Ultra-light motorhome for 15,000 USD makes the Jeep Gladiator a brilliant 4-person micro-motorhome

By reaching a new lightweight benchmark for a fully enclosed pickup camper, RoverKing wants to transform some of the market’s most off-road capable medium-sized trucks – à la Jeep Gladiators, Toyota Tacomas and Chevy Colorados – into comprehensive 4×4 micro. Motorhomes. The Canadian startup thinks of its Capra camper as a backpack for your truck, and at under 700 lb we would call it the equivalent of a pound of Dyneema backpack filled with equally ultra-light camping gear.

It’s never easy to build a complete pickup camper around the limited payload of popular midsize trucks, one reason why floorless pop-up toppers like Hower Base Camp and AT Overland Summit have become so popular. Tacoma, the US’s best-selling midsize pickup and a very popular choice of overlanders, has a maximum payload of 1,685 lb (764 kg). But start adding the kind of factory upgrades you want for overland or primitive camping with family or friends – four-wheel drive, double cab, V6 – and that number drops quickly to 1,155 lb (523 kg). That’s before you even consider aftermarket extras like a winch or roof rack.

Similarly, the Jeep Gladiator Sport has a solid payload of 771 kg, but the Gladiator Rubicon, sought after by off-roaders and overlanders everywhere, lowers the payload to 1,200 lb (544 kg). Full-size pickup campers rarely hit such low weights, and when they do, they leave very little payload for actual passengers, luggage and supplies.

For example, the Kimbo 6 with two berths weighs 900 lb (408 kg) the lightest; Scout Yoho with four berths weighs 884 lb (401 kg); and Alu-Cab Khaya for two people comes in at 881 lb (400 kg). These minimum weights are directly from the manufacturer’s website when they were published, and some vary from larger or smaller original estimates that were available when we first looked at them. The EarthCruiser GZL, which is no longer available in the United States, weighed approximately 850 lb (386 lb) when we first looked at it in 2016.

These are the lightest completely enclosed pickup camps we have encountered over the years, and none of them leave more than about 136 kg payload on the Tacoma 4×4 Double Cab as mentioned earlier. That figure may be okay for two people traveling easily, but start loading family members, pets, luggage and sports equipment, and you will quickly exceed the payload. Sure, you only need to Google “overland Tacoma” to realize that many people go far beyond the payload, but staying far below is better for vehicle safety, performance and longevity, among other things – and it starts with not eating everything with just to camp.

RoverKing says it worked with a space engineer and tested Capra several times to optimize aerodynamics for less drag and lift and better fuel efficiency

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RoverKing has reduced the weight to make it more convenient to travel and camp comfortably within the payload of a medium-sized truck. The advertised base weight on the Capra beats the competitors by as much as 200 lb (90 kg) at just 640 lb (290 kg), which still includes beds for three or four people plus a dining area. It does not rise too high from there, as the fully loaded “Premium Plus” specification weighs in at a still ultra-light 684 lb (310 kg).

RoverKing started its Capra lighting program by keeping the dimensions compact. Other medium-sized pickup campers tend to protrude past the tailgate, and some also extend beyond the sides of the bed. On the other hand, Capra sits inside the closed tailgate and has walls that match quite well with the width of the truck. To put it in numbers, the Capra base measures 4.6 feet (1.4 m) long, fits snugly inside a 5 foot short bed, and the upper cabin extends a maximum of 64.6 inches (164 cm) wide at the windows, almost identical to the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon’s 64.4-inch (163.6 cm) rear track and only a touch wider than the Ford Rangers 61.4-inch (156 cm) rear track or Ranger Tremors 62.4-inch (158.5) cm) track.

RoverKing focuses most of its marketing on the Jeep Gladiator, but the Capra is designed to fit the full range of North American mid-size pickups, including the Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma
RoverKing focuses most of its marketing on the Jeep Gladiator, but the Capra is designed to fit the full range of North American mid-size pickups, including the Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma

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RoverKing has filled Capra’s compact dimensions with lightweight materials such as a welded sheet metal frame, aluminum body panels and 20 mm felt-coated Styrofoam insulation. The motorhome calls it a design for four seasons, but we are not sure how well the high fabric top and the ultra-light building can withstand Canadian winters without an oven and maybe a little extra weather resistance.

At the camp, Capra’s full – length pop-up roof is raised high to create a ceiling height of 2 m. A combination of uplifting tailgate, truck tailgate and swing-out motorhome door opens up a large entrance. The interior has benches on each side that end in a front dinette with vis-à-vis padded seating and a folding dining table. The benches also serve as storage space, both for optional RoverKing equipment and for the owner’s personal use.

As it leaves the tailgate of the truck in place, the Capra means that three doors are opened for entry
As it leaves the tailgate of the truck in place, the Capra means that three doors are opened for entry

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The dinette is transformed into a 30 x 59 inch (76 x 150 cm) bed, a complement to the primary 77 x 63 inch (195 x 160 cm) bed high up. The latter extends at night to create its full sleeping area, pulled in during the day to free up ceiling height over the dinette.

Capra is likely to be quite cozy and cozy based on its compact overall dimensions, but it’s an impressively effective micro-life layout. It’s certainly not the choice to sleep four bulky hunting buddies, but between the queen-size main bed and the sofa bed it should be able to sleep a two-parent family with two small children or an older child … at least until the older child is over 5 feet tall, then it can be time for tents.

All three Capra upholstery levels include the basic amenities, plus double sliding windows and PVC floors. The premium package in the middle class amplifies with an 80-Ah gel battery, 170-W solar panel, electrical control panel, external 110-V connector, LED lighting, USB socket, 30-L chrome water tank, water pump and exterior shower sprayer in chrome. The Top-tier Premium Plus package has everything from the Premium package and adds four height-adjustable motorhome jackets and a set of four curtains and mosquito nets.

RoverKing shows how campers can use the external shower sprayer to create a simple sink that fits into a portable stove
RoverKing shows how campers can use the external shower sprayer to create a simple sink that fits into a portable stove

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RoverKing does not advertise any kitchen equipment, but shows how the shower sprayer can be combined with a simple bowl to make a sink. Campers can pack their own portable stove, fridge or freezer, and cassette toilet and have a very functional small base camp for cooking, dining, sleeping, cleaning and the general daily life.

RoverKing motorhomes are available to order now, and the standard model sells for $ 15,400, Premium for $ 19,500 and Premium Plus for $ 20,900. A larger motorhome series for full-size trucks such as the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado is under development.

Source: RoverKing via Expedition Portal

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