KiraVan: The Ultimate RV

In an earlier article on Vogel Talks RVing, I introduced the KiraVan, the ultimate all-terrain RV.

KiraVan: The Ultimate RV (Credit: Art Streiber)
KiraVan: The Ultimate RV (Credit: Art Streiber)

Capable of traveling most anywhere, the KiraVan was designed by celebrated Californian inventor and technologist, Bran Ferren for his four-year-old daughter Kira.

The co-founder and chief creative officer of tech firm Applied Minds, Ferren has built the ultimate RV as a very elaborate method of bonding.

Ferren is attempting to create a stimulating environment for Kira—one of constant, boundless learning. Ferren is a man who builds things—huge, intricate, brazenly theatrical things. Fittingly, he has embarked on a lavish, ornate, and over-the-top childhood-enrichment project for Kira.

In the ’80s and ’90s, Ferren scouted locations for Hollywood features and documentaries in places like Death Valley and Alaska.

Around the same time, he also developed location trucks for ABC. As a result, he became enamored with off-road expedition vehicles. They were well suited for his many hobbies, including archaeology, mapping, and fine-art nature photography.

KiraVan: The Ultimate RV
KiraVan: The Ultimate RV

He even built an all-terrain RV which he called the MaxiMog, completing it in 2001. The Mercedes-Benz Unimog-based creation was equipped with videoconferencing equipment and a 40-foot mast with a camera that allowed passengers to see the terrain ahead. An attachable trailer, featured a collapsible sleeping loft and even an espresso machine. A combination of rugged pragmatism and sleek design, the MaxiMog was eventually displayed at the New York Museum of Modern Art.

However, this project would be much more ambitious. To explore the world with his daughter, Ferren built nothing short of the ultimate all-terrain RV, a globe-trotting mobile home built with every contingency in mind.

More than four years, the KiraVan is nearing completion. According to Ferren, when it finally hits the road later this year, it will be able to travel up to 2,000 miles without resupply and navigate slopes as steep as 45 degrees—an incline that is difficult to walk up.

The KiraVan will be the most elaborate all-terrain vehicle ever built—a six-wheeled terrestrial spaceship capable of traversing nearly any terrain, from mud-swamped roads to rock-covered pathways to small bodies of water.

This ultimate RV also includes more than a dozen interlocking communication systems, and a diesel-powered motorcycle dinghy. Add to that the KiraVan’s massive trailer, which is 31 feet long, more than 10 feet high, and houses an ecofriendly bathroom, a custom-designed upscale kitchen, and Kira’s own penthouse loft which she helped to design.

KiraVan: The Ultimate RV
KiraVan: The Ultimate RV

Based on a Mercedes-Benz Unimog, Ferren gutted most of the original equipment, leaving only the steering wheel and a few smaller components. Among the numerous additions are a series of custom-made, overhead- and dash-mounted touchscreen cockpit displays, which monitor the vehicle’s health and navigational progress; a joystick-operated situational-awareness system, which allows passengers to see the view from any one of the vehicles’ 22 cameras and provides infrared thermal imagery of the road’s temperature.

It also features an aircraft-style emergency beacon locator-transmitter for real trouble.

There’s more to the ultimate RV: A joystick for the truck’s hydro-drive system, for switching from four-wheel drive to six-wheel drive. Passenger-side display units that allow riders to monitor everything from tire air pressure to battery problems. And a communications system that turns the vehicle into a mobile command base and allows Ferren to communicate and coordinate with nearby aircraft.

Every form of communication imaginable is on the truck—from walkie-talkies to UHF radios to high-powered GPS systems.

The KiraVan is powered by a Mercedes-Benz diesel engine with around 260 horsepower. That’s enough for a top speed of 70 mph in four-wheel drive; switching to the full six-wheel drive limits the top speed to 30 mph. A custom nitrogen-hydraulic suspension evens out bumps, while 46-inch tires with Kevlar shields can grip the terrain with relatively little concern for punctures.

