Just when we thought the pickup camping topper market had become absolutely saturated with every possible design and feature, yet another Rocky Mountain startup comes along with a rather fresh take. The M1 topper from Denver’s Tune Outdoors looks from afar like any other light pickup canopy with a full-length high-popping roof.
However, this one features flared sides for added interior space and what Tune defines as the best weight-to-space ratio out there. Buyers looking to make it even better can finish those flares off with full-length windows for a more scenic truck camping experience.
With a 360-lb (163-kg) base weight, the M1 is light but not uncommonly so for a pickup topper. For comparison, the AT Overland Atlas weighs the same 360 lb, and the Harker Outdoors EDC scales in at a flat 300 lb (136 kg).
But Tune Outdoors isn’t looking to undercut the competition on weight alone, as it’s also trying to pin down the best combination of interior space and overall weight.
To achieve its goal, Tune pushes the sidewalls of its topper out beyond those of the pickup bed. The typical topper extends straight up from the bed, but Tune’s flared sidewall design increases interior width and overall volume. Not only does it create more elbow room down in the pickup bed, it allows for transverse positioning of the 60 x 78-in (152 x 198-cm) near-queen bed in the pop-up area.
Because the upper bed only stretches 60 inches (152 cm) from front to back, it doesn’t eat up all the standing room over top the pickup bed floor, meaning one can stand up inside without having to lift or fold the entire bed away. Headroom ranges between 6.3 and 6.8 feet (1.9 to 2 m), depending upon M1 model.
Those looking for more sleeping space can add in an optional extension panel to create an 80 x 78-in (203 x 198-cm) super-king in a full-size pickup like the Ford F-150, or an 80 x 72-in (203 x 183-cm) bed in a 5-foot (1.5-m) short-bed midsize truck like the Toyota Tacoma. The standard M1 bed size for a midsize truck is 60 x 72 in (152 x 183 cm).
Another feature that sets the Tune M1 apart from other toppers and campers is the optional smoked tempered glass windows that create a 270-degree panorama. The openable windows run nearly the full length of the lift-gate and sidewalls, opening up wide views from every possible angle. Panoramic glass seems to be a trending feature in camper design, and Tune does it as well as anyone.
One feature we’d love to see added to the M1 package is an available lower bed. With its 72- to 78-inch interior width, the M1 could house a transverse bed raised up over the pickup floor, much like fellow Colorado company Moonlander offers on its hard-roofed Radica camper shell. With the M1, the lower bed would be right inside the triple-window panorama, creating a very scenic pair of bunk beds.
Whether or not a second bed is in its plans, Tune has definitely built the M1 with accessorizing and customization in mind. It’s laid down 450 feet (137 m) of T-track all around the interior, roof and exterior walls so owners can attach myriad tools, carriers and accessories.
The M1 is clearly aimed at the four-season outdoor adventurer who enjoys mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing/snowboarding, paddleboarding and/or all other means of wilderness exploration through warm, cold, rainy, snowy and windy weather. A pop-up topper isn’t going to be the warmest RV option for winter, but Tune says the M1 is designed with winter use in mind. The pop-up roof is built to hold strong against falling snow, and Tune plans to add a thermal insulator and heater package in the future to make it even more winter-ready.
The M1 features aluminum frame construction with ultra-rugged composite reinforcements at the corners. To prepare it for all conditions and all seasons, Tune tested its prototype over 10,000 miles (16,100 km) “down washboard roads and over mountain passes, through desert heat, driving rain and the occasional snowstorm.” It backs the design with a three-year warranty and has developed the topper’s components for easy bolt-off/bolt-on replacement.
The M1 comes standard with an LED light ring around the roof extrusion. Buyers can power it with their own supply or add an available GoalZero power station. A roof vent is also available as an optional add-on.
While the Toyota Tacoma is where this type of topper seems to land most often, Tune offers the M1 for a variety of midsize and full-size trucks. The 360-lb (163-kg) weight relates to an M1 sized for a Tacoma with 5-foot (1.5-m) bed, and full-size pickup M1 models start out at 450 lb (204 kg). Retail price starts at US$12,999, but as part of this week’s announcement, Tune is offering the M1 at an introductory price of $10,999 for a limited time.
Source: Tune Outdoors