Hailing from Durban, South Africa, RSI’s design and manufacturing facility exists in a massive 88,000 square-foot space where they build truck accessories that are designed to endure traveling through African game reserves. Designer Mike Voss’ vision was a modular truck topper that would help keep gear organized, cargo secured, and provide a solid platform for rooftop tents. He created the SmartCap, a stainless steel topper that is weatherproof, strong, easy to remove, and customizable.
The RSI SmartCap Evo at a Glance
Scott covered the RSI SmartCap at SEMA back in 2019 and his photos of this unique stainless steel truck topper instantly grabbed my attention.
The SmartCap stands out in the world of recreational truck toppers with its modular, 5-panel design that packs flat for shipping. Another stand-out design is the automotive-grade stainless steel construction. This topper is capable of supporting up to 330 pounds while in motion and 770 when stationary. The stainless steel construction allows additional advantages, like gull-wing doors that are 17 percent larger than standard fiberglass truck toppers. RSI claims that their innovative design makes the SmarCap weatherproof, as long as it is installed correctly (better follow those instructions). RSI also claims that the SmartCap can be removed in as little as 15 minutes although they don’t specify how many people are required to achieve said outcome.
A positive pressure air vent installed on the roof of the topper filters in fresh air without the dust. Also on the roof are integrated, recessed roof rails that accept a wide variety of accessories or roof racks. Located in the rear center of the SmartCap (just above the rear door) is an additional brake light for added visibility. Currently on hold due to COVID-19 is RSI’s custom color program which utilizes vehicle manufacturer data to color match the topper to your truck. Fitment is available for late Ford, GM, Ram and Toyota trucks.
Customize the SmartCap Evo with RSI SmartComponents
SmartComponents are at the heart of customizing the RSI SmartCap.
Racks: Four rack systems are available from RSI for use with the SmartCap EVO, SmartCap EvoC, and SmartTray.
Drop Rack: This may look like a standard roof rack at first, but the drop rack has a trick up its sleeve. One half of the rack can slide and pivot, allowing you to lower it down onto the side of the topper. This makes racking lightweight items significantly easier (at least, that’s the idea). Once loaded, just pivot and slide it back into place.
Platform Rack: This is your standard SmartCap compatible roof rack. Straightforward function and *330-/770-pound capacity.
Rolling Rack: Similar to the standard rack, the rolling rack has the same 330/770 pound cargo ratings. But what makes the rolling rack stand out are two rear-mounted steel rollers that facilitate loading awkward cargo like ladders, kayaks, or other long items.
Load Bars: RSI load bars are an affordable option that provides a platform for securing a variety of items on the roof of your topper.
Gullwing Components: RSI offers a host of innovative solutions for work and play that bolt into the SmartCap gullwing door openings, enhancing the functionality of the topper.
Camp Kitchen: Perhaps the most interesting looking SmartComponent add-on (in my opinion), the camp kitchen has dedicated storage spaces for everything from drinkware to cutlery and cooking utensils. An integrated fold-down stove creates a cooking platform without the need for a table. It’s lockable and gas struts keep it open when you are cooking.
Full Bin: If you are looking for easy to access gear and equipment storage, the full bin fits the bill. With MOLLE panels on the back walls for additional organization, the full bin is a simple, functional addition to the SmartCap system.
Half Bin: Like the full bin, the half bin delivers easy to access storage. But unlike the full bin, the half only fills half of the gullwing SmartCap door, maintaining access to your truck bed.
Drawer-Bin: If you need to organize and transport smaller items like tools or fishing tackle, the drawer bin offers two drawers on slides as well as multiple compartments. Like the full bin and half bin, the drawer bin bolts into one or both sides of RSI’s SmartCap.
Security Screen: For users who are looking to increase the security of their SmartCap, the security screen provides additional protection for the rear window.
Stow Away Table: Simple yet functional, this folding stainless steel table can be used for a variety of tasks. An included set of mounting brackets let you stow the folded table out of the way, under the SmartCap roof.
For overlanders and recreationists that are looking for a more robust system, with built-in storage behind the wheel wells, a slide-out drawer, and a flatbed storage platform, RSI’s bed replacement system, the Smart Tray, accepts a variety of additional accessories.
Adding RSI’s SmartSides to the Smart Tray system allows you to create an enclosed bed, and thanks to hinges, the sides fold down when you need them out of the way.
If you need 74 cubic-feet of fully enclosed, weatherproof storage space, the SmartCap XL can be fitted on the Smart Tray replacement bed, creating one of the largest light-duty truck toppers out there. Universal mounting brackets on the back let you mount jerry cans, spare tires, and other accessories. The SmartCap XL has the same positive-pressure air vent and roof rails as its smaller brother, but it is unclear to me at the time of writing this whether the “770 pounds strong” description on RSI’s website refers to the moving or stationary weight rating (in the case of the SmartCap XL).
Giving Back to South Africa
RSI may be focused on truck accessories, but their mission is bigger. They invest $15 from every SmartCap sale in early childhood development programs in disadvantaged communities across South Africa. “By better preparing children with the tools they need to succeed in school, we are helping transform the individual lives of each of these kids. And that transforms their communities, and ultimately South Africa.”
Learn more about the full range of RSI products on their website.