TRuDy The Globemaster

Hello everyone. I’m fairly new to being a GFC owner, but I’ve been following this forum for over a year. I drive a 2017 Tacoma TRD Sport DCSB that I’ve affectionately named TRuDy. I also fly big cargo jets for a living (can you guess which one?) so that’s where the title of this post comes from. I’ve taken a lot of good info from here and my goal is to return the favor with my build and my experiences. I had been looking to upgrade my previous camping set-up when I discovered the GFC and its competitors. I used to camp in the bed of my truck with a tent I made that draped over my tonneau cover. It wasn’t a pretty solution, but it was better than a ground tent. What I wanted was a more elegant, more functional version of what I was already using. I went with the GFC because of its lightweight minimal design, it’s price point, and the fact that their customer service is great (based on what I’ve seen from this forum). So I finally pulled the trigger and threw down a deposit last December before the price increase. Unfortunately with my job and being located on the east coast, I had to wait until late June to make the trek to pick it up. I was born and raised in MT so any excuse to go back is a good one. After months of waiting, I finally set aside 3 weeks of vacation time and drove 2200 miles to Belgrade for my install. I took a week to make the drive while stopping to see friends and family along the way. After install I went to a family reunion in WY and then spent time in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Rocky Mountain National parks before making the swing back east. Overall I drove over 5500 miles, visited 7 national parks, and drove through 16 states. I’ve spent about a dozen nights in my GFC so far and I’m a big fan.

With this thread I plan to document my build, my experiences, some advice, and some gadgets/hacks that I’ve used. Feel free to add to the discussion, provide your experience, give better gear recommendations, etc. I don’t get any kickbacks from any of the links I post on here. I just want to help the community.

Here’s a few pics of my previous set-up:

My overall goals with this build:

  • Minimal. This is an adventure vehicle, not a luxury RV. I want to minimize weight, unnecessary gear, and costs as much as possible.

  • Multi-purpose. I need a place to cook, somewhere to hang out if the weather is bad, somewhere to sleep, and the ability to haul gear to cool places. It also still needs to be useable as a truck.

  • Modular. I don’t want anything permanently mounted to the truck (other than the GFC). I want to be able to add/change components easily. I want to be able to load up and hit the road without a huge effort. I also want to avoid permanently mounting things to the GFC or permanently modifying it if I can help it.

My GFC Build:

I designed a simple single drawer built out of half inch plywood. It’s glued and pin nailed together. I managed to cut all the pieces from two 4x8 ft sheets of plywood with minimal waste. The top is segmented into three hinged doors which rest on the sides of the drawer frame so I can sit and stand on it (carefully) if needed. This allows me to get into the drawer from inside the GFC without having to open the tailgate and pull it out. The drawer itself is (so far) just a single open box. I may add dividers in the future once I finalize my gear so everything has a custom place to live. I made the front section of the drawer into a removable box that I keep all my kitchen gear in. It lifts out so I can take it into the house to load/unload, I can take it to a picnic table, or I can even take it on a boat or something. The drawer does not have any slides. It rests on quarter inch ABS plastic. I didn’t want the wasted space and extra expense of drawer slides. The only challenge this created was if I pull the drawer out too far it would tip. That’s why the two front hinged top sections are shaped the way they are. The “H” shaped piece prevents the drawer from tipping out of the frame when extended past the tailgate. The drawer frame is built on top of a plywood sheet that I cut to fit half the bed of the truck. The other half is also a plywood sheet. They nest together between the front of the bed, the sides of bed, and my bed stiffeners to stay in place. I don’t have any vertical restraint, but I also haven’t done any extreme off road to need it. Maybe it’ll be a future addition. On the left floor panel, I added a RockyMounts DropTop thru axle mount for my mtn bike (plenty of room for my 29er). Finally, for good measure, I stained it blue. I built this before I picked up my GFC based on a lot of dimensions and ideas from this forum. It worked great when I finally had my GFC installed.

