Nutty aluminum camping trailers sleep you and your 4x4

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Nuthouse Acorn trailer at Overland Expo East 2016(Credit: C.C. Weiss/New Atlas)

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Camping trailers like the Patriot Toy Hauler 610 and UGOAT Scout carry an ATV or dirt bikes to the trailhead, but what do you do if you prefer tackling the trailer with a full-blown Jeep Wrangler? You hitch up one of Nuthouse Industries' shiny aluminum trailers and roll that Wrangler right behind your mobile living quarters. Then, you go to Moab or the destination of your choice and have the ultimate 4x4ing and camping trip.

Easily the most eye-popping, "WTH-is-that"-type trailer at Overland Expo East this past weekend, the Nuthouse Acorn marries a modular aluminum camping box with a flatbed trailer. It's not exactly a groundbreaking, new concept, as there are other car/toy-hauling camping trailers out there, but its shiny, all-aluminum design and layout do separate it from the more common white box + bed trailer designs.

In comparison to the aforementioned Toy Hauler 610, the Acorn is a bigger trailer for bigger toys, sized to carry a full-sized vehicle, whether your plan is to 4x4 through Canyonlands National Park or camp out at Bend in the Road and run your blown fuel competition coupe at Bonneville. The Acorn is listed as 20 feet (6.1 m) long, just like the TH610, but, as we confirmed with Nuthouse, that's the length of the actual deck, not the full trailer end to end, with the tongue extending another 5 feet (1.5 m). The TH610, by contrast is 20 feet in total length, with the deck stretching about half of it. So the Acorn can carry a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, while the TH610 is limited to smaller recreational vehicles like side-by-sides (Patriot does appear to have plans for a longer TH730 with 14-foot/4.3-m deck).

Nuthouse can also build the Acorn with a custom-size deck, including shortening it for smaller four-wheelers or dirt bikes. Six-foot (1.8-m) ramps help with loading, and the fixed-height roof rack can be swapped out for an adjustable height rack, either manual or electric.

In terms of camping amenities, the all-aluminum Acorn is designed to be modular and highly customizable, starting with the base configuration of flatbed in back, empty camper boxes up front and working right up to a fully equipped camping trailer with roof-top tent, kitchen, heat/AC, shower and toilet. The base trailer starts at US$21,850 as listed at publishing, and from there, buyers can fill the various cabinets of the front boxes by penning their way through the list of optional equipment ("modules").

While the Acorn's structure is large, it's not designed for sleeping in. Sleeping quarters come courtesy of a roof-top tent mounted on top. Nuthouse offers a $2,945 23 Zero tent by name, but also says it can mount up any roof-top tent model. The heat and AC package pipes hot/cold air into the tent from a ClimateRight unit mounted in the camper box.

The kitchen can be put together with a combination of Partner Steel stove mounted to the fold-down shelf on the curb side and ARB 63-quart (60L) refrigerator. The $37,000 show model also included a microwave over top the refrigerator.

Other available options include 50-gal (189L) of fresh water storage with 12V pump, a dual-battery power package, a 100W solar panel, an outdoor shower system, a Partner Steel toilet and LED lighting. Some options require adding others - the shower, for instance, requires fresh water and propane packages. In case it's not clear already, Nuthouse also appears more than willing to step outside the standard equipment/options list and work with individual customers to build up an Acorn around their needs.

The Acorn has 19 in (48 cm) of ground clearance and rides on 5,200-lb (2,358 kg) rated torsion axles. The aluminum chassis and boxes weigh in at 2,600 lb (1,179 kg) and can accommodate more than 8,500 additional pounds (3,855 kg) of options and equipment for a gross vehicle weight of 11,176 lb (5,069 kg). Nuthouse says the trailer can also be equipped with lighter/heavier axles and wheels for different payload requirements.

Given its size and design, the Acorn is not really aimed at being a full-blown, go-anywhere 4x4 expedition trailer, like many of the other trailers at Overland Expo. It's more a means of carrying the go-anywhere 4x4 vehicle over gravel and dirt road to the trailhead.

The Acorn may have been the biggest, baddest trailer we saw at Overland Expo, but it's not the biggest or baddest in Nuthouse's lineup. The larger MixedNuts sets an alcove-style, removable camper module at the front of a flatbed, and the fully enclosed Macadamia puts both camper and car hauler under one long roof. We hope to see those models out in the wild in the future.

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