Outdoors

Outdoor living: Top RVs, campers and tents of 2014

Outdoor living: Top RVs, campe...
RVs, campers and tents 2014
RVs, campers and tents 2014
View 108 Images
Inside the 2014 EarthRoamer XV-LTS
1/108
Inside the 2014 EarthRoamer XV-LTS
The 2014 XV-LTS includes an over-cab bed
2/108
The 2014 XV-LTS includes an over-cab bed
The EarthRoamer XT-LVS at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
3/108
The EarthRoamer XT-LVS at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The EarthRoamer XT-LVS at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
4/108
The EarthRoamer XT-LVS at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
One of the most interesting aspects of the XT-LVS is the available tailgating package with slide-out TV (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
5/108
One of the most interesting aspects of the XT-LVS is the available tailgating package with slide-out TV (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The EarthRoamer we toured had a variety of upgrades, including this slide-out Keurig (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
6/108
The EarthRoamer we toured had a variety of upgrades, including this slide-out Keurig (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Wine closet in the EarthRoamer XV-LTS (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
7/108
Wine closet in the EarthRoamer XV-LTS (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
After looking over the EarthRoamer's ultra-rugged exterior, it was a bit strange to be in an elegant cabin detailed right down to the engraved wine glasses (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
8/108
After looking over the EarthRoamer's ultra-rugged exterior, it was a bit strange to be in an elegant cabin detailed right down to the engraved wine glasses (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
2014 XV-LTS we looked at at Overland Expo was priced at $525K
9/108
2014 XV-LTS we looked at at Overland Expo was priced at $525K
Volksleisure's T5 camper van uses Wellhouse's popular electric sliding rear bench to adjust around different uses and trips
10/108
Volksleisure's T5 camper van uses Wellhouse's popular electric sliding rear bench to adjust around different uses and trips
With more than a decade of experience converting vans from Toyota, Hyundai and others, Wellhouse Leisure felt it time to enter the crowded VW market
11/108
With more than a decade of experience converting vans from Toyota, Hyundai and others, Wellhouse Leisure felt it time to enter the crowded VW market
Volksleisure's three-seat rear-bench folds down into a two-person bed
12/108
Volksleisure's three-seat rear-bench folds down into a two-person bed
Volksleisure swing-out table
13/108
Volksleisure swing-out table
Volksleisure swing-out table
14/108
Volksleisure swing-out table
Volksleisure offers a rear shower
15/108
Volksleisure offers a rear shower
The Volksleisure VW T5 camper includes a kitchen unit and fresh and waste water tanks
16/108
The Volksleisure VW T5 camper includes a kitchen unit and fresh and waste water tanks
Volksleisure uses a Reimo pop-up roof that can be outfitted with a two-person bed
17/108
Volksleisure uses a Reimo pop-up roof that can be outfitted with a two-person bed
Volksleisure's full-length sliding bench opens plenty of space for gear and tools
18/108
Volksleisure's full-length sliding bench opens plenty of space for gear and tools
The Audi Q3 peeks through the Heimplanet's open vestibule
19/108
The Audi Q3 peeks through the Heimplanet's open vestibule
Audi and Heimplanet team up on an inflatable car camper design
20/108
Audi and Heimplanet team up on an inflatable car camper design
By mounting directly to the Q3, Heimplanet's tent creates an extended space
21/108
By mounting directly to the Q3, Heimplanet's tent creates an extended space
Audi brought the Heimplanet design to the Volkswagen 2014 Wörthersee festival
22/108
Audi brought the Heimplanet design to the Volkswagen 2014 Wörthersee festival
The tent can mount to the Q3 or stand on its own
23/108
The tent can mount to the Q3 or stand on its own
Either of the MVP's seats can be mounted on the deck for on-water cruising and fishing
24/108
Either of the MVP's seats can be mounted on the deck for on-water cruising and fishing
The MVP's instrument panel lifts out of the way to create a flat, extended deck for sleeping on
