Badger Extreme camper trailer expands with roof that becomes a room
Combining elements of the fold-out tent camper, caravan with slide-out sidewall expansion and pop-top camper, the Badger series of caravans expands in an unusual way. A large section of its fiberglass roof and sidewall fold out to instantly create a separate room amidships the floor plan, adding some serious head and elbow room atop the small single-axle footprint. The trailer doesn't stop there, either, packing as much slide-out, flip-up, fold-down and swing-out equipment as a modern multitool to give bush adventurers a big, comfy hard/soft hybrid base camp that tows like a chiseled teardrop.
We haven't looked at the South African camper market quite as often as the American, European and Australian markets, but from what we have seen, we get the idea that unique expansions are a point of pride for the builders there. The same market has given us the camper-inside-a-camper-shell from Monohull, and the multiple pop-ups and fold-outs on trailers from the likes of Conqueror and Trailvan.
Badger brings yet another twist on the expandable camping trailer design. Its 4.8-m (15.7-foot)-long trailer measures in around the size of a teardrop trailer but gets carved into the rugged shape of a larger off-road caravan, with a sharp, ruggedly faceted nose and rectangular body.
Not content to merely fall back on the small, snug interior typical of a trailer this size, Badger adds in a central fold-out that sees the right sidewall and center roof fold down as one piece, making the wall the floor and the roof the rear wall. The owner simply uses the grab handles to fold the expansion down, relying on telescopic legs built into the roof rack to deliver structural support.
After pulling down the expansion, some quick interior pole setup creates a canopy bedroom with sidewalls of weatherproof canvas. The bed uses multi-position slide-out extensions at its foot to create a sofa that doesn't block the trailer's center walking aisle, further expanding into a large, 190-cm (75-in) double at night. The heightened fabric roof above, meanwhile, increases headroom over the central floor and just inside the doorway.
The remainder of the interior is as small and simple as you'd expect from a teardrop-sized trailer, especially one loaded with slide-outs and outdoor cupboards that take up space when retracted inside the walls. There's a fabric storage organizer up front and more storage at the rear. An available TV hangs on the wall in front of the bed, providing some nighttime and morning entertainment, and Badger offers a sliding mount so that campers can easily move the TV out of the way and access the pass-through to the outdoor kitchen area.
The kitchen packs some serious size that spans most of the entry side of the trailer. Directly rear of the door, a lift-up hatch accesses the tall kitchen cupboard, and below, a wide slide-out provides access to the dual-burner stove. A step farther back, a particularly long slide-out holds the fridge/freezer and a storage cupboard. The face of that slide-out folds down to add extra worktop space, and a table on the rear holds the sink basin that works with the pull-out hot/cold sprayer stored in a cubby near the left corner of the trailer rear-end. Plumbing includes a Hansen hot water heater, 12-V water pump and 80-liter water tank.
When pushed back inside the trailer, the fridge box can be accessed from the interior. The trailer sleeps two standard, and the available rear tent adds extra sleeping room.
The Badger lineup does not include a full standard bathroom, but the rear sprayer works as a shower, complete with hot water, and there's dedicated storage space for a portable toilet. Buyers can make the rear tent a bathroom tent instead of a sleeping tent, creating an enclosed private bathroom space.
We almost pinned Badger as yet another new, pandemic-driven camper brand because it launched in 2020, but it actually debuted its initial caravan and expanding pickup camper models in February 2020, just before coronavirus spiraled into a life-changing global event. It no longer lists a pickup camper among its models, but it offers its trailer in three configurations.
The flagship 1,100-kg (2,425-lb) Extreme model described in the specs mentioned above starts at R330,000 (approx. US$21,825) and comes equipped as a full-fledged off-road model that includes exclusive standard equipment like shock absorbers, mud flaps and rock sliders, along with a fridge/freezer that's optional on lower-tier variants. At the other end of the lineup, the base-level Lite Onroad model starts at R218,000 ($14,600) and options out many amenities, including all the slide-out kitchen equipment and the water heater, rolling on a 950-kg-rated axle instead of the 1,750-kg axle on the Extreme and mid-tier R274K ($18,175) X-Over. All models come built on a steel chassis with leaf spring suspension and include an electrical system with 105-Ah battery.
Source: Badger Adventure Caravans