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The Fas-Top Travel Package blends the sleek lines of a tonneau cover with the extra coverage of a soft-top pickup topper. Better yet, the Fas-Top system lets you transform your topper to a tonneau cover — or vice versa — in just a few minutes. It’s an awesome idea, but how does it shake out in the real world?
To get us a closer look, Fas-Top sent Man Makes Fire a review unit.
After testing the Fas-Top Travel Package on a 2015 Ford F-150 with a 6.5′ bed for two months in wide-ranging weather conditions and at freeway speeds, this is what we learned:
Fas-Top Travel Package Review
If you’re like me, you’ve been obsessing about how to expand — and retain — full functionality of the bed for all kinds of cargo for everything you want to do. Or mostly everything. This Fas-Top Travel Package review should help you out.
If you want fast answers, here’s my quick Fas-Top Travel Package review and recommendation: The Fas-Top Travel Package is a surprisingly great combo. You no longer have to choose between a streamlined tonneau cover or a topper — you can have both. I’m a fan of the flexible and functional dual-system Fas-Top design.
For how I use my pickup right now — for camping, fly fishing, rafting, hunting, skiing, and hauling all manner of home-improvement materials as well as yard waste and debris — the Fas-Top Travel Package is a nearlyperfect solution. I’m a big fan.
But what about you? If you like the trim lines of a tonneau cover but sometimes need more protected storage space in the back of your pickup, the Fas-Top Travel Package could be a game changer for you, too. Read on to learn more.
Is the Fas-Top right for you?
You’re probably trying to figure out if the Fas-Top Travel Package is right for you. And you probably noticed that in the quick review section above, I said, “. . . nearly perfect. . . .” That’s right. I doubt anyone is going to find a perfect solution. If you’re like any of the pickup owners I know, you have constantly evolving needs. Heck, you probably own a pickup because you want it to be able to do everything.
Here is why I appreciate the Fas-Top Travel Package.
First, I’ve had a tonneau cover for years. I can safely stow a lot of camping, fishing, skiing, and hunting gear out of sight, out of the wind, and keep it all protected from snow and rain. A tonneau cover offers security, but not perfect security. While any knife could cut through the fabric of a tonneau cover, I don’t live in a crime-ridden part of the world. So for me, a tonneau cover provides safety and security for most gear, most of the time.
Second, I can instantly roll back a tonneau cover and gain full functionality of my pickup bed. That’s a big deal for me. If I need to haul off a bunch of brush or leaves, I can do it. If I need to go buy a new washing machine, I can strap it down in the back of my pickup and get the job done . . . so I can get back to being outside and doing fun things.
However, there are times when I need more protected storage space. Times when I need a topper. For instance, I can pack most everything we need for family camping trips, fishing trips, hunting trips or ski trips underneath a tonneau cover . . . but it’s like putting together a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle. I have gear like camp stoves, camp chairs, tents, sleeping bags, cots, air mattresses, as well as special gear like rafts or stand-up paddle boards. And sometimes I’m hauling extra gear just so I can review it for Man Makes Fire. All of this puzzle-piece packing is totally doable in the driveway. In fact, I’m damn good at it. If you could get a masters degree in packing for family camping trips, I’d have one on my wall already.
But packing for a trip from your driveway is very different from packing up after a few days of outside adventure. Repacking to go home can easily turn into a multi-hour ordeal, and one where I’m already tired from playing all weekend. After using all the gear, and having gained a couple of garbage bags, it’s a nightmare to get it all packed up again. A topper, on the other hand, nearly doubles my effective storage space in my pickup bed — and it lets me spread out wet tents or muddy boots or camp chairs or fishing waders for the drive home.
What’s even better is that I don’t have to drive around with the topper portion up all the time. I can fold the topper back down and return to the tidy lines of the tonneau cover for my pickup any time I want.
The Fas-Top Travel Package starts with a fairly typical above-the-rail tonneau cover system. It uses velcro to seal along the sides like most tonneau covers, and it uses an aluminum cross bar that securely latches near the tailgate. It rolls back and out of the way just like most tonneau covers.
So far so good.
On the interior, however, below the bed line, the soft topper folds down for on-the-go storage. How much space does the topper take up inside your bed? I have the 6.5″ bed, and the topper portion takes up about 11″ of space from the cab into the cargo area. Fas-Top includes a wrap section of canvas that holds it all together and keeps it relatively tidy. What I like most about this system is that it rides underneath the bed rail (instead of on top of the bed rail).