25/108
The MVP's instrument panel lifts out of the way to create a flat, extended deck for sleeping on
Drop the cockpit awning and you have a cozy wilderness shelter for two
26/108
Drop the cockpit awning and you have a cozy wilderness shelter for two
The Amok Draumr includes handy features like this bottle holder
27/108
The Amok Draumr includes handy features like this bottle holder
The Draumr creates a flat, suspended sleeping surface with the help of an inflatable mat
28/108
The Draumr creates a flat, suspended sleeping surface with the help of an inflatable mat
One can roll around more naturally on the Draumr than on a traditional hammock
29/108
One can roll around more naturally on the Draumr than on a traditional hammock
One can roll around more naturally on the Draumr than on a traditional hammock
30/108
One can roll around more naturally on the Draumr than on a traditional hammock
By adjusting the straps from within the Draumr, it becomes a suspended chair
31/108
By adjusting the straps from within the Draumr, it becomes a suspended chair
Sleepers can adjust their level of protection with the integrated bug netting and rain fly
32/108
Sleepers can adjust their level of protection with the integrated bug netting and rain fly
The Draumr is available for US$379
33/108
The Draumr is available for US$379
A Wide Path bike camper prototype
34/108
A Wide Path bike camper prototype
The Wide Path has a light but functional interior
35/108
The Wide Path has a light but functional interior
The 88-lb Wide Path is a camping trailer for bicycles
36/108
The 88-lb Wide Path is a camping trailer for bicycles
The Wide Path offers enough room for two adults and one child
37/108
The Wide Path offers enough room for two adults and one child
Wide Path is still working on prototypes with hopes of launching in 2015
38/108
Wide Path is still working on prototypes with hopes of launching in 2015
The Wide Path cabin includes a folding table and convertible beds
39/108
The Wide Path cabin includes a folding table and convertible beds
This photo caused readers to question whether the Xventure XV-2's raised platform might be a chilly disadvantage in cold weather
40/108
This photo caused readers to question whether the Xventure XV-2's raised platform might be a chilly disadvantage in cold weather
The XV-2 with a fold-out tent and pop-up bathroom
41/108
The XV-2 with a fold-out tent and pop-up bathroom
The multi-position tent rack lets you use the cargo box for large gear like ATVs and motorcycles
42/108
The multi-position tent rack lets you use the cargo box for large gear like ATVs and motorcycles
The Xventure XV-2 is built by Schutt Industries (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
43/108
The Xventure XV-2 is built by Schutt Industries (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The starting price of the XV-2 was given at $11,995 when we first covered it, but add-ons like the Elevated Rack System and tent quickly escalated the price (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
44/108
The starting price of the XV-2 was given at $11,995 when we first covered it, but add-ons like the Elevated Rack System and tent quickly escalated the price (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Xventure XV-2 at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
45/108
The Xventure XV-2 at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Schutt offers options like a full kitchen (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
46/108
Schutt offers options like a full kitchen (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Tonke updated its Fieldsleeper line with an aluminum skin that it says is easier to maintain than its wood offerings
47/108
Tonke updated its Fieldsleeper line with an aluminum skin that it says is easier to maintain than its wood offerings
The Tonke Fieldsleeper International is available in 4x2 and 4x4 Mercedes-Benz base options
48/108
The Tonke Fieldsleeper International is available in 4x2 and 4x4 Mercedes-Benz base options
Inside the Fieldsleeper International
49/108
Inside the Fieldsleeper International
The dual rear doors let campers enjoy the fresh air and scenery with a roof over your head
50/108
The dual rear doors let campers enjoy the fresh air and scenery with a roof over your head
