VW Previews Transporter T6, World Debut Scheduled for 15th April


There’s a type of teasing that has been going around for some time now. It involves a lot of sketches released by carmakers, way before they decide to ‘leak’ short obscure videos and half-revealing teaser photos. Volkswagen Group is playing that sketch-teasing game through its Commercial Vehicles department with the 2015 Transporter T6, scheduled to make a world debut on April 15.

VW has released the first design sketch of the sixth-generation Transporter, which will have its official world premiere on April 15. The rendering looks exactly as one would expect, considering that the T6 is expected to retain the T5’s underpinnings – just like VW did with the new Caddy

The industrious T6 model has travelled a long way to reach its sixth generation, after the first iteration saw daylight in 1950. However, spy photos have shown that the new Transporter will feature a new interior with a redesigned dashboard complete with an integrated screen for VW’s latest infotainment system. Rremember the Volkswagen Tristar concept, which hinted at the future T6 model despite being a short-wheelbase version of the current T5 Transporter with a cut roof and a pickup bed.

The Tristar received a 2.0-liter turbodiesel good for 204 HP and 450 Nm (331 lb-ft) along with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system but it’s too early to say if that setup will be adopted by the new Transporter T6. In the concept the power was sent through a seven-speed DSG transmission and into a 4MOTION all-wheel drive system. Further engine-related info will become available as the debut date is closing in, but we do know that the new T6 will be built in Hanover and the interior will receive an extended trim for a more upmarket feel inside the cabin.

The new Transporter T6 will show off a more modern and sophisticated design, with rounder panel edges, an increase in attention to detail especially with panel contours and trimmings, and a slightly sportier stance.

Technically, the next version won’t be much different from the current model as far as we know. It will take on the badge ‘T6′, however, it’s believed it will carry over essentially the same platform and similar dimensions as the current version.

VOLKSWAGEN IS giving very little away, in fact, it’s given nothing away with the short blurb accompanying the sketch saying absolutely nothing about the new, sixth-generation Transporter. Making its official debut back in 1950, the VW Transporter is celebrating its 65th year, and according to Volkswagen, “few could have predicted the enormous impact the Transporter would have in revolutionising the commercial vehicle market, creating a timeless automotive icon in the process”.

“Getting the job done efficiently and reliably has been at the heart of the Volkswagen philosophy for the past 65 years. Its reputation for rugged reliability has endured over the decades to make the Volkswagen Transporter one of the world’s best-selling light commercial vehicles,” Volkswagen said in a statement..

Road trip gone bad: Not quite making it to Baja in my Westy


My Wesy takes a trip


Mexico’s Baja California peninsula is an incredibly beautiful place. My 1987 Volkswagen camper van can be an amazing way to travel there. As anyone who has been around one knows, however, calamity is part of every Westy adventure.

Two years and 10 thousand miles ago I completely rebuilt my VW Vanagon GL Westfalia. A day before a large holiday party, while running to pick up ALL THE FOOD, my Vanagon threw the alternator belt, overheated and in a disastrous chain of events ended up needing an engine, transmission, cooling system and brakes. I threw in a new tent and bigger, low profile wheels just for fun. I used GoWesty’s fantastic 2.3L upgraded power plant and made a slew of minor improvements. I had been having such a great two years with the bus, I started to think it was bulletproof.

“She’s like a new car!” I told my girlfriend, who had agreed to come with me on a trip to Canyon de Guadalupe, Mexico, before I described the long, long list of things I’d replaced or had done. We booked a campsite for a few days in late December and planned to marathon drive down from San Francisco on Christmas day.

I worried over every small detail. Swapping out an old p-trap under the kitchen sink in the van took 3 days. This should have been the first clue things were going to go wrong. I started out thinking I needed a better wrench to free it. I ended up drilling holes in the old trap to weaken it, and needing a saw to cut it out. Welcome to the world of the VW bus.

