All-terrain natural wood cabin expedition vehicle explores the spaces from whence it came
One of the absolute standouts from our trip to this year's Abenteuer & Allrad (Adventure and Allwheel) show in Bad Kissingen, Germany, the Bumo module is a more natural breed of motorhome – a pine box built for living. More specifically, this all-natural, handmade motorhome is built for exploring the deep forests and high mountains that lent to its creation. When dropped atop a Mercedes Arocs truck, the Bumo is part all-terrain, off-grid expedition vehicle, part tiny home, and part cabin in (and through) the woods. "Home on wheels" has never felt like such a fitting description.
When you walk around a show like Abenteuer & Allrad or Overland Expo, you can feel a disconnect if you allow yourself just a bit of separation from the brimming excitement over new innovations in off-road suspension, pop-up roofs and four-wheel drive. More so than virtually any other vehicles in the world, the large expedition vehicles that populate these shows are capable of unearthing the most distant, pristine secrets Mother Earth has hidden. And yet these massive hunks of metal and rubber, earth-tramplers with dismal fuel economies diving into the single digits, are hardly equipped to stay within the good graces of the benevolent Mother.
We won't pretend that the finalized Bumo motorhome is that much different, as it's still a massive, heavy, fuel-chugging truck that'll lay waste to any living organism that dare stray too close to the road's edge. But the company's signature motorhome module is definitely born from a more conscious, eco-friendly point of view, and it absolutely popped out at Abenteuer & Allrad because of it. The light, natural aesthetic of the larch wood exterior is quite a contrast to the big metal and composite boxes that otherwise dominate the motorhome and expedition vehicle space.
Bumo, a new brand within German vehicle engineering and small series manufacturing company FormIT GmbH, has designed its modules to be more natural while still robust enough for extended expeditions into parts unknown. Putting a timber home atop a truck that'll spend life bouncing over potholes, rocks, drops and all other forms of earthen incongruities seems like the recipe for immediate home loss, but Bumo reinforces its box with a full aluminum frame before cladding it in the beautiful larch pine that attracts eyeballs from across show fields.
Bumo's natural construction is more than just wood facade. The company says that it spent much time finding the right combination of natural materials to maintain the perfect interior climate. The floor and roof are insulated with sheep's wool and the walls with wood wool (wood shavings) before being covered by stone pine interior walls. The company even says the pine has the ability to lower the heart rate, eliminate bacteria and promote general well-being – we're not sure about all that, but the freckled wood definitely looks gorgeous. The oak featured in the furniture construction doesn't hurt either.
The big Mercedes engine will still be grumbling and spewing as the truck traverses from place to place, but Bumo has put an emphasis on systems that will operate more in tune with nature along the way and at camp. The Bumo module features solar panels for off-grid energy efficiency and a rainwater collection system to help keep the tanks topped off. The composting toilet conserves water and does away with chemicals.
Bumo showed a prototype at Abenteuer & Allrad, a work in progress that should be fully ready by late summer or early fall. The prototype has a kitchen block just entrant's left of the doorway, a bed in back, and a dinette on the other side of the entryway. There's a wood-burning heater/stovetop already installed, and the finalized kitchen block will include both an induction cooktop and dual gas burners – so there'll be no reason to go without home cooking. The wall opposite the main kitchen block houses a large compressor fridge/freezer, as well as the bathroom, which will include both a toilet and shower when completed.
Bumo will be very much an on-spec, custom builder, so layout and spec sheet are sure to vary from customer to customer. According to the information we received at the show, it will offer 4, 5 and 6-sleeper configurations. Available equipment listed in Bumo's brochure includes dual 200-liter fresh water tanks, a 350-L waste water tank, a gas generator, a 1,200-watt solar panel array and a 600-Ah battery bank.
Disappointingly, we did not get to experience the full-length hydraulic-slide front terrace that the company shows in its illustration – it was not deployed at the show and we had no idea it was even there (or maybe it wasn't actually constructed yet). It should be a very nice feature to have, though.
Bumo modules will start at an estimated €250,000 (approx. US$292K) – module only, truck chassis sold separately. The company says its twist-lock chassis mounting system makes removal easy, so you can move it from truck to truck – or maybe just drop it on a foundation and call it your permanent home.
Source: Bumo (German)