Everything you need to know about the GFC Rooftop Tent on the 5th Gen 4Runner
The hunt for a good rooftop tent can be pretty extensive.
There were quite a few brands we considered before jumping on the GFC bandwagon. The debate first came down to hardshell or soft shell rooftop tents, we decided hardshell.
Hardshell tents are typically faster to set up, don’t have as many working parts, don’t have poles to deal with, and for the most part, have a lower profile design. Most of the softshell tents I considered were the opposite; lots of parts, poles and fly systems, and they featured a higher larger profile design.
Some of the hardshell options I considered were the Alu-cab, iKamper Skycamp 2.0, Maggiolina, Autohome Columbus, Tepui HyBox, Roofnest Sparrow, Roofnest Falcon, Stealth by Eezi-Awn, and of course the Go Fast Campers RTT.
I choose Go Fast Campers RTT for a number of reasons, and I am glad I did. Before we get into that though, let’s look at the GFC back story and how the GFC RTT came to be such a popular option in the overland and off-road community.
Truck Campers and Rooftop Tents
With the growing popularity of pop-top truck campers, came the GFC camper – a new and improved light-weight version of what has been on the market for decades. The concept behind truck campers bridges the gap of your traditional overland style bed rack plus a rooftop tent and a full-size slide-in truck camper.
One of the GFC founders wanted something that simply didn’t exist on the market, and so the first Go Fast Camper for a Tacoma was developed.
Pop-top truck campers like the ones Go Fast makes are quickly becoming the industry standard in mid-size to full-size truck off-roading and overlanding.
Although the concept is not new, a large portion of the community is moving away from traditional bed rack systems and over to integrated solutions like the GFC.
With these integrated systems, you have fewer working parts, more functionality, typically an easier system to use, among many other benefits.
Introducing the GFC Rooftop Tent
Once GFC saw the success of their first truck campers, they carried the top portion (the wedge style pop-up tent) to a rooftop tent system. The actual rooftop tent is the same wedge-style sleeping platform that is mounted on their campers just with a solid floor.
Their wedge-style rooftop tent is universal. You can mount the GFC rooftop tent on any vehicle with the universal mounting brackets or gutter rail mounting kit.
Our 5th Gen 4Runner, on the other hand, is special. They make a specific bracket (which is very easy to install) just for us and that is what we are talking about here.
Below are our top reasons why we love the GFC RTT for our 5th Gen 4Runner.
Why Go Fast Campers RTT?
- Design and Construction
- Low Profile
- Ease of Use
- Wedge/Clamshell Design
- Cold Weather
GFC RTT Specs:
- GFC RTT: Check Price
- GFC RTT 5th Gen Mount: Check Price
- 100% Made in the USA
- 6″ thick when closed
- Weighs 135 lbs
- 50″ x 90″ sleeping footprint
- 2″ Multi-density mattress
1. Design and Construction
The entire unit is constructed in the USA (Bozeman Montanna). From the machined billet parts to the fabric and even the honeycomb composite roof and floor. All made or sourced right here in America.
- Frame: The T-slotted custom utility tracks (the mainframe), latches, and hinges are made of CNC-machined and extruded aluminum with anodized components. These parts look great, function as expected and will hold up in harsh conditions.
- Roof and Floor: Both the floor and roof are the same lightweight yet durable honeycomb composite material. A 2″ Multi-density mattress sits on the floor wrapped in a waterproof Cordura nylon (better than Neoprene) cover which allows for a 50″ x 90″ sleeping footprint. You will want to wrap this cover with your own flannel sheets, but you can sleep directly on the Cordura cover. A sleeping bag alone will pair with it just fine.
- Tent Material: Their heat-welded vinyl fabric is waterproof and built to reduce weight, build time, and materials. The integrated material has no stitched seams to prevent leakage, hence the “heat-welded” label. This fabric is beefy, durable and almost feels like a wax-impregnated, fire-retardant canvas tent.
- Weight Rating: The tent will lift with 75-100 pounds on the roof, so your adventure gear and recovery gear can be fully supported.