Then the fridge, after starting easily the first time I tried, refused to relight after I’d filled up the propane tank. “Oh well!” I thought, “I’ll run off of electric and start it on gas when I get to Mexico.” It gave me something to worry about, which I felt was normal, so I didn’t let it get in the way.

I’d labored over a decision: whether to take Highway 5 up and over the Grapevine, or the 101. As we were trying for speed, and I trusted my GoWesty engine, we chose the 5. Where to cross the international border was also a major consideration. I wanted to cross at Tecate and drive the famous, scenic MEX2 highway 150 or so miles through La Rumerosa to Laguna Salada and Canyon De Guadalupe. I was worried that Pemex, the state-owned and only gas stations in Mexico, might be closed on Christmas in more rural areas and thought we might run out of gas on our way North. To ensure that didn’t happen, we planned to cross at Mexicali.

I left Muir Beach, CA at 3:30AM, picked up my co-pilot in Oakland around 4 and we were off. She drove the first shift and I slept. Waking up once or twice at gas stops, I wasn’t really cogent or thinking as she headed up the Grapevine, California’s famous VW bus killer.

Many an air-cooled VW van has died on this monstrous incline. Named after the grapes that grow wild around the remnants of the earlier HWY99 that was long ago replaced by the 5, this section of road was once to be feared in the Summer. Nowadays cars have far more efficient cooling systems, as it helps regulate fuel efficiency (an important point later,) but my woefully underpowered 1987 van would have been in danger. Luckily, I thought, it has run super cool since the rebuild and December was freezing cold. I didn’t anticipate any trouble. I didn’t realize my co-pilot was unfamiliar with the Vanagon’s quirky, near useless, gas gauge.

We actually made it over the top of the Grapevine just fine! The van did well and held 55 most of the way. Once we came over the top, with her nose pointed down, we ran out of gas. Initially, I didn’t notice anything. My co-pilot complained she was losing power and I asked her to let off the gas. I took the car out of gear and immediately the engine stopped. Luckily, without the engine braking we sped up. We threw on the hazards and decided to try and roll to the next gas station in Gorman. We came up about 15 feet short and needed a slight push, but as far as Grapevine calamities go this was pretty mild. We filled up the tank, primed the fuel pump and she started right up.

It took about another hundred miles for things to go wrong. My best guess is that we sucked up a ton of sludge from the bottom of my new gas tank (did I mention that had been replaced 2 years ago as well?). It is possible we also got bad gas in Gorman, but they have so much traffic I find that less likely. Whatever the cause, the Vanagon gradually lost power until it wouldn’t rev over 3500rpm. That limited us to about 50-55mph on flat ground and 35mph or so uphill. We were trying to take the 210 freeway around Los Angeles to bypass traffic and didn’t anticipate the San Gabriel mountains being such a problem. Clearly something was wrong with the car.

We ran a little bit of fuel injector cleaner through the Westy. Things got better. We ran a lot more fuel injector cleaner through her and things got a lot better. I decided to swap the fuel filter, after I proudly told my traveling companion I had the foresight to carry one for just this type of problem. We would head from San Dimas, about 70 or 80 miles, with the car gaining and losing power, to Santa Monica and spend the night at my parents. In the AM I’d swap the filter and we’d head to Mexico.

Visiting Santa Monica let us have dinner at my favorite deli in West Los Angeles, Izzy’s. I am not a Fromin’s fan. Had we been closer to the San Fernando Valley, I’d have gone to Brent’s. It was wonderful to eat at a deli on Christmas.

The next morning I swung under the van, asking my friend to time me, because this was going to take less than 5 minutes. Then I saw that the bolt holding the fuel filter to the frame was stripped. It looked like someone had used a power tool on it while up on a lift and chewed the center out. I tried my fathers special “remove stripped bolts and screws” screwdriver to no avail. I tried vise grips but couldn’t get any purchase. Then I found a local mechanic who was open and for $20 he removed the bolt and swapped in the spare filter. It took him less than 5 minutes.

We were on our way! The car was running great again, we could hold 75mph no problem and O’Reilly Auto Parts had another spare fuel filter for us. We headed towards Mexico.

