Trucks & SUVs

This Unimog Camper Might Be the Ultimate Overlanding Truck Build

Mercedes has made some fairly wild pickups. Engineers took a last-gen G-Class, added a pickup bed and an extra axle, and created the G 63 AMG 6×6. Customizers created the closest thing to a factory E-Class pickup. And it’s still possible elsewhere in the world to buy a stripped-down G-Class pickup. But when it comes to rugged off-roading, few vehicles can handle terrain like the Unimog. Not only is it still used as a Paris-Dakar Rally support truck, Unimogs have sometimes won races by accident. Little wonder, then, that someone into overlanding decided to make a Unimog camper.

What’s special about this Unimog camper?

At the time of writing, this 1988 Unimog Doka camper is listed for sale through the Reno, Nevada Craigslist for $125,000. ‘Doka’, according to Digital Trends, refers to the double cab Unimog.

1994 Mercedes-Benz Funmog Unimog U90 side
1994 Mercedes-Benz Funmog Unimog U90 side | Mercedes-Benz

Even new Unimogs aren’t particularly quick. This older one, a 435, definitely isn’t. It originally came with a 6-cylinder diesel making 129 hp and 268 lb-ft. However, this one appears to have received a rebuilt 4-cylinder turbodiesel courtesy of UK Unimog specialist firm Atkinson Vos. But speed isn’t necessary.

Like all Unimogs, this Doka camper has 3 locking differentials and four-wheel drive. It also has portal axles, like the G550 4×4 Squared, and a chassis that flexes with the terrain. It can ford water 31” deep, and the driver can remotely deflate and inflate the tires for better traction. Also, as Motor Trend explained, the Unimog camper effectively has two sets of gears: 8 forward speeds, 8 reverse speeds. It can crawl over and up basically anything. And, with this truck’s amenities, the world is your campground.

There are 2 bunk beds and a separate double bed/dinette. There’s a 2-burner gas stove, and a fridge/freezer unit. The Unimog camper can hold about 159 gallons of fresh water, and 53 gallons of greywater run-off. The fresh water tank comes with a built-in purification system.

1988 Unimog Doka camper side
1988 Unimog Doka camper side | Craigslist

Other amenities include both a camper gas heater and a gas/electric water heater for the built-in shower and washroom. There’s an A/C system for the summertime powered by on-board diesel generator or through the 220V hook-up. Also, to help power the various devices, there are roof-mounted solar panels. And if you need to tow anything, the seller also installed both a Class IV hitch and a prindle hitch.

Are there any others available?

Mercedes-Benz Zetros 2733 A 6×6 camper
Mercedes-Benz Zetros 2733 A 6×6 camper | Daimler

The idea of turning a Unimog into a camper isn’t actually all that new. Mercedes-Benz has even partnered with several companies in the past to produce campers. However, except for some very limited channels, Unimogs weren’t officially sold in the US. Finding one here, then, requires going through enthusiast forums or specialized dealers.

1986 Unimog 416 Doka
1986 Unimog 416 Doka | Bring a Trailer

Unimogs, let alone Unimog campers, already in the US rarely come up for sale. However, a used non-camper Unimog is usually fairly affordable. Bring a Trailer sold two Unimog Dokas last year for about $25,000.

Once you get one, there are several companies that can assist with the camper conversion. Atkinson Vos, the firm that allegedly worked on the Reno Unimog, has restored other Unimog Dokas for US customers. Motor1 reported on an Australian firm, EarthCruiser, that converts Unimogs into campers. Another Australian firm that makes Unimog campers is Unidan Engineering. However, when contracting an overseas company, you must be sure to use a Unimog that is at least 25 years old. Otherwise, it won’t be legal to import into the US without additional modifications.

2004 Mercedes Unimog U500 Global Expedition Vehicles camper
2004 Mercedes Unimog U500 Global Expedition Vehicles camper | Global Expeditions Vehicles

Luckily, there are several US companies that have made Unimog campers: Global Expedition Vehicles and Turtleback Trailers. Global Expedition Vehicles even have a 2004 Unimog camper available at the time of writing, though it costs $550,000.

How does a Unimog camper compare to other truck campers?

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Clark for scale.

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Although it’s easy to overload a pickup truck’s bed, quite a few companies make pickup bed campers that are significantly cheaper than this Unimog Doka camper. Ford showed several bed campers off at SEMA on both the Super-Duty and Ranger. Tesla is planning one for its Cybertruck. The Jeep Gladiator can be fitted with a number of bed campers. You can even fit one to a tiny kei truck.

EarthRoamer LTi Ford F-550 Super-Duty side
EarthRoamer LTi Ford F-550 Super-Duty side | EarthRoamer

However, these are all essentially tents with a bit of storage. The Unimog Daka camper, though, is more like a scaled-down RV. In that sense, it’s closer to something like the EarthRoamer LTi, a carbon-fiber-bodied camper built on a Ford F-550 Super-Duty.

EarthRoamer LTi Ford F-550 interior
EarthRoamer LTi Ford F-550 interior | EarthRoamer

The Unimog can hold more water and has more off-road features than the F-550. However, while the EarthRoamer LTi also has a kitchen and bathing area, it’s undoubtedly more modern, spacious, and configurable than the Unimog.

2004 Mercedes Unimog U500 Global Expedition Vehicles camper interior
2004 Mercedes Unimog U500 Global Expedition Vehicles camper interior | Global Expedition Vehicles

However, with a $580,000 starting price, that’s to be expected. That’s even more than Global Expedition Vehicles’ Unimog.

Finding a Unimog camper isn’t easy. But it makes for a truck that can genuinely travel the world.

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