Vega 2.0 extreme-terrain teardrop approaches micro-camping perfection
Cedar Ridge Campers has released one of the most functional little go-anywhere teardrops we've seen anywhere. Recently updated into an even more enticing 2.0 version, the Vega series combines a rustic-modern backpacker's hut interior with an ultra-rugged exterior built to hold up to the most extreme conditions the world over. Its expandable tailgate galley, over-pillow picture skylight, wood-free composite construction, wireless device charging and high-level standard amenities package to make it an impressive backcountry encampment that packs inside a tiny, lightweight towable.
Anyone who's spent time preparing for a camping trip, long or short, knows that the experience is anything but the serene relaxation the activity ultimately promises – a frantic juggling act of finding and/or buying every obscure piece of equipment needed to support semi-comfortable living in the wild, lifting heavy boxes and gear around home, yard and vehicle, and carefully organizing each and every item like a living puzzle before concocting a way to tie it all down (somewhat) safely. It's a frazzling experience that has more than once had us scrambling to beat sunset on any given camping trip or, worse yet, having to push time of departure to the following day.
Kentucky-based Cedar Ridge was founded to address that problem by creating a comprehensive, pre-organized and always-ready base camp in a box so that camping enthusiasts can load some groceries, hitch up and get going. That's the idea behind any good teardrop trailer, but Cedar Ridge takes cargo-hauling and organization a step further than most with its versatile, thoughtfully laid out design.
Easily the most impressive component of the company's Vega trailer is its expandable galley, which is further improved on the 2.0 model Cedar Ridge introduced last month. Like the typical teardrop, the Vega 2.0 features a tailgate galley with storage cabinets over a countertop. Unlike the typical teardrop, the Vega 2.0 does away with the inbuilt stove and sink, bumping them over to a separate large slide-out, which is available for installation on either side of the trailer. This configuration keeps the full-width stainless steel countertop free for prep and ingredient/serving ware storage, making for a more functional all-around cooking area.
As nice and tidy as a flush-top stove/sink combo looks built into a teardrop's countertop, we've found that such a kitchen can quickly become cramped when making an actual meal. Cedar Ridge's design really opens things up, providing loads of prep/work space and spacing multiple chefs into separate cooking and prep areas so they're not bumping elbows the whole time. The slide-out comes standard with a dual-burner Partner stove, collapsible sink basin with fold-down hot/cold faucet, and cutlery drawer.
Cedar Ridge's galley design is similar to the one we liked recently on the New Zealand-built Bubble Caravan but even better thanks to the multi-part slide-out and a deep pantry drawer on the opposite side. That drawer includes a divider system and is designed with canned good storage in mind, keeping virtually everything a chef needs in one readily-accessible area.
Of course, there is at least one obvious reason other trailer builders don't offer the same style of slide-expandable galley. The stove/sink slide-out and canned-goods drawer eat up under-counter space that would otherwise be reserved for a fridge/cooler slide-out. As a result, accessing cold storage requires a quick walk around the trailer to the optional front storage box sized to fit up to a 60-L fridge on a slide-out.
The 20-lb LPG tank mounted out on the nose in front of the fridge box comes standard, plumbed to the Truma Combi water heater/furnace and dual-burner stove. Along with the kitchen sink, the plumbing package incorporates an outdoor shower and 76-L insulated water tank.
Inside, the Vega 2.0 wood-free fiberglass-composite body houses the usual teardrop layout, with a 58 x 78-in (147 x 198-cm) memory foam mattress that's just a few square inches shy of a full residential queen. A combination of under-mattress cargo space, his and her upper cabinets, central shelving, and small headboard-area storage accessories offers plenty of interior organization.
Cedar Ridge wires the Vega 2.0 with a high-end electrical system with 105-Ah lithium battery, 100-W detachable solar panel on the tailgate, 1,500-W pure sine inverter and Redarc management system. The battery powers interior, exterior and galley lighting, 110-V galley outlets, 12-V and USB ports in the galley and cabin, and a wireless charging pad on the small headboard phone shelves.
Cedar Ridge gives the Vega 2.0 interior an outdoorsy feel with wood-look paneling throughout. The generous view of the stars and tree canopy through the 2 x 3-foot (61 x 91-cm) Stargazer skylight window over the head of the bed only adds to that rusticity.
The 13-foot (4-m) Vega 2.0 comes in two different build specs that relate mostly to the ruggedness of its underpinnings. The $31,500 AT is built for your basic on-/off-road all-terrain travel and rides atop a fully welded 2 x 2-in steel-tube frame. It includes a 2,200-lb (1,000-kg) Timbren suspension that maintains 17 inches (43-cm) of clearance over the ground and rides on 15-in aluminum wheels centered cozily in 235/75R15 all-terrain tires. Above those tires, the stand-on fenders provide access to the 500-lb-rated (226-kg) roof rack. The AT also includes a 2-in hitch receiver.
The $34,500 XT model steps things up to full-blown extreme-terrain territory, starting with a beefier 2 x 3-in steel frame. The uprated 3,500-lb (1,585-kg) Timbren suspension receives a 2-in lift to provide 21 full inches (53 cm) of ground clearance. The XT rides on BFG KO2 265/75R16 tires on 16-in aluminum wheels mounted below heavy duty fenders, one of which carries an included full-size spare. Other upgrades include a Cruisemaster DO35 coupler, wiring and hosing routed entirely through the inside of the frame, rear recovery points and leveling jacks.
The 15-minute walk-around below provides a closer look at all of the Vega 2.0's updates and features and explains the decision behind some of the changes.
Source: Cedar Ridge Campers