Around 40-50 miles later I noticed that the car felt like it was losing power when I floored it, a frequent occurrence in a vintage VW bus. I had no clue what was going on, so we stopped at a gas station. Idling the van for a few moments, I was surprised to see the temperature gauge never came up above minimum operating temps. I thought the thermostat might be stuck open. Luckily, my incredible mechanic Paul from San Rafael’s Valley Wagonworks chose that very moment to call me. We discussed the issues I’d been seeing and he suggested finding a Vanagon expert to swap the thermostat. He wondered if maybe a fuel injector was still clogged. He told me I wouldn’t hurt the van driving it like this, but it’d be slow.

I took a look at the thermostat housing and decided it was under too much junk to try and swap on the road. I wanted to go to Baja but I also just wanted to go home. The idea of finding myself stuck on the side of the road in Palm Springs, CA with the fluids pouring out of a cooling system I was unable to properly bolt down was only slightly more appealing than the idea of being in a similar position on the southern side of the US/Mexico border. It was around 11am and 70ºF out. The car was running fine. We agreed it’d be safer to just go home.

Thus began a long, slow trip home. I did not anticipate the outside temperatures changing. As it got colder the car lost power. As we went up in elevation, we lost power. The car ran less and less efficiently, sometimes down to 6 or 7mpg. We were stopping every 60-80 miles. When outside temperatures dropped below 50F the car started to blow clouds of smoke when you’d accelerate.

This was not how I’d hoped to introduce a new friend to the joys of Vanagon camping.

We got home. During the several days we spent pretending my house was a campsite, I found a spare thermostat. I swapped it in, in about one hour, and didn’t lose much coolant. The car runs perfectly fine now. I’ll take it to my mechanic to change the oil and check my work soon.

One friend suggested I find a newer van to go camping in. He doesn’t get it.

While I never got to Baja, this was kind of a perfect Westy adventure. We solved the issues and got home safe. My friend says she’d love to find a closer hot springs and try the VW again. I still want to go to Baja.


Prices held at Camping and Caravanning Club


The Camping and Caravanning Club continues to focus on offering great value for money by freezing the price of its Online Membership at just £37 for 2015. This great news for members follows a very successful year for the Club in 2014, which saw the household membership figure rise to 262,576 at the end of December.

Much of this success was down to the launch of the Online Membership offering in spring 2014. It has proven a hit with Club members – nearly 35,000 households have already opted for this significantly discounted, paper-free subscription. Online Membership offers all the benefits of the paper equivalent, but instead of receiving printed versions of the Club magazine and sites directories, the same information is offered in digital format.

The Club magazine, Camping & Caravanning, is available online as a turn-page edition, and all the Club’s campsites can be researched through its SiteSeeker app. Once the SiteSeeker app is downloaded, you don’t need internet access to launch it and research your next site.

If you do have internet access, though, it is possible to click through within the SiteSeeker app to book your holiday online via the Club’s revamped site pages, which are optimised for mobile device use.

And more recently, Online Membership is complemented by an interactive magazine app as the latest addition to the Club’s growing digital offering for members. The app, entitled Camping & Caravanning, is available as an iPad download from Apple’s App Store. It mirrors the award-winning print version of Camping & Caravanning magazine, which continues to be published every month.

The Club’s Membership Services Director, Darren Whittington, said: “The way people choose to consume information has changed drastically in recent years: we now have more visitors to our website via tablet and mobile devices than we do from laptop or desktop computers.

“That’s why we’re delighted by the enthusiastic response to our Online Membership offering, which recognises this preference. And crucially, it enables us to offer a significant discount over paper membership to our members.”

Discover more about the Camping and Caravanning club at its website. Find more great places to stay with Premier Parks 2015 collection.

Would you take a campervan to the ski slopes??

vw winterIs swapping the warmth and comfort of a ski chalet for a campervan worth the money you’d save?