Tonke advertises the 400-kW (optional 600-kW) solar system as a big selling point of the Fieldsleeper International design
51/108
Tonke advertises the 400-kW (optional 600-kW) solar system as a big selling point of the Fieldsleeper International design
The Vista is Tenstsile's latest tent in the sky
52/108
The Vista is Tenstsile's latest tent in the sky
The Vista design lets you stack multiple floors under one roof for a temporary, multistory treehouse
53/108
The Vista design lets you stack multiple floors under one roof for a temporary, multistory treehouse
The additional floors are sold separately
54/108
The additional floors are sold separately
Tentsile hammock-style tents add a new dimension to family camping
55/108
Tentsile hammock-style tents add a new dimension to family camping
While it doesn't zipper completely shut, the Tentsile Vista does include insect netting and a rain fly
56/108
While it doesn't zipper completely shut, the Tentsile Vista does include insect netting and a rain fly
The Vista is a three-person design
57/108
The Vista is a three-person design
By eliminating added equipment like the kitchen and water tanks, Mercedes offers more interior seating/sleeping space in the Marco Polo Activity
58/108
By eliminating added equipment like the kitchen and water tanks, Mercedes offers more interior seating/sleeping space in the Marco Polo Activity
The Marco Polo Activity sleeps two in its roof bed
59/108
The Marco Polo Activity sleeps two in its roof bed
The folding table offers space for eating, games, etc.
60/108
The folding table offers space for eating, games, etc.
The folding table offers space for eating, games, etc.
61/108
The folding table offers space for eating, games, etc.
Mercedes revealed the Marco Polo Activity alongside the latest Marco Polo at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
62/108
Mercedes revealed the Marco Polo Activity alongside the latest Marco Polo at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
The Marco Polo Activity is a light overnighter designed to support outdoor recreation and adventure
63/108
The Marco Polo Activity is a light overnighter designed to support outdoor recreation and adventure
The Marco Polo Activity's cabin bed sleeps up to three
64/108
The Marco Polo Activity's cabin bed sleeps up to three
Mercedes-Benz offers several turbo diesel engine options, along with FWD, AWD and RWD layouts
65/108
Mercedes-Benz offers several turbo diesel engine options, along with FWD, AWD and RWD layouts
Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo Activity
66/108
Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo Activity
In place of a built-in stove, the Knaus Tabbert Travelino uses a portable camp stove
67/108
In place of a built-in stove, the Knaus Tabbert Travelino uses a portable camp stove
The sliding outdoor kitchen counter and external refrigerator access door support open-air cooking
68/108
The sliding outdoor kitchen counter and external refrigerator access door support open-air cooking
The slide-out kitchen fits neatly under the bed
69/108
The slide-out kitchen fits neatly under the bed
The Travelino saves interior space with a folding bathroom compartment in place of a permanent washroom
70/108
The Travelino saves interior space with a folding bathroom compartment in place of a permanent washroom
Our only question about the Travelino is its odd shape; something more traditional like a teardrop seems like a better option
71/108
Our only question about the Travelino is its odd shape; something more traditional like a teardrop seems like a better option
The Safari Condo Alto R 1723 is a pop-top teardrop trailer
72/108
The Safari Condo Alto R 1723 is a pop-top teardrop trailer
The 1725-lb Alto R 1723 is styled for driving aerodynamics
73/108
The 1725-lb Alto R 1723 is styled for driving aerodynamics
At camp, the pop-up roof provides standing room inside
74/108
At camp, the pop-up roof provides standing room inside
Safari Condo Alto R 1723 storage compartment
75/108
Safari Condo Alto R 1723 storage compartment
Inside the Safari Condo Alto R 1723
76/108
Inside the Safari Condo Alto R 1723
The Alto R 1723 has a king size bed and a single bed
77/108
The Alto R 1723 has a king size bed and a single bed
The Alto R 1723 offers interior height of 82 in
78/108
The Alto R 1723 offers interior height of 82 in
The retractable roof is electrically actuated
79/108
The retractable roof is electrically actuated
