WITH most modern camper trailers you have to give up a modicum of home comforts when hitting the tracks, but if you have a big family and a big budget, no luxury is too difficult to have in your overland rig.
That was the thinking behind an Australian family of eight, who commissioned Queensland-based SLRV Expedition Vehicles to build an 8x8, two-storey luxury motorhome version of its Commander vehicle.
According to SLRV, the Commander 8x8 2 storey is its largest creation to date. Built on a MAN TGS 8x8 truck with a torsion free-mounted body to eliminate the flex between the body and the truck frame when going off-road, the 12-metre long behemoth features a custom actuator lifting system that can lower or raise the upper level of the cabin.
Inside, the Commander 8x8 is outfitted with double-glazed windows, 10 beds with a main bedroom and an electric drop-down guest bed, a 10-person lounge, ducted heating and cooling, a separate en-suite bathroom, four 32-inch TVs, and satellite TV and internet.
The kitchen features two convection microwaves, two induction cooking tops, two 200-litre under-bench fridge/freezers, and a 75-litre drawer fridge/freezer. The Commander 8x8 also features an external kitchen with a slide out-induction cooktop, complete with an attached sink.
Ultimate rigs: Custom Unimog U4000
“The owner [of the Commander 8x8] wanted it to be like a luxury unit with all the mod cons. A massive challenge out in the arid regions of Australia,” said SLRV Expedition Vehicles’ Warwick Boswerger.
With the number of on-board amenities – and intended to be (almost) fully self-sufficient when out in the middle of nowhere – keeping the Commander 8x8 powered was a challenge for the off-road RV specialist. To keep the lights on and appliances running, the motorhome is equipped with an array of Mastervolt lithium-ion batteries that are recharged by a 2kW solar panel system, a Cummins Onan 9.5kW on-board diesel generator, and what SLRV claims is a world-first with an RV 9.5kVA alternator.
“Powering this vehicle forced us to think outside the box,” said Boswerger. “We had to design an electrical system that not only powered all the appliances, it had to recharge and keep powering over and over out in the remote wilderness.”
The plumbing uses two separate systems that can store up to 1000 litres of water, with tanks for grey and black water, and an isolated plumbing system to dispense drinking water.
Built to traverse Australia’s remote wilderness, SLRV fitted the Commander 8x8 with a host of off-road gear including a Bozcrome front bar with a 30,000lb hydraulic winch, Bozcrome rear winch receiver with a 20,000lb hydraulic winch, Bozcrome radiator and sump guard, GME 80-channel UHF Plus antenna, four Narva LED spotlights, a Narva 812mm LED light bar kit, roof rack and windscreen bars, and a Tow-Pro brake controller.
While the company builds a wide range of specialty 4x4 expedition vehicles, the Commander 8x8 is by far its largest and most advanced commission, taking 13 months to design and build.
“We never shy away from a challenge. It keeps us at the forefront of expedition vehicle design and this build stepped it up again with a couple of world firsts,” said Boswerger.