My favorite gear/gadgets/hacks:

Gas mileage:

This topic has been discussed throughout the forum, but here’s my initial observation. Before getting the GFC, I just had a stock truck with stock tires and an Extang vinyl tonneau cover. I averaged somewhere around 23 mpg in the summer and closer to 21 mpg in the winter. About 6 months ago I replaced my tires with Cooper Discoverer ATP II. There was a tiny hit to the mileage with these, but nothing super noticeable (they’re great tires, by the way). I should note that I rarely use my air conditioning unless it’s over 85 degrees and my daily commute is on rural roads through cornfields so there’s little traffic and I can go 45mph the whole time. On my way to pick up the GFC I got about 21 MPG on average (stock truck, Cooper tires, tonneau cover, mostly highway miles going 70-ish). After I got the GFC I averaged about 19 MPG (mostly highway miles going about 70-ish). In both cases I had my drawer system and gear in the back, including my bike. Along the way I definitely had times where I could do 70mph with 20+ mpg as long as the winds were favorable. There were also times when I averaged about 16 mpg because of the hellacious headwinds and air conditioning (thanks Kansas…). After being home for a couple weeks now, I’ve averaged about 21mpg on my daily commutes. I’ll likely look into some kind of wind skid to see if I can recover a little more, but also to reduce some of the wind noise. I don’t get whistling, but there is a fair amount of extra noise.

Random Photos:

Whitehall, MT before we got hailed on (the GFC is a pussy magnet…)

Rocky mtn nat’l park (somewhere along the way from WY to CO there was an unfortunate run-in with a bird)

Sunset just north of Idaho Springs, CO

Just outside Gettysburg, PA

Future projects/wish list:

  • Wind skid. As mentioned above, there is a fair amount of extra noise. I’d like to see if I could mitigate that and maybe get some gas mileage improvement as a bonus.

  • Solar. This is a want more than a need. As I use my GFC more I’m sure I’ll want to upgrade from a cooler to a fridge. I’ll also want to be able to do longer stretches away from civilization. Being able to charge my phone/lights/fan/tablet/etc. would be nice. I envision a briefcase-type panel I can set up near the GFC that I use to charge a solar generator like an Ecoflow or Jackery. Something modular that I can use outside the GFC if I wanted to.

  • Mosquito screens. I’d like to be able to have cabana mode engaged without having to deal with mosquitos in the truck bed. I’ve seen a few builds do this. I’ll have to figure out how I plan to do this. Open to suggestions.

  • Better water storage/usability. I currently have two 3-gallon WaterBricks ( They work great, but I haven’t worked out an effective place to mount them yet. I’d also like to dream up some kind of simple sink/faucet. We’ll see where that goes.

  • Tie downs/mouting points. I have some eyelets I got on Amazon that I plan to use on the factory mounting screws inside the GFC. I just need to figure out where I want to put them and what I’ll use them for. I may also look into some simple bike frame bags that would fit the GFC frame for a simple place to stash gear. The VRNCLR ones look super nice, but I don’t know if I can justify that cost.

  • Mattress upgrade. The stock pad is a little too firm for me. I expect it to break in as I use it more, but I’d also like to possibly add another layer or replace the current foam completely. I need to do some more research here. I also need to experiment with how much bedding I can stash in the camper when it’s closed.

  • Shower. Another nice-to-have item, but not a necessity.

I’ll add additional info/musings here as I refine my build. Let me know if you want any additional info on anything I’ve done.


Good stuff, thanks for the write up! For the mattress, lots of ideas here in the forum but imo the quickest path to comfort is Overland Softgoods 1" topper. I just got mine and it’s a game changer.


Great write up!. I have the Front Runner wind fairing on my GFC V2/Tacoma TRD. Makes a significant amount of difference in reducing the wind noise (~25db) and an small improvement on MPG. Let me know if you would like the build of materials for the wind fairing.

You fly left or right seat?


A parts breakdown would be great. An off-the-shelf solution (or one that someone else has proven) is ideal so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

I’m an instructor so I fly in whatever seat my student isn’t in.

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This will take you to the thread with the part list for an out of the box solution. Additionally you will need 4 of GFC 10-32 T-Nuts.

what my installation looks like


Is there a reason you went with this particular one and not one of the wider models?

I had a wider wind fairing initially and the crowning of the roofline resulted in a wider gap at the outer reaches of the fairing and a resulting in a nice whistling noise

Makes sense. So you’ve got the 1165mm one? Do you remember which one whistled? I was thinking the 1345mm would be an ideal fit (at least width-wise), but don’t want create a new problem trying to solve an existing one. Thanks for the info.

