It was mid-October 2019, back before things got crazy and people weren’t allowed to explore the outdoors as much. My girlfriend and I cruised up to Mount Piños near Frazier Park, California to do some more testing with our new Bestop Supertop. The trip served to not only give you all a better review, but we also did a little bit of rock climbing and mountain biking, so it was a win-win.
In fact, we had already scouted the location using an app made by the outdoor gear company REI. So, finding the trailhead was pretty easy, but more on that later. For now, let’s focus on the Supertop. In the first segment, you saw how we installed the Supertop and the many uses and configurations it can be used in. From folding it down to haul motorcycles to popping it up at a campsite, it’s already proved extremely versatile.
Truck bed camping is nothing new, but it’s really been on the rise in recent years. Some might say it’s tied to the overwhelming popularity of overlanding. As such, we sought to take our Supertop on a normal camping trip.
Since it was the middle of October, you can imagine it was very cold. The elevation of Mt. Pinós is almost 9,000 feet. When we arrived near the peak, it wasn’t unbearable, but as the night went on it proved to be very cold and windy. Luckily, there were two of us sleeping in the truck bed, and that aided in our ability to stay warm, but the fabric shell of the Supertop proved to do not much more than block wind.
In hindsight, we could have used some insulation like so many overlanders have in their various tops. The temperature dipped down to around 30 degrees. So, we were pretty much like popsicles, but we made do with some heavy wool blankets.
The following morning, breaking down our camp was relatively easy. We folded our inflatable mattress after deflating and rolled up our blankets, packed in our ice chest, threw our bicycles in the truck bed, and made for the trailhead to do some early-morning mountain biking and rock climbing. From the trailhead, we unloaded our bicycles and made our way up the mountain to the Nordic Base Boulder, where we did some light climbing.
Once there, we started in on some nice bouldering, that is until I took a nasty spill and rolled my ankle. Luckily, that’s all it was because it could’ve been much worse. We rode our bikes back down after my ego and ankle had been crushed, and our trusty steed was there waiting for us.
We quickly threw our bicycles back into the truck bed and made for the nearest emergency room. It goes to show you that not all adventures go as planned, but with the right equipment, they go much more smoothly.
In any case, the Bestop Supertop did exactly what it was designed to do; the rest is up to the end-user. Knowing your climate and terrain will greatly aid you in planning your next trip. I for one know I will be doing some better planning for the next one, as well as adding some insulation to our Supertop.
If you’re in the market for a top that’s this versatile, I don’t think you’ll find anything that matches the Supertop. At least not one that is as easy to set up. One thing I do recommend is adding some additional insulation if you’re going to be doing any winter camping, but that is not a detriment to the system overall. In fact, I think it adds to the versatility.
My overall impressions on the Bestop Supertop, after having used it on multiple occasions, are that it’s a great, affordable, and versatile camper for anyone looking to do some light truck camping. The top is easy to install, easy to maintain, and easy to set up and fold down. It’s a vast upgrade from tent camping, and it allows you to store more of your camping equipment in the bed of the truck when you’re not using it to sleep, lest you have to worry about would-be thieves making off with your bikes, ice chest, or lawn chairs.
On the few expeditions I’ve taken it, it has served me well. However, I will advise anyone using it for camping like I did to check the weather forecast beforehand. I have yet to use it in the rain or snow, but the weatherproof material is sturdy enough, that I have no doubt it would hold up to those harsh elements. Insulation, however, is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself.
Since we are now the summer months, we can get by without it, but it may allow us to sleep in a bit more in the morning before it heats up if we add some. If you’re in the market, check out Bestop’s website and of course, check back with us for all your overlanding and off-road related news.