AEV is sending the JK Wrangler off with a bang. Or, at least an overland camping rig.
American Expedition Vehicles, in the news recently on these pages for their hand in creating the awesome ZR2 Bison, is offering one last kick at the JK can. And it’s a good one.
You’re looking at a fully self-contained overlanding camper, complete with solar energy collection and an electrically actuated roof. Starting with a JK Unlimited, the company broke out the tin snips and plasma cutters and binned everything behind the front seats, essentially creating a cab and chassis.
Minor side point: how many people would buy a cab & chassis directly from Jeep? More than a few, we’d wager.
Anyway, after throwing most of the JKU’s body in a dumpster, AEV engineered a steel birdcage to help support the fiberglass camper. A semi-monocoque configuration was developed, combining the steel birdcage and marine-style honeycomb fiberglass/polypropylene construction. Safe to say this thing is plenty stout.
“The JK Wrangler was really the first ‘everyday’ Jeep, and it has been an incredibly popular platform for AEV,” says company founder/CEO Dave Harriton. “We decided to create the Outpost II weekend camper to celebrate the end of a significant era in Jeep history. It’s a full-circle concept: We did our first Outpost with a pop-up tent for the JK’s first model year in 2006.”
One the most innovative features is the slide-out refrigerator/freezer, mounted over a stove. Since interior space is at a premium, the team created a system where cooking could be easily done outside. This also allows grub and gear to be loaded from outside the rig.
On-board water is handled by a 22-gallon fresh tank and a 4-gallon marine water heater, which draws from the main tank and is heated by engine coolant. The 80-inch-long couch, just enough for your 6’6” author, doubles as a bed.
In all, the AEV Outpost II camper concept used 600 hand-made parts. And, to answer the prominent underlying question, AEV currently has no plans to produce the Outpost II for customers — the concept vehicle currently serves as Dave Harriton’s mobile office. It’s good to be king.
But if some well-heeled overland fanatics showed up on Dave’s doorstep with bags of cash, we’re betting he could be persuaded to make a copy or two.