This story is part of our end-of-year series This Year in Gear rounding up the most notable releases of 2020. For more stories like this, click here.
Among the far-too-many-other things that happened in this annus horriblis, 2020 was a year many Americans discovered the charms of camping. Camping allows you to get the hell out of your house; you travel in your personal vehicle, socially distant from others; and hopefully, you do some communing with nature, or at least get out of cell phone reception range.
We wrote about some spectacular campers and trailers over the past year, everything ranging from a mobile luxury apartment to a barebones, featherlight tent on wheels. Below, you will find 14 of our favorites from 2020.
Affinity Camper Van
You’ve probably never heard of the Polish company Affinity. We hadn’t either — at least, until they unveiled their new camper van at the 2020 CMT Show in Stuttgart. Sleek and modern, Affinity’s new ride has one of the best layouts for a camper van we’ve ever seen.
The Airstream Nest is stylish, still well-made, and still packs a tremendous amount of features into a tidy footprint. But does a lack of aluminum mean that it lacks that Airstream soul? Not really. (Too bad it’s been discontinued.)
If you’re looking for a van that could truly double as a residence for just about anyone, yet still retains the proportions of a regular full-size van…you’d be hard-pressed to outdo the Alphavan.
Australian Off Road Sierra ZR
Whatever your particular setup might be, the common element with all Sierra ZR trailers is off-road capability. With dual Outback Armour Offroad shocks on each wheel and a 40.7-degree departure angle, it can follow your off-road vehicle of choice pretty much anywhere.
Bowlus Road Chief Endless Highways Performance Edition
It seems fairly apt that, among the products included in the Neiman Marcus fantasy gift collection this year, is one of the fanciest, most elegant travel trailers to grace 21st century roadways: a Bowlus Road Chief.
Earth Traveler T250LX
Moving a trailer around often means dropping big money on a full-sized pickup truck, or at the very least a large SUV. The new Earth Traveler Teardrop trailers flips the script on that old idea. Weighing just 216 pounds in base form, the Earth T250LX camper is light enough for just about any car to tow it around.
Living Vehicle 2020 Series
As the name suggests, this model is designed for full-time living and spending substantial time off the grid. It’s a luxury apartment on wheels — one that will also minimize your energy consumption and water waste. And if you missed out on the Living Vehicle 2020 Series, don’t worry. There’s a 2021 Series.
Mobi Nomad Mobi X
The Mobi X is a tiny thing when set up in roaming mode: just a bit more than 12 feet long, less than five and a half feet wide, and about six-feet-three-inches from ground to rooftop. But once you stop, it transforms into a delightful little place to live.
Oasis Camper Van
In spite of the comparatively tidy proportions of a minivan, Oasis Campervans managed to cram all the comforts of home into a Toyota Sienna — though admittedly, you can’t use them all at once.
Outside Van Mr. Blue Sky
Outside Van’s latest custom Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based conversion, Mr. Blue Sky, is the perfect rig for people who want to experience the great outdoors the way you only can when camping…but also want to do a little gaming in their downtime (no shame in that).
Storyteller Overland Beast Mode
The Beast Mode adds an Agile Offroad performance suspension that includes Fox shocks and heavy-duty leaf springs, an Owl swing-away tire carrier on the rear, LED off-road lights and a front bumper light bar, and roof, rear door and side-mount cargo racks — the latter made specifically for a surfboard.
TouRig Bruce Banner
While this hulking van — nicknamed “Bruce Banner” for reasons we hope we don’t have to explain to you — may have started out as a simple two-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cargo van, like the old Virginia Slims ads used to say, it’s come a long way, baby.
#Vanlife is not optimal for families. So for those needing a little more space, Winnebago has now released the all-new Ekko motorhome. The brand describes the Ekko as offering the efficiency of a Class B camper van with the capacity of a Class C motorhome. (They call it a “B+.”)
While the Winnebago Hike may not be as badass and capable as some of the true off-road camping trailers out there, we have a feeling many of those people would rather trade off a bit of capability for a lot more comfort.
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