CES 2019: North Face Designs a Camper out of Ultralight Fabric

January 11, 2019 by Rick Stella, @RickStella

Outdoor apparel giant The North Face developed a fabric so strong it could serve as a material for a tow-hitch travel trailer that adventurers can haul with their trucks.

The brand worked on a design for the trailer for two years alongside creative consultancy Designworks, a BMW subsidiary. The pair showcased a virtual concept of the adventure vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

The trailer idea was inspired by BMW’s 2008 GINA Light Visionary Model, a concept car with a fabric outer shell made of polyurethane-coated Spandex, a North Face executive told Trucks.com.


Instead of Spandex, the camper uses North Face’s recent fabric innovation it calls Futurelight as the camper’s outer shell, said Jason Israel, The North Face’s global creative director of mountain sports.

“The development of Futurelight technology was based upon the simple need, and want, to create a better waterproof garment,” Israel said.

A demo of the trailer using an HTC Vive virtual reality headset showed the fabric-laden trailer parked on a snowy mountainside. The environment also shifted from day to night.

The dome-shaped camper holds a sleeping bag (single or double) and has a bench seat and small table. (Photo: The North Face)

The exterior sits on top of rugged off-road tires and small running boards accompanying each side’s zippered entrance. The body is not unlike a giant dome, shaped similarly to The North Face’s popular geodesic tents.

The interior holds a bed platform that fits a single or double sleeping bag. A bench seat and small side table are next to the sleeping area.

The trailer would attach to a pickup, SUV or crossover via a standard tow hitch.


Futurelight is developed using nanospinning technology, a process that weaves fabric at a sub-microscopic level into a highly breathable and lightweight mesh. Essentially, it’s The North Face’s answer to Gore-Tex.

According to Underwriters Laboratories, an independent, third-party testing firm, Futurelight’s membrane is more effectively waterproof, durable and lighter than Gore-Tex.

The North Face told Trucks.com that the adventure trailer is still in very early stages of development, with no production date set. The brand plans on releasing Futurelight-made rain coats, snow jackets and pants next fall.

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