KiraVan: The Ultimate RV
KiraVan: The Ultimate RV

The interior is trimmed out like a luxury cabin, with a pop-up tent and shock-absorbing passenger seat for Kira.

One can’t help but wonder if all this necessary? Why not just rent an RV for the weekend, and not have to worry about balancing fuel tanks or making sure the hydraulic systems are operational?

To Ferren, such questions are beside the point. His goal is to build an expedition vehicle in its most ideal and fully realized form, the ultimate RV.

Worth Pondering…

Dare to live the life you dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Moby 1: All Terrain Teardrop Trailer

Teardrops were a common sight from the ’30s through the ’50s, but popularity faded as vehicles became larger, fuel was cheap, and recreational vehicles became supersized.

Moby1 C2 Compact/Cycle
Moby1 C2 Compact/Cycle

During recent years teardrop trailers have experienced a resurgence in popularity. In earlier articles I’ve reported on a variety of unique tear drop trailers including the Vistabule, Lil’ Snoozy, Safari Condo, and Eggcamper.

I further reported that off-road RVs—also known as all-terrain vehicles, expedition RVs, and overland vehicles—were increasing in popularity.

Built to traverse a rugged terrain in the backcountry, Xpedition RVs include Unicat TerraCross Expedition Vehicle, KiraVan, and EarthCruiser.

But teardrop trailers were not designed for rugged off-roading. That was until now. Enter Moby 1 Expedition Trailers. You can now explore the great outdoors on smooth paved roads or rocky off-road terrain in the foothills and beyond.

Moby1 was originally begun as a personal project in an effort to create a camping trailer small and light enough to be towed behind a motorcycle. After learning about teardrop trailers, seeing their practicality, and studying the construction, Ashley Grimes, the founder of Moby1, started collecting the materials to build his own.

Moby 1 trailers fill a number of roles with extra cargo space, a flexible load carrying platform, a meal preparation, and cooking station that will enable you to have more comfort, stay out longer, and be a more memorable experience. Whether you are coasting down the highway for a leisurely getaway or seeking adventure and exploring places far removed from civilization, a Moby1 Teardrop trailer can be fit to your lifestyle.

Moby1 RT Road Tour
Moby1 RT Road Tour

The Moby 1 is available in specific models for motorcycles, (mostly) on road use, off-road use, and use anywhere your vehicle can go.

Moby1 C2 Compact/Cycle

The C2 is a compact/cycle trailer, perfect behind a bike or small car. This model has a half galley with cabinets and a countertop workspace for cooking and cleanup, and interior cabinets in the cabin for storage of clothing and gear.

Base curb weight dry: 280-320 pounds

Width: 40 or 48 inches

Base prices start at $6,500

Moby1 RT Road Tour

The RT is a road touring teardrop trailer with standard size road tires. It is perfect for touring your favorite roads, getting to your traditional campgrounds, or even the occasional dirt road.

Moby1 XC Cross Country
Moby1 XC Cross Country

Standard features include one door, two 21×15 sliding tinted screen windows, full interior cabinetry, full galley with cooler tray and stove tray.

Base curb weight dry: 750 pounds

Width: 48 inches

Base prices start at $10,500

Moby1 XC Cross Country

The XC model is capable of touring your favorite paved roads or traveling cross country and off the beaten path to explore remote locations. XC Series offers rubber torsion suspension system, locking cabin doors with deadbolts, receiver tongue for multi axis couplers for unlimited off-road movement, and heavy duty frame.

Base curb weight dry: 1,200 pounds

Width: 48 inches

Base prices start at $14,500

Moby1 XTR

Moby1 XTR
Moby1 XTR

The XTR is built around the principle that one should be able to hook up their vehicle to a compact but fully self-contained trailer and head out into the wilderness and not look back.

XTR series features include a trailing A-arm coil spring suspension, 3,500-pound axles, adjustable shocks, expedition series cabinetry, and two locking cabin doors with deadbolt.

