Ford Ranger pickup camper makes horizonless adventure "attainable"
One of SEMA's "most attainable" camping rigs is also one of its most slickly-designed. A Ford Ranger upfitted by Hellwig and Old Steel Fabrication, the pickup camper is ready to explore deeper than most thanks to its nimble midsize platform and pair of Specialized electric mountain bikes hanging off the hitch. Those bikes swing out of the way to access the fully-equipped camper with roof-top tent, slide-out kitchen and off-grid power. It's a simple but effective design, begging to let loose and bushwhack through forests or scramble up mountains.
We were quite impressed with the Hellwig Rulebreaker Titan camper's effortless highway stability when we got behind the wheel last year, but truth be told, if we were going to be exploring off-pavement expanses for any length of time, we would much prefer something lower, sleeker and lighter. The new "Attainable Adventure" Ranger hits on all three points, and is something of a triumph of an "everything you need, no bulky overkill" building strategy.
The build's Tepui Hybox roof tent stands just above the height of the driver cab thanks to a Yakima bed rack with matching awning. That lift leaves plenty of room down below for a Trail Kitchen galley with sink and Camp Chef stove mounted on a BedSlide next to an ARB fridge. Also secured to the slide are a Goal Zero Yeti 1400 power station that wires up to solar panels, a jerry can and a couple of small storage boxes. Compact Daystar fuel cans, Rigid Industries lighting and a Krazy Beaver shovel complete the bedside accessory kit, and for day adventures that call for even more gear, the Tepui Hybox doubles as a rooftop cargo box after zipping the fabric off.
The real centerpiece of the build is the RIGD swing-out bike carrier behind the bumper. Not only does the swinging action create easy access to the kitchen and roof-top tent without the need to unload the bikes, but the carrier also includes a drop-down worktop with extension on its inside, completing the open-air kitchen space.
Down below, extra off-road capability comes courtesy of an Icon Vehicle Dynamics Stage 5 suspension and 35-in Falken Wildpeak M/T tires around 17-in Icon Alloys Compression wheels. The Bushwhacker fender flares, Addictive Desert Designs front and rear bumpers, T-Rex X-Metal grille, front bumper-embedded Rigid light bar and LGE-CTS Motorsports custom retro-inspired paint complete the aggressive look.
Given that you could easily spend US$10,000 to $25,000 on a pair of Specialized e-bikes alone, we're guessing this particular build will fall outside of what many consider "attainable," but it does a good job of showcasing how you can skip expensive expedition motorhomes and build a light, flexible adventure camper, piece by piece.
The "Attainable Adventure" Ranger is on display at Ford's SEMA booth through Friday.