The bedroom in the Action Mobil Global XRS 7200
80/108
The bedroom in the Action Mobil Global XRS 7200
The Action Mobil Global XRS 7200 has a spacious interior underpinned by its burly 6x6 platform
81/108
The Action Mobil Global XRS 7200 has a spacious interior underpinned by its burly 6x6 platform
Action Mobile showed the Global XRS 7200 at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon (photo: Messe Düsseldorf)
82/108
Action Mobile showed the Global XRS 7200 at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon (photo: Messe Düsseldorf)
Taking the "cheap" out of cheap camping vacation, the Global XRS 7200 starts at €850,000 (photo: Messe Düsseldorf)
83/108
Taking the "cheap" out of cheap camping vacation, the Global XRS 7200 starts at €850,000 (photo: Messe Düsseldorf)
Inside Action Mobil's Global XRS 7200
84/108
Inside Action Mobil's Global XRS 7200
The Global XRS 7200 includes a full entertainment system and satellite Internet
85/108
The Global XRS 7200 includes a full entertainment system and satellite Internet
The ADAK Trailer's dining area becomes one of three beds
86/108
The ADAK Trailer's dining area becomes one of three beds
ADAK Trailer at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
87/108
ADAK Trailer at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
ADAK Trailer at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
88/108
ADAK Trailer at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The ADAK Trailer can be equipped with indoor or outdoor kitchens (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
89/108
The ADAK Trailer can be equipped with indoor or outdoor kitchens (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The ADAK Trailer was designed to be highly capable and highly comfortable
90/108
The ADAK Trailer was designed to be highly capable and highly comfortable
Dual sofas and a dining area make the ADAK feel more spacious than other trailers
91/108
Dual sofas and a dining area make the ADAK feel more spacious than other trailers
The ADAK Trailer starts at $49,000
92/108
The ADAK Trailer starts at $49,000
The SylvanSport GO-Easy in front of the original GO at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
93/108
The SylvanSport GO-Easy in front of the original GO at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Add the optional Roost tent and the GO Easy becomes a camping trailer
94/108
Add the optional Roost tent and the GO Easy becomes a camping trailer
Remove the tent fabric and mattress and the Roost works as a gear box
95/108
Remove the tent fabric and mattress and the Roost works as a gear box
Despite its small size, the GO-Easy still offers plenty of hauling capability
96/108
Despite its small size, the GO-Easy still offers plenty of hauling capability
The GO-Easy stands up for easy storage
97/108
The GO-Easy stands up for easy storage
SylvanSport GO Easy Trailer
98/108
SylvanSport GO Easy Trailer
SylvanSport GO-Easy trailer
99/108
SylvanSport GO-Easy trailer
MVP.Aero at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag)
100/108
MVP.Aero at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag)
MVP.Aero at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag)
101/108
MVP.Aero at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag)
MVP.Aero at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag)
102/108
MVP.Aero at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag)
The MVP: world's most versatile plane?
103/108
The MVP: world's most versatile plane?
The MVP is part seaplane, part fishing boat and part camper
104/108
The MVP is part seaplane, part fishing boat and part camper
Preliminary MVP specifications call for a Rotax 912/914 series engine
105/108
Preliminary MVP specifications call for a Rotax 912/914 series engine
The 2014 EarthRoamer XT-LVS has a 300-hp turbo diesel V8 and standard 37-in Michelin tires (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
106/108
The 2014 EarthRoamer XT-LVS has a 300-hp turbo diesel V8 and standard 37-in Michelin tires (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Roost says its Explorer tent can sleep two people comfortably, three adults "if necessary"
107/108
The Roost says its Explorer tent can sleep two people comfortably, three adults "if necessary"
RVs, campers and tents 2014
108/108
RVs, campers and tents 2014
View gallery - 108 images

