Bruder EXP-6 trailer brings a touch of luxury to the muddy, rocky backcountry
Every time we think we've seen some heavy-duty American off-road camping trailers, a new Australian trailer comes along looking like it could tear through those trailers like a cannonball through a Lego castle. The Bruder EXP-6 is one of the most extreme examples we've seen. This dual-axle battering ram is all man-vs-nature business outside but elegant comfort inside, offering you the ability to set up camp and live like a veritable king in the most foreboding parts of the planet.
The EXP-6's big, polygonal 1.2-in-thick (30-mm) composite body stretches 22 ft (6.7 m) in length and is supported by a rugged, airtight galvanized chassis built to hold 11 times its weight. At about 6.6 ft (2 m) wide, the body is designed to match the tow vehicle's track, navigating narrow roads and trails with skill, without the need for special tow mirrors.
A set of high-density rubber absorption mounts sits between body and chassis, isolating the composite shell from vibrations. The chassis includes an integrated Warn winch and recovery points and is tapered and contoured to prevent snagging. Bruder says that it's ready to perform through extreme hot and cold.
A pillar of the EXP-6's design is the multi-link air suspension system providing 12 in (300 mm) of travel. Using an accompanying smartphone app, the driver can adjust the trailer's ride height while in motion, setting it for low, aerodynamic road navigation or high-clearance off-road driving. There's also an onboard air compressor system for adjusting tire pressure.
The EXP-6 includes its own snorkel system, which Bruder explains sits high above the dust trail, pulling in and filtering air. This creates a positive pressure inside the cabin, preventing any dusty air from slipping past the automotive seals. The owner can turn this system on and off as needed.
After navigating through muck and mire on the way to camp, the EXP-6 sets up in a hurry, the top and rear hatch opening electrically and the adjustable suspension leveling things out. Many a trailer houses a galley below its rear hatch, but Bruder's design is quite different: a central entry door flanked by storage and an exterior shower. With the pop-up roof deployed, the interior offers around 7 ft (2.1 m) of headroom.
The cabin design completes a Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde dual personality typical of full-blown expedition vehicles like the EarthRoamer XV-LTS or Action Mobil Global XRS 7200, not generally trailers. The sophisticated cabin sleeps a family of four out of the box with a combination of permanent queen bed up front and convertible sofa bed in the middle. Buyers can add optional suspended bunk beds and increase the size of the sofa bed for a total of up to six people. The sofa area includes a table that can be mounted inside or outside and swiveled to various positions and an LED HD television that can swivel for watching on the sofa, bed or outside.
The corner bathroom houses a shower, toilet and drop-down washbasin. There's also a vanity and toiletry storage.
Among the EXP-6's most interesting features is its indoor/outdoor kitchen area. Located on the left side when looking forward, the kitchen includes a stainless steel sink and diesel cooktop, both of which can be accessed from inside and outside. The fridge/freezer and storage drawer pulls out, and an additional countertop drops down from the other side of the kitchen cubby. There's also an available indoor fridge/freezer, allowing the trailer to be equipped with two separate units.
The flip-up panel over the kitchen creates a small roof, and the remote-controlled awning expands coverage. The smartphone-controlled suspension can be used to readjust the height of the kitchen for easier food prep.
Other standard hardware includes diesel heat and hot water; 200 L (52.8 gal) of water capacity spread across three tanks (up to 400 L available); interior and exterior LED lighting; a full electrical system with 200 Ah battery, 260 W roof-mounted solar, 2,000 W inverter, battery management system, and multiple USB, 240/110 V and 12 V outlets; and plenty of storage cabinets, pullouts, shelves, etc. The standard EXP-6 weighs in at 3,704-lb (1,680-kg) before you start throwing gear and food in it.
"Our brief with the EXP-6 was to design the ultimate off-road expedition trailer, not just the most capable but also the easiest to operate," explains Dan Bosschieter, one of the two brothers (Bruder means "brother" in German) behind the company and trailer. "Setup requires nothing more than the press of a button, and regardless if you're 6'7" or 5'1" tall, the kitchen will be the perfect height to suit you, as the EXP-6 lowers or raises to suit your needs."
Bruder launched the EXP-6 in Australia this month, where it starts at AU$105,000. The first units will be delivered next month. Availability won't be limited to Australia as Bruder has its sights on the global market. In the US, the EXP-6 prices in at US$68,000. Bruder estimates a $3,000 US shipping cost and plans to set up a more formal distribution network by early 2017.
Options include the added beds, a generator, additional battery and solar capacity, a remote-controlled air conditioning system, and a remote communications pack with satellite phone, UHF radio and emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). Also available is a water-filtration system that pulls and filters water from untreated natural sources, such as lakes and rivers. Bruder will also work with customers on designing the EXP-6 around their specific equipment needs.
The video clip below provides a pretty good overview of EXP-6 highlights, and for those interested in learning even more, Bruder also has videos specific to the interior, exterior and chassis design on its YouTube channel.