Better yet, it also rides off of the bottom of the bed, which gives you space for hauling gear or materials. For example, if you’re buying some 4×8 sheets of plywood, you can still stack quite a few up against the head of your bed and under the stowed topper. In my pickup, the stowed topper gives me about 11″ of space from the bed up to the stowed topper material.
How the Fas-Top Works
The aluminum topper support system is made up of a set of folding X aluminum support bars on each side. They pivot upon a bolt that extends out from the tonneau bed rail. The geometry of the pivoting bracket is ingenious because it lets you extend the topper over the full pickup . . . but still stow it out of the way within the bed of the pickup — without detaching it from the pivot point. Pretty smart.
The key to the topper’s stability comes from four corner straps. Each strap provides down tension to each corner. When all four corners are connected, the topper becomes very sturdy. If you’re following along, you might realize that the entire weight of the topper ends up being held up by just two bolts on the centers of each bed rail.
Adjustable straps at the corners provide tension for stability.
A bolt on each rail supports the topper framework and provides the pivot point.
Side left open with G-hooks.
When I first realized this, it gave me a bit of a pause. Then I reminded myself that strength of quality materials and forces aren’t always what they seem. For instance, there are mountain bikes that only have one single fork that use a single attached axel . . . and guys jump those bikes at wild speeds on the way down rocky mountain trails. And the rear wheel on the popular BMW 1200 GS adventure motorcycle series is only supported on one side. They’ve handled incredible forces for years without trouble.
While I was testing the Fas-Top Travel Package in Nevada on an elk hunt, the topper held 12 inches of snow, some of it lightweight and some of it thick and wet and heavy. And some melted and refroze into sheets of ice. The topper did great. No problems.
Once you raise the topper frame and attach the straps at the four corners (you’ll leave the two straps near the cab always attached) you’ll pull the canvas down around the sides and affix the bottom section to the velcro along the full length of the rail brackets.
The trick to making this easy is to make sure the four corner straps have enough tension on the corners to pull the support bars down to the proper and optimal position.
Next, at the corners near the cab, you’ll zip the sides of the topper to the clear vinyl window and tuck the corners in. You then velcro the sides to the rails.
At the rear of the pickup, you’ll have another aluminum cross bar that’s just like the tonneau cover cross bar (which is now rolled up near the cab). The topper’s cross bar is attached to the clear vinyl window. It rolls up out of the way and stows with a clip. Alternately, for quick access, you can just drape the rear window over the top of the topper.
The topper’s cross bar latches with a push into the left side but it doesn’t latch with a push on the right side. This was confusing for me at first. It works the same as the tonneau cross bar, but due to the window, manipulating the crossbar to snap in requires you to hold it a bit differently. To latch the right side, you push the bar into place then manually flip the lever latch underneath to secure it. It’s easy, but it wasn’t how I expected it to work. You’ll figure it out fast enough, but you’ll likely need to show friends and family.
The Fas-Top Travel Package is surprisingly fast and easy to deploy. Sure, on my first couple of tries, it took me about five minutes as I futzed around wondering if I was doing it right. It now takes me about two minutes.
Can one person raise and lower the Fas-Top Travel Package? Yes. However, it’s easier if the person is familiar with the four corner straps and how they support the topper. In addition, to get the topper frame and rear bar to fit below the bed line of the pickup near the cab, you have to come in and out of the stowaway position at a slight angle to get the clearances you need.
Also, you can’t just grab the rear bar and try to pull it out like an accordion, unfolding it along the way. You need to grab the bulk of the topper as it’s folded up, adjust the angle for clearance, then raise the bulk of the topper above the bed rail. Once it’s sufficiently above the bed rail, you can walk it back so it opens up.
It’s easier to do this from the bed of the pickup, but I can do it from the sides — but I’m also a pretty tall guy with long arms. If you have a bed full of cargo and can’t stand in the pickup, you might need to stand on your tires and/or running boards or bars — or have a person help you on the other side.
All-in-all, the operation requires a bit of technique but it’s not hard to learn or do.
One of the benefits of buying the Fas-Top Travel Package is that you can install it yourself. Like most large items, it’s easier to assemble with a buddy, but I like to test assembly on my own to know if it’s doable on your own. It is. The biggest challenge you will have will be familiarity with the process.
I recommend that you watch the Fas-Top installation videos a couple of times, and even so, there are a couple of spots you might be confused.
For me, the first challenge was trusting the mounting brackets for the side rails. The shape is a bit different than other brackets I’ve used for toppers and tonneau covers in the past. I also have a spray in bedliner, which seemed to change the bite of the bracket slightly. What was most confusing, however, was when I installed the first bracket without any problem at all but then utterly failed with the second. I simply could not get the bolt to line up with the nut that was embedded in the bed rail. It would not thread!
