We've looked at the camper vans. We've checked out the trailers. And we've saved the best for last. Possibly the biggest highlight of Overland Expo West each year is the big, all-terrain truck campers and motorhomes, monsters that we rarely see on roadways or in campgrounds but see in full force at the show. Along with these biggest of expedition rigs, we've gathered light, sleek pickup campers, SUV campers, roof-top tents and all the other miscellaneous sights into one last show gallery.
Pickup campers get light, sleek and cheap
One of the trends we've noticed of late is the growing popularity of the humble pickup camper. Not the big, long-legged white bed boxes of old, but a new breed of fast-and-light topper. We looked at the Go Fast Camper last year, and along with that model, Overland Expo had several other new streamlined pop-tops on display.
One model that caught our eye, the Snap Treehouse is an all-aluminum truck topper with a clamshell-style roof-top tent. It can be custom-fitted to virtually any pickup truck and sits high above the bed so that you can still haul all your gear inside. The sleeping deck lifts out of the way, freeing up 6+ feet (1.8+ m) of headroom inside. It is available for preorder now, starting at $6,299, and options include a winterization kit, solar prewiring and ventilation fan.
Go big or stay home
One of the biggest, burliest expedition vehicles of the show, the Predator 6.6 from Nevada-based Hunter RMV is a repurposed Stewart & Stevenson M1078 4x4 light medium tactical vehicle (LMTV). Hunter secures a five-sleeper camper module on back, wires up all the amenities and sends a military-grade motorhome clawing out to trails and tracks that would turn other motorhomes to junkyard debris. Expansion slide-outs help to increase space and livability at camp. The models we looked at at the show ranged between $177 and $198K.
#Vanlife meet #Jeeplife
The Jeep Wrangler is always popular at Overland Expo West, but this year it was popular as a live-in motorhome, as well as just an off-road-savvy 4x4 and aftermarket parts target. We looked at the American Safari JXL in more depth, but there were also two other new Wrangler-based motorhome designs.
The Outpost II from American Expedition Vehicles is the most impressive Jeep camper we've seen of late. AEV previewed it at SEMA last year and had it more fully completed at OX West. Unfortunately for those who love it at first sight, the model is a one-off designed by and for AEV founder and president Dave Harriton.
No worries, though, there might be another Jeep option on the way, and it'll be much cheaper than a retail Outpost II. After years of expanding its lineup of camper-in-a-box kits in Europe, Ququq is seeing how the US will respond to the idea of transforming vehicle cabins into sleep-in campers. Given how the van life movement has been rolling along, we can see it responding quite well.
Along with showing its standard van kit, Ququq is experimenting with a more all-American Jeep Wrangler kit. At the show, it had jury-rigged one of its van kits to a Wrangler and was gauging reaction to see if a dedicated package would be worth pursuing (the van kit doesn't quite fit properly), as it's done with Mercedes G-Class and Land Rover Defender variants. We can't imagine reaction among the Wrangler-happy crowd was anything but "thumbs up," so hopefully we'll see this one down the line.
We generally spend most of our time at OX West checking out the wares being showcased by exhibitors, but often some of the most interesting vehicles are those built by DIYers. That was most definitely the case this year, as the coolest vehicle of the entire show in our humble opinion was the Adrift motorhome.
Based on a Ford F-550 Crew Cab, the Adrift was built to head south of the border for a bit of fun and work - chasing waves on the coast while performing volunteer medical work where needed. The distinctive chassis-mounted module is fully automated, including a three-tier body with lifting roof that creates plenty of standing room inside and includes a separately operated ventilation window. Also operated from the command center are the lift-away bed and slide-out toilet. The thing is an all-terrain intercontinental tank outside, a clever smart home inside.
What better place to end than a power-sliding toilet? Anyway, we'd be here until next year's Overland Expo West if we had to identify each and every vehicle and accessory we loved. But you can jump to the gallery and check out all the other highlights.