Boreas Campers Offers the Perfect Base for Your Next Budget DIY Off-Road Camper

C20 8 photos
Photo: Boreas Campers
C20C20C20C20 (XT Air Suspension)C16 (Cruisemaster Suspension)C16C16
Let's face it; most of us don't have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on a camper or RV. But some of us are surely handy with power tools and a bucket of bolts. If this remotely describes who you are and how you like to live, then listen up.
Folks, Boreas Campers is a crew whose work we've featured countless times here on autoevolution. Why? Well, this Colorado-based crew has made a name for itself in the camper community by designing and crafting mean and capable units that take most of, if not all, the worry of getting out into the wild as quickly as possible.

If you follow along with the news we often post on our site, then you've seen their work. The freshest of the bunch is their 2024 XT camper, an overland-ready unit that, for $45K, lets you simply hook it up to your truck and drive off the lot toward the X on your map. You'll just need to stop by a local grocery store to load up on food.

However, this time around, I've decided to shed light on a different side of the work this crew achieves: toy haulers and camper bases. That's right; Boreas Campers also has a lineup of trailers designed to be used as is and loaded to the brim with toys, gear, and even other vehicles or as a base for your next DIY camper build. Be advised: if you decide to create a mobile habitat on one of Boreas Camper foundations, you'll clearly be on the right track toward one hell of a wheeled bedroom.

Photo: Boreas Campers
Now, two options exist on the manufacturer's website: the C16 and C20. The first is nothing more than a chassis with one solid suspension system, and the second is the trailer we see, which can also be developed into a camper, depending on your level of design and crafting skills.

Starting with the C16, here, Boreas gives us their idea of what sort of chassis a camper needs. Here, we're looking at nothing more than 1/8-inch 4x2 and 3x2 laser-cut tube steel sitting atop one of the industry's most appreciated suspension setups, a Cruisemaster CRS2 trailing arm suspension; it can handle 3,500 lbs (1,588 kg) of total load. Oh, those steel tubes are also powder-coated to fight off the elements.

From here, electric drum brakes are added, AT BF Goodrich tires, a front and rear hitch receiver, and even fenders and marker lights. But, another all-important component is the hitch, and here, Cruisemaster is once again called upon with their DO35 hitch. There is a list of extras, too, so take the time to really explore what you can do with this $8,000 (€7,500 at current exchange rates) piece of hardware.

C20 \(XT Air Suspension\)
Photo: Boreas Campers
Now, as neat as the C16 presents itself, I'd personally go for the C20. Why? Well, for an extra $2,500, for a total of $10,500 (€9,900), you'll receive a chassis/base that won't let your gear, tools, or habitat fall through the floor. What I mean to say is that this trailer has the floor installed and one that can even handle the weight of a side-by-side.

Here, the same steel tubes are used and powder coated as well, but the difference lies in the suspension setup. The same Cruisemaster CRS2 is available, but so is an XT Air suspension, suitable for up to 5,200 lbs (2,359 kg) of total load. Oh, and as its name would suggest, this unit comes in with a length of 20 ft (6.1 m), as opposed to 16 ft (4.8 m) like the C16.

The rest of the C20 is completed in a similar fashion to the C16, with electric drum brakes and AT tires from BF Goodrich, but with just a front hitch receiver and a DO35 hitch coupler from Cruisemaster. all you really have to grab as extra for this base chassis is a set of ramps to climb vehicles aboard.

This also brings me to my final point in this story. As I mentioned, the C20 is the base that I would go for, and there are plenty more reasons as to why. To get a feel for what I mean, let's take a little trip through imagination and explore what's possible.

Photo: Boreas Campers
As I was covering the C16 and C20, I pictured myself owning the C20 because it seems to be precisely what I want, even if I don't plan on building a camper just yet. For starters, this base can be used to carry countless pounds of gear. Just make sure to secure everything well.

From there, I hit the road with a fridge/freezer, some e-bikes, and a kayak, and after driving for hours, I finally saw myself by the edge of some treeline by a puddle of water dubbed a lake. I think you can see where I'm going with this.

After settling down and unloading all my goodies, I'd lay down a couple of sleeping bags, a pillow or two, light a fire a few feet away, and that's my outdoor bedroom during those clear summer night skies. Yup, I've got a portable toilet and tent annex, too. Not much else is needed.

A few months to a year down the line, you'll probably have put some cash to the side, and then you can begin phase two in your C16 or C20's life. Throw on a shell, drop in some insulation, get that galley block ready, and off you go. Sounds like one sweet way to create the camper of your dreams and grow with it.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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