Earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in Las Vegas, Nevada, many may have overlooked a rather interesting concept that was on display with The North Face. The FUTURELIGHT camper was inspired by BMW’s GINA fabric roadster concept from a decade ago, and uses cutting-edge material manufactured using a new process known as nannospinning to achieve a semi-permeable textile that is both waterproof and breathable. The camper remains a concept at this point, but is scheduled to join The North Face’s Fall 2019 catalog as part of a pinnacle performance collection later this year.
Can’t you just imagine towing it behind your new off-road package-equipped X5? The trailer is said to provide a demonstration of how protection from the elements will be achieved in the decades to come, using futuristic fabrics and materials that are both lightweight and breathable, yet uncompromising in their ability to shield and safeguard. It’s not the first trailer that BMW has had a hand in though—more on this later—and the fabric structure is credited directly to the 2008 BMW GINA Light Visionary Model concept car which uses a flexible fabric shell stretched over a recognizable shape. In the case of GINA, the substructure displayed a clear resemblance to a contemporary BMW roadster, while the FUTURELIGHT camper draws influence from the classic geodesic dome shape.
The nanospinning process used to make the fabric for the FUTURELIGHT camper is claimed to create nano-sized holes that allow for excellent porousness while somehow simultaneously maintaining a total waterproof quality. The result is a textile that can vent and breathe while providing interior occupants a respite from the elements, with a dry and sheltered space.
As mentioned above, it’s not the first tow-behind creation to come from the universe of all things BMW, and we’re not talking about those home-spun E30 trailers that have been built by a number of enthusiasts. Around 20 years ago, when the E46 3 Series was just taking hold, BMW made a trailer for European customers. Offered from 1998 until 2003 as a genuine accessory, the trailer had its own braking system and appears to have been designed to carry motorcycles. There was also an optional shell though, and performing an image search returns a handful of grainy photos of the complete setup which originate from the Eastern Bloc.
The FUTURELIGHT camper is the product of collaboration between Designworks, a BMW subsidiary nestled in Newbury Park, California, and industry-leading outdoor product manufacturer The North Face. Inspiration is purely BMW, but the concept is slated to become a reality via The North Face later this year in the company’s Fall 2019 catalog.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]