As we just love the mountains (especially in winter) we wanted the interior of our Mountain Yacht to reflect that. Most expedition trucks look like a ‘dentist practice’: in general very high build quality but little imagination, often white walls and ceilings and very clean when it comes to interior design.
This probably has to do with the fact that all (potential) customers have to like it – or not object to it – and build conformity, otherwise the cost would be even higher.
We wanted a mountain chalet on wheels, with a warm and rugged atmosphere. For us it resembles exactly what we have in mind by the words Mountain Yachting.
We know, our interior will not be to everybody’s liking, for many people too outspoken, or just not modern enough. Luckily everybody has its own tastes and opinions – and is fully entitled to that.
Steel frames all around
Once the Box is ready we take a week time to just sit in it and measure everything we have in mind. From day one it is clear that we want to use steel again , just like we did in the interior of our Sprinter 4×4.
We just love the strength and the rugged look of the 40 x 40 mm steel beams, so we decided to build every piece of furniture with it. The whole kitchen is also made of steel, just as the seating area. Door and frame of the bathroom and the frames and doors of the cabinets in the bedroom as well.
It not only looks well but also adds to the stiffness and rigidity of the Box as several structures are from bottom to ceiling.
Rustic oak floor boards and Belgian hard-stone
For the walls we used multiplex floor boards with a thick rustic oak top layer. This material does expand very little in hot & cold, further advantage is that it adds an extra layer of insulation and stiffness to the walls as well.
For the walls behind the kitchen and the bathroom wall we used a very thin layer of genuine Belgian hard-stone. We impregnated the hard-stone, so stains from cooking – or otherwise – will not stick.
Suede leather wall patches
For the walls in the bedroom and the seating area we are searching for a softer material instead of the hard-stone or oak. After some hours researching the net we find self adhesive suede leather patches in beige. This will match the ceiling perfectly and has a genuine and soft touch that will add to the atmosphere as well.
18 mm rustic oak panels
We made all the panels for the doors, cabinet walls and so on, out of solid 18 mm rustic oak panels. We oiled the panels to match the rustic oak of the wall. We totally love this rustic oak and steel look: a rock solid combination and a feast for the eyes (in our opinion that is).
Ceiling out of Coca Cola bottles
We were looking for a felt kind of material for the ceiling and preferably something that would give depth to the ceiling as well. We found some acoustic felt products but the beams on it are made of MDF and this does not go well with moist and temperature variations.
We researched some more and found these felt-like-panels that are made out of PET-bottles, sold by the same supplier as the leather, so they also match in colour. The material is totally recycled and very good moist and temperature variations properties. They also have very good sound dampening characteristics and provide an extra layer of insulation as well. Last but not least: they look the part.
We used black on black for the ‘stube‘ (seating area) and beige on black for the bedroom and the rest of the Box.
PVC panel floor
We had a PVC floor in the Sprinter 4×4 and decided that we also need this in our Mountain Yacht. A solid wooden floor would be nicer but as it tends to ‘work’ in winter and summer this is not the best option for an Expedition truck. Especially when you want to stay on beaches, in deserts and muddy fields as you tend to walk everything inside. Let alone the snow of our skiboots. The PVC floor still looks good but is very rugged and will be able to withstand almost anything you throw at it.
The materials we used are certainly not lightweight, but this has never been a consideration for us. When you want a lightweight expedition truck, the HX60 is not the truck we would choose as the HX60 has a technical capacity of 19 tonnes (18 tonnes on the license). The empty weight of our Winch truck is already around 10 tonnes, without the Box.
We knew all along that our Mountain Yacht would be heavy as we wanted a very rugged construction on everything and we carry 800 liters of water and almost 800 liters of diesel as well. We decided to keep the flatbed as our rocksolid platform instead of a lighter four-point subframe. The Box itself is also rather heavily constructed with a 120 mm steel platform and heavy wall- and ceiling panels (wood – insulation – wood) as well as thick aluminium beams on all the corners and roof.
It turned out that our travel-ready-weight is 15,5 tonnes, 7,25 tonnes on the front axle and 8,25 tonnes on the rear. We calculated that we could have saved approximately 520 Kg. not using the materials that we did and having build everything with lightweight materials. We are quite happy with this result.
The weight distribution between the front and rear is almost exactly what we hoped for (perfect) and we stay below the 16 tonnes, which in a lot of Alpine countries is a weight limit on mountain roads. Still 3,5K tonnes reserve before reaching the technical limit of 19 tonnes.
Up to now we have driven almost 17K kilometers in all kinds of circumstances and are very happy with the behaviour of our Mountain Yacht. The ride comfort is just so much better in comparison to when we took hold of our HX60 weighing 10 tonnes. The suspension is smoother and more comfortable with the help of the weight. We never have the feeling that our Mountain Yacht is overweighted, not even on winding mountain roads in 15% steep hairpins or driving uphill from a deep sandy beach.
Our Mountain Chalet on wheels
It has been a lot of work to create everything the way we wanted. We had the steel frames welded and powder coated by a professional party but the rest we did ourselves. We are very happy with the end result and it has been a joy travelling in it, both in cold winter and hot summer.