Last year, German camping module specialist Ququq turned the Mercedes G-Class into a makeshift off-road expedition vehicle with the G-Box. At the time, the company told us it had a similar Land Rover Defender product in the pipeline. That was no lie. The D-Box, as it's called, was announced this week ahead of an official debut this June. The Defender driver now has a simple, affordable way of using his or her vehicle as a temporary home during multi-day expeditions.
We really liked how Ququq adapted its in-vehicle camping system for the G-Class to create a simple off-road expedition vehicle for a fraction of the cost of more complex conversions and trailers, so much so we named it one of our favorite pieces of motorhome hardware for 2016.
The problem we saw with the G-Box was that the G-Class itself really isn't a very affordable vehicle, so the overall price of a new G-Class with G-Box inside quickly jumps right up around six-figure territory.
The Land Rover Defender is more affordable than the G-Class and is another icon in the off-roading and overlanding worlds. The D-Box adds overnighting capabilities within the Defender's footprint, offering a hard-sided sleeping alternative to roof-top tents, which Ququq recognizes as the competition. And the D-Box includes a kitchen area, which doesn't come standard with any roof tent we're aware of.
The timing might seem a bit weird, seeing as how Defender production ended with much fanfare a year ago. But it's not as though Defenders aren't still finding plenty of use out on the road and trail. We even see them around Overland Expo East and West in the United States, where new Defenders haven't been sold for about two decades. Ququq estimates that 70 percent of all Defenders ever made are still out there motoring over pavement and dirt, and whether you buy into that specific figure or not, it's safe to say that the Defender is still a very popular and active vehicle for off-roading and overland expeditions.
The D-Box's basic layout is much the same as we've seen on the G-Box and other Ququq products. The 143-lb (65-kg) package includes a main storage box that secures down just inside the Defender's rear door. The fold-out mattress sits on top of the box and stretches out toward the front seats during set-up, offering 49 x 76.7 in (125 x 195 cm) of sleeping space. The cooking amenities are simple but complete and include a slide-out with dual-burner stove and storage, a small worktop, two 10 L water jugs, and two bowls. The spouted water jug and bowl can work together as a simple sink.
The D-Box is made from water-resistant wood and reinforced with aluminum at the edges. It measures 28.7 x 16.5 x 30 in (73 x 42 x 76 cm) and is designed to be carried to and from the Defender by two people.
The D-Box will never rival a fully equipped off-road camping trailer or motorhome in amenities, but it won't come anywhere near those in price, either. It costs the same €2,590 (approx. US$2,770) as the G-Box. Ququq will officially debut it at the Abenteuer & Allrad show in June.