Sherpa off-road teardrop trailer journeys into the wild packed with modern family comforts
We've seen many off-road teardrops over the years, but we can't recall any looking much like the BRS Offroad Sherpa, a rolling bank vault built to tackle near-impassable tracks before transforming into a simple but well-equipped campsite for the entire family. After a long day of climbing rock and powering across rivers, the Sherpa wirelessly pops its doors and raises its strut-assisted roof-top tent in minutes. A 270-degree awning, drop-down shower pod, audio/video system, kitchen and heat/hot water system make for an enjoyable stay, whether it's a single night or weeks on end.
Australia's BRS designed the Sherpa as a lighter, more affordable alternative to its flagship Pursuit off-road teardrop. It classifies it a mini-hybrid trailer, a compact cross between a hard-sided trailer (the teardrop body) and soft-sided expander (the Alu-Cab roof-top tent).
BRS has done a nice job integrating Alu-Cab's tent into the trailer design, and from some angles it looks more like a built-in pop-up roof on the teardrop body than a roof tent on a trailer-top rack. However, it's definitely a standalone roof tent and can be removed to prove it, creating a lighter, more compact two-sleeper.
The Sherpa's body styling itself is also quite distinctive, pairing a very burly, angular lower half with a classically curvy upper – a sort of semi-hardened teardrop that's a touch smoother than similar Aussie off-roaders like the Track Tvan. That body is made from marine-grade aluminum alloy with a dual-skin construction creating an insulating air pocket. A fiberglass roof sits on top.
Down below, a galvanized central chassis beam is surrounded by a skeletal sub-chassis of welded aluminum ribs. This construction differs from BRS' Pursuit trailer and other off-road trailers, and the company explains that it's designed to cut weight and improve maneuverability.
The Sherpa rides on 17-in matte black alloy wheels and BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires cushioned by a Cruisemaster XT independent coil suspension with twin shock absorbers. An air suspension system is available optionally.
One could easily mistake the Sherpa for a compact teardrop when looking at the marketing photos of it standing alone, but shots of it rising over top the back of the tow vehicle and towering above the folks camping in it tell the real story. The Sherpa has 8.2 ft (2.5 m) of height to go along with 14.6 ft (4.45 m) of length and 6.8 ft (2.06 m) of width. It drops down to 7.4 ft (2.25 m) tall when you pull the Alu-Cab tent off. Weight scales in at around 1,985 lb (900 kg).
At camp, the Sherpa is designed to set up in minutes, its roof-top tent lifting effortlessly with the help of integrated struts and its side doors popping open wirelessly (manual override is included). An Alu-Cab Shadow awning wraps around the side and tailgate kitchen for plenty of shade. When it's time to wash up, the Quick Pitch side tent drops out of a storage box up near the roof and provides a private shower area.
The kitchen is equally simple and sweet, going from "ready to drive" to "ready to cook" with a pop of the upper tailgate and drop of the fold-down worktop. BRS has avoided the complications of an inbuilt stove and fuel source, relying instead on your portable camping stove. It has, however, included a wash basin and hot/cold mixer tap plumbed to the 200-L water bladder, along with dual 30-L Dometic refrigerator drawers on the sides of a central storage area.
The Eberspacher diesel hot water boiler doubles as a space heater for warming up the teardrop cabin on chilly nights. In fact, while it looks as snug as any teardrop interior, the BRS cabin is rather fancy, letting your eyes dance between a panoramic front window and 24-in TV entertainment system with Fusion DVD/CD player and stereo speakers. It also has the usual reading lights and USB/12V outlets.
To keep all the lights and electrical components fired up, the Sherpa has a potent little electrical system with 200-watt solar panel, 125-Ah lithium battery, and DC and AC chargers.
Other miscellaneous odds and ends around the Sherpa include dual 12V fans, electric drum brakes, a front toolbox, an interior cabinet and backrest storage, two exterior lights and a kitchen light, and dual 20-L jerry can holders.
Though it's a smaller, entry level trailer for BRS Offroad, the Sherpa follows much the same formula as other Australian-built off-road camper trailers and caravans: rock-solid foundation, elegant, fully equipped interior ... and costs as much as a vehicle to tow it. Prices start at AU$61,290 (approx. US$43,650) as listed in the Sherpa brochure we requested.
The 4.5-minute video below provides a good walkthrough of the Sherpa and is a nice watch if you want to get a closer look at set-up procedures and specific features and equipment.
Source: BRS Offroad