Utah's Mobilight International knows a few things about building rugged trailers designed to roll over tough, foreboding terrain. It butters its bread by building mobile light towers for use at mines, oil fields, and other job and event sites. The company recently brought that experience over to the recreational camping and overland market with the Base Camp, a tough steel box built for exploration, adventure and a bit of backcountry comfort.
At first glance, the Base Camp looks quite simple: a 16-gauge steel body atop a steel tube frame with 15-in wheels cushioned by leaf springs. According to Mobilight, that chassis and wheel combo has more than 30 years' experience rolling lighting towers wherever they need to get to. The 12-gauge steel fenders are built to stand on, providing easy access to the tent or cargo on the roof.
The basic trailer includes the 163 x 77 x 72-in (414 x 196 x 183-cm, L x W x H) wheeled steel box and simple equipment like a seven-way plug; multiple hitch receiver points, including a rear receiver; and three access doors to the 72 x 56 x 46-in (183 x 142 x 172-cm) interior. So it's a basic-but-rugged cargo trailer, for a base price of US$5,681.
Like many of the other off-road camping trailers and truck campers we've seen lately, the Base Camp is designed with a heavy emphasis on customization. Mobilight's extensive options list turns the Base Camp into a fully functional home-away-from-home with a variety of equipment, cubbies and slide-outs. Many of the options are organized into packages, such as the "kitchen package," "power package" and "hot spring package."
Mobilight supplies cooking capabilities via the available roll out kitchen, which includes a removable two-burner Ranger II cooktop from Utah's Camp Chef, a 15 x 15-in (38 x 38-cm) stainless steel sink, and a lower storage compartment with paper towel holder and space for cooking tools. A separate slide-out shelf provides more room for pots, pans and cooking accessories, and a narrow spice rack/shelf above the stove offers yet more space. The kitchen also includes a magnetic knife holder and magnetic spice jars.
The kitchen sink won't be too useful without water, and that's where Mobilight's 30-gal (113.5L) "canteen" polyethylene water tank comes in. The water package also includes a spout, electric pump, water hookup and hose. The "hot spring package" adds a 6-gal (22.7L) propane/electric water heater, and the "shower package" adds an outdoor shower with 5-foot (1.5-m) hose, hot/cold controls, pull-out mount for the magnetic curtain, foldable wood deck to keep your feet clean, and even a shower chair. The shower gets mounted around a 27 x 12 x 12-in (69 x 30.5 x 30.5-in) storage locker, where you can store soap, shampoo, towels and other related items. It's a pretty slick, compact shower set-up that lets you have a fairly private shower out in the middle of nowhere.
Some of that equipment, like the water pump, requires power to work, so the Mobilight "power package" is an all but mandatory add-on with other packages. It includes a fold-out 120-watt solar panel mounted, 1,500-watt inverter/charger, 520Ah AGM battery, 30-amp inlet, interior LED lights, dual 120V outlets and dual USB ports.
Those packages lay out your day from breakfast to pre-bed shower, but they don't give you a place to sleep. You're not going to cram yourself inside the interior, especially with all that added equipment. Instead, the Base Camp sleeps up to four on the foam mattress of the available Tepui four-season roof-top tent.
With all those packages and individual options, you now have a fully functional camping trailer that will sleep, feed and clean you while hauling key gear along for the ride. You also have a lot more price tag than that $5,700 base model we talked about way back when. The power package is the most expensive piece at $4,212. The Tepui tent costs $2,200, and throw in another $520 for the roof rack to mount it. It's $645 for the water tank and pump, $897 for the hot water heater, $606 for the shower and $1,542 for the kitchen. Add it all up, and the price jumps to $16,303.
That $16K set-up sounds like a very solid "base camp," and Mobilight offers some interesting options to make it even more functional. The available electric filtration system lets you filter 2 gallons (7.5L) of water per minute, making clean drinking water from natural sources, a pretty handy feature if you plan to travel far from taps and grocery stores. The "Mobilight package" leverages Mobilight's expertise in field lighting, adding a pair of telescoping LED exterior lights. There are also gas-strut, fold-down internal firearms and communications/electronic equipment boxes and an external firewood box for storing firewood, tools and propane.
All told, you can spend $19,367 on a Base Camp fully outfitted with all Mobilight's advertised bells and whistles. If you so desire, you can also work with Mobilight to spend a little more money on the customer-driven "off-road package."
"The off-road package is really an open-ended invite to customize your rig a little to match your needs or wants, such as adding on a swivel hitch, moving to a high-performance suspension system, and/or matching wheels to the towing vehicle," Mobilight's CEO Justin Burnett tells us. "We don't have a set price for this package as it varies greatly depending on what the customer may choose."
Mobilight also says that it can work with customers to custom-make components not specifically available on its order sheet.
The Base Camp weighs 1,400 lb (635 kg) as a basic cargo trailer and up to 2,400 lb (1,089 kg) when outfitted with all the advertised options. It seems like a smart combination of rugged construction and space-efficient amenities that should make for memorable vehicle trips.
Mobilight showed a prototype last September before launching the production Base Camp at PrepperCon in April.
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