ByLucy Aspden

New research has found that families could save up to £1,100 by swapping a hotel room for a “cosy caravan” when hitting the ski slopes in Europe this season.

Caravan dealership, Salop Leisure, compared the average cost of staying in a hotel or chalet with the cost of driving to the mountains and staying in a campsite. Yes, there’s no match for the comfort of real, actual brick walls, a freshly-made bed every morning or chalet staff-made coffee and cake on your return from the slopes every day, but making the swap to the deal on wheels could be almost eight times cheaper.

Using prices from Trip Advisor’s 2014 Trip Index, Salop Leisure found that the average price for a week’s stay in a hotel or chalet in Serre Chevalier, France, where accommodation is apparently one of the cheapest in the French Alps, is £1,210. However, skip the hotels and head to the nearby Champ du Moulin campsite and the cost for a family of four for seven nights plummets to £163.

The same savings apply in more popular resorts like Austria’s St Anton, where, according, again, to Trip Advisor, a week’s stay is the most expensive in Europe, with an average cost of £3,424. But trade the luxuries of a hotel or chalet for the Camping Arlberg site and a pitch for the week will cost £182 and include a private bathroom hut, wireless internet, washing machine, tumble dryer, sauna and ski bus stop to the slopes (mind you, that’s just a public bus stop and a free ski bus).

Salop Leisure says more and more Britons are purchasing campervans and caravans for holidays, a trend it believes matches behaviour in North America where driving a motorhome to a holiday destination is much more common. The dealership says that while the initial investment in a “chalet on wheels” may be steep (in the region of £20,000, but up to £40,000), the savings to be made in resorts around Europe are vast.

Campbell Levy, a regular caravanner in Colorado dug up by Salop Leisure to sing the holiday format’s praises, said he drives up to Aspen Snowmass in a 1997 VW Eurovan Camper. “It has a propane-powered furnace that keeps us toasty even on the coldest nights. We’re often too warm, and have to let heat out,” he said.


“It’s especially advantageous on a powder day because you can park on the steps of the gondola, and roll out of bed right before the lift starts running and get right on.”
Camping Arlberg in St Anton, Austria

Ski-in/ski-out access (sort of, from your car park) may sound ideal, but Telegraph Ski and Snowboard editor Henry Druce said the dream does not match the reality. He said: “When I toured the Alps a few years ago in a campervan I found the experience tiring because of all the driving and inconvenient because the campsites where we stayed in Val d’Isère and Chamonix were not that close to the lifts and lacking in crucial home comforts like a nice big bath to soak away the aches and pains of a day on the slopes.”

He added: “Admittedly my experience was tainted from the word go as we were robbed on the first night of our trip and lost thousands of pounds worth of kit.”

Saving money is not the only consideration though – as well as the hours of driving (the drive from Calais to Val d’Isère is about nine and a half hours), prepping your ride for a winter journey requires meticulous effort. Everything from winter tyres, snow chains and pipe insulation to checking tyre pressures, testing breaks and investing in copious amounts of antifreeze are seen as essential preparation for a moutain drive adventure. See our guide on how to drive to the slopes.So, would you?

Volkswagen Has a Backup If Volkswagen Amarok Fails


The new Transporter series T6 from Volkswagen was shown off at the IAA Show last year. Based on the speculations right now, we might be seeing the T6 this year.

Under the hood of the Volkswagen T6 is a 2.0 TDI diesel engine that will be powered by a 201hp and will be mated to a seven speed DSG transmission. It will need about 10seconds to go from 0 – 100km/h and will have a top speed of 115mph.

The Volkswagen T6 will be coming in with new LED headlights. Volkswagen also gave it some new lines on the side and also a modified front design. The T6 will also come with a 20inch tablet table that can be used for video conferencing. They also gave it a sound system. Customers can also choose to add on an espresso machine if they want to.

The Volkswagen T6 will have two loading space, the flatbed area to load large items and the water tight drawer that is located under the flatbed. There have been talks that we might get to see the Volkswagen T6 at the Geneva Motor Show this year

Adrian Flux Insurance Services – up to 15% discount for VWT2OC members.