Another year, another few dozen ways to escape urban life and set up camp in the wild ... 2014 has been an interesting year for campers. From the heavy-duty off-road machines of Overland Expo to ultralight bicycle campers, and from familiar campground designs to new concepts of sea and air camping, the year has seen a large variety of innovative designs from around the world. Here are our picks for the best tents, camper vans, trailers and mobile homes of 2014, in no particular order.

Tentsile Vista multi-story tree tent

The Vista design lets you stack multiple floors under one roof for a temporary, multistory treehouse
The Vista design lets you stack multiple floors under one roof for a temporary, multistory treehouse

Since we first featured Tentsile in 2012, the company has continued to impress us with its suspended tents. Other manufacturers offer hammock-based tents, but Tentsile makes large, spacious aerials that are more like canvas treehouses, none more so than the all-new Vista. The non-weather-sealed nature of the design isn't for everyone or all conditions, but the available multi-floor layout is certainly an interesting twist on the tree tent. The primary Vista tent protects three campers with a combination of detachable insect mesh and removable rain fly. The really cool part of the design is that you can add extra floors to make a suspended, multi-level "portable treehouse" for nine or more people. The basic tent without extra floors costs US$595.

SylvanSport GO-Easy ultralight camping trailer

The Roost says its Explorer tent can sleep two people comfortably, three adults "if necessary"
The Roost says its Explorer tent can sleep two people comfortably, three adults "if necessary"

A compact, 275-lb (125 kg) gear trailer, the SylvanSport GO-Easy is designed to give the smallest cars and motorcycles the ability to haul all kinds of sports gear and tools. To add overnighting capabilities, SylvanSport teamed with Roost tents to create a flip-top tent camper with underbody storage. When you don't need a tent, remove the foam mattress and canvas sides and Roost's innovative two-person clamshell becomes a gear box. To add some of the comforts of home, SylvanSport offers options like Goal Zero solar power systems and the Road Shower. Combine the $2,000 price of the GO-Easy with the $3,000 price of the Roost tent, and you have an ultralight, ultra-versatile camping trailer for around $5K.

Tonke Fieldsleeper International expedition vehicle

The Tonke Fieldsleeper International is available in 4x2 and 4x4 Mercedes-Benz base options
The Tonke Fieldsleeper International is available in 4x2 and 4x4 Mercedes-Benz base options

Prior to 2014, we knew Tonke as the Dutch company behind some the most stylish wooden trailers we've ever seen. This year, it added one of the most stylish aluminum trailers on the market not named Airstream. The Mercedes Sprinter-based Fieldsleeper International is built as an expedition vehicle, available in both 4x2 and 4x4 drive options. Its aluminum skin creates a more modern exterior style, but the interior still features the warmth of mahogany wood.

Tonke attempts to give Fieldsleeper International owners more off-grid autonomy by eliminating the liquid propane systems typical in RVs in favor of a roof-mounted solar array and auxiliary diesel tank. The 400- to 600-watt solar system powers onboard equipment like the refrigerator, stove, lighting and even air conditioning. The five-person camper includes a washroom with sink, shower and cassette toilet.

When we covered it earlier in the year, the International was offered with a 190-hp Mercedes Sprinter 519Cdi for $192,000, but now it's listed with a 160-hp Sprinter 516Cdi base for a bit cheaper – $154,576.

XVenture XV-2 penthouse trailer

Schutt offers options like a full kitchen (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Schutt offers options like a full kitchen (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

Simple problem, simple solution. The military-grade Xventure XV-2 makes the most of its small trailer form by pushing the pop-up tent high above the cargo box below using an elevated rack system. The adjustable height opens up more storage space in the cargo box – enough for an ATV, even – and makes everything inside that cargo box easier to access. As a few astute readers pointed out, it looks like the configuration could prove quite chilly in the winter, when the thin floor of the XV-2 could use the added insulation value of a trailer directly below, but that shouldn't be as much a problem in the popular warmer months, or with a heavier sleeping pad. And if it is, you can always adjust it to one of the lower settings on the six-setting rack. The pricing information we received earlier in the year put the XV-2 with elevating rack system and roof tent at around $14,500 to start.

Wide Path bicycle camper

Wide Path is still working on prototypes with hopes of launching in 2015
Wide Path is still working on prototypes with hopes of launching in 2015

There are dozens upon dozens of camping trailers on the market, but the overwhelming majority of them are designed to be towed by vehicles with motor. The slim, 88-lb (40-kg) Wide Path Camper, on the other hand, is built to be towed by leg power alone. The bicycle camper offers enough sleeping space for two adults and one child and includes a basic but functional interior with a folding table, convertible bed/seats and 300 liters (79 gal) of storage capacity. Add a few select pieces of gear like a propane stove and portable toilet and suddenly you have a fully functioning mobile home on the back of your 12-speed.

The Wide Path Camper was still in the prototype stages as of last month, but its Dutch designer hopes to have it ready for sale next year, starting around $2,500.

