Automotive

Flax/cork-composite truck camper overlands to a greener destination

Flax/cork-composite truck camp...
The Cabineer truck camper was inspired by the famous Pan-American Highway
The Cabineer truck camper was inspired by the famous Pan-American Highway
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The Cabineer camper makes impressive use of green materials and space
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The Cabineer camper makes impressive use of green materials and space
The dual rear doors provide generous ingress/egress while adding outdoor capabilities, such as a drop-down table for outdoor cooking and outdoor fridge access
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The dual rear doors provide generous ingress/egress while adding outdoor capabilities, such as a drop-down table for outdoor cooking and outdoor fridge access
The Cabineer makes for a compact, nimble getaway for travelers and digital nomads
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The Cabineer makes for a compact, nimble getaway for travelers and digital nomads
The Cabineer can house up to a family of four with its two beds and four-person dinette
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The Cabineer can house up to a family of four with its two beds and four-person dinette
The main double bed in the pop-up sleeps two adults
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The main double bed in the pop-up sleeps two adults
The dining bench doubles as the toilet
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The dining bench doubles as the toilet
Under-bed alcove storage
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Under-bed alcove storage
With its efficient, space-optimizing packaging, Cabineer offers storage space around the interior, including in a kitchen cabinet
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With its efficient, space-optimizing packaging, Cabineer offers storage space around the interior, including in a kitchen cabinet
The tall console on the passenger side houses the flip-up sink, faucet and more storage space
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The tall console on the passenger side houses the flip-up sink, faucet and more storage space
Pull the sink basin up and wash dishes, dropping it out of the way when you're done
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Pull the sink basin up and wash dishes, dropping it out of the way when you're done
Looking out at the kitchen from the back of the dining area
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Looking out at the kitchen from the back of the dining area
Cabineer makes the most of its space by using it multiple ways — the space in front of the passenger door can be used for entry, the door-mounted flip-up countertop shown or the flip-up sink
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Cabineer makes the most of its space by using it multiple ways — the space in front of the passenger door can be used for entry, the door-mounted flip-up countertop shown or the flip-up sink
Cabineer kitchen with stove and sink ready to work
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Cabineer kitchen with stove and sink ready to work
Cabineer chose the petrol stove for added safety when off-roading and shipping the camper in a container
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Cabineer chose the petrol stove for added safety when off-roading and shipping the camper in a container
The tall, slim exterior cabinet is good for outdoor furniture
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The tall, slim exterior cabinet is good for outdoor furniture
Cabineer designed its camper as a welcoming indoor/outdoor space
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Cabineer designed its camper as a welcoming indoor/outdoor space
Popped up and ready to camp (unles
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Cabineer popped up and ready to camp (unless you prefer sleeping on the grass)
Cabineer affixed this camper to a Ford Ranger and says it will fit most double-cab pickups seamlessly
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Cabineer affixed this camper to a Ford Ranger and says it will fit most double-cab pickups seamlessly
It looks like any composite camper, but the Cabineer uses more natural materials
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It looks like any composite camper, but the Cabineer uses more natural materials
The Cabineer truck camper was inspired by the famous Pan-American Highway
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The Cabineer truck camper was inspired by the famous Pan-American Highway
The Cabineer runs between €45,000 and €84K, depending upon equipment
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The Cabineer runs between €45,000 and €84K, depending upon equipment
Getting comfy in the Cabineer camper
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Getting comfy in the Cabineer camper
Cabineer presents a camper made from flax and cork
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Cabineer presents a camper made from flax and cork
Fridge outside
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Fridge outside
Fridge inside
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Fridge inside
The Cabineer truck camper was inspired by the famous Pan-American Highway
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The Cabineer truck camper was inspired by the famous Pan-American Highway
View gallery - 26 images

If you enjoy exploring remote, pristine parts of the world, it follows that you probably want to protect those spaces — and camping around in a foam-filled box hauled by a big truck with low double-digit fuel economy isn't necessarily the best way of doing so. German startup Cabineer looks to encourage more sustainable, eco-friendly overland travel with a debut truck camper built from natural-fiber composite and insulated with cork. It features a space-optimized interior with toilet and shower and is ready to ride atop a midsize 4x4 truck chassis to explore destinations, local to exotic.