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I made a quick overnight trip to Delaware State Forest in PA to try out some of my newest gear. I bought an Iceco GO20 fridge, the Dr. Prepare 100 Ah DC power station, a Noco Genius 5amp charger, I made a gear loft out of a cheap harbor freight tarp and bungee balls, and I got a WaterBrick rechargeable faucet.

The hands down best addition was the power station. This thing is simple and has plenty of capacity for what I’ll be using it for. It could run the Iceco fridge for a week if it had to. I can charge my lights, phone, and fan with it. I can even charge my Surface with it for some Netflix under the stars. If I ever needed more capacity I could wire in another battery too. It’s also got a 100w solar charge port so I could add solar eventually. All-in-all it’s a great, simple, multi-use power station that doesn’t break the bank or require an electrical engineering degree to wire into the truck. Plus I can easily take it elsewhere without a hassle.

The Noco charger works off the inverter outlet in my Tacoma bed so it’s always charging while I drive (as long as I remember to hit the switch on the dash) or I can leave my truck running and charge while I’m parked. When I’m not on the road I can charge from any standard house outlet so my battery is always topped off and ready to run the fridge if I needed it during a power outage at home.

The gear loft is just a cheap 6’x8’ canvas tarp I got at harbor freight. I cut it in half, added some extra grommets, and mounted it with some bungee balls to the frame and some tie down points I got off Amazon. Great use of the vertical space for bedding. Keeps everything dry and dust free.

The faucet is a simple usb-rechargeable pump that fits on the WaterBrick containers. Simple push on/off button to dispense water. I need to figure out a better place to mount it, but it works for what I need.

I’ve got a MOLLE panel on order for the front wall of the camper. That’ll give me more options for storing things and will give me more room in the drawer to better organize things. I might even make a v2 of the drawer to better fit my gear and they way I use it. I’ll also mount the charger on the MOLLE panel and clean up my cable layout.

I’m taking 2 months of leave this summer to road trip from the east coast to MT, WA, UT, and back. I’ll put out a call for suggestions to see along the way once I get a better idea of my route, but please let me know if you have any recommendations now or want to meet up for a beer or night of camping.

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Got my MOLLE panel mounted along with my Noco charger and some mesh bags I got off Amazon. I’ll probably keep tools, bike parts, and things I don’t need everyday in them. Using the vertical space like this is definitely a game changer.


Hi @dakine - thanks for the parts list! I see both 1345mm x 1425mm & 1165mm x 1255mm wind fairing across different posts, and was wondering which one you have? I too have a Tacoma with @jedgar drip rails and would love to know which one fits well to order. Thank you!

For what it’s worth, I went with the 1345mm one. I think it’s ok, but more of a speed brake than anything. The angle is too steep. I’m in the process of designing and making a custom fairing that will fit better, sit at a much lower angle, and hopefully improve the aerodynamics of the GFC. I plan to use the brackets from the Front Runner fairing and probably a sheet of ABS or acrylic or something similar. It’ll be around 18 inches wide instead of the current 7ish inches. Here’s the current setup:


TRuDy got an upgrade this afternoon.

I cut it out of a 3/16" thick sheet of ABS plastic that started as 53" x 18". I salvaged the rubber edge and all the hardware from my Front Runner fairing. I added a felt strip along the rubber edge as well to abate the squeaking. I’m pretty happy with how it came out. It’s roughly a 25 degree angle now vs the 60ish degrees previously so it should be more aerodynamic. I’ll put some miles on it over the coming months and see if it improves gas mileage and/or noise.

That looks great on TRuDy. I’m making a fairing now and it will have a gentler angle like yours compared with the 3rd party products. The ideal angle is 20.6 degrees* so fairings should be longer like the one you’ve created. The fairing should be 26 inches to achieve the 20.6 degree angle; I’ll aim for shorter, too because don’t want to go most of the way towards the front of the cab. By my rough calculation (in case you’re interested) yours is 30 deg. (sinx=9/18). Also like the way yours extends all the way to the side edge of the Gofast - I plan to do that, too.

Look forward to hearing about MGP improvement (if any) and noise reduction!