Amok Draumr hammock tent

The Draumr is available for US$379
The Draumr is available for US$379

While not quite as common a sight at the campground as a dome tent or RV, the hammock shelter is a widely available camping option offered by brands like Hennessy Hammock and Grand Trunk. Typically, these hammocks are strung between trees end to end, but the Amok rotates the Draumr around 90 degrees, creating a side-to-side hanging structure. This construction creates a flat, sleeping pad-cushioned bed designed to deliver a more comfortable night of sleep. With a few tugs of the adjustment straps, it also turns into a suspended chair.

The ISPO BrandNew Award-nominated Draumr is available now for $379, which includes mosquito netting, straps and a rain fly, but not the required sleeping pad. All in, the Draumr weighs less than 4.5 lb (2 kg).

MVP Aero MVP seaplane camper

Drop the cockpit awning and you have a cozy wilderness shelter for two
Drop the cockpit awning and you have a cozy wilderness shelter for two

We're already suckers for amphibious vehicles, so throw in a convertible overnight package, and you get one of our favorite vehicles of the year. Billed as the "world's most versatile plane," the MVP, which we checked out at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014, is part seaplane, part fishing boat and part floating/flying camper. The tri-phibious plane can land on dry land, snow or water. On water, it can motor along and act as a boat, and slide the canopy back and it offers a flat deck for fishing and observation. The wings also fold up, adding to its maneuverability on water.

At night, the MVP's instrument panel lifts out of the way, creating a large, flat floor with the help of a four-panel origami deck that slides over top the seat wells. Tent fabric secures over the entire cockpit area, providing shelter for two occupants. A fitted inflatable mattress offers added comfort, and there's also a hammock that sets up between the engine pylon and the tail.

The MVP isn't exactly a practical camper for the masses, but one can certainly dream of using it on some pretty epic adventures. The aircraft is still in the prototype stages, but for those that simply can't wait, it's available for reservation at a price of $189,000. Delivery is not expected until 2018/19, however.

Audi-Heimplanet Q3 tent camper

Audi and Heimplanet team up on an inflatable car camper design
Audi and Heimplanet team up on an inflatable car camper design

Two innovative German brands teamed up for something a bit different at Volkswagen's 2014 Wörthersee festival. Heimplanet custom-fit its inflatable tent technology to the hatch of an Audi Q3 2.0 TDI. The design created an extended car-tent living space with vestibule and also allowed for a freestanding tent set-up. The inflatable tent and Q3 combo certainly wasn't the most rugged camper design of the year, but it was rated up to wind speeds of 43.5 mph (70 km/h).

The Audi-Heimplanet inflatable car camper was clearly designed as an eye-catching showpiece (a role it filled quite nicely), and we don't expect to see Audi dealerships advertising the Q3 "overnight package" anytime soon.

2014 EarthRoamer XV-LTS xpedition vehicle

The 2014 EarthRoamer XT-LVS has a 300-hp turbo diesel V8 and standard 37-in Michelin tires (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The 2014 EarthRoamer XT-LVS has a 300-hp turbo diesel V8 and standard 37-in Michelin tires (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

A beastly, intimidating contradiction on wheels, the 2014 EarthRoamer XV-LTS combines one of the more rugged 4WD expedition vehicle platforms out there with a carefully-detailed, luxury-level interior and front porch. In designing the truck, Colorado-based EarthRoamer fortified a commercial-duty F-550 chassis for rough, off-road use, bolted a composite living module to the back and outfitted it for comfortable off-grid living. The design includes a cozy six-seat living room, sleeping space for four to six and a bathroom with a sink, full-height shower and cassette toilet. Occupants are furnished with utilities by way of a solar-driven electrical system, engine-powered dual alternators and a 90-gallon (340.7-L) fresh water tank. It appears to be an extremely cozy space to retire to after hard days of fighting through mud, boulders and dust with the 300-hp V8 turbo diesel and 37-in tires. The model we stepped inside at Overland Expo even included luxuries like a wine cabinet with engraved wine glasses, slide-out Keurig coffeemaker, and exterior tailgating package with retractable 46-in TV.

