BEST RV EVER?
Is This Land Rover Defender Camper the Ultimate Overlander?
If you’re reading this, odds are good you don’t need an introduction to the Land Rover Defender. It’s one of the most iconic off-road vehicles in history, having conquered landscapes and hearts across the planet for decades with its squared-off style and terrain-tackling powers. Just because it’s archetypal doesn’t mean it’s beyond improvement, though, and plenty of people have tried to improve on it in the years since it arrived. Some companies, like ECD Automotive Design and Himalaya, have taken the tact of restomodding classic Defenders. Other companies, like Poland’s Land Serwis, use old-school tooling to build brand-new versions to this day. Even Land Rover itself is taking a stab at it, resurrecting the nameplate as an all-new unibody model (one whose success remains to be determined).
Camperhus Conversions of Great Britain has a slightly different idea, though: Instead of trying to make it drive better or look better, the company is turning the famous four-wheel-drive into a camper.
The basic idea isn’t all that different from the concept pioneered by the likes of the Volkswagen Westphalia decades ago: take a boxy passenger vehicle, rip out everything inside behind the front seats and replace it with an Ant-Man-sized version of the basics of a home, then add a pop-up roof to free up some added space. For the case of the Land Rover Camper, as Camperhus calls it, the company starts with a long-wheelbase Defender 110 — shorter Defender 90 models don’t have the space for a full-size bed — and outfits it with a sink, refrigerator, stove, and a roughly-full-size bed that folds out when it’s time to sleep. Water tanks come in 9.5- and 10.5-gallon capacities, while there’s a space for a midsized cooking and heating gas bottle, as well. And while the pop-top isn’t large enough for adults to lie down up there — it’s primarily there to give users space to stand upright in back — it’s possible to fit sleeping arrangements for kids there.
The UK-based company says the basic conversion costs around £11,950 ($15,228); however, you can pump that higher, depending on whether you want to optional features to make it more comfortable, like televisions, toilets and added storage, or more capable, like wheels and tires, snorkels and off-road lights. (Feel free to drool over the possibilities on Camperhus’s Facebook page, which is littered with pics of past builds.)
Of course, you’ll have to BYO Defender, but finding one in England shouldn’t be too hard. Sneaking one over to the United States might take a little more work; so long as you base your conversion around a Landie made in 1994 or earlier, however, the government’s classic vehicle import rules mean you should be able to overlander across America in one-of-a-kind style without too much trouble.