Off Grid caravan battles the bush to let you sleep in luxury's lap
Joining the ranks of off-road camping trailers built to navigate through and shelter in the most rugged slices of Earth, the new Lotus Off Grid brings a little more luxury than most. It keeps things focused on roominess and comfort and comes standard with the types of equipment and accessories you'd expect to be optional, including air conditioning, an indoor/outdoor TV and entertainment center, and a leather-trimmed sofa. So you can get away from the everyday world ... without giving up the parts you actually like.
Launched earlier this year, the Off Grid is one of the newest models from Australia's Lotus Caravans, an off-road caravan specialist. It is the company's most compact trailer, measuring 14 ft (4.3 m) in length, and was designed to meet the demand for a small but burly trailer. Like other off-road trailers from down under, such as the Bruder EXP-6 and Ecombo, the Off Grid is made to venture out to the most remote parts of the outback without a hitch (figuratively speaking, of course, you will need to hitch it to the tow vehicle).
The Off Grid starts off with a G&S SupaGal steel chassis and Control Rider independent suspension system cushioning the 17-in wheels. Those wheels are wrapped up in Cooper STT Pro mud terrain tires. The meranti wood frame is concealed behind composite paneling and checker-plate armor.
Unlike the cramped, spartan interiors common in some off-road trailers, the Off Grid looks like a stylish, roomy motorhome inside, offering space for a couple or two parents with small child. The insulated interior also comes fully loaded with a variety of amenities and comforts.
Up front, the innerspring bed sleeps two across the width of the cabin. Behind the bed, an Italian leather couch will accommodate that small sleeping child but is a bit too snug to sleep an adult. The kitchen has a Dometic two-burner stove, 80 L Waeco 12 V fridge/freezer and sink. Next to the kitchen, a corner bathroom comes packaged with Thetford toilet and fiberglass shower. The interior also has a wide storage unit and roof-mounted air conditioner.
Campers may be reluctant to leave that comfy interior, but the well-equipped outdoor living layout will give them a reason. A slide-out kitchen stored neatly inside a compartment under the bed pulls out to get you cooking on a Weber grill. Next to the slide-out, a wide storage hatch can accommodate an optional outdoor fridge/freezer, keeping food and drink handy.
A Thule awning casts some shade over the chef and his crew, and outdoor speakers provide entertainment. The standard 24-in TV from inside can also be mounted on the bracket in the small storage hatch outside, letting campers enjoy their favorite programming under the blue skies. Exterior LED lighting keeps the fun going into the night.
Many trailers and campers offer solar panels as an option, but the Off Grid lives up to its name by rolling through the world with two standard 150-watt panels feeding the dual 120 Ah batteries through a 25 A battery charger. Along with the aforementioned electrical equipment, that system powers things like the interior LED lighting, Fusion 650 audio system and 12 V fan.
Lotus also equips the Off Grid with dual 95 L fresh water tanks, a hot water system and water pump, dual 10-lb (4.5-kg) gas tanks and a Winegard HD antenna. The checker-plate tool box up front offers some heavy-duty external storage, and a stone guard with rock deflectors fends off flying debris. Dual jerry can holders and a spare wheel fill out the rear-end.
The Off Grid starts at AU$70,000 (approx. US$53,000). Given the extensive list of specs and features, we double-checked with Lotus on whether that list comes standard or includes a mix of standards and options. Lotus assured us that all the specs listed on its website are indeed standard, which is why the word "optional" appears so few times above. The Off Grid certainly isn't cheap, but it's an interesting package for those who don't want to do without life's comforts and luxuries, no matter where they're headed.