Volkswagen Type Two Owners Club Insurance Scheme with Adrian Flux – Tel: 0800 089 0035.

Adrian Flux Insurance Services are pleased to have the opportunity to serve the Volkswagen Type 2 Owners Club and provide its members’ with competitive and bespoke policies for their VW’s any vehicle they may own.
As one of the UK’s most respected specialist insurance intermediaries we have a panel of insurers who we will use to find members the most appropriate policy – with of course a club discount.
At Flux we specialise in a variety of niche motoring markets, including VW vans, campers and buses, and our aim is to provide you with the lowest cost insurance deals available – with a discount for being a club member!


We can arrange cover for everything from a self converted T4 Camper, Transporter Vans used for surfing, factory-fit Westfalia campers, right through to a modified LWB Caravelle.  We understand that many owners vehicle of choice is as much about lifestyle, and our cover takes this into account.
All this is possible, because we know that Volkswagen Type2 club members are motoring enthusiasts, who have the experience of driving their vehicles and are much less likely to make a claim than the average driver, and so we’ve been able to create special schemes that reward safe drivers like you.
Get cheaper Club-discounted Insurance from Adrian Flux……………………..

We have a panel of insurers who are able to provide VW Type2 club and forum members the following benefits:
• Instant quotations and cover
• Non-standard risks accepted, including:-
• High risk areas
• Unusual occupations
• Convictions
• Laid up/Transit/In construction cover available
• Maximum introductory no claims bonus
• Full Breakdown and Recovery from £36.00 (optional)
• Protected NCB available
• Driving of other cars cover available (differs from insurer-to-insurer, our staff will advise)
• European Green Card Cover
• Agreed value cover available – typically for vehicles over 10 years old – (Please ask if the policy provides this at quotation).
Discounts are available for
• Security Precautions
• Experience of driving your VW Type 2
• Low mileage
• Restricted driving
• Advanced Driving qualifications
• Discounts for other cars owned and Household Insurance.
To take advantage of the club insurance scheme call the dedicated Club quotation line at Adrian Flux on 0800 089 0035 for your quotation. Lines are open 9.00 am to 7.00 pm Monday to Friday. 9.00am – 4.00pm Saturday.
Please mention ‘VolkswagenType2 Owners Club’ when calling…



Please complete the following online quotation form and we will return to you with a quotation:-



In most instances we will require the completion of our Agreed Valuation form. This form must be completed, signed where indicated and sent, together with 6 photographs.

These need to consist of photographs of your vehicle taken showing the front, back, each side, engine bay and interior, with one including the registration number.

We require remittance of £15, payable to Adrian Flux Insurance Services to be sent along with the other info to:

 Agreed Valuations, Adrian Flux Insurance Services, East Winch Hall, East Winch, King’s Lynn, Norfolk PE32 1HN


There is a specific area on the discussion forum for general questions about insurance. Adrian Flux Insurance Services will be on hand to answer any questions posted. We have a member of staff – Dan@AdrianFlux who will monitor the forum and offer general advice where requested.

Globe Trotting Solar VW Bus



solar volkswagen bus

The VW bus you see here was thoroughly refinished and refurbished by the Dangerz, a couple who took the bus from scrapyard fodder to a solar-panel equipped, trans-continental adventure-mobile that saw them drive from Alaska to Costa Rica. It’s the kind of thing they’d make a movie about, and the kind of movie that would do OK at Sundance and have a bunch of people on Netflix say they love it but that probably wouldn’t do super-well in theaters. Taking a look at the Dangerz’ adventure blog, however, I suspect they wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is a car blog, though, and the main thing we’re into here is the 1967 VW bus (or, more accurately, a Type II) that the Dangerz converted to adventuring duty. Up top, a large solar panel provides electricity while the inside of the bus has been totally redone …

… very much in the spirit of a newer Westfalia-type camper.