The 2014 XV-LTS sold out, but EarthRoamer is now advertising the 2015 model at prices between $312,000 and $560,000.

ADAK Trailer

ADAK Trailer at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
ADAK Trailer at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

It's not at all rare to find a gritty, all-terrain expedition vehicle furnished like a luxury apartment on wheels. In fact, there are two on this list, including the EarthRoamer we just looked at. When you're spending six or seven figures on a large, motorized toy, there's no reason you can't have it all.

It is rarer to find that mix of any-terrain readiness and luxury in the far more modestly priced camping trailer segment. Most off-road trailer manufacturers we've covered seem to put all their R&D money into building a bombproof chassis and body ready to take on everything Mother Earth can throw at it, leaving live-in accommodations to a simple fold-out tent or small, spartan teardrop interior.

Built by a group of outdoorsman tired of inferior campers quitting when the road got rough, but too seasoned for a skimpy, uncomfortable shelter, the ADAK Trailer offers an admirable combination of rugged exterior and spacious, comfy interior. The design uses a mix of aluminum and composite to hold up to rough, choppy roads and off-roads. Inside the trailer's 116-sq ft (10.8 sq m) cabin, campers find three beds, a bathroom with toilet and shower, a tankless hot water system designed to work in the middle of winter, and available wood flooring and cabinetry. When we originally covered the ADAK earlier in the year, pricing started at $49,000.

Volksleisure T5 camper van

The Volksleisure VW T5 camper includes a kitchen unit and fresh and waste water tanks
The Volksleisure VW T5 camper includes a kitchen unit and fresh and waste water tanks

After more than a decade of focusing on camper conversions for vans from manufacturers other than Volkswagen, Wellhouse Leisure presented its first production-ready VW camper van this year. The first offering from the brand's VW-centric subsidiary Volksleisure, the little people mover packs enough versatility for both everyday and holiday use. It's Wellhouse's electric rear bench that makes the Volksleisure camper a van that you can overnight in on the weekend and get the kids to school in come Monday morning. The bench slides the length of the cabin, allowing it to work as a live-in camper, regular people mover or big-item hauler. The camper van offers sleeping space for up to four people, along with a kitchen area, refrigerator, dining table, and 35-L (9.2 US gal) fresh and waste water tanks. Volksleisure's T5 camper is currently listed at a £47,850 ($75,000) base price.

Safari Condo Alto R1723 teardrop pop-top

At camp, the pop-up roof provides standing room inside
At camp, the pop-up roof provides standing room inside

Combining two timeless camping-trailer concepts into one seamless family tag-along, the Alto R1723 by Safari Condo is a pop-up teardrop camper designed to get the family outdoors. The 83-in-high (2.1-m), 1725-lb (782-kg) teardrop design gives the Alto R1723 drag-cutting aerodynamic performance on the road and garage clearance during storage. The electric aluminum roof pops up at camp to offer 82 inches (2.08 m) of interior headroom, more than enough for the average person to stand up and walk around, a convenience that smaller, lower teardrops lack. The trailer sleeps three or four and includes home-like comforts such as a flush toilet and shower. The large windows let you experience the grand scenery of the outdoors while remaining under the roof.

The Alto R1723 starts at around CAD$28,500 (US$24,500), and Safari also offers the smaller R1713 for CAD$1,000 less.

Knaus Travelino camper concept

Our only question about the Travelino is its odd shape; something more traditional like a teardrop seems like a better option
Our only question about the Travelino is its odd shape; something more traditional like a teardrop seems like a better option

Much like automakers do at every major auto show, German manufacturer Knaus Tabbert has been using the annual Düsseldorf Caravan Salon to showcase ideas for the future of the industry. It followed up last year's much talked about Caravisio concept with the 2014 Travelino trailer.

While we aren't really sold on the odd, broadsided shape of the black-and-white Travelino, the real highlight is the interior. The caravan offers very versatile use of its limited space through carefully designed and placed equipment. In place of a dedicated bathroom, a folding-panel wall and slide-out cassette toilet provide indoor privacy without permanently occupying floor space. The indoor and slide-out outdoor kitchens share a portable camping stove, eliminating the need for fixed cooktops.

