There’s never been a better time to be an Everyman Expeditioner. Modern cruise liners now take ordinary passengers to the farthest reaches of Antarctica; any moderately fit adventurer can buy a ticket to the summit of Mount Everest; and, sometime next year, well-heeled soccer moms could be practicing yoga aboard a legit space hotel. Now, one Maine-based builder is promising to outfit almost any pickup truck owner with the tools to get far, far off-grid.
The Port-Lite Expedition can convert most factory pickup trucks into legit overland campers. The concept of similar in-bed campers is hardly new, but most models from the last three decades were built solely with affordability in mind. They’re often flimsy, not well-insulated, and poorly made. The Expedition series is lightweight and durable, built to the standards of hardcore overland campers looking to go almost anywhere. The exterior is a fully-molded composite construction with an aluminum flatbed, marine roof hatches, and marine hardware throughout. Port-Lite promises it can easily survive the rigors of off-road travel.
At 172 inches long by 84 inches wide, the Expedition One model fits most full-sized flatbed pickup trucks. Port-Lite used strong, lightweight materials and clever design to keep the dry weight to just 1,350 pounds. Yet, the compact camper manages to fit all the essentials of home, plus a healthy amount of creature comforts into its modest footprint. There’s a queen-sized bed over the cab, a convertible dinette at the rear, and a full-featured wet bathroom with hot and cold running water, a cassette toilet, and even an outside shower. The galley features a diesel, two-burner cooktop and a 3.8-cubic-foot fridge/freezer combo. A 400W solar system with a 4,800Wh AGM battery bank provides campers with near-limitless off-grid capability. The best part is that all of these features come standard. Port-Lite also offers a dozen luxurious upgrades, including air-conditioning, an interior shower, premium upholstery, and electric, remote-controlled jacks. Buyers looking to shed even more weight can also opt for a carbon fiber superstructure.
Like most ruggedized, purpose-built, go-anywhere overland campers, neither of Port-Lite’s models come cheap. The entry-level Expedition One starts at $65,000. For a $5,000 premium, buyers with a long bed pickup can upgrade to the Expedition Two with the same features in a more spacious footprint.
If you’d prefer a more traditional camper, check out our picks for the best ultra-light travel trailers.
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