Eventually I realized that I was using a bolt that was too short to make the angled connection to the nut. I hadn’t noticed that in the hardware package, two bolts were shorter than all the rest. The short bolts were for the stowaway portion of the topper, not the rail assembly!
One rail started…
C-clamps bolt into square nuts inside a channel on the rails.
The factory side rails on my F-150 are higher than the rail near the cab. You might need some weather seal like I did.
Still, before you even get to this point, you should place the side rails and the cab rail on your pickup and then consider if you’ll get a weather-tight seal. The side bed rails have a thin rubbery seal built in, but the cab rail does not. When I first installed the Fas-Top Travel Package, I didn’t closely look at the fit near the cab — and I had two issues.
First, I have factory-installed plastic covers along the bed rails . . . but there is no such cover for the rail along the cab. That results in a difference in height. When I installed the rail along the cab, that left a small gap. To fill that gap and make it watertight, I had to make a trip to the hardware store to get some weather seal.
Depending up the structure of your pickup, you may or may not need to do the same (but I recommend that you get a seal for the rail that goes near the cab regardless).
Is It Waterproof?
Is the Fast-Top Travel Package waterproof? That was one of my biggest concerns before I installed it. If you look at the design of the Fas-Top Travel Package, the tonneau cover rolls up and rests near the cab of the pickup. Then the topper rises out of the pickup and goes over the top of the bed. The sides and rear all make sense when you think about water and gravity, but what about that roll of tonneau fabric and the window near the cab? Where does the water go?
The inside corner channels water outside.
Vinyl window attaches via velcro then pulls it up vertically when the topper is fully extended.
The rear window of the topper users a velcro strip to attach to the cab-side rail near the tonneau cover. I was concerned that water could work its way through this velcro seal, but it doesn’t. I had snow that built up in-between the topper and the cab, resting on the rolled tonneau cover . . . and then melted . . . and the water didn’t come through that velcro seal. Nor did it come through during rain storms and driving on the highway in the rain. I was surprised.
Upon closer inspection, the exterior of the rear window pulls the velcro seal up vertically, with the vinyl on the outside. This means water would have to wick its way up through the velcro to enter the bed of the pickup, and it doesn’t seem to do that. Furthermore, the connected portion of tonneau fabric channels water out to the sides where it sheds water off of the sides of the rails.
All of this works surprisingly well, but from the inside underneath the topper, if I climb inside, I can see some daylight in the corners of the system near the cab. When you get it all zipped up and tucked in correctly, the path of water should fall and roll out of the pickup bed. However, with wind-driven rain and extensive highway driving in the rain . . . I can see how some water could blow its way into the bed from these corners. If you blast the side corners with a hose horizontally — as I did to test the Fas-Top system — you will get some leakage.
In my experience with the truck sitting in the rain and while driving in the rain, you’ll likely need a lot of side wind to force water into the corners.
So what’s my recommendation here? Your installation on a different pickup might be slightly different, but I would say the Fas-Top Travel Package is extremely water resistant. The material is waterproof but the zippers are just very water resistant. Under extended rain, a bit of water could work its way through those zippers. They haven’t leaked for me, but I recognize that zippers also create a possible entry point. That’s just physics.
If needed for your installation on your own pickup, you could likely figure out a way to add some additional sealing for greater protection, but frankly, I doubt I’ll ever bother. I’m satisfied with the design for my needs.
So how does the Fas-Top Travel Package look in person? How’s the fit and finish and the quality?
The fit and finish is very good overall, as is the quality of materials. The stitching along all the seams and quality of materials is excellent.
The only thing that I noticed upon close inspection is some minor details on the stitching around the rear window of the topper. It’s not perfect — it’s a bit outdoor style rough. Like stitching you might get on some edges of a canvas wall tent. For instance, the stitching on the velcro patch for the rear window isn’t a perfect rectangle. Most people won’t notice this stuff, but I pay close attention. Is it a design flaw? Nope. Does it affect performance? Nope. Does it bother me? Nope — and here’s why: I have a pickup for doing things outside, in the outdoors. It’s not a sissy pickup even though I like to keep it relatively clean and organized. Plus, a bit of rough stitching in the soft topper fabric is almost part of how it should look. This is thick thread in thick material . . . it’s not like this is a high-end down jacket that requires tiny stitches.
