We have had much discussion on our longer term plans during this trip, as we have had time to reflect. We have watched a lot of vlogs, read blogs and thought about where we want to go. We are contemplating a longer trip and venturing to some less well travelled spots. Many of those that are doing such trips are using overlanding trucks / rigs to do that. We have been interested in these since hiring one for a guided tour of Iceland 2 years ago. We have also since visited a Unimog manufacturer and done a Unimog driving course at the Unimog museum in Germany. However, we felt the Unimog was too specialist off-road and not ideal for long distance travel.
Another manufacturer we have been interested in for a long time is Krug Expedition who make a Mercedes Atego based truck under 7.5 tonnes called the Project Rhino. As we were passing (relatively) close to their base in Austria we got in touch to see if we could visit and see one of their trucks in more detail.
Werner, their Sales manager was happy to meet us and so at 11am this morning we met him at their base in Schladming. We had a lot of questions and then he showed us round their demo unit and was kind enough to take us out for a spin.
The main advantages of these sorts of units are they are obviously built for doing a lot of miles as they are based on a truck chassis and have the durability to go with it. The Atego has an automatic gearbox and great 4×4 capability. The accommodation unit is self contained and lockable separately to the truck, important for security especially for Ro-Ro shipping where you have to hand over your truck keys. They also have large solar panel arrays, big banks of lithium batteries and diesel heating so you do not need LPG or to plug in. Obviously we found out recently how challenging that can be and in places like Morocco you can’t buy it at all. They also have a dry toilet and a bigger water tank which makes you less reliant on services.
For those benefits, you do lose a bit of living space as the Project Rhino rig is actually shorter than our Mercedes Sprinter. It is however, slightly wider than we are and quite a bit taller. It does though have a very impressive turning circle and seemed actually more manoeuvrable than we are currently.
We like the layout of the accommodation and it has a lot more storage than we have. However, keeping the weight under 7.5 tonnes to comply with drivers licensing is a fine balance.
It was great to see one up close and we were impressed with the build quality. It has given us much to think about and more research to do before we decide what comes next.