Sadly, the Dangerz put their globe-trotting VW bus for sale late last year. Presumably, it’s already been sold, and that’s a shame to anyone reading about the bus today – I’m sure the 135 watt solar panel, propane cooking/heat conversion, and high-quality soundproofing/insulation under all that solid-looking cabinetry would have been a welcome addition to any US garage. Less sadly, though, the Dangerz were good enough to chronicle their bus build on their blog.

So, head over there for (many, many) more pictures of the Dangerbus, then come back and let us know what you think of their project ride in the comments section, below. Enjoy!

Photos: theDangerz, via Inhabitat.

Source: Gas2. Reproduced with permission

Outdoor living: Top RVs, campers and tents of 2014


RVs, campers and tents 2014

RVs, campers and tents 2014

Image Gallery (108 images)

Another year, another few dozen ways to escape urban life and set up camp in the wild … 2014 has been an interesting year for campers. From the heavy-duty off-road machines of Overland Expo to ultralight bicycle campers, and from familiar campground designs to new concepts of sea and air camping, the year has seen a large variety of innovative designs from around the world. Here are our picks for the best tents, camper vans, trailers and mobile homes of 2014, in no particular order.

Tentsile Vista multi-story tree tent

The Vista design lets you stack multiple floors under one roof for a temporary, multistory...

Since we first featured Tentsile in 2012, the company has continued to impress us with its suspended tents. Other manufacturers offer hammock-based tents, but Tentsile makes large, spacious aerials that are more like canvas treehouses, none more so than the all-new Vista. The non-weather-sealed nature of the design isn’t for everyone or all conditions, but the available multi-floor layout is certainly an interesting twist on the tree tent. The primary Vista tent protects three campers with a combination of detachable insect mesh and removable rain fly. The really cool part of the design is that you can add extra floors to make a suspended, multi-level “portable treehouse” for nine or more people. The basic tent without extra floors costs US$595.

SylvanSport GO-Easy ultralight camping trailer

The Roost says its Explorer tent can sleep two people comfortably, three adults 'if necess...

A compact, 275-lb (125 kg) gear trailer, the SylvanSport GO-Easy is designed to give the smallest cars and motorcycles the ability to haul all kinds of sports gear and tools. To add overnighting capabilities, SylvanSport teamed with Roost tents to create a flip-top tent camper with underbody storage. When you don’t need a tent, remove the foam mattress and canvas sides and Roost’s innovative two-person clamshell becomes a gear box. To add some of the comforts of home, SylvanSport offers options like Goal Zero solar power systems and the Road Shower. Combine the $2,000 price of the GO-Easy with the $3,000 price of the Roost tent, and you have an ultralight, ultra-versatile camping trailer for around $5K.

Tonke Fieldsleeper International expedition vehicle

The Tonke Fieldsleeper International is available in 4x2 and 4x4 Mercedes-Benz base option...

Prior to 2014, we knew Tonke as the Dutch company behind some the most stylish wooden trailers we’ve ever seen. This year, it added one of the most stylish aluminum trailers on the market not named Airstream. The Mercedes Sprinter-based Fieldsleeper International is built as an expedition vehicle, available in both 4×2 and 4×4 drive options. Its aluminum skin creates a more modern exterior style, but the interior still features the warmth of mahogany wood.

Tonke attempts to give Fieldsleeper International owners more off-grid autonomy by eliminating the liquid propane systems typical in RVs in favor of a roof-mounted solar array and auxiliary diesel tank. The 400- to 600-watt solar system powers onboard equipment like the refrigerator, stove, lighting and even air conditioning. The five-person camper includes a washroom with sink, shower and cassette toilet.

When we covered it earlier in the year, the International was offered with a 190-hp Mercedes Sprinter 519Cdi for $192,000, but now it’s listed with a 160-hp Sprinter 516Cdi base for a bit cheaper – $154,576.

