“We build kick-ass adventure rigs,” says Matt Henwood, president of Main Line Overland, as he drives a 2017 Toyota Tacoma built out with a Warn-wench equipped ARB bumper, Dakar Rally-proven EVO Corse wheels, a Norweld UTE flatbed imported from Australia, and a Woolrich Edition Four Wheel Camper bolted on top. The truck is raised, suspension is beefed up and chunky BF Goodrich KO2 tires spin over the central Pennsylvania landscape. It’s a kick-ass rig, and for the past 48 hours, we’d been adventuring in Bald Eagle State Forest.
The Henwood family has motor fuel in their blood. Matt’s mother raced stock cars in her youth, and his father restores and races classic British and American sports cars. The boys — there’s three: Tom, Matt and Peter — all are aficionados in a variety of engine-powered play. Beyond building and exploring with overland trucks, Matt and Peter are SCCA enduro race drivers and Tom is an avid dual sport rider. The family hosts the annual Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival and Touratech Rally at their family farm in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and MLO’s locations in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and in Bow, New Hampshire, allow them to cater to overland enthusiasts from the Carolinas to Maine and beyond.
The Henwoods build out the trucks to get the campers wherever one wants to go.
Main Line Overland also, notably, is the primary East Coast dealer for Woodland, California–based Four Wheel Campers. In the ’70s and ’80s, Four Wheel Campers gained popularity among outdoor adventurers seeking to go where the Vanagon could not. Slide the camper in the truck bed or on a flatbed, secure it, and you have a mini-RV with you wherever the trail may lead. Over decades of iteration, the modern aluminum-framed campers are now made to flex with the twists and jolts of a bumpy, less-travelled road; their low centers of gravity — with water tanks and propane tanks in the floors — improves off-road and off-camber handling; and the minimal over-cab height allows for more versatility on tight trails.
The campers ship to the Henwoods, and the Henwoods build out the trucks to get the campers wherever a customer wants to go. The Henwood boys have also invoked their own sense of taste in collaborating with Woolrich, a Pennsylvania neighbor a few hours north. The resulting camper is not your grandpa’s fishing rig — it’s a millenial’s escapist fantasy. It features a gray, smooth aluminum siding and ’70s Four Wheel graphics. In the interior, Woolrich tapped into its historical Civil War Reenactment Series for a 21 ounce heathered gray wool upholstery, and outfits blankets, bolsters and throw pillows with its iconic red and black buffalo check. The camper also comes fully stocked — two roof vents, a 8′ Fiamma side awning, hot water inside and outside shower, forced air furnace, 130 liter refrigerator, LED lighting and 20-gallon fresh water tank all come standard (among other features). Toss on a solar panel, and the Millennial or Baby Boomer is set for a weekend — or a decade — in the woods.
The rig handles lightly — one wouldn’t suspect there’s a home bolted on the back — and forges boldly through mild trail articulation challenges, mud puddles and overgrowth.
Following the lead of local Central Pennsylvadia cartographer Michael Hermann, of Purple Lizard Maps, we took the MLO Tacoma deep into Bald Eagle State Park. The rig handles lightly — one wouldn’t suspect there’s a home bolted to the flatbed — and forges boldly through mild trail-articulation challenges, mud puddles and overgrowth. Setting up camp takes about two minutes. The beer in the fridge — Yuengling Lager and Elk Creek Cafe microbrews — is cold. And once the campfire burns out, the over-cabin bed is king sized (literally) and the furnace provides a comfortable night’s sleep. This is backcountry glamping.
For the Henwood’s, these campers trump rooftop tents. The setup/breakdown is significantly faster, the rigid insulation and furnace makes tenuous weather tolerable, and the amenities to space ratio is a generous heaping of icing on the cake. The downside had typically been remoteness — but with the builds MLO’s putting out, that point is moot. These trucks can go wherever your fully rigged 4Runner can. Or at least, very nearly. And for those Sportsmobile enthusiasts — like myself; more to come on that soon — the argument for the camper is that you still keep your truck. Hoist this camper up on the provided jacks, pull the truck forward, lower and store the camper and get your full bed back. That — along with the option to upgrade the truck after you’ve put 200,000 miles on it — is tasty food for thought.
And so, Matt is right. He does build kick-ass adventure rigs. He and his brothers build them well and, with collaborations moving the camper market into the modern age of design, they’re making them, very temptingly so, for us.
Woolrich Limited Edition Slide-In Models Range from $36,595 – $37,195.
Woolrich Limited Edition Flat Bed Modesl Range from $42,995 – $43,995.