COVID-grade Terra Firma smart camping trailer shelters people and pets
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it obvious that sometimes you just need to load up some essential provisions, get in your vehicle and disappear ... for days, weeks, even months. And sometimes those essential provisions include a pet. California-based luxury trailer specialist Bowlus has added a few pandemic-friendly updates for both people and pets to its shimmering zeppelin trailer. The new, limited-edition Terra Firma houses and feeds its human and canine occupants in luxury, protects from germs, and supports two-week nomadic operations with a full array of smart, connected hardware.
The latest Bowlus special edition builds upon the 25.8-foot (7.9-m) Endless Highways Performance package Bowlus released last May, around the time pandemic shutdowns first had people going stir crazy. The Performance package bumps onboard power up with an 8-kWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery bank, with Bowlus estimating up to two weeks of off-grid running time, assuming occupants are not dialing up air conditioning every night and microwaving three meals a day. Alternatively, a driver can use the battery to zap roughly 16 miles (25.7 km) of range into their electric tow vehicle, should it require an emergency power-up. The Bowlus battery itself takes between three and four hours to charge.
Running point for the powerful electrical system is Bowlus' cloud-connected power management system with a new touchscreen user interface. The touch display provides a central access point for information about and control of onboard systems, and Bluetooth and Web connectivity extend that access to mobile devices. A key pet-friendly aspect of the management system is remote temperature monitoring and control, which allows owners to ensure the interior is comfortable for a pet curled up inside while they're away from the trailer.
Bowlus weaves its pet-friendly design right into the structure of the Terra Firma interior, building a slide-out food and water bowl tray in the sofa frame. There's also a cushioned dog bed that slides neatly below the table of the two-seat dining nook, giving every occupant – whether clothed or furred – their own dedicated bed.
It looks like that doggy cushion will have to be relocated should the convertible dining bed be needed for teaming with the convertible sofa bed and rear bedroom V-shaped twins/king in meeting the trailer's four-sleeper capacity. Or, if the dog is anything like any dog I've ever owned, owners can just skip the cushion and expect her to push her way up onto one of the beds at some point during the night.
The Terra Firma sanitary package feels directly inspired by the pandemic that continues raging outside the trailer's shiny aluminum skin. It includes a new HEPA air filtration system with UVC disinfecting lighting, a feature that seems very much a response to the increased public focus on health and hygiene. The dual-stage water filtration (bacteria, chlorine, sediment, bad tastes and odors) also seems to appeal to a more health-conscious public, but such systems were fairly common for off-grid trailers even before "COVID" became an everyday term.
Enhancing the vehicular part of the safety equation, Bowlus adds a new smart brake controller for smoother, more confident braking. A "Find My Bowlus" GPS tracking feature adds a security layer and allows verified users to locate the trailer, useful when meeting up for group camping trips.
Beyond those new additions, the Terra Firma carries the floor plan of previous 26-foot Bowlus trailers, with a two-table central dining/living room, en-suite bathroom, rear kitchen with dual-burner Italian cooktop, stainless steel counters, compressor refrigerator and microwave, and large skylights. Amenities include in-floor heating, hot water, air conditioning, a 3,000-W inverter, and a full connectivity suite with mobile router, 3G/4G modem, Wi-Fi network and cellular booster.
The Terra Firma's interior color scheme aims to tell the story of a "lazy late afternoon watching a spectacular sunset." It's a mixture of warm wood, grain "Field" upholstery, and light-blue "Open Sky" piping and accents.
Bowlus announced the Terra Firma on Tuesday and is now accepting orders for 2022. The new package pushes Bowlus luxury trailer pricing ever higher with a US$265,000 base, a $40,000 premium over the Endless Highways Performance Edition.