XVenture XV-2 penthouse trailer

Schutt offers options like a full kitchen (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

Simple problem, simple solution. The military-grade Xventure XV-2 makes the most of its small trailer form by pushing the pop-up tent high above the cargo box below using an elevated rack system. The adjustable height opens up more storage space in the cargo box – enough for an ATV, even – and makes everything inside that cargo box easier to access. As a few astute readers pointed out, it looks like the configuration could prove quite chilly in the winter, when the thin floor of the XV-2 could use the added insulation value of a trailer directly below, but that shouldn’t be as much a problem in the popular warmer months, or with a heavier sleeping pad. And if it is, you can always adjust it to one of the lower settings on the six-setting rack. The pricing information we received earlier in the year put the XV-2 with elevating rack system and roof tent at around $14,500 to start.

Wide Path bicycle camper

Wide Path is still working on prototypes with hopes of launching in 2015

There are dozens upon dozens of camping trailers on the market, but the overwhelming majority of them are designed to be towed by vehicles with motor. The slim, 88-lb (40-kg) Wide Path Camper, on the other hand, is built to be towed by leg power alone. The bicycle camper offers enough sleeping space for two adults and one child and includes a basic but functional interior with a folding table, convertible bed/seats and 300 liters (79 gal) of storage capacity. Add a few select pieces of gear like a propane stove and portable toilet and suddenly you have a fully functioning mobile home on the back of your 12-speed.

The Wide Path Camper was still in the prototype stages as of last month, but its Dutch designer hopes to have it ready for sale next year, starting around $2,500.

Amok Draumr hammock tent

The Draumr is available for US$379

While not quite as common a sight at the campground as a dome tent or RV, the hammock shelter is a widely available camping option offered by brands like Hennessy Hammock and Grand Trunk. Typically, these hammocks are strung between trees end to end, but the Amok rotates the Draumr around 90 degrees, creating a side-to-side hanging structure. This construction creates a flat, sleeping pad-cushioned bed designed to deliver a more comfortable night of sleep. With a few tugs of the adjustment straps, it also turns into a suspended chair.

The ISPO BrandNew Award-nominated Draumr is available now for $379, which includes mosquito netting, straps and a rain fly, but not the required sleeping pad. All in, the Draumr weighs less than 4.5 lb (2 kg).

MVP Aero MVP seaplane camper

Drop the cockpit awning and you have a cozy wilderness shelter for two

We’re already suckers for amphibious vehicles, so throw in a convertible overnight package, and you get one of our favorite vehicles of the year. Billed as the “world’s most versatile plane,” the MVP, which we checked out at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014, is part seaplane, part fishing boat and part floating/flying camper. The tri-phibious plane can land on dry land, snow or water. On water, it can motor along and act as a boat, and slide the canopy back and it offers a flat deck for fishing and observation. The wings also fold up, adding to its maneuverability on water.

At night, the MVP’s instrument panel lifts out of the way, creating a large, flat floor with the help of a four-panel origami deck that slides over top the seat wells. Tent fabric secures over the entire cockpit area, providing shelter for two occupants. A fitted inflatable mattress offers added comfort, and there’s also a hammock that sets up between the engine pylon and the tail.

The MVP isn’t exactly a practical camper for the masses, but one can certainly dream of using it on some pretty epic adventures. The aircraft is still in the prototype stages, but for those that simply can’t wait, it’s available for reservation at a price of $189,000. Delivery is not expected until 2018/19, however.

Audi-Heimplanet Q3 tent camper

Audi and Heimplanet team up on an inflatable car camper design

Two innovative German brands teamed up for something a bit different at Volkswagen’s 2014 Wörthersee festival. Heimplanet custom-fit its inflatable tent technology to the hatch of an Audi Q3 2.0 TDI. The design created an extended car-tent living space with vestibule and also allowed for a freestanding tent set-up. The inflatable tent and Q3 combo certainly wasn’t the most rugged camper design of the year, but it was rated up to wind speeds of 43.5 mph (70 km/h).

The Audi-Heimplanet inflatable car camper was clearly designed as an eye-catching showpiece (a role it filled quite nicely), and we don’t expect to see Audi dealerships advertising the Q3 “overnight package” anytime soon.

