The idea of overlanding in an electric vehicle, meandering miles and miles off the electrical grid for days on end, has so far been largely unfathomable, a bit terrifying, even. But we've seen that it's not impossible, and now electric truck startup Rivian is hoping to make it more mainstream. Less than a year after turning heads with an LA Auto Show double debut, it made the trip to Overland Expo West to show how electric power can be a boon rather than bane for overland travel. Its all-electric pickup camper offers an estimated 400 miles (644 km) of range, a roof-top tent and an electric kitchen.
New Mexico-based startup Earth Traveler is developing a very different style of teardrop trailer, a skeletal archway built of lightweight composite meant to put minimal strain on your engine and wallet. And while the range-topper will be made from carbon fiber, the more interesting version will use a composite concocted from chicken feathers, a material that's literally featherlight. At camp, full-length gull-wing panels will rise up like a phoenix, creating standing room and a spacious, breezy interior intimately connected to the surrounding outdoors.
If you were looking over an SUV or truck trying to find the roof-top tent (RTT), the most logical place to look would be ... the roof. But California startup Rubicon Expedition Products wants people to expand their idea of what a roof-top tent is and where it belongs on the vehicle. Its Hitch Tent system drops the roof tent down to hitch level, making it easier to load and unload and freeing up the vehicle for day trips. The integrated frame stands the tent above the cold, rocky ground below.
We've been following new Volkswagen Crafter camper vans since the launch of the second-gen model in 2016. Whether we're talking Volkswagen itself, a large conversion shop like Westfalia, or a smaller name like NordVan, one thing these Crafter camper vans tend to have in common is a layout with rear bed and central bath and kitchen. German camper van converter, supplier and equipment specialist Reimo has different ideas for the Crafter, swapping the bed and bathroom and carving out the kitchen for a more spacious, versatile travel and adventure space.
No, not that McLaren. We're talking this time about the British motorhome conversion shop with the lowercase "L", Mclaren Sports Homes. The Leigh-based outfit's latest project turns the Volkswagen Crafter into an all-out adventure machine. The hardy Savage camper van wears a full array of all-terrain equipment and packs dirt bikes or mountain bikes in a reinforced garage below a power-lift bed. Start your adventure on four wheels and continue on two.
Back when we looked at the Leentu pickup camper at Overland Expo West 2017, it was very much a rough prototype. But that rough prototype made it out of testing and development, leading to the well-polished Carbon Camper production model launched this winter. Now Leentu is moving away from expensive IndyCar-grade carbon fiber and onward to a more affordable aluminum honeycomb topper for the pickup-camping masses. The Leentu Sunzal Utility Pop-up maintains a low weight but comes in well under the price of the Carbon Camper, providing a more economical way of turning a regular, old pickup truck into an all-out adventure vessel.
Forget camper vans, Contravans builds camper minivans, camper SUVs and camper wagons. Following up on its cargo van conversion kits, it now offers full minivan conversions and lighter utility vehicle kits, furnishing the full spectrum of vehicles to the needs of outdoor adventurers. Whether you're driving a Subaru Outback, Toyota 4Runner, Dodge Grand Caravan or another urban or mountain-town vehicle, a Contravans kit makes it a functional, affordable camper for whatever cross country voyage you have your eye on.
After a string of Volkswagen ID concepts rolling out over the better part of three years, it seems like ages ago that the original ID hatchback concept made its world debut. That model is nearing production now, and today it has an official name, the ID.3. Volkswagen fancies it the number 3 in its list of seminal vehicles, following the Beetle and the Golf. The cute five-door won't debut until September, but it's already available for preorder in Europe, where it will offer between 330 and 550 km (205 and 342 mi) of range on the WLTP cycle.