Base curb weight dry: 1,600 pounds

Width: 54 inches

Base prices start at $18,500

Details

Moby1 Expedition Trailers LLC

Address: 221 W 900 N, Springville, UT 84663

Phone: (801) 872-4054

Website: www. moby1trailers.com

Worth Pondering…

Live with passion.

—Anthony Robbins

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KiraVan: World’s Most Elaborate All-Terrain RV

The KiraVan, a giant custom built off road recreational vehicle, includes an office, kitchen, and bedrooms as well as its own motorbike and drone.

KiraVan: World's Most Elaborate All-Terrain RV (Credit: Bran Ferren)
KiraVan: World’s Most Elaborate All-Terrain RV (Credit: Bran Ferren)

Capable of traveling most anywhere, the KiraVan was designed by Californian inventor Bran Ferren for his four-year-old daughter Kira, who has her own pop tent on top of the truck.

“A six-wheeled terrestrial spaceship capable of traversing nearly any terrain,” the KiraVan is the ultimate in recreational vehicles.

Ferren is the 61-year-old cofounder and chief creative officer of Applied Minds, a world-renowned tech and design firm whose on-the-record customer list includes General Motors, Intel, Sony, Lockheed Martin, and the US Air Force; previously he worked on everything from Broadway shows to theme park rides.

In the ’80s and ’90s, Ferren scouted locations for Hollywood features and documentaries in locations as diverse as Alaska and Death Valley.

KiraVan: World's Most Elaborate All-Terrain RV (Credit: Bran Ferren)
KiraVan: World’s Most Elaborate All-Terrain RV (Credit: Bran Ferren)

He also assisted ABC develop some of its location trucks. As a result, he became intrigued with off-road expedition vehicles. They were well suited for his many hobbies that included archaeology, fine-art nature photography, and mapping.

Ferren even built one himself, the MaxiMog, which he completed it in 2001. Adapted from the Unimog, a Mercedes-Benz all-terrain truck, the vehicle was equipped with a 40-foot mast with a camera that allowed passengers to see the terrain ahead.

An attachable trailer, meanwhile, featured a collapsible sleeping loft and an espresso machine. A combination of rugged pragmatism and sleek design, the MaxiMog was eventually displayed at the New York Museum of Modern Art.

About the time Kira was born, Ferren formulated an idea—he would built an all-new, bigger, and better all-terrain adventure vehicle and outfit it for a family of three.

KiraVan: World's Most Elaborate All-Terrain RV (Credit: Bran Ferren)
KiraVan: World’s Most Elaborate All-Terrain RV (Credit: Bran Ferren)

He started to envision a vehicle that could take them almost anywhere on the planet without limitation—a mobile five-star fortress that would ride Kira into the future.

Prior to finalizing the super recreational vehicle’s design, Ferren traveled the world talking with experts that included mining consultants and oil explorers to learn how their equipment survives harsh conditions and their machinery functions over the most difficult of terrains.

Like his MaxiMog, the KiraVan is adapted from a Mercedes-Benz Unimog. Ferren and his team gutted most of the original equipment, leaving only the steering wheel and a few smaller components.

Now, four years later the KiraVan is almost finished. Capable of traversing nearly any terrain, from mud-swamped roads to rock-covered trails to small bodies of water, the six-wheeled “terrestrial spaceship” will be able to travel up to 2,000 miles without resupply and navigate slopes as steep as 45 degrees thanks to a special suspension system—an incline that is difficult to climb.

KiraVan: World's Most Elaborate All-Terrain RV (Credit: Bran Ferren)
KiraVan: World’s Most Elaborate All-Terrain RV (Credit: Bran Ferren)

Extras include Kevlar-reinforced tires, more than a dozen interlocking communication systems, and a diesel-powered motorcycle dinghy.

Among their numerous additions are a series of custom-made, overhead- and dash-mounted touch-screen cockpit displays to monitor the vehicle’s health and navigational progress; a joystick-operated situational-awareness system that enables passengers to see the view from any one of the vehicles’ 22 cameras and provides infrared thermal imagery of the road’s temperature; and an emergency-beacon locator-transmitter that goes off automatically in case of an accident.

