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What Is a Unimog Camper?

What Is a Unimog Camper?

Are you looking for an epic adventure rig to take you anywhere and everywhere your heart desires? Do you want to venture fearlessly off-road and into the unknown with everything you need? If your soul was screaming yes to these questions, you need to know about the Unimog camper. It’s a true beast, and it’s perfect for extreme overlanding adventures because it can handle just about everything.

But what makes Unimog campers so amazing? Let’s take a look. 

What Is a Mog Truck?

A Unimog or “Mog” Truck is a 4x4 Mercedes-Benz multipurpose off-roading vehicle specifically designed to endure any terrain it encounters. Developed by Germany after WWII, it was first built as an agricultural vehicle to tow farm equipment.

Since then, it’s only become bigger and more rugged as advancements in technology continue. They are heavy-duty and heavy (recent Mogs weigh in at a whopping 18,800 lbs) vehicles intended for very challenging tasks.

What sets a Unimog apart? Quite simply, the build. It has portal axels, a multi-speed drivetrain, a flexible but sturdy frame design, and a torque tube with coil suspension. Because of their versatility in almost every environment, they’re used worldwide for various military, police, and agricultural endeavors. 

All of the above make them fantastic off-road machines, but it comes at the price of on-road comfort. While they are street legal many have very low top speeds and very few creature comforts and safety devices for the driver. This is common however among many off-road capable vehicles, the better off-road, the worse on road.

ULTIMATE 4x4 DIY UNIMOG Camper Conversion TOUR - Off-Grid Overland Vehicle Home - Van Life Ep 16

What Is a Unimog Camper?

A Unimog camper is essentially a Unimog truck that features an adventure camper on the back—also known as the “Mog Home.” Sometimes these campers are called habitats. Essentially, it has all the amazing off-roading capabilities of a Unimog, but you can live in it.

Like most campers, it comes with a bed, a dinette, a kitchenette, a small bathroom, holding tanks, and even a solar set-up coupled with a top-of-the-line battery bank. But you can completely customize your “Mog Home” based on your specific needs. 

Pro Tip: Take your Unimog on your next overlanding adventure, but make sure you have it stocked with the 11 Top Essential Gear for Overlanding.

Unimog camper
The Unimog camper is built on the base of a Unimog truck.
Source: mercedes-benz-trucks.com

The answer to this question is going to be different in every country, but if you’re in the United States, you can rest assured they are completely street legal. And while it might be perfectly legal to drive your Unimog and camper to the mall on a Saturday afternoon, you’ll definitely want to do some test drives before you head to your destination. They can be a bit awkward to drive, and as one owner puts it “ they ride like fast tractors.” 

Like we mentioned above, all the off-road capability makes them slow and cumbersome on city streets.

Do You Need a CDL to Drive a Unimog?

Surprisingly, you don’t need a CDL to drive a Unimog. Despite their massive appearance, anyone with a regular driver’s license can get in and put the pedal to the metal. Does that make you a bit nervous? Yeah, us too. 

You may however need a special license for the weight class in some locations. These rigs can be very heavy and will exceed the standard 14,000lb pickup truck gross weights.

Unimog camper driving in forest.
Roam the world in a massive Unimog camper.

What Engine Does a Unimog Have?

The Unimog’s engine has changed quite a bit throughout the years. However, if you ordered one today, you’ll have the choice of an OM 934 LA or an OM 936 LA diesel engine. Your Unimog engine will depend on the model and variant you choose. 

For example, if you choose the U 5030, you’ll have the OM 936 LA engine. Or, if you choose the U 4032, you’ll get the OM 934 LA engine. 

How Many MPG Does a Unimog Get?

As you probably guessed, Unimogs aren’t known for being the most fuel-efficient vehicles. The MPGs they get will vary based on the type of terrain they encounter, speed, and how they are built out.

Nevertheless, TopSpeed.com estimated their fuel economy at 8 mpg in the city and 16 mpg on the highway. And while this estimate was from 2013, countless other articles and forums echo this 15 mpg range tops. 

Because these are diesel vehicles their economy is actually better however than many gas motorhomes.

Unimog truck parked
Be prepared to stop and fuel up often with your Unimog as they aren’t the most fuel-efficient vehicles.

How Much Is a Unimog Camper?

As we mentioned before, a Unimog is a completely customizable camper. Because of this, the price you pay will differ depending on the features, specs, and variations. But, regardless of what you choose, these beasts don’t come cheap. We’re talking about a starting price of over $580,000 new. 

Pro Tip: Are you tempted to name your Unimog? These are 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Name Your Camper.

old mercedes unimog truck with cargo rack
A Unimog will cost you a pretty penny to purchase.

Can You Buy a Unimog Camper in the US?

Unfortunately, you can’t buy a new Unimog in the U.S. Mercedes-Benz only sold Unimogs on one brief occasion—from 2002 to 2007. Nowadays, Americans will have to rely on auctions such as Bring a Trailer or a licensed Unimog importer such as Expedition Imports.

Keep in mind that these will all be used Unimogs (usually 25 years or older), and you’ll have to factor in any fees or taxes that come with imported vehicles. 

overlanding
Source: mercedes-benz-trucks.com

Is a Unimog Camper Worth It?

Are you an overlanding enthusiast who wants the ultimate adventure RV? Is it your absolute dream to have a Unimog? Then we think it’s totally worth it to at least explore what’s out there.

Keep in mind however that these are not great on street vehicles and if you want to move quickly and put the miles on, perhaps a different type of vehicle would be best suited for you.

Of course, if you’re in the U.S., you’ll be limited to used and imported Unimogs, and each one will have its own price point, history, and unique condition. Therefore, the decision is totally up to you, your budget, and the inventory available. 

We don’t recommend putting yourself in a position where you can barely make ends meet just to afford one. But if you’re able to find the perfect Unimog for you (that’s within your budget), more power to you!

Whether you want a Unimog or a Jeep camper, finding a used overland vehicle can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start looking or how to search. Check out our advice here: How to Find Used Overland Vehicles for Sale (And Where We Found Ours)

We Renovated A 20 Year-Old Truck Camper Into A Luxury Overland Vehicle
While not a Unimog, we built out an Overlanding beast of our own!

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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