ARB's exo-frame camper trailer bushwhacks to secluded adventure
Australia builds its camper trailers to heavy machinery grades of toughness, and the new ARB Earth might just be the most visibly intimidating yet. That owes to its unique exo-frame design that gives it the appearance of a rally racer with external roll cage. But while it's certainly ready to make child's play of branches, rockfall and debris, it's just as prepared to sprawl out into a luxurious micro-resort with all the amenities one needs to feel entirely comfortable in the least comfortable of environments.
ARB provides components, gear and accessories for every aspect of camping and overlanding, but the 15.4-foot (4.7-m) Earth is its first actual camping trailer. It took a little while for the 48-year-old company to design and engineer something it could proudly call the "ARB" of towable RVs.
In fact, it took a full seven years just for the trailer to go from its 2016 conception to its 2023 introduction. Along the way, ARB's skilled craftsmen and women developed a rock-solid go-anywhere living pod accessorized with components from some of the other market-leading brand names in Australian off-roading and touring.
It all starts with the most conspicuous element – ARB says its patented, welded one-piece mandrel-bent steel-tube frame offers superior strength compared to common rectangular-tube steel bones, eliminating the weak spots introduced via corners to provide a tougher structure for all-out off-roading. The steel is triple-coated for protection from all elements, and an embossing process provides a snug, glove-like fit with the wood-free body.
The Earth's rolling boulder-like fiberglass shell comes insulated with foam and laid out into a folding-rear hatch design like the Track Tvan. The full-width hatch folds down electrically in under a minute at the push of a button, becoming the hard, above-ground floor of the interior-expanding annex tent.
Much like Track's latest Tvan redesign, the Earth drop-down allows for quick interior access without tent pitching, letting campers skip the extra setup and get straight to bed if they're tired or just staying for a quick overnighter. In this case, a swinging door closes off the cabin interior.
The camper shell itself houses a queen-size 6-in (15-cm) foam mattress flanked by windows at the head. There's no overhead skylight, but the globe map etched in the ceiling is a nice touch in itself. The cabin also houses a pair of 12-V fans, interior lighting, a Redarc command screen, and two USB-C chargers next to the bed with other USBs and 240-V outlets spread throughout.
Back outside the cabin, the tent serves as both a sheltered porch and a dining area, complete with a flip-out dining table on the under-bed storage drawer. Campers can set up their own folding camp chairs around the table and enjoy meals sheltered from sun and precipitation.
Having a deep lineup of camper accessories pays off when building a complete camping trailer, and ARB makes use of its Slide Kitchen in creating a generously sized outdoor galley. This galley slides and rotates into an L-shaped cooking area with full-size 49-in-long (125-cm) worktop, three-burner stove and sink. ARB drops its own 96-L Zero dual-zone fridge/freezer onto a separate slide just fore of the kitchen, putting all the cold food and beverage storage where it's needed most.
The gas tank locker is located in the lower corner right behind the kitchen for easy hookup. A freestanding 180-degree awning fans out above, providing sheltered cooking and shaded around-camp lounging.
The Earth Camper keeps water and electricity flowing when and where it's needed, storing the former in dual 70-L tanks. A 120-W solar panel on the roof converts the strong Australian sun into electrical power stored in a 100-Ah lithium battery, very useful when there's nowhere to plug the 240-V shore hookup. The Earth's battery tray is also designed to accommodate an optional second battery, and buyers can then add a 2,000-W Redarc inverter.
In addition to its various interior and exterior storage areas, including a front cabinet and rear wet gear locker, the Earth Camper is topped with ARB's super-modular BASE rack for loads more cargo capacity. The trailer also features locked storage for two 20-L jerry cans.
The Earth Camper weighs 3,251 lb (1,475 kg), before any optional accessories, and has a payload of 937 lb (425 kg). Its Maxxis Razr 265/75/R16 all-terrain tires are cushioned by a three-part independent trailing arm suspension integrated neatly with the unique chassis.
ARB introduced the Earth Camper in July for a base price of AU$74,500 (approx. US$48,450). Options include an auxiliary side tent for use as a bathroom/changing room, a Webasto diesel cabin heater, a Joolca hot water/shower system, and an onboard air compressor.
Watch the ARB Earth Camper explore the wild in the short video below.