Anyone who's owned a pickup truck knows the benefits of having a topper over the bed. All that closed-in space is great for keeping things secure and dry in the back, until it's time to haul something like a quad bike or a refrigerator that doesn't fit under the cap. On the flip side, sometimes you just want a cap for rare occasions but don't have room to store it when not in use.
Either way, you probably never thought about covering the air over your bed with ... more air. The folks at California-based Flated did, and they came up with this interesting item simply called the Air-Topper. The name says it all – it's a roll-up topper that stores in a smallish bag when not in use. Pumped up, it becomes a rigid pickup cap that installs on most beds with a series of J-hook straps. How rigid are we talking? There are mounting points on the roof to strap down cargo, and in the video at the top of the article, we're regaled with a rumor that the Air-Topper may have seen speeds of 110 mph.
Gallery: Flated Air-Topper Inflatable Truck Cap
According to Flated's website, the Air-Topper is made of drop-stitch fabric with PVC layers for the sidewalls. Vinyl windows and screens are attached with zippers and velcro, and can be removed to create an open-air shelter. Mesh storage pockets are found inside, and when it's time to take the topper down, it stows in a bag with shoulder straps so you can carry it like a backpack. And at 35 pounds, it's actually something you could carry on your back should the need arise. That's something you won't do with a fiberglass topper.
The Air-Topper is offered in various sizes to fit a range of midsize and fullsize pickup, and we must confess, the convenience of such a cap is intriguing. Filling it up for a quick weekend camping trip with sleeping bags in the back could be fun, but it does come at a cost. Prices range from $1,899 to $1,999 depending on size, which is on par with some standard-grade fiberglass toppers. Of course, none of those can fold up and sit in the cab of the truck when not in use.
Flated's website says preorders are open now with shipments beginning December 3.