We’ve seen some weird and unlikely Jeep Wrangler campers in the past, but the new Backwoods camper might just take the cake. It’s like a pickup camper van without a pickup bed, hanging from the back of your choice of Wrangler or SUV to create a small, capable, go-anywhere micro camper van. Unlike more expensive chassis-mounted options, it works seamlessly with the stock vehicle as is and is easily removed.
We thought the addition of the Gladiator pickup might end the search for Jeep Wrangler campers, and maybe it would if Jeep released a two-door Gladiator. As it is, Jeep enthusiasts are still hungry for the perfect way to convert a 2-door Wrangler into a comfortable, high-performance 4×4 micro camper. But with limited interior space and a short chassis underneath, it’s a tricky target that usually ends up in the lap of the four-door Wrangler Unlimited, whether the project is a simple pop-up roof or a more complex chassis-mounted pop-up mic. Cabin.
Last month we saw one of the few Wrangler 2-door motorhome solutions on the market in the form of the Oryx platform’s tailgate-to-steering wheel hanging bed. This in-Jeep solution might prove sufficient for minimalist overlanders, but it certainly won’t be comfortable or stylish enough for everyone. Backwood’s Camper offers a solution at the other end of the spectrum, cramming as much living space into the back of a Wrangler as you can imagine.
Backwoods Camper + Jeep Wrangler 2-door = small, rugged, detachable, cross-country adventure camper
The Backwoods project seems to have evolved from the typical Wrangler camper in reverse fashion. It was less about finding a way to camp in a Jeep and more about finding a way to adapt a pickup camper-style RV to an SUV.
Creator Kert Martin has been an RV fanatic since childhood and actually laid the groundwork for the Backwoods design in a Lego project of a jeep with an RV that could be easily removed and reattached. Most people would have forgotten a Lego build like this in a week or two, but this one stuck with Martin and he eventually haunted him as an adult. Jump ahead 20 years, and this little Lego Jeep Utility Camper is now a full-size reality.
Backwoods spent the weekend showcasing its camper at the new Overland Expo Pacific Northwest show in its home state of Oregon
The Backwoods Camper looks like a basic hard-sided pickup camper at first glance, but then you realize it’s actually hanging from the back of a Wrangler without supporting it. This style of camper isn’t all that common, but it’s not without precedent, dating back to piggyback camper designs of the mid to late 20th century. At a time when SUVs weren’t even a fully developed concept, some of the first piggyback concepts were developed around station wagons, sedans and even occasionally coupes. The Relax Cabin we saw at the 2015 Japan Car Camping Show was a more modern version that carried the concept over to the Toyota Prius.
To the extent that they have produced at all, most, possibly all, piggyback camper designs from years and decades past are no longer available. They show up at rare auctions or barn finds, but you certainly won’t see them among the ranks of modern RV dealers. Backwoods essentially rethinks the concept around the SUVs so popular on today’s roads.
With the following SUV capability, the Backwoods camper is ready for all types of terrain and weather
Constructed of fiberglass panels with a foam core, the Backwoods Camper has a taller, narrower base than a pickup camper that extends to the vehicle hitch receptacle, which provides the attachment point for the foundation custom luggage rack. The long top alcove attaches to the vehicle roof rack to complete the multi-point attachment. The base model weighs 227 kg (500 pounds) and requires a roof rack that can hold 136 kg (300 pounds) and a hitch receiver.
The Backwoods base model has a simple interior. The entry room just inside the back door has a bench with storage under the seat on one side and a kitchen counter and cupboards on the other. Backwoods has experimented with filling the entry space of its prototype with a small kitchen on one side and a wet bathroom on the other. The kitchen has a sink, a two-burner stove and a fridge, while the bathroom is said to have a shower, a toilet and an accordion door.
The base model only comes with a countertop, but Backwoods is experimenting with a fuller kitchen here
Aside from that kitchen/bathroom facility, not currently advertised as an option, owners can stow a portable toilet in the bank and use their own portable cooking appliances.
The alcove, of course, houses his bed of the Backwoods camper, which the company describes as the California King. A roof vent over the top provides adequate ventilation with the help of a row of four screened windows.
The Backwoods Camper sleeps a couple and maybe a child on a large, comfortable alcove bed
Backwoods showed off its camper clinging to the back of the white two-door Wrangler Sahara at the weekend’s inaugural Overland Expo Pacific Northwest Show. The camper is available to order now and starts at $15,525.
In addition to the mattress, storage bench, and basic kitchen structure, the base model includes interior LED lighting, the hitch carrier it mounts to, and a pair of camper jacks with extendable leg rests. Buyers must provide their own roof rack as it is based on their vehicle model. Backwoods’ website lists the lead time as three to four weeks, and while the company ultimately plans to ship nationwide, the campers are currently only available for pickup at their store in Eagle Creek, Oregon.
The short video provides a walkthrough of the Backwoods base model brought to Overland Expo PNW.
SUV camper on a 2 door Jeep Wrangler – only around £500!
Source: Backwoods Camper Co