The Toyota Tacoma has adapted well to the overland community. Its established reliability, factory selectable locker, and rugged good looks have made it one of the most popular overland platforms in the United States. However, like most of our heroes, the Tacoma also has an Achilles’ heel: payload capacity. Before you go all keyboard commando on me in the comments section, take a breath. A 1,155*-pound payload is a respectable capacity for a “compact truck.” That being said, it’s not enough for the amount of gear that most Tacoma drivers carry on the trail. This leads to bent axles, broken hubs, and other prematurely worn drivetrain components. There are multiple ways to trim up the waistline on your rig, and one such place is your sleeping arrangements.
There are a number of companies offering camper systems for the Tacoma, and this list has a new entry: Go Fast Campers (GFC). Formed in 2017, GFC is a collaboration between Hondo Garage and Aerocontinental. Both companies are located in the same complex in Bozeman, Montana, making it extremely easy to work closely to produce a lightweight camper solution for a growing number of platforms. The Tacoma was their first choice, but due to popular demand, GFC has expanded its efforts to adapt to larger trucks such as the Ford F150, Dodge Ram, and Toyota Tundra.
With the combination of skill and technology, GFC has created a truck camper that weighs a mere 199 pounds, or about 50 pounds more than a traditional truck cap. This is due to the honeycomb construction of the top and floor panels, with aluminum providing strength at all major stress points. The sides of the sleeping quarters come standard with durable Sunbrella canvas or optional formed aluminum panels. All components are constructed in-house, many of which are CNC machined or created by autonomous robots. How cool is that? All components are made in the USA.
With the tent deployed, the peak provides 94 inches of standing room, more than enough for a quick change of clothes or cooking during a storm. The roof panel is translucent, providing plenty of ambient light during the day. Two side windows provide ample cross ventilation, and a large rear flap makes for an open. airy feel. To keep flapping under control, the Sunbrella canvas is held taut by carbon fiber battens. Sleeping arrangements are provided by a generous 3-inch thick mattress called the “Transform-A-Floor.” The mattress breaks down into three panels to allow occupants to climb in and out without disturbing their partner. They can also be placed to provide a working platform for laptops or photography equipment or configured as a bench seat for eating or relaxing during inclement weather. The mattress is 50 inches wide by 90 inches long. With the mattress stowed, there is a 50 x 50-inch standing area.
The Go Fast Camper was designed to not only handle the rigors of off-road driving but to blast down dirt roads at speed. No need to slow down on those corrugated roads. In the unlikely event something should break, the camper is covered by a 2-year warranty.
We were able to pin down Graeme MacPherson to answer a few of our questions. Follow along for more details on the Go Fast Camper. Note: All photos are of the test unit and may differ from the production unit.
What materials are used to construct the Go Fast Camper system?
The base structure is a powder-coated steel tube spaceframe, using mitered 1.5” .065 wall DOM tube.
How is the camper attached to the bed of the truck?
It depends on the truck. Quite a few modern trucks have an in-bed mounting track, and we will make bolt-on adapter plates to interface to those. On vehicles without those provisions, we use CNC-machined topper clamps that are a bit more elegant than what’s commonly used. A fit kit to the vehicle is included in the base price.
What material is used for the soft sides?
The soft sides will be made from a coated automotive convertible fabric so it will be waterproof and UV resistant.
Tell us a little about the aluminum sides that replace the fabric.
The aluminum sides are powder coated .080 5052 that are stiffened with internal braces. We are using 5000-series aluminum because of its toughness, formability, and considerable corrosion resistance. The base option aluminum sides will be openable and are attached to the frame using a continuous weatherproof hinge. We will have an option of openable hard sides where both side panels lift up on a hinge we designed.
What are the dimensions of the sleeping platform?
The dimensions of the sleeping platform for mid-size trucks is 50 by 90 inches. It comfortably sleeps two adults, and accommodates people up to about 6’6” with plenty of room. We will be coming out with a full-size truck version very soon that will be a bit wider.
How much weight will the sleeping platform support?
The sleeping platform will support a 600-pound load.
How thick is the mattress material?
The Mattress is 3 inches thick, and is high-quality foam so you won’t sink through. In our minds, mattresses are not a place to save money.
Do you need a ladder to enter the camper?
For the Platform system, ingress and egress happens through the bed of the truck. We also plan to sell the upper portion as a standalone RTT and that will include a ladder.
How much standing room is there with the bed stowed?
[It measures] 100 inches from the inside peak of the tent to the bottom of the bed [with] plenty of overhead clearance to stand even with something like a Goose Gear drawer module or standard bed platform, [or] even if you are 6’ 4” tall.