Cabineer's founders thought of the idea for a space-optimized truck camper when traveling the Pan-American Highway, one of the world's great overland routes, in a cramped Land Rover Defender. The experience was still a superlative once-in-a-lifetime, but living out of a 4x4 often left them wearied and gazing in envy at the myriad truck campers they saw along the way. Such campers offered more space, protection and features, but they weren't quite perfect, so Cabineer was born to address the perceived shortcomings and create a better small truck camper.

Popped up and ready to camp (unles
Cabineer popped up and ready to camp (unless you prefer sleeping on the grass)

Cabineer admits that it hasn't abandoned plastic entirely, as the natural-fiber composite relies on a liquid-plastic resin, much like fiberglass or carbon fiber. More specifically, the material consists of flax fibers soaked in an epoxy resin that's made partly from linseed oil. Cabineer says the natural fibers are less dense than glass fibers, offering high rigidity at a low weight. Cork insulation furthers the sustainable construction of the camper.

Despite the use of plastic, Cabineer cites several ways in which NFC is more environmentally friendly than fiberglass or carbon fiber. It explains that the flax is a byproduct of linen production and requires less energy to produce than carbon or glass fibers. Both the flax and cork are sourced from European sources, eliminating some of the environmental impact of worldwide shipment. Cabineer estimates that the NFC produces 80 percent less CO2 than fiberglass over its lifespan.

Getting comfy in the Cabineer camper
Getting comfy in the Cabineer camper

The lightest material in the world won't have the desired eco-friendly impact if you end up with a massive yacht-like camper requiring a huge, inefficient vehicle to carry it into the woods. Cabineer avoids this potential pitfall by keeping its camper compact and lightweight enough to fit on a midsize pickup truck chassis, like the Ford Ranger pictured. It estimates that the camper weighs in around 1,100 lb (500 kg), impressively light for a chassis-mounted truck camper, leaving about 1,212 lb (550 kg) of payload on the base Ford Ranger (helped by the fact that the pickup bed is removed to make room for the camper).

Cabineer makes the most of its small interior with a compact, indoor/outdoor design that utilizes multifunctional and hideaway equipment. A pair of swinging rear doors loaded with fold-away worktops and storage compartments provides entry. Directly inside the driver-side rear door, the kitchen block stretches halfway across the width of the cabin holding a portable petrol dual-burner stove inside and a 45-L Engel fridge box below the counter. Bidirectional slide rails allow the fridge to slide both outdoors and indoors for access from either side, and a folding worktop on the door holds the stove for outdoor cooking.

Fridge outside
Fridge outside

The kitchen block itself has a compact countertop space, with additional space available on the flip-up countertop on the closed passenger-side door and the long, narrow counter on the passenger-side wall. The latter is too narrow to accommodate a sink basin, so Cabineer installs a flip-up basin on the face of the wall console. The basin works with a permanently installed faucet atop the counter, which doubles as an outdoor shower sprayer. The initial prototype in photos isn't equipped for indoor showering, but Cabineer tells us that the model it's working on now has a built-in floor drain for showering inside.

Cabineer kitchen with stove and sink ready to work
Cabineer kitchen with stove and sink ready to work

The dinette seats up to four people on a wraparound sofa. The pedestal table drops down at night to create a 39 x 71-in (100 x 180-cm) bed for one adult or two children to complement the main 51 x 79-in (130 x 200-cm) double bed in the pop-up roof. Cabineer says the camper will sleep three adults or two adults and two children.

The roof bed lifts out of the way during the day to clear head space and provide access to the under-bed storage in the alcove. Further storage can be found in the cabinet next to the kitchen stove, the cubbies in the sink console and the tall external storage compartment. The frontmost bench seat houses a separating dry toilet below a hinged top, completing full bathroom capabilities.

The dining bench doubles as the toilet
The dining bench doubles as the toilet

A fully equipped Cabineer also includes a 100-Ah lithium battery wired to two 100-W solar panels, a 100-L fresh water tank and water pump, a 50-L gray water tank, a water heater, and a cabin heater with altitude kit. The fully equipped version costs €84,000, and Cabineer plans to offer several equipment levels down to a €45,000 empty shell. It says that the camper will fit most European double-cab pickups, while single- and extra-cabs might require a little more lead time and fitting.

Source: Cabineer

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