A Jeep camper has been the stuff of dreams for many off-road and overland enthusiasts. Chad Lancaster put dreams into action, and painted it red. Check out this awesome Jeep truck camper!
If ever there was a dream truck and camper rig that would make us want to leave the pavement, it might be this one. Start with that American icon of off-road freedom and adventure, a Jeep Wrangler. In this example, a Jeep TJ Wrangler with American Expedition Vehicle’s renown Brute pickup conversion kit. One look at an AEV Jeep Brute and you know this vehicle means business; off-road business.
To top off this overland rig, add Four Wheel Camper’s Sparrow, a camper designed from the ground up for the AEV Jeep Brute. The only thing that would make this rig scream overland adventure louder is if it were painted red. Who, in their right mind, would assemble such a rig and then paint it red as if to make other overland dreamers mad with envy and desire?
Chad Lancaster, that’s who. As a professional landscape photographer, Chad dreamed of a vehicle that would allow him to reach the places he discovered on Google Earth and camp for extended periods of time. He’s also the kind of guy who sees what he wants, and makes it happen.
Above: The Brute Sparrow in Arizona this past Thanksgiving
TCM: Your red Jeep camper rig is stunning. How did you come to purchase and assemble your Jeep camper?
Chad: I started camping with my regular 1994 Jeep Wrangler. For vacation, I would take my Jeep and follow storms and other weather.
Naturally, it could be quite rough tent camping in the rain. Sleeping on the ground in bad weather eventually got old. About the same time, my Jeep was starting to fall apart and needed transmission work.
That’s when I started looking into a brand new Sportsmobile. I had always wanted one, but they are quite expensive. It was possible to find used Sportsmobiles for less money, but they were always beat up. I wanted something new. Used Sportsmobiles seem to have lots of miles. With the amount of miles I would be adding over time, a new vehicle seemed like a better choice.
During my research for an alternative, I came across photographs from the 2010 Overland Expo showing the Four Wheel Camper Sparrow on a Jeep AEV Brute. I immediately contacted Four Wheel Campers about the Sparrow and they gave me a ton of information. After further research, I decided to buy the camper. This is actually my first truck camper!
Above: Chad’s old Jeep in Death Valley
I had a Jeep YJ that I used as a photography base camp, but it was tough spending weeks in the field with such limited space.
Above: Chad’s old Jeep in Arizona
The Jeep itself was coming to the end of its life so it seemed like a good time to make the plunge to getting a camper. I also had a swing away bumper made to hold a thirty-five inch spare tire, and two jerrycans.
TCM: You mentioned doing some further research after talking to Four Wheel Campers about the Brute Sparrow rig. How did you come to the conclusion that the Jeep Brute Sparrow rig was the right solution for you?
Chad: I wanted something that was small and lightweight. I am going to be out in the middle of nowhere for long periods of time. Being a photographer, I take a lot of digital cameras, and I’m constantly charging batteries, so I need solar panels on the roof.