Flat-pack camper pod pitches and stacks into off-grid micro shelter
A camper alternative that digs a nook at the intersection of ground tent, pop-up trailer and the tiniest of tiny homes, the Maverick camper cube from British company Caboose & Co is an intriguing little shelter for on- or off-grid living. It packs flat for easy transport, setting up in under five minutes to provide a secure, lockable hard-walled living space fit for two people. The interior isn't exactly the lap of luxury but it's no sparser than a tent or basic camper shell.
It's camping season for those of us up above the equator, and I've been spending a lot of time lately searching for just the right camper boxes, i.e. rugged storage boxes to carry camping gear like cookware, sleeping bags, lighting, etc. The best boxes for the purpose tend to be as close to vertically walled as possible for the most efficient space usage, neatly stackable with each other and fully waterproof. The Wolf Pack Pro is one popular option that tick all those boxes. If space is really at a premium, it never hurts to have a box or crate that can fold flat when empty, freeing up room in the car.
I never thought the search for a stackable camping box would land on a human-size variant offering all of the desired qualities listed but in a package fit for actual campers, not just their gear. But that's exactly the turn it took today.
Caboose & Co is a spinoff of Worcester, UK-based portable structure company Cube Modular, and it specializes in pop-up event accommodations, providing highly portable temporary shelters for housing event staff and guests. The Maverick is the smallest solution it offers, the fruits of a collaboration with Hungarian company Campsule, which developed the units. Caboose & Co is the distributor for the UK and Ireland, and launched the Maverick in the pandemic-riddled times of fall 2020 as a form of safe, secure escape from a sickly grid.
Caboose bills the Maverick as a glamping pod, but unless you're going to drop it inside a five-star resort, we think that's a bit of a stretch. The unit itself is about as basic as a hard-wall shelter can be. There's a floor for setting up sleeping pads and bags, two USB ports for charging devices, an LED light, a fan and a few windows. The standard unit is designed to hook up to grid power with an included plug, but Caboose also offers off-grid options – or you could just run it powerless and bring your own flashlight and portable charger.
The Maverick packs into a flat, self-contained package for transport, measuring 225 x 180 x 30 cm (7.4 x 5.9 x 1 ft). Caboose says it's designed to be set up in less than five minutes. The fiberglass roof and floor serve as the base and lid of the flat-pack container, holding all other pieces inside. Both set up via aluminum legs and corner frame beams, which then hold the XPS-insulated walls in place. The door and sidewall feature polycarbonate windows, and other walls house built-in ventilation.
With a 1.3-m (4.3-ft) max height, the cube isn't designed for adults to stand in but solely for lying down and sitting up. The solid, insulated walls and above-ground design do promise to create a warmer, more secure all-season living space than the average tent, though. The door locks for added security.
The Maverick's adjustable legs help level the structure out on uneven ground and also retract away for stacking. The units are designed to be stacked two high to create a two-story micro-camper pod.
At just over 350 lb (160 kg), the Maverick will definitely take a few people to move around and set up. We can understand why Caboose is focused more on event and business sales and rentals than retail, but we could see the Maverick working as a low-cost semi-permanent shelter solution on private land – simpler than a yurt, cheaper than a tiny home, more solid than a portable camping tent.
Caboose & Co does not list current pricing, but it announced Maverick pricing at £2,999 (approx. US$3,850) before VAT when it first launched in 2020.