BMW In the Backcountry

The North Face Teams Up With BMW to Make an Off-Road Camper


January 9, 2019 Cars By

Collaborations between brands in this day and age are wildly commonplace. Many times, when two brands put their heads together they’ll make a unique, desirable product – whether through boundary-pushing designs or smart, limited special-editions. Other times, the result is a useless, heavy-handed thing with multiple brand names slapped all over just for the hell of it. The BMW x The North Face Futurelight Camper Concept, unveiled this week at CES 2019, is most definitely the former.

Any longer, CES is gathering for more than just tech companies; decidedly non-tech companies (at least in the traditional sense) are abundant. Oftentimes, to get space on the trade show floor, brands who wouldn’t usually work together combine talents on a product that attracts crossover customers. Case in point: BMW and The North Face.

The material stretched over the wireframe dome of the Futurelight uses nanotechnology to be both breathable and ventilated, but waterproof at the same time. The camper’s lack of aluminum, let alone solid side panels, drastically lowers the camper’s weight. When you tow the Futurelight behind, say, your BMW X5, you won’t have to worry about your MPG plummeting all that much.

The Futurelight is just a concept, so keep in mind that some of its features and details don’t exactly make sense in the real world. The extra flooring around the outside doesn’t seem all that useful. The wheels, while futuristic-looking, are basically summer slicks fit for a motorcycle — pretty much useless if you’re attempting to summit whatever alpine pass BMW rendered in the above picture.

Outside of the conceptual flair drawn in for drama, the idea of the new, advanced material by The North Face applied to something more than “just” a tent is where the intrigue lies. BMW’s Gina concept from 2008 played a big part in the inspiration for the Futurelight. It could even be that what we’re seeing is the beginning of fabric-based automotive body panels making the first steps towards production.

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