As for the look on your truck, you’re probably wondering if the rolled up tonneau cover looks stupid rolled up between the topper and your rear window. I was worried about this, too. But don’t be. It’s less noticeable and worrisome in person than it is in online photos.
Plus, it just makes sense. The design is part of the flexible functionality of the system. In addition, this is a soft-top cover on a pickup . . . by its very nature it’s going to look like a cover on the back of a pickup. It’s not a hardshell topper with a custom paint job that matches your pickup.
It is what it is and as such, the Fas-Top looks pretty good.
There is one optical illusion that you might have noticed. In many photos of the Fas-Top topper, the rear of the topper seems to rise quite a bit higher than the cab of the pickup. Trust me, on my Ford F-150, it doesn’t rise like that over the top of cab height — but most photos make it look like it does.
The rear portion of the topper seems extra high in this photo.
The topper seems completely level from this angle.
I think the optical illusion that shows up in 2-dimensional photos has something to do with the lenses in cameras and the angles. In three dimensions in person, it looks like it flows appropriately from the cab of the pickup to the end of the bed. So, the Fas-Top Travel Package topper looks better in person than it does in photos. Weird, I know.
Also, a lot of pickups come from the factory with some tail-high rake built in so that when cargo is added, the trucks don’t look like they’re sagging at the rear. I think this built-in rake tends to exacerbate the optical illusion of the topper’s fit.
Oh, one more thing: Under high winds, the topper fabric pushes to reveal inner support bars. When it’s not windy, the sides remain more taught, giving you cleaner lines. You can also adjust the fabric tension by adjusting the corner straps.
Is the Fas-Top system secure? That’s a key question for many people. It was for me. The problem with tonneau covers and soft-top style toppers is that they’re soft. They can be cut open with a knife. What you’re trying to do is make it hard enough that most potential robbers will move on to something easier and less noticeable. You want to reduce crimes of opportunity where someone sees something they want and can relatively easily take it.
A tonneau cover hides items from easy view, and tonneau covers can’t be opened when the tailgate is locked without damaging them. Again, so far so good.
What about the Fas-Top topper? It uses the same locking mechanism, but the rear window zippers provide a point of access. However, Fas-Top makes it a bit harder for curious hands and prying eyes. Each zipper has a pull strap with a button on it that you can feed inside and attach to the latch. This will make it almost impossible to open the zipper without cutting the cord. If you’re a criminal of opportunity and don’t understand what’s making it hard to open, you might give up.
You can tuck the strap from the rear window zipper to a button on the inside.
Of course, you can cut the vinyl window. Or cut the zipper cord. Or rip on the side of the topper until you create enough space to see inside or grab what you want. Then there are the zippers on the window near the cab. Those could be similarly attached on the inside if you want, but the point remains: a knife will defeat it all.
Basically, the Fas-Top system is secure from mostly honest people, and it’s secure from non-hardcore criminals.
If you want extra security, you need a hardshell topper . . . but even then, it’s pretty darn easy to break a window. And once you break a window, it’s pretty darn easy to remove the clamps that hold most hardshell toppers on and then throw the whole thing off the pickup to provide complete access to cargo.
If you have critical gear that you’re unwilling to risk, you’ll want to get a steel or aluminum locking cargo box or go with something like the Decked locking drawer system — which is something I’ve been considering off-and-on for months now. I’m not yet sure it’s right for me, but it might be right for you.
There are a few cool Fas-Top accessories you can add if you’re interested. In particular, Fas-Top offers a Black Out Window Blind that velcros to the inside of the rear window. It’s perfectly fitted and works well.
Similarly, you can get a Rear Mesh Window, which is great if you’re going to be hauling dogs because it will provide better airflow.
If you want to roll up the sides of the topper, you’ll need to add the G-Hooks. These are just G-hook style hooks with straps that attach on the inside and outside of the topper. They work great — highly recommended.
If you want some built-in storage for the Black Out Window Blind and Rear Mesh Window, the Cargo Bag is a great storage item. It fastens to the rails and is pretty handy.
The Verdict: Outstanding Flexibility
The Fas-Top Travel Package is the most flexible topper system for your pickup. The built-in tonneau cover lets you run with streamlined cargo protection, letting you keep the clean lines of your pickup for most of your driving needs. Then, whenever you need additional protected cargo space, you can quickly transition to the topper mode. While the Fas-Top topper is not as secure as a hardshell, its topper component is instantly deployable, stowable, and can be removed entirely by one person. You get most of the benefits of a hardshell without the hassle of a hardshell. If you want and need flexible cargo options for your pickup, the Fas-Top Travel Package is hard to beat. Very highly recommended.