The vintage campers of years gone by may have been known as “tin can” campers, but there’s a category of RVs today that’s anything but. Featured here are some of the toughest RVs to ever hit the road.
Some of these are standard production models, some are customized on another vehicle’s chassis, and some are truly “do it yourself” jobs, but they’re all undeniably rugged.
These campers aren’t just built for driving through the woods or to a mountain campground, they’re designed to take on the world’s toughest terrain for months at a time.
1. Global Expedition Vehicle’s “Pangea”
Slide out campers are common, but what about slide up campers? Global Expedition Vehicles has been custom building RVs for years, but the Pangea Lifting Roof model may just be their best one yet.
The roof actually expands upwards about three feet, revealing windows on the outside and giving more headroom inside. How heavy duty is this dual floor vehicle? It was featured on the Travel Channel’s “Extreme RVs.”
2. Tiger Adventure Vehicles Siberian
The Siberian Tiger is one of the world’s largest tigers, so it makes sense that it’s also the largest vehicle from Tiger Adventure Company.
It uses a 4×4 crew cab chassis and sits on a 200-inch wheelbase while using a three-point mounting system to eliminate stresses on the truck’s chassis.
3. Mercedes-Benz Unimog
With a total weight of around 8 tons, this is an extremely massive vehicle with a reputation to match. It’s been around since the 50s, but only really became popular in the 1970s. These are commonly used as snowplows and other industrial vehicles in western Europe.
4. Unicat Terracross TC59
The Teracross TC59 might be similar to other RVs on the inside, but the outside is all hand-made. These vehicles are known for their flexibility over any terrain and feature a button in the cabin that automatically changes the tire pressure to one of four settings: street, track, sand, and emergency.
5. Sportsmobile’s Mitsubishi Fuso
Sportsmobile is a custom camper company that’s used the Ford Econoline van, the Dodge Promaster, and the Mercedes Sprinter as their base chassis for years.
But with the Econoline van ceasing production soon, the company is changing things up, showcasing this prototype on a Mitsubishi Fuso base.
6. 1997 Ford E-350 Superduty Ambulance
It’s common to see former ambulances take on a new life as a tailgating rig, a food truck, or as a rolling advertisement for a business. But a man named Bruce Baldwin had something else in mind.
He took a 1997 Ford E-350 Superduty Ambulance and converted it into an off-road camper. The vehicle is a perfect fit the owner states because it’s incredibly sturdy by design. Solar panels were added, along with a shower, refrigerator, and a 40-gallon water tank.
7. Turtle Expedition Vehicle
Gary and Monika Wescott call themselves “modern-day vagabonds,” exploring the world in their custom-built vehicle. Their adventures have spanned Russia, Europe, North America, and Mexico.
They’re currently on their fifth vehicle, the Turtle V, a custom, European-style expedition camper mounted to the chassis of a Ford F-550.
8. 1982 Toyota Pickup
When it comes to running the iconic Rubicon Trail, only the toughest of vehicles and drivers make the cut.
Jeff Acquistapace (who lives near the trail) saw this 1982 Toyota pickup for sale and knew he had the vehicle for the job. With a crawl ratio of 230 to 1, no rock can stand in its way.
Earthcruiser is an Australian-based company that ships their vehicles worldwide. EarthCruiser takes a Mitsubishi Fuso FG 4×4 chassis, and heavily modifies the suspension to increase its off-road prowess and to provide a smooth ride when traveling the highway.
The inside is incredibly versatile, easily holding everything you need for a long trek off-the-grid. The camper holds 25 gallons of fresh water, with an additional 25-gallon tank available.
10. XP Camper
The XP Camper is a monocoque, pop-up camper designed specifically for the flatbed of a truck. A hydraulic lift easily raises the roof to provide 6-1/2 feet of headroom plus a queen size bed, kitchen, bathroom, and dinette in less than 30 seconds (it breaks down even faster, in 10 seconds).
The XPCamper stands only 56″ higher than the truck bed, reducing drag for everyday driving.
11. AM General M109
This former military equipment is actually one of a pair of trucks that have been converted to overland expedition vehicles by the same owner. The interior was gutted and outfitted for camping needs, and since both trucks hold up to 100 gallons of fuel, his trips can be up to 1,500 miles.
A recent trip throughout the Southwestern U.S. covered over 700 miles off road, through seven mountain ranges.
12. 1991 Mitsubishi L300
This one might not have as much room inside as some of the others, but that hasn’t stopped it from traveling across the world non-stop for nearly 15 years now, racking up about 250,000 miles along the way.
This is a four-wheel drive van and actually is nearly stock as far as the vehicle itself goes. The only additions are storage on the roof, a bed inside, solar panels for energy, along with a small kitchen and a shower area.
13. Rawhyde Adventure’s Kodiak
This 2006 Chevy Kodiak 4×4 has been converted into one of the primary vehicles that Rawhyde Adventures uses to take visitors to some of the world’s most desolate spots.
Guests of the company take motorcycle tours through locations like Africa, Baja, the Dakar Rally, the Rocky Mountains, and the Continental Divide. This beast is their primary support vehicle, carrying camping supplies, bike parts, fuel, and other supplies.
14. The Desert Challenger
Constructed by Action Mobil, the Desert Challenger is one of the largest off-road vehicles in the world. It’s not just impressive on the outside though, it’s technically impressive through and through.
You’ll find 600 HP under the hood, 8×8 all-wheel drive, hydraulic slide outs, a 1,300-gallon liquid tank for water or fuel, seats on the roof, and more. At 42 feet long and 13 feet high, it can traverse water as deep as 4 feet.
There are off-road vehicles, and then there’s this. Billed as “The World’s Most Extreme RV,” this expedition vehicle is the stuff of legend.
Co-founder of a California tech company, Bran Ferren built the KiraVan to explore the world with his four-year-old daughter, Kira. The base is a Unimog, but Ferren took it to a whole new level with 46-inch tires with Kevlar shields and a nitrogen-hydraulic suspension system that can tackle anything up to a 45-degree slope.
The cockpit resembles something out of a sci-fi movie and even features an emergency aircraft beacon if you happen to be in the one spot in the world this beast can’t tame. With an interior that’s more luxurious than many apartments, the KiraVan is the king of the off-road!