Bruder EXP-4 camping trailer marries cinder block toughness with teardrop coziness
One of the most imposing, no-nonsense, go-anywhere off-road camping trailers we've ever looked at, the Bruder EXP-6 became an internet sensation back in mid 2016. We reckon it might have become a real-world sensation in the time since, but for the six-figure price tag and limited usefulness to your average Joe and Jane. Bruder has not yet figured out a way of making wrecking ball-tough all-terrain caravans relevant to everyday life, but it has figured out a way to shave away some price. The all-new EXP-4 debuts as the EXP-6's smaller, simpler, more lightly priced younger brother. It's essentially how Bruder does a teardrop trailer.
As far as off-road camping trailers go, the EXP-6 is a sizable pop-top caravan with standing-height interior, bathroom, living space and indoor/outdoor cooking. The 16.4-foot (5-m) EXP-4, on the other hand, follows more in the teardrop style: a sitting-height interior filled out by bedding and storage and an exterior that takes care of the rest with a full tailgate kitchen and outdoor shower. It's certainly roomier, more angular and more rugged than the average teardrop, but its general layout is quite similar.
Like the EXP-6, the 4 starts on a rock-solid foundation of fully sealed, airtight chassis, 17-in alloy wheels rolled in 33-in Mickey Thompson tires, and custom-designed air suspension. Unlike the 6, the 4 has only a single 2,600-kg (5,700-lb) axle and one pair of wheels cushioned by four remote canister mono-tube shocks, with ventilated disc brakes bringing those wheels to a stop.
With up to 12 in (305 mm) of travel, Bruder's signature suspension is built to eat up terrain irregularities of all shapes and sizes. It can also be height-adjusted, lining up with the tow vehicle, raising ground clearance up to 33.5 in (850 mm), leveling off the trailer body at camp, or lowering for easier access to the kitchen and cabin.
The EXP-4 living module is made of light, durable closed cell epoxy-bonded composite. Bruder says the living cell offers superior insulation while also having the capability of shouldering up to 10 times its own weight.
On the softer side of the composite panels, much of the EXP-4 cabin is gobbled up by a large 72 x 86-in (183 x 218-cm) bed. Unlike the typical two-sleeper teardrop or small-cabin box trailer, the EXP-4 is a family camper thanks to the 5.9-foot-long (1.8-m) bed elevated over the foot of the main bed. In fact, Bruder says the cabin will sleep two adults and up to three young children, and given that the main bed has the width of a California king with a couple extra inches of length, it's a believable claim. For larger groups, the roof can accommodate a roof-top tent for even more sleeping capacity.
Bruder fills out the remainder of the interior with some simple storage. In addition to basic shelves, it adds a standing wardrobe to hang shirts, pants and other clothing.
Campers do their slicing, dicing, boiling and frying out back, below the EXP-4's tailgate. The neatly organized kitchen includes a sink, 60-L fridge, long worktop, pantry, drawer and shelf space. It doesn't come with a standard inbuilt stove, but campers can easily use their own portable stove or grill. Bruder eliminates the slide-out hardware common on off-road camping trailers (including the EXP-6) to keep things neat, simple and protected comfortably below the raised lift-gate.
Also standard on the exterior, the outdoor shower keeps campers, pets and gear clean, no matter how dirty the conditions. Various portable toilet models will fit neatly inside one of the storage lockers, and an optional awning on one or both sides can be combined with tent walls to create auxiliary privacy rooms.
The EXP-4's 100-L fresh water tank and accompanying plumbing are affixed within the body shell for better insulation and damage protection. Standard electrical equipment includes a 105-Ah AGM battery, solar charger, 240/110V charging, LED lighting, and four USB ports. The trailer weighs 1,875 lb (850 kg) and offers a payload of 1,650 lb (750 kg).
The EXP-4 is designed and built in Australia, where it starts at AU$54,500. Bruder is also offering it globally and has built it to meet US DOT regulations. It ships directly to the States for US$5,000 atop the converted base price, which as of publishing lands roughly around US$38,800. The robust options list includes air conditioning, heating, a cabin pressurization system to keep dust out, hot water, solar panels, lithium battery storage and a portable induction cooktop, along with plenty of others.
If you're anything like we are, you've been patiently waiting for the video clip of the EXP-4 kicking up dust and splashing through water. Or maybe you just scrolled down immediately to see if it was here. Either way, wait no longer – the five-minute clip features both down-and-dirty action footage and an informative walkthrough of the trailer's design and features.