Thanks! I’ve only had it on a couple weeks, but the noise has been reduced a lot. I’ve also seen a little bump in MPG, but it’s been during the spring which usually gives me a little better gas mileage with warmer temps and the switch to summer fuel blends. Hard to say whether the new fairing has had a significant impact, but I’d say it’s definitely not hurting anything. It’s also much nicer to drive with the back window open; the wind around the camper/cab/fairing gives more airflow in through the back window which was mostly lost with just the camper on there. Less noise with the window open too.

It’s a lot of real estate on top of the cab. I’m considering trying to find a small 50-100 watt solar panel to mount on there. I might just go with a briefcase-type one that I can clamp on there when parked into the sun so I’m not always forced to park a certain way with a permanently mounted one though. Future problem.

Exciting possibly reducing noise + better gas mileage.

I would recommend permanently affixing a solar panel - that way it’s charging all the time without the hassle of moving the panel around and hooking up every time. I have 100 watt flexible panels mounted on my GFC top using VHB tape and it works great. Smaller, flexible solar panels (there’s a 26 inch wide one) for atop the cab are offered by Renogy, for example… Renogy Solar

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Update on the fairing after a 9500 mile road trip:

TL;DR - larger, lower-angled fairing is better

I just got back from a 7 week, 24 state, 9500 mile road trip with TRuDy. Overall I used 476.75 gallons of gas giving me total average MPG of 19.926 miles per gallon.

Throughout the trip I had several tanks where I got 22.5 MPG, and a couple where I only got 16.5 MPG. I only used regular fuel with no more than 10% ethanol, usually sourced via the GasBuddy app to save $$. Highest I paid was $4.299/gal (Oregon) and lowest I paid was $2.799/gal (Tennessee) although I did see some stations selling for over $5/gal in the Chicago area and rural Washington state.

The higher MPGs I found were mostly at highway speeds between about 60 and 70 MPH, or on back roads doing around 45-55 MPH. Anything higher than 70 MPH and the gas mileage really dropped off fast (one tank that got 16.5 MPG was doing 76 MPH across South Dakota).

Since there are a million factors that can effect gas mileage (outside temperature, elevation, tire pressure, road surface, flat vs. hilly/mountainous roads, running the air conditioning, headwind vs. tailwind, humidity, traffic, etc.) I don’t have a magic formula for the ideal sweet spot, but based on my non-scientific observations, I’d say the fairing was worth the investment.

My general takeaways are:

  1. Highway speeds below 70 MPH give better MPG
  2. Flat terrain is generally better than hilly/mountainous terrain, but winds can have a huge effect either way.
  3. The cruise control liked to run at a higher RPM to keep the speed within a much narrower range whereas if I allowed the truck to slow a little more on uphill sections and speed up a little more on downhill sections I got much better gas mileage. I only did this when the traffic allowed, but it made a difference.
  4. I rarely ran the air conditioner unless the temp was over 90*F so I don’t have a good read on how much it affected the gas mileage. Usually I had the back cab window open and the front driver and passenger windows cracked. Before the GFC I almost always did this and the air flow was great. With the GFC on before the fairing the air flow was greatly reduced in this configuration. With the fairing, the air flow is much better and the noise has been reduced with the back window open.
  5. I don’t idle my truck if I can help it. If I’m parked, I turn it off. This obviously contributes to better gas mileage.
  6. I removed my 2 beef bars for this trip since I wasn’t going to be using them. The weight and drag reduction probably helped the gas mileage as well.
  7. I was loaded up for a marathon vacation on this trip. Probably around 200-250 lbs of gear throughout the truck (mtn bike, fridge, aux battery, bedding, cooking stuff, clothing, shoes, water, etc). Without this added weight I probably would have had slightly better gas mileage.

I can’t directly compare this large fairing to the much smaller one I originally had on from Front Runner, but in my observations the big one is quieter and all indications are that it has improved gas mileage.

If I remember correctly, pre-GFC I usually got about 22-23 MPG on average in the warmer months and 20-21 MPG on average in the colder months. This was mostly commuting to work (45-55 MPH on country roads through corn fields in rural NJ) and running errands. After the GFC was installed I got about 20.5-21.5 MPG on average in the warmer months and 19-20 MPG on average in the colder months. With the new fairing I haven’t had enough time replicating that commute to make a definitive assessment (starting a new job next week) but I’ll try to see if I can make a comparison in the near future. I also park my truck in the garage so that likely affects the gas mileage in extreme temps.

Here’s some pics of my trip.