How does the Go Fast Camper differ from other systems such as the AT Habitat or Flippac?
The biggest difference is that it’s a lot more compact than either of those systems. One of our main design goals was to have it almost be a surprise to people when you pop it up. When closed the tent portion is only 6 inches tall and can serve double duty as a contractor rack. So if you need to haul a load of steel or 2x4s with it, you can do that.
And because our pop top doesn’t flip 180 degrees, you can leave lighter loads like bicycles or surfboards on the rack while you sleep, a feature that is invaluable in places like Baja or when stopping for a quick overnight at a rest area.
The other major difference that’s a bit harder to describe is that we approached the design of the GFC Platform with more of a motorsports mindset than an RV mindset. Because our core competency is CNC machining, you’ll find lots of machined components. Every design choice centered on enhancing weight reduction and durability. And for us, durability means that everything but the mattress foam can be washed down with a hose, can be rebuilt, or is easily replaceable down the line.
What trucks will it currently fit? Will you be expanding to other platforms in the future?
We currently support the following vehicles:
- Toyota Tacoma 1995-current, all beds except step sides.
- Colorado/Canyon 2015-current, all models.
- 2000-2006 Tundra (all models except stepsides)
- 2009-present F-150 (raptor included) 5.5-foot and 6.5-foot beds.
- 2007-present Tundra, all but the 8-foot bed.
Our modular design enables us to quickly tool up to support new vehicles, and our current rule is that we need 5 orders for a specific bed size to support a new vehicle. We have a form at the bottom of our FAQ page, which you can view here, where you can submit vehicle requests.
Additionally, we will be releasing the tent portion as a standalone RTT as well as an XL version of our platform system to fit full-size trucks with a wider sleeping area.
Is the camper insulated?
The roof of the camper utilizes a honeycomb composite panel that is intrinsically insulative, and considerations to thermal efficiency have been made throughout the rest of the build. We plan to have a cold weather insulation kit that will be released for winter 2018/19.
How is the module sealed from dust and water?
The roof panel is captured by our custom aluminum extrusion that seals against water in much the same way as windows on a house do. This means it doesn’t rely on glues or sealants. So if a tree falls on your truck and pokes a hole in the panel, you can install a new one in an hour or so. Additionally, we designed the upper portion to act as a drip rail to divert water away from the canopy, and for anything that does make it down below, there is an uninterrupted bulb seal which the panels press against. The fabric version of the lower seals in the same way as any fabric-wrapped canopy.
Can the exterior be painted?
The exterior will have three stock powder-coat color options: white, gray, and black.
Beyond that, we will have provisions for custom paint as an option. We have had enough requests from folks that it made sense to offer the service, as we would rather ship a complete product than a project.
How much weight can the canopy support on top?
When using the Platform as a rack (not opening and closing the tent portion), 600 pounds can be loaded on the roof. We don’t recommend hitting jumps, pitching it hard into corners, or other heavy off-road use with those kinds of loads, however.
When in use as a traditional camper and actuating the roof, it will carry 100 pounds. [This] should be enough for most folks with kayaks, bikes, skis, etcetera.
Will there be accessories available in the future?
Absolutely. In the near future we will offer crossbar mounts, lighting, ventilation, awning mounts, and a few other bits and bobs. Beyond that, we are designing insulation kits, heating systems, and storage systems.
Will there be solar options?,
Yes, we will have provisions for solar systems.
Is there a warranty?
Every component of the Platform has a 2-year manufacturer warranty, and beyond that, we designed everything to be repairable and replaceable. So if a tree falls on your truck or something, we will help you get the parts you need to fix it.
Is this camper made in the USA?
Yes. We are fortunate to live in Bozeman, and even though it’s a small mountain town, it’s inexplicably filled with skilled product designers who have worked with a lot of international companies. Access to that kind of talent, coupled with our automated manufacturing facility makes it possible for us to keep design and production local.
And it’s also a great place to start an adventure if you come up to get your camper in person.
When will they be available for purchase?
We plan to be shipping by May [and are] sending a production prototype down to Baja at the end of the month.
Test Truck Build Out
Owner: Wiley Davis
Wheels: Method 105 Beadlocks
Tires: Yokohama Geolander MT G003 (255/75/17)
Front Suspension: ARB BP-51 Coilovers
Rear Suspension: Deaver u402 Stage 1 Leaf Pack
- *Weight ref: 2017 Toyota Tacoma Limited 4WD Double Cab
For more information, visit: gofastcampers.comThe Nemo Equipment Fillo Elite Ultralite Backpacking Pillow is rated 4.6 out of 5 stars from 268 customer reviews on Amazon.