Say you want a camper trailer, but space to store it is at a premium or you just don’t want something too wide to tow behind your crossover? Well, you might be interested in Beauer’s solution of double, or even triple expanding camper trailers. While these were originally designed and sold in France and Europe, Beauer now sells in the US, so we interviewed its inventor and American seller to find out more about these interesting camper trailers.
While pop-out and slide-out campers aren’t exactly a foreign idea here in the US, these were often limited to a roof that rises up or a small section that would slide out to expand the room inside a camper trailer. While great, the width would remain the same when stored or while in tow, and could be too much for most large-sized crossovers. That’s where Beauer’s camper trailers differ: they are roughly the same width as your crossover when stored or in tow, but they are able to expand nearly double or even triple their width when in use. For people who have limited space to store a camper, this makes owning one so much easier when they are able to park it in the same width and length as a large sedan.
Why Make Such A Camper Trailer?
“I invented the 3X ten years ago,” said Eric Beau, inventor and founder of Beauer, “I wanted a small caravan towing on the road and for storage and a large one at the campsite to accommodate four people. The solution was the slide-out.” The only bad part is doing that would create an uneven floor and Beau had a solution for that. The floors will tilt up when expanded and automatically tilt back down when reduced to its storage or towing conversion. Even more impressive is that the interior also slides into pockets made into the layout of floor space, including the toilet and sink of the bathroom, if equipped. Beds, tables and couches fold up to fit within the 43 square-foot space when everything is shrunk down.
The 3X is just 6.4 feet wide by 8.5 feet long when in its compact state, but expands to 130 sq. ft. thanks to its 14.4 ft. width when fully expanded. That’s rather impressive considering that the smallest compact camper trailer—with no pop-outs—is around 7 ft. wide and up to 12 ft. long with only 84 sq. ft. of space. “After filing the patent, I made the first prototype in the garden with my dad, then the first orders came by chance.”
After the 3X, the 2X came next to accommodate anyone looking to have a camper that weighs around 1,653 pounds and only needs about 86 square feet of room when not in use. It only slides out to double its width, hence the 2X name, but is lightweight enough for many small crossovers to tow. The largest of the Beauer campers is the 3X Plus, which is nearly 9 ft. longer and expands to triple its 7 ft. width, for a full capacity of up to six people in a 300 sq. ft. space. That gives the 3X Plus room for three beds (two individual and one for two people), a full bathroom, couch, and a table that seats four.
A 3X on a Chassis Cab: The 3XC
The other interesting thing about Beauer is that they don’t just do trailers. “Some European countries prefer the motorhome to the caravan,” said Beau. “This is the case in France. By attaching the extendable caravan cell to a chassis cab, the 3XC motorhome was born.”
Imagine being able to have a motorhome that doesn’t need to be terribly long, is just over six feet wide, and yet still offers up to 130 square feet of space for living when it’s completely expanded. Beauer is also creating a more square-shaped version of the 3XC called the Xcar. However, don’t expect it to be based off the 3X Plus camper; “It is possible with a Fiat Ducato (Ram ProMaster here in the US), but the trend in Europe is to go smaller, hence the success of the van.”
Selling in the US
What’s great is that Beauer camper trailers are also being sold in the US. Eric Beau introduced us to Mark Kilgus, who owns Beauer America and is based in Spartanburg, South Carolina. We had to ask, for such a European camper, why bring them to the US? “My motivation to import was sparked by the clever engineering and practicality of the Caravan 3X for the US market,” Kilgus explained. “As in Europe, I believe the trend is towards lighter and more compact travel trailers for easy towing, especially to accommodate electric and hybrid vehicles. ” Kilgus pointed out that the 3X is under 2,200 pounds thanks to its aluminum frame and thick polyester insulated shell. Again, referring to the earlier compact trailer comparison, the 3X is only 447 pounds heavier but has nearly 1.5 times the space when in use.
The response has been better than expected for such a unique camper trailer. The first four models imported to the US have already been sold and the demand is currently exceeding the manufacturing capacity, according to Kilgus. The next shipment of eight trailers will not arrive until 2023. “The US model of the 3X costs around $45,000 and comes with all of the upgrades including a solar panel, auxiliary battery, an additional bed to sleep four, and more.” Since Beauer sells a motorhome in the 3XC, will we see it come to the US? “Not at this time,” said Kilgus, “We can supply the 2X and 3X Plus, but the 3X is the best value and most practical for today’s traveler.”
The other positive news from Kilgus is that they want to bring production to the US to expand beyond Spartanburg. “The dealer network will develop once there is manufacturing capability in the US,” said Kilgus. Hopefully, this will happen soon so we can get our hands on our own 3X to try out. It looks like a great idea on paper and could be a great solution to owners of crossovers and small trucks who still want to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle with minimal space to store such a camper.
Images provided by Beauer