With his radio direction-finder subsystem, Ferren can also track nearby vehicles that might be in trouble.

The cockpit also has a special vibration reducing chair, as well as control for drones that can fly ahead to check traffic.

A joystick switches the truck’s hydro-drive system from four-wheel drive to six-wheel drive. Passenger-side display units allow riders to monitor everything from tire air pressure to battery problems.

And a communications system turns the vehicle into a mobile command base and allows Ferren to communicate and coordinate with nearby aircraft. Every form of communication imaginable is on the truck—from walkie-talkies to UHF radios to high-powered GPS systems. The KiraVan can send emails from under a triple-canopy rain forest.

While the truck itself is impressive, the massive trailer is over-the-top—31 feet long and 10+ feet high—houses an eco-friendly retractable toilet bathroom, a custom-designed upscale kitchen, and Kira’s own penthouse loft.

Worth Pondering…

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

—Stephen Covey

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EarthCruiser Takes You Where No Other RV Can Go

In an earlier article I reported that the EarthCruiser, an extreme Australian adventure all-terrain recreational vehicle, was now available in the United States.

FUSO 4x4 camper EarthCruiser Expedition vehicle. (Credit: earthcruiser.com)
FUSO 4×4 camper EarthCruiser Expedition vehicle. (Credit: earthcruiser.com)

A high-profile business executive, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently took delivery of the first USA model, EarthCruiser announces.

In 2012, the Australian EarthCruiser team arrived in America, opening a new U.S.-based office located in Bend, Oregon. There are a few dozen of these vehicles already traveling to remote locations all over the globe.

Current EarthCruiser owners include wildlife photographers, hunters, surfers, rock climbers, adventure seekers, and corporations needing 4×4 capable RVs. The vehicle is also in demand by eco and volunteer travelers who are doing everything from delivering medical supplies to remote locations, teaching children, repairing endangered reefs, and a wide variety of outreach programs, according to a EarthCruiser news release.
“People all over the world are tired of the normal vacation,” explains EarthCruiser executive Lance Gillies.

“This is NOT your typical camper! This is a serious self-contained, all-terrain expedition vehicle that has been tested in extreme conditions all over the world. It’s been designed to take you where no other RV can, places that most people only read about in magazines.”
With vehicles now being purchased by Americans, the U.S. office for EarthCruiser can finalize plans for manufacturing at their Bend, Oregon, location.

Engineering behind the Earthcruiser was developed from the world traveling experiences of the company’s founders. The diesel powered exploration vehicle can be driven directly into, and shipped anywhere around the globe in a standard freight container.

FUSO 4x4 camper EarthCruiser Expedition vehicle. (Credit: earthcruiser.com)
FUSO 4×4 camper EarthCruiser Expedition vehicle. (Credit: earthcruiser.com)

It is capable of negotiating everything from long-distance desert crossings, snow covered terrain, or miles of challenging rock covered off-road trails. The “goat-like” capabilities come courtesy of an ability to handle extreme front and rear departure angles, the specially designed suspension system, and an aggressive wheel/tire combination.

The vehicle is built on a Mitsubishi Fuso 4×4 truck chassis, which once transformed, provides excellent power-to-weight ratio and economical fuel consumption, according to the news release. The Fuso cab offers plenty of space, easy-to-read instruments, while the position of the cab’s large windshield provides panoramic views and excellent visibility of approaching terrain.

Using design techniques from the yachting industry, the interior is strategically designed using light colored, all-fiberglass cabinetry and large windows that make the bright living area feel spacious. Quality appliances, hot and cold shower, toilet, ergonomic kitchen, plentiful storage, and a full size double bed keep the explorers comfortable.

The walls and roof are constructed from a temperature-insulating and super-durable fiberglass composite. Its solar panel system can sustain travelers for up to ten days and the vehicle is fitted with the only water purification unit in the world that has been independently certified to meet world EPA health standards.

