One of my favorite aspects of overlanding is that your means of transportation doesn’t matter as much as the journey. We all love to drool over awesome vehicles and gear, but at the end of the day some people are happiest with a small ground tent and a jet boil, while others connect with an Earth-Roamer’s granite counter tops, wine cooler, and 41″ tires. Neither are wrong, they are just different. The point is that there are so many ways to experience the world around us, and now an Australian company called Bruder has given us one more. It’s called the EXP-6, and it might be the biggest, baddest trailer rolling on dirt.
As you can already tell, the EXP-6 isn’t your run of the mill travel trailer. From the overbuilt chassis to its advanced suspension, it is tougher and more capable than many similarly sized unit in the states; and for good reason. Unlike road trips in the U.S. where crossing the country means long miles on smooth pavement, the outback is full of harsh dirt tracks with corrugations that will shake and rattle a standard camper to death. The founding brothers of Bruder know this well, as they grew up exploring the most remote regions of Australia with their father. While the duo initially settled for leaving the caravan behind as a basecamp, their growing families soon made them realize that this was no longer an option, and thus the EXP-6 was born.
The concept was simple enough; create a capable caravan that brought luxury to the back-country. However great performance is only achieved when it is planned from the ground up; and for Bruder that meant literally beginning at the frame. They started with a laser sighted 4mm galvanized chassis capable of withstanding 11 times its own weight, and then sealed it to be air-tight preventing water, mud, sand, snow, and grime from making their way in to damage or rust any components. It was then tapered and contoured to avoid hang ups and snags on technical terrain, and integrated with Warn winch recovery points for when the going gets really tough. Finally the team made sure the frame achieved the widest possible track-width for handling while still keeping the overall width less than 2 meters. This not only makes it possible to take the EXP-6 on many narrow trails, but it also improved fuel economy and road performance by maintaining a width close to that of the tow-vehicle.
Although a trailer relies on many components, the suspension plays one of the most crucial roles for service life and capability. The Bruder system starts during sub frame assembly where rubber absorption mounts are used to dampen the body. This can help prevent the high frequency vibrations from weakening various components over time. Next they installed a progressive multi-link air suspension with four independent a-arms for a soft yet responsive ride. An internal compressor controls the airbags via remote and allows the driver to adjust for optimum performance at all times. This includes changing the ride height for clearance or accessibility, compensating for varying loads, or softening the suspension for rough terrain. Sadly we have not had the chance to test any of this, but from published videos it looks to handle quite well. It’s worth noting that the EXP-6 suspension also has an impressive amount of travel for such a large caravan, over 300mm in fact.
But let’s be honest, a trailer this size will always be more limited than say an AT Chaser, so what additional luxuries do you get? Well lets start with the huge kitchen. Since the point of an off-road trailer is to escape into nature, you will most likely want to cook outside when possible, which is why Bruder made an external prep and entertainment space fit for a king. In the front slide an Engel fridge and two cabinets give you plenty of room to store your food as well as some additional counter space when needed. The main galley contains magnetic silverware holders, several shelves for holding pots, pans, and spices, as well as lighting for nighttime visibility. A two burner cooktop is integrated on the right hand side as well while a hot and cold water faucet is installed on the left. But what if the weather is terrible and you want to cook inside? No worries, the clever brothers made the kitchen accessible from the inside as well so there is no wasted space and no need to transfer food.
When its time to retire for the night or escape the rain, you’ll find the interior a spacious and luxurious oasis. Inside the heated and air-conditioned cabin a queen sized bed flanked by two large windows awaits. Above it a skylight will allow you to enjoy the stars or watch as palm trees sway gently in the breeze. Storage is hidden everywhere for easy organization and access, while a comfortable couch and adjustable kitchen table give you room to eat or work.
Bringing family along? No worries, the EXP has room for six occupants and includes safety nets to keep children from rolling off bunk beds at night. A pop-top roof with several windows puts out plenty of natural light while increasing headroom, and a space efficient bathroom and shower is always ready to go. Generally we don’t care for television when you’re out to enjoy the world, but a movie can be nice now and then if you’re living on the road. Just set your wine bottles in the custom holder, throw some popcorn on, and relax for an evening with the HD-TV.
At 22 feet long the EXP-6 is far from small, but with a total weight of just 3,700 lbs it is surprisingly light and well within the towing capacity of most four-wheel drives. Combined with the high clearance and overall narrow width we’re betting that it would make the perfect forest road cruiser for North America.
Although Bruder is Australian, the EXP-6 is designed and built for international compliance and can cater to Fleet, Military and Commercial requirements. They currently ship to the USA, Canada, Europe, UAE, and Russia, which leads us to hope we might see one stateside soon. Unfortunately until that dream comes true we will just have to drool over more great photos and videos like those below, and watch their adventures through the company’s Instagram page here.
For more information check out the Bruder home page here.