The Travelino launched as just a concept, so there was no accompanying price information, but it's easy to see how some of its features could find their way into production camping trailers.

Marco Polo Activity light camper van

Mercedes revealed the Marco Polo Activity alongside the latest Marco Polo at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
Mercedes revealed the Marco Polo Activity alongside the latest Marco Polo at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon

Manufacturers around the world have come up with very clever ways of packing all kinds of amenities and comforts into small, portable vehicles. But there's really only so much equipment you can fit into a camper while keeping it light, spacious and comfortable. And not every overnight trip requires a full bathroom, kitchen and living room. If you're sleeping in a ski resort parking lot or adjacent to a surf break so that you're in prime position to take advantage of first tracks/early morning waves, you don't necessarily need a fully equipped RV, just a roof and a comfortable place to sleep.

In that spirit, Mercedes-Benz dropped some of the usual camping equipment to make a lighter, simpler camper van in the form of the Marco Polo Activity it revealed in Düsseldorf. The Activity has a three-seat bench that extends clean across the width of the van thanks to the absence of the kitchen unit. That bench folds down into a bed for up to three, and two more people can sleep below the pop-up roof. If you need to cook your own meals, you can slide the bench forward on its rails and store a stove, cookware and plenty of other gear in back, then eat on the included folding table in the cabin. What you give up in equipment and amenities, you gain in versatility and spaciousness. The Activity was released at a starting price of €38,960 (US$49,000).

Action Mobil Global XRS 720 6x6 camper

Action Mobile showed the Global XRS 7200 at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon (photo: Messe Düsseldorf)
Action Mobile showed the Global XRS 7200 at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon (photo: Messe Düsseldorf)

Our second rolling, all-terrain luxury apartment, the Action Mobil Global XRS 7200 introduced at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon was this year's exercise in no-expense-spared expeditioning opulence, the type of vehicle one only considers if the very thought of "roughing it" is a much bigger deterrent than a seven-figure price tag. The 720-hp, 18-ton MAN-chassised 6x6 is eager to travel to any part of the world and stay there about as long as its occupants can handle. Once inside the spacious, climate-controlled cabin, they'll immediately forget about whatever harsh, desolate reality surrounds the exterior walls. The cabin is appointed in materials like stone and metal, includes a master bedroom, is hydrated by a 720-L (190-gal) fresh water tank, and keeps everyone entertained with a multimedia system that's more impressive than what many people have in their living rooms – 40-in HD TV, satellite internet, Apple TV, Bose audio, and a large-capacity hard drive for storing multimedia content. There's even a bidet and washer/dryer. Not a bad living situation for the middle of $#@#$in nowhere.

Pricing info out of the Düsseldorf show put the XRS 7200 at €850,000 (US$1.1 million) to start.

Look through our gallery for a closer look at the interiors and features of each of these campers and tents. And if you're wondering how this year's designs compare to last year's, take a trip back in time with our best of 2013 camper round-up.

View gallery - 108 images
5 comments
Matrix Key Systems
Nice list, but missing two very significant contenders...
1/ EarthCruiser 2/ Travel Truck
I'd dream about either of these before anything on the list.
seansimons15
I really like the Tonke Fieldsleeper Internation expidition vehicle. I am a big fan of RVs however, I never really like the look of them. This vehicle looks good, and it looks compact enough to store very easily.
ZachThalman
I am so impressed with the different trailers and campers that they have come up with over the past couple of years. It is amazing how they are so handy. I like the trailer that also has a tent over it. That would be really nice for a camping trip because you wouldn't have to worry about staking the ground out.
Tom Lee Mullins
I think those are neat.
CallieMarie
My husband and I love camping, and these are some really neat tents and trailers. I like the tear-drop shaped trailer a lot! It would be really nice to have something like this for a weekend camping trip. I can believe it even has a shower. http://www.canyonhondamotorcycles.com