Details

EarthCruiser Overland Vehicles Pty. Ltd

FUSO 4x4 camper EarthCruiser Expedition vehicle interior. (Credit: earthcruiser.com)
FUSO 4×4 camper EarthCruiser Expedition vehicle interior. (Credit: earthcruiser.com)

EarthCruiser is purpose built by EarthCruiser Overland Vehicles Pty. Ltd., a company owned and operated by individuals with over 25 years experience in their respective fields.

Earthcruiser was originally designed to meet our specific needs for an overland expedition vehicle that could go anywhere and was comfortable enough for two people to live for extended periods of time.

Phone: +61 7 3358 1011

Location: Lear Jet Drive Caboolture, P.O. Box 2602, Fortitude Valley BC Queensland, Australia

U.S. Sales and Service

Location: Bend, Oregon

Phone: (503) 688 3345

Website: earthcruiser.com.au

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Worth Pondering…

The journey is difficult, immense. We will travel as far as we can, but we cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know.

—Loren Eiseley

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EarthCruiser Now Available in U.S.

The EarthCruiser, a popular Australian adventure all-terrain vehicle, is now arrived in the United States.

EarthCruiser adventure all-terrain vehicle.

EarthCruiser is a self-contained, all-terrain expedition recreational vehicle, on the U.S. Fuso 4×4 chassis, capable of long-distance desert crossings, negotiating frigid snow-covered terrain, and miles of challenging rock-covered mountain trails, according to a news release.

“This vehicle is not for everyone,” said EarthCruiser executive Lance Gillies.

“This is a serious expedition vehicle that can take people to places that no other RV can, places they’ve only seen in magazines.”

According to Gillies who recently opened the U.S. office for EarthCruiser, in Bend, Oregon, an EarthCruiser provides a great opportunity for U.S residents to see and explore the nation’s beautiful and remote regions.

“Part of our challenge will be to really educate extreme travelers about the vehicle’s amazing capabilities,” says Gillies.

“Once the real adventure seekers understand how comfortably they can travel to locations they never had access to before, the excitement should spread quickly.”

EarthCruiser adventure all-terrain vehicle.

EarthCruiser’s global customers have been driving them directly into freight containers and shipping them to travel locations around the world.

Current international owners of the EarthCruiser include wildlife photographers, hunters, rock climbers, and other extreme adventure seekers.

The vehicle is also in demand by eco and volunteer travelers who do everything from delivering medical supplies to remote villages, teaching children, repairing endangered reefs, and a wide variety of outreach programs all over the globe.

The interior of this mobile adventure home is designed using light colored all fiberglass cabinetry and large windows that make the living area feel spacious and bright.

Quality appliances, hot and cold shower, toilet, ergonomic kitchen, plentiful storage, and full size double bed make for comfortable living.

The effective use of solar paneling, a diesel water heater, and other proven technology permits extended travel and isolated stays both relaxing and enjoyable.

The advantages of roaming the globe in EarthCruiser include:

  • Free and secure accommodation
  • Good high driving position for sightseeing and safe touring
  • Capability of handling a variety of terrain in comfort
  • Great fuel economy and good distance achievable between fuel stops
  • Self-sufficient in every respect—no power connections needed
  • Comfortable on road and at the end of the day
  • The size of the vehicle is not too pretentious

Details

EarthCruiser Overland Vehicles Pty. Ltd

EarthCruiser adventure all-terrain vehicle.

EarthCruiser is purpose built by EarthCruiser Overland Vehicles Pty. Ltd. a company owned and operated by individuals, with over 25 years experience in their respective fields.

Earthcruiser was originally designed to meet our specific needs for an overland expedition vehicle that could go anywhere and was comfortable enough for two people to live for extended periods of time.

Phone: +61 7 3358 1011

Location: Lear Jet Drive Caboolture, P.O. Box 2602, Fortitude Valley BC Queensland, Australia

U.S. Sales and Service

Location: Bend, Oregon

Phone: (503) 688 3345

Website: earthcruiser.com.au

Related Stories

Worth Pondering…

The journey is difficult, immense. We will travel as far as we can, but we cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know.

—Loren Eiseley

Read More