Rebel X truck canopy shifts seamlessly between work and RV adventure
Australian manufacturer XL has been building work truck bodies and canopies for 30 years. Some might consider that a good, solid career and time to think retirement, but XL considers it more a time to mix a little more play into its work. Its new Rebel X canopy is its first product designed from the ground up to play as hard as it works, quickly shedding the tool boxes and work materials to load up on a vacation's worth of camping gear and toys. It erases the memory of the workweek faster than a 2-for-1 happy hour boilermaker special, jumpstarting an epic weekend.
Looking through XL's product lineup, the Rebel X stands out like a lingerie model in the middle of a Carhartt catalog. Maybe it's not quite that sexy, but it definitely looks like seductive fun in an otherwise stuffy workaday lineup. As XL puts it, the Rebel X is the company's way of letting loose and rebelling a little.
Beyond its vibrant Rebel X/tire tread graphics, the Rebel X looks like any canopy when all closed up. It mounts to the bare chassis of a dual-cab pickup truck, and brings a balance of durability and lightweight design courtesy of its mixed Zincanneal steel and aluminum construction. All three sides that aren't tucked up against the truck cab feature hatches to access various storage compartments inside; the left and right sides include full hatches, and the rear has a half-width hatch. A central locking system makes it easy to secure all the contents inside the canopy.
The basic Rebel X starts off as an empty canopy, but where it gets really fun is in the available extras that fit as neatly and smartly as implements in a multitool. The passenger-side hatch has been imagined as a mini-kitchen, an available horizontally split door creating a drop-down stainless steel worktop complete with an integrated storage compartment for a filet knife. The interior neatly houses the available 65-L Bushman fridge, slide-out Nespresso coffeemaker and Travel Buddy 12-V oven. Buyers who check any or all of those boxes will also want to add in the full Nexus power system with 220-Ah lithium battery.
That kitchen layout reminds us more of a coffee/microwave nook you might find in an office, as opposed to the typical camper kitchen, but it should prove valuable for both job site and campsite. For a more traditional camp cooking experience, buyers can add the folding knife-like ARB Slide kitchen in back, bringing onboard a triple-burner gas stove, large worktop and sink basin. Those who prefer grilling can step around to the (right-hand) driver's side, where the optional Weber Baby Q slides out on its own tray.
Other available camping and leisure accessories include XL's Loadmaster roof rack with accompanying fold-out rear ladder, good for mounting a roof-top tent, fishing boat, or work tools and materials; a side awning; a MaxTrax traction board mount; an LPG tank holder; and a 70-L fresh water tank. The roof rack design even includes an available over-cab extension with slide-out solar panel drawer.
Of course, even when fully loaded with equipment and accessories, the Rebel X offers plenty of open interior, drawer and roof space for loading up supplies for fishing, surfing or whatever else the weekend has in store.
Every holiday or weekend sadly comes to an end. On the work side of the equation, XL offers shelving designed specifically to accommodate Milwaukee's modular Packout series of toolboxes and accessories. The rear-mounted ARB kitchen easily removes to make way for a compatible ARB storage drawer. From there, it's just a matter of pulling out the Weber grill and miscellaneous camping and sports gear to make room for tools and work gear – or if you don't need to load that much work gear, leave the leisure gear in and you're one step closer to next weekend.
As an American surrounded by huge trailers and pickup truck campers, I never quite understood Australia's love affair with the camper canopy, at least not insofar as overlanding and camping are concerned. Sure, it looks like a very handy way of carrying work tools, more universal and versatile than an industry-specific service body but much neater and more organized than an empty pickup bed. But as an expedition camper? It seems like a whole lot of heavy metal box that – save for the full fold-out camper variety – doesn't actually offer any hard-walled overnight shelter, requiring owners to top it with a roof-top tent or bring along a ground tent. Your stove, fridge and camping tools basically have a nicer home away from home than you do.
But the Rebel X makes the beauty of the canopy much clearer. A full-fledged camper loaded into a pickup bed is nothing more than dead weight during the workweek, but something like the Rebel X is every bit as functional during 9-to-5 hours as it is when camping or overlanding, much the way an empty pickup bed is as good for hauling bikes to the trailhead as it is for carrying tools to work or luggage to the airport.
XL debuted the Rebel X at the Brisbane 4x4 Outdoors Show in March and has since officially launched it, offering it at an early bird starting price of AU$16,900 (approx. US$13,275). That's just for the empty base model with 2.5 storage hatches, dual underbody drawers, rear trundle tray, central locking, LED interior and taillights, spare tire carrier and fender flares. We're guessing the average buyer will drop a lot more after accessorizing it with the power system, kitchen equipment and other add-ons.
The video below provides a full walkthrough of the Rebel X's various compartments and features.
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