The SEMA Show is all about the cars and trucks showered in aftermarket accessories, bright colors and crazy-creative customizing. But mixed in with these headlining stars, you'll find at least a few camper vans, off-road expedition trucks and even a seven-figure motorhome or two. This year, we found more than usual, both market-ready motorhomes and wild expedition vehicle concepts. So we grabbed photos of everything with a fiberglass camper cabin, pop-up roof and fold-out tent and put together a gallery of all of SEMA's live-in adventure vehicles.
American Expedition Vehicles Jeep Wrangler Outpost II
The highlight of our camper search was easily the Outpost II from American Expedition Vehicles. Over the years, we've seen dozens upon dozens of Wranglers hauling trailers and roof-top tents, but few neatly integrated Wrangler campers. AEV is exploring the possibility of filling the niche with the Outpost II and has developed the concept atop its JK350 Wrangler package. With the interior unfinished, it was keeping quiet about the finer details at SEMA, but we do know that there's an external slide-out with Partner Steel stove and National Luna refrigerator (which was tucked away when we were snapping photos but can be seen on AEV's Facebook). And the clamped roof sure looks like a pop-top.
AEV rolled out the Outpost II to highlight its forthcoming high capacity suspension system, but it is testing the waters on the model and should have more details at Overland Expo 2018. A rugged, compact hard-sided camper built on a Jeep Wrangler? We have to imagine those waters will be running quite hot (though estimated pricing might cool them quickly).
Patriot LC79 Super Tourer
We've seen Patriot Campers' impressive off-road trailers before, but we haven't seen its Super Tourer adventure trucks in person prior to stumbling upon this LC79 at SEMA. The LC79 is based on an extended Toyota Land Cruiser Dual Cab with turbo-diesel V8, but Patriot has done all kinds of work bumper to bumper, making it virtually unrecognizable. In back, the company's mounted a 1,200-lb (544-kg) winch and added a variety of drawers and toolboxes below the bed. Up front, it's worked in a snorkel, bull bar and 1,200-lb winch. Options like the mini canopy with fridge slide, dog crate and James Baroud Evo roof-top tent fill out the truck tray. Patriot also adds an EFS suspension, ROH wheels with Mickey Thompson tires, Clearview mirrors and an under-tray water tank and pump.
The LC79 is available in Australia starting at AU$124,990.
Recon Envy Camper Van
Not everyone needs a six-figure off-road masterpiece built to turn over rocks in the world's most unexplored corners. Some just need a small, simple camper to tour from park to park, or beach to beach. California-based Recon Campers offers just the ticket with simple, affordable conversions for the Nissan NV200.
Recon packages start at $6,999 for a basic pop-up roof with built-in bed, rising to the $25,000 Envy full conversion it showed at SEMA. On the Envy, it includes both the pop-up roof bed and a seat-conversion bed in the cabin, a kitchen with portable stove, sink, fridge/freezer and storage, a 110Ah AGM battery, a 10-gal (38-L) fresh water tank, an exterior shower, and an available hot water heater. For 2018, it's adding a 7-in touchscreen for system monitoring and control. Our impression: it looks like a great package for those that want something small and simple but with all the usual camper van amenities.
Ford commits to the expedition life
While Chevy (with help from AEV) designed a very cool, capable Colorado ZR2 expedition pickup without overnight accommodations, the competition over at Ford committed to overnight expeditions in a serious way, showing a couple vehicles with tent canvas sticking up from the roof. Perhaps the decision to go expedition was easy given that the new Expedition is one of Ford's latest. That full-size SUV did feature on one overnight adventure machine you can see in the gallery, but our favorite was an F-150 build named the "Modern Adventurer."
Prepared with help from A.R.E. Accessories, the focus of this F-150 4x4 XLT SuperCrew truck is on preparedness, organization and off-road performance. An A.R.E. cap on the bed provides a roof over top the TruckVault storage drawer system and K2 cooler, and an A.R.E. roof basket adds more storage in front of the James Baroud roof tent. The truck's M/T tire-wrapped Fuel Stroke wheels are cushioned by a Skyjacker suspension system with Fox shocks, an Air Lift LoadLifter, and Hellwig sway bars and stabilizers. Other additions include LED lighting, N-Fab steps and bumper, and a Kicker audio system.
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