Go Fast Campers claims to have made the world’s strongest truck topper, and the Bozeman-based company is backing its claim with an over-the-top test involving an unwitting Toyota Tacoma and a precariously balanced Ford F-250.
Technically, the latest GFC Platform Topper can support up to 800 pounds of dynamic load, but it’s allegedly stronger than the bed rails of any pickup truck. In order to showcase the strength of the Platform Topper with a static load, GFC carefully lowered a single cab Ford weighing 4,500 pounds onto the roof.
I can’t emphasize just how dangerous and silly this is. As Jalopnik alum Wes Siler warns, the elaborate stress test is a terrible idea, but, uh, it really gets the point across: the GFC Platform Topper is ridiculously strong.
Stronger, even, than the bed of the second-generation Toyota Tacoma used during the test. GFC had to weld 500 pounds of steel inside the Tacoma’s bed to reinforce it — to make sure it wouldn’t buckle under the weight of the Ford F-250. That way, if the Platform Topper gave, it would be due to its own weakness rather than the Tacoma’s.
But neither the reinforced Tacoma nor the GFC truck topper failed. If you’ve ever wondered why these camper shells cost so damn much, this — along with their materials cost and domestic U.S. fabrication — is why.
The Platform Topper has a tubular space frame with diagonal bracing to support any weight applied to its roof. The camper’s aluminum outer panels aren’t really load-bearing components; they’re more like metal skins that protect cargo, and can also open to provide shade with a “cabana” mode.
GFC says the topper is reinforced with billet aluminum parts down to the clamps that attach it to the truck. And the frame is bolted at every seam, rather than welded to stop stress fractures. The whole thing weighs 135 pounds when sized for a Tacoma with a short bed, meaning it’s lighter than other hard shells.
As you can imagine, the average camper didn’t fare well under the same test. GFC put a fiberglass topper on the Tacoma and left the F-250 hanging for a minute. The Tacoma’s suspension looked like it was hanging on for dear life right before the fiberglass shell curled like a soda can.
GFC says that same model of fiberglass topper is not much cheaper than the Platform Topper, which will cost $3,995. Obviously, the GFC won’t look as nice as a color-matched camper that follows the lines of a new truck, but at least it’s objectively and outrageously stronger.