surface design. The ethos of putting hangers, bosses, and many other attachment points to outfit the vehicle to adapt to your situation is brilliant. The riveted construction, the small utilitarian details, the hidden Internal wiring, the stance of the doors and the dynamic yet minimalist approach got me. They got me good. Even their web design, branding, and customer service had been above and beyond. This product is also a bit more flexible than either of the previous options. Is that a good thing? I genuinely don't know. However, after speaking to people who have ran these campers in the desert, in the pacific northwest with the tent hanging 3/4 from their roof– the didn't have a single complaint or damage. The product is also pretty light. But, the GFC is lighter by 15lbs (comparing taco to taco) if you're extremely pure in the approach.

Overall this was my logic. I hope its helpful to someone.

Delivery date in mid summer

I'll keep you posted.
For me the weight is the first number I need to know. The "TrailFort" is by far, - - IMO - the best overall design. But it's over 450 lbs. Simply too heavy. By the time you load your gear and passenger/s. Your already at half your payload before you even load a sandwich. I'd sure like to see all the weight numbers on these campers so I can know what I'd be buying into. GFC has it buried on their site, if it's even stated at all. Any solid numbers on these setups would be much appreciated.
 
OP
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For me the weight is the first number I need to know. The "TrailFort" is by far, - - IMO - the best overall design. But it's over 450 lbs. Simply too heavy. By the time you load your gear and passenger/s. Your already at half your payload before you even load a sandwich. I'd sure like to see all the weight numbers on these campers so I can know what I'd be buying into. GFC has it buried on their site, if it's even stated at all. Any solid numbers on these setups would be much appreciated.
The GFC and super pacific are both around 300lbs. There is about a 20lbs difference between the both of them.
 

Mjolnir

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The GFC and super pacific are both around 300lbs. There is about a 20lbs difference between the both of them.
For me the weight is the first number I need to know. The "TrailFort" is by far, - - IMO - the best overall design. But it's over 450 lbs. Simply too heavy. By the time you load your gear and passenger/s. Your already at half your payload before you even load a sandwich. I'd sure like to see all the weight numbers on these campers so I can know what I'd be buying into. GFC has it buried on their site, if it's even stated at all. Any solid numbers on these setups would be much appreciated.
GFC V2 is less than 250lbs. The V1 was close to 300 though.

Edit: V1 is 275 (standard model). The V2 is supposed to be over 50lbs lighter, I think specifically 70lbs but to be safe it is most certainly no more than 225lbs.
 

dsundy

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Also took the leap on a Super Pacific. They told me sometime in May for delivery. Stoked to see how your build turns out - I think you nailed it with the balance of design & functionality. Same thing attracted me to SP instead of GFC!
 
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I’ve been waiting and waiting on my wheels as parts have been stacking in my garage. I was told I would have the analog HD’s in feb, then it became March and then April, and then may and now June. It’s a big decision as I’m going to keep this truck for a long time as a reminder of our family travels. I really want to wait for the analogs and paint them gobi. But I’m tempted to get the build going now. The turbo Mac’s in black just came back in stock. I might pull the trigger.

51176AF8-6F12-401C-AC27-DCE2D7E02449.jpeg
 
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We went deep in the woods and crawled to find a river spot. The stock setup performed well. Can’t wait to put the lift kit and bigger tires.

D7F8994E-7A5B-478E-8165-3E701C67F439.jpeg
 

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