Optimized for small SUVs like the Suzuki Jimny, the new Red Gecko TDX is a burly teardrop off-roader ready for adventure in South Africa and beyond. Measuring just under 13 feet (4 m) long and weighing less than 1,000 pounds (454 kg), this tiny rift lives and rides like a Raptor-lined bunker, ready to take on any inclement weather. It brings everything you need to survive in the field and leaves the weight and bulk for the rest.
Gecko is both a beautiful reptile and a very popular name for off-road vehicle products. In addition to the “Gecko” feature that Ineos introduced last week on its prototype FCEV 4×4, we also saw the Gecko expandable truck camper and the Gecko off road caravan.
Not to be confused with any of these, Red Gecko is a Cape Town-based start-up whose road to market has been very similar to many other off-road teardrop trailer makers, including the ones we saw in store recently. Disillusioned with other forms of camping, the team behind Red Gecko was eager to find a way to cut prep time to zero and free up time for the number one reason people really go camping: to relax and have fun. The company went for a design that was lightweight, comfortable, safe, and portable, and the off-road teardrop shape came naturally.
In an era when teardrop construction is gradually shifting from wood to composite alternatives, Red Gecko proudly maintains its old-school style, reasoning that if birch plywood is still relied upon for building homes and boats, it must be up to the task of building a camper trailer. The company credits its birch and spruce construction for its superior strength-to-weight ratio and insulation, allowing this sub-1,000-pound family trailer to roll over rough terrain and provide reliable, waterproof shelter. Instead of the aluminum skin typically used to clad teardrop-shaped wooden frames, Red Gecko opted for a Raptor coating, which eliminates the possibility of rot caused by moisture sliding between the wood and skin.
Red Gecko shapes its wood into a modified flat teardrop shape that reminds us of an Oregon Trail’R Do-Drop, but with more clearly drawn front and rear walls. The Kamm tailback provides a sturdy base for the mini backsplash, which hides a simple, functional kitchen with a full-width worktop and under-counter drawers. The left-hand drawer is sized to accommodate the included Cadac portable two-burner cooker, which is fueled by a 3kg LPG bottle mounted on the side wall.
A cubicle behind the kitchen counter is connected by a hinged walkway between indoors and outdoors, and a low-profile gravity faucet on the right kitchen wall makes it easy to grab a glass of water in the middle of the night without stepping out of the trailer. The tap is combined with a collapsible basin to form a sink, which is piped to a small 5 liter tank.
A fold-out window table on the right wall provides additional work or storage space in the kitchen or for general outdoor living and lounging. There is an option to add additional drop down side wall tables. While on the move, the TDX’s galley worktop acts as a luggage floor, providing a safe, flat space to carry boxes, bags and supplies.
On the side, the Red Gecko offers comfortable entry and exit through its large separate left and right doors, both with drop-down sliding windows and locks. The interior features exposed wooden walls for a warm, welcoming feel, with ample shelf space above the headboard and foot of the bed. The high-density foam mattress features an egg carton foam top for added softness.
For added sleeping capacity, TDX owners can build a two-person rooftop tent. Red Gecko said it reinforced the roof with steel to support the roof rack and tent. Stepped fender design allows for easy roof loading.
The TDX rides on a rectangular tubular steel chassis secured to 15-inch steel wheels via Burquip rubber torsion axles. The rims come with 195/80R15 all-terrain tires, which can be upgraded to match the tractor.
Speaking of matching tractors, Red Gecko has a TDX variant called the Jimny Edition, a braked version of the trailer designed to work with small, rugged utility vehicles like the Suzuki Jimny and Renault/Dacia Duster With the use of. Adding brake axles, combined with a dry weight of 948 lbs (430 kg), makes it a natural match for smaller vehicles, especially those with off-road capability to match the trailer’s intended use.
Other TDX standard features include a 100 Ah AGM battery, dual USB charging ports, 220 V connector, rectangular roll-out awning, interior and exterior lighting, and a utility shelf on the tailgate designed for trash bags or other items people don’t want in a trailer or vehicle. Options include the 270-degree sun canopy pictured, a choice of inverters, the aforementioned brake shaft and a subframe-mounted 55-litre water tank. Prices start at 195,000 rand (approximately $10,900).
source: red gecko