Since the 2019 Hymer Vision Venture concept van, inflatable roofs have been slowly creeping into the RV industry. Erwin Hymer integrated them into production soon after that concept, installing different variants on the Bürstner Lyseo Gallery motorhome and Hymer Vision S camper van. Now German inflatable specialist X-Gloo looks to bring inflatable pop-tops to a wider market of van lifers, teaming with one of Europe’s leading pop-up roof builders to showcase their benefits. The prototype roof sits atop a blazingly styled VW concept van to nearly double interior space while offering quick pneumatic setup and improved insulation.
X-Gloo launched in 2007 and has been growing an international reputation for its inflatable tents and structures ever since. Its products are designed for temporary usage during trade shows, disaster rescue and other purposes. With its inflatable RV extension lineup, it’s now working to apply its expertise to RVs by integrating inflatables into the structural design of expandable components like pop-up roofs and wall expansions.
X-Gloo teamed up with fellow German brand SCA to explore the possibility of an inflatable pop-up van roof that offers all the capacity-increasing benefits of a traditional pop-top with the added advantages of inflatable walls. Instead of lifting manually or electrically via struts, the X-Gloo-based roof inflates into open position via an air compressor activated at the push of a button inside the vehicle or on a remote control. X-Gloo says such a pop-up roof can inflate or deflate in less than two minutes.
X-Gloo’s 3DTex textile is designed to create a sturdy, stable structure, in this case, a tall four-walled room ready to hold up to wind and weather. The pneumatic inflation system monitors and maintains pressure to keep the roof raised, and the multi-cell fabric design ensures pressure can be maintained in the event of damage to a select area. The material is designed to be quickly repaired in the case of minor damage.
The prototype pop-up roof lifts fully rather than in the wedge style common on other SCA pop-tops, offering more interior volume. It also lifts quite high, ensuring plenty of headroom over top the sleeping surface inside. Thanks to the high, level roof position, the camper van builder can position the bed at the rear or front of the pop-up module, freeing up more flexibility in laying out lower furnishings that require standing height, such as the kitchen.
X-Gloo’s proprietary inflatable walls deliver better insulation than traditional pop-up canvas. This includes sound insulation, creating a quieter, more private interior environment, and thermal insulation, allowing the pop-up to be used comfortably in cold or hot weather.
X-Gloo and SCA showed the prototype pop-top high above a particularly vibrant SCA-themed Volkswagen T6 at the CMT show earlier this year. SCA made clear that the roof is still in R&D and not yet ready for launch, though X-Gloo says it’s close to production-ready. We’ll stay on the lookout for more vans, motorhomes and trailers with this style of inflatable expansion.
This short Facebook video clip shows the prototype roof inflating into form.