2. Low Profile
The GFC is one of the lowest profile (if not the lowest) options on the market when it comes to rooftop tents. The sleeping platform sits at an impressive 6″ in overall height, and 7.75″ off the roof of the 4Runner with the 5th Gen specific mounting brackets. This was one of the biggest reasons I was so attracted to the GFC RTT.
With this low profile rooftop tent, you have the best of both worlds. You can hit the trails all weekend, and then upon returning home, wash your truck and park in the garage. There is no need to dismount a bulky rooftop tent in order to fit your truck in the garage. Storing a rooftop tent can also be challenging and cumbersome which makes the GFC so convenient. The only space it takes up is the unused space on your roof.
Whether you daily drive your 4Runner or it’s strictly a weekend warrior rig, this tent is a great option.
My Garage Height Specs
- GFC RTT Height – Top to Ground: 81.25″
- Garage Height: 82.75″
GFC RTT Size:
- Sleeping Footprint: 50″x90″
- Exterior Dimensions: 53″x96″
3. Ease of Use
Wow, this tent is easy to use. Release two latches on the end of the tent and up it goes. Opening and closing the rear door, side door and windows are equally simple.
If you want to position the entire door open, roll it up and secure it into a stationary position with the provided carabiner clips to provided mount points.
You have three door positions, up, down, and mesh screen. You have these same options off to the side of the tent through the side door.
The windows can either be positioned in a closed or mesh position. You can not open the two windows on the side completely.
The Go Fast is, well, fast.
Everything about this design was built to be efficient. From opening and closing the doors and windows to deploying the tent itself. It’s all just really fast to set up. If you are one to move around from campsite to campsite and explore many areas in a single week or weekend, this tent is for you. The Go Fast Campers RTT is really designed for campers with efficiency in mind.
The tent is also designed to literally drive fast and be pushed to its limits. Their campers and rooftop tents have seen everything from Baja-style whoops to the rocky mountains. From mild overlanding to extreme off-roading, this tent can handle whatever pace you throw at it.
We know setting everything up is fast, so how does breaking it down and closing it with bedding work?
You do have options for storing your bedding in the tent, but it’s minimal. Because of the low profile design, you can’t fit many layers in the GFC with the wedge closed.
Before my first trip out, I threw a sleeping bag and pillow in the back. I was hoping to save time by pre-making my bed setup so once we got to camp, I could focus on nature, my steak, and a beer. I was able to shut the tent with a bag and pillow inside but it was tight. It took some effort getting the tent to lock on both ends but it did work.
For my next trip, I will pre-make the provided 2″ multi-density mattress with a flannel sheet along with a full-size blanket wrapped along the edges. I will then pack a pillow, sleeping bag plus and an extra blanket for the extra cold nights inside the 4Runner. You can probably get away with layering 1-2 blankets on top as a pre-made bedding solution but anything more than that might give you problems with closing the tent.
Sitting at a 135lbs, this is one of the lightest clam-shell rooftop tents on the market.
When it comes to weight, well, it’s the enemy. Other full-size rooftop tents come in around 150-200lbs.
Other tents are slowly being made in lower weight specs, but they often offer a smaller footprint as well.
The GFC has a very large footprint while offering a minimal weight ratio. If you want to accommodate two people with a little-one, it can be done.
GFC makes a handful of accessories and they are consistently adding more.
That’s a huge plus for this rooftop tent. Featuring T-slotted utility tracks on the sides, this tent is like one massive MOLLE panel in itself. GFC makes universal mounting hardware that can be used for a variety of items. Whether they make the bracket in-house or you’re looking to mount your own bracket, GFC makes it easy.
From mounting scene lights to a set of recovery boards and even a solar panel on the roof, all you need is their universal brackets to start getting creative.
- Track T-Nuts
- Awning Bracket Extrusion
- Cross Bar Rack Mounts
- 8′ Ladder for Tents and Campers
- Platform Wind Skid
- Beef Rack Cross Bar
- Toyota Bedrail Track T-Nuts
- Solar Tray
- Machined 90° Bracket
- LP6 Light Mount
The tent is not included like some other rooftop tents but you can always buy a telescoping ladder on Amazon or even Home Depot.