2014 EarthRoamer XV-LTS xpedition vehicle

The 2014 EarthRoamer XT-LVS has a 300-hp turbo diesel V8 and standard 37-in Michelin tires...

A beastly, intimidating contradiction on wheels, the 2014 EarthRoamer XV-LTS combines one of the more rugged 4WD expedition vehicle platforms out there with a carefully-detailed, luxury-level interior and front porch. In designing the truck, Colorado-based EarthRoamer fortified a commercial-duty F-550 chassis for rough, off-road use, bolted a composite living module to the back and outfitted it for comfortable off-grid living. The design includes a cozy six-seat living room, sleeping space for four to six and a bathroom with a sink, full-height shower and cassette toilet. Occupants are furnished with utilities by way of a solar-driven electrical system, engine-powered dual alternators and a 90-gallon (340.7-L) fresh water tank. It appears to be an extremely cozy space to retire to after hard days of fighting through mud, boulders and dust with the 300-hp V8 turbo diesel and 37-in tires. The model we stepped inside at Overland Expo even included luxuries like a wine cabinet with engraved wine glasses, slide-out Keurig coffeemaker, and exterior tailgating package with retractable 46-in TV.

The 2014 XV-LTS sold out, but EarthRoamer is now advertising the 2015 model at prices between $312,000 and $560,000.

ADAK Trailer

ADAK Trailer at Overland Expo 2014 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

It’s not at all rare to find a gritty, all-terrain expedition vehicle furnished like a luxury apartment on wheels. In fact, there are two on this list, including the EarthRoamer we just looked at. When you’re spending six or seven figures on a large, motorized toy, there’s no reason you can’t have it all.

It is rarer to find that mix of any-terrain readiness and luxury in the far more modestly priced camping trailer segment. Most off-road trailer manufacturers we’ve covered seem to put all their R&D money into building a bombproof chassis and body ready to take on everything Mother Earth can throw at it, leaving live-in accommodations to a simple fold-out tent or small, spartan teardrop interior.

Built by a group of outdoorsman tired of inferior campers quitting when the road got rough, but too seasoned for a skimpy, uncomfortable shelter, the ADAK Trailer offers an admirable combination of rugged exterior and spacious, comfy interior. The design uses a mix of aluminum and composite to hold up to rough, choppy roads and off-roads. Inside the trailer’s 116-sq ft (10.8 sq m) cabin, campers find three beds, a bathroom with toilet and shower, a tankless hot water system designed to work in the middle of winter, and available wood flooring and cabinetry. When we originally covered the ADAK earlier in the year, pricing started at $49,000.

Volksleisure T5 camper van

The Volksleisure VW T5 camper includes a kitchen unit and fresh and waste water tanks

After more than a decade of focusing on camper conversions for vans from manufacturers other than Volkswagen, Wellhouse Leisure presented its first production-ready VW camper van this year. The first offering from the brand’s VW-centric subsidiary Volksleisure, the little people mover packs enough versatility for both everyday and holiday use. It’s Wellhouse’s electric rear bench that makes the Volksleisure camper a van that you can overnight in on the weekend and get the kids to school in come Monday morning. The bench slides the length of the cabin, allowing it to work as a live-in camper, regular people mover or big-item hauler. The camper van offers sleeping space for up to four people, along with a kitchen area, refrigerator, dining table, and 35-L (9.2 US gal) fresh and waste water tanks. Volksleisure’s T5 camper is currently listed at a £47,850 ($75,000) base price.

Safari Condo Alto R1723 teardrop pop-top

At camp, the pop-up roof provides standing room inside

Combining two timeless camping-trailer concepts into one seamless family tag-along, the Alto R1723 by Safari Condo is a pop-up teardrop camper designed to get the family outdoors. The 83-in-high (2.1-m), 1725-lb (782-kg) teardrop design gives the Alto R1723 drag-cutting aerodynamic performance on the road and garage clearance