8. Wedge/Clamshell Design
Many other tents obviously share the same feature, but the GFC just appealed to me in a different way.
Alu-Cab Expedition (generation 3) was the only other tent that came in close in terms of simplicity that I was looking for. I didn’t want a bunch of working parts, rain flys, and ladders like the iKamper Skycamp, and the Adventure Series Automatic 49 by GOFSR.
The Eezi-Awn Stealth hardshell clam-shell/pop-top was a close contender as well but was too tall to fit in the garage and packing up seemed more time-intensive than the GFC.
The GFC RTT is just so simple, and easy to use with very few working parts. For a high-end wedge style tent, this really just checks many of the boxes.
One of the highlights of GFC is that if you just call them up and talk to them, they are super cool. They can also fix/replace just about any item on your rooftop tent if something goes wrong.
Before getting the tent, I asked them a few questions.
- Q. What if I accidentally tear a hole in the fabric?
- A. We can send you a new set and you can snap it into place
- Q. What if a gas strut fails?
- A. We can replace struts almost at cost
- Q. What if I need to replace the mattress?
- A. We cand send a replacement, no problem
You get the picture. Just about every component of this tent is serviceable. Anything can be replaced, just give them a call.
10. Cold-Weather Performance
When we took the GFC RTT out, we camped on the Gold Lakes summit (Elevation: 7,400 feet) which was around 30° at night, 15° at 1 am and 8° around 5:30 am.
- Was it cold? yeah
- Was I cold? No
With a sleeping bag and an extra blanket, I was totally comfortable. It would have been nice to have a propane heater but at the end of the day, it wasn’t needed. If it were below temperatures, I would opt for a propane heater like a Buddy Heater, for sure.
The wind did slap the sides around but that’s normal for any tent, ground or roof.
For being as cold as it was, I think the tent stayed relatively warm. I never felt a cold breeze or reached a point where I was uncomfortable.
What about a rain fly?
I have not stayed in the tent during a thunderstorm or even light rain so it’s hard to say if the GFC needs one. The heat-welded vinyl fabric is waterproof so it was designed with the rain in mind.
Would rain fly help? Maybe, but one could argue that it’s just more working parts to deal with and that a rain fly isn’t going to make or break your rainstorm experience. I have camped quite a few times in ground tents while it has rained and never with a rain fly.
Looking back, I really don’t think it would have made life any better but to each their own.
Challenges & Areas of Improvement
The most challenging part of the tent is closing it.
Even without bedding inside, the tent can take a moment to close as the material can bunch up in pockets preventing it from closing. But once you get the hang of it and start to understand how the material collapses, it becomes easier. I started using bungee cords to hold the material in place when closing it. I need to grab a few more Perfect Bungees to hold even more material (horizontal/vertical) in place while it closes.
One of the best parts of the tent is also another challenge, the snap fasteners. During the first night of sleeping in the tent, I could hear something rattling as the wind would gust in.
It took a couple of times getting up to figure it out. It was one loose snap fastener. The snap fasteners can become loose and maybe even come off but this is also one of the reasons that make the GFC nice, you can just snap on entirely new fabric.
This is my first rooftop tent so I am so excited for what’s to come.
For the camper that wants to fit a rooftop tent into a low hanging garage, this should be one of your first choices. This is also a great tent for anyone that moves around a lot and needs to pack up quickly. If you jump from campsite to campsite frequently, this easy-to-use rooftop tent will save you time.
The tent is really easy to set up but you need to watch the tent material when closing so nothing gets caught or stuck. This seems to be the case with most rooftop tents, though. I watched and read many reviews of other tents and this is a common occurrence.
For the $3500 price tag, it’s similarly priced with other clam-shell/wedge style rooftop tents. This is not going to be your cheapest options but likely one of the highest quality options on the market.
It’s nice to know GFC is consistently innovating and releasing new accessories/add-ons which makes ownership very exciting.
I will follow up with a detailed article on bedding, sheets and more details on the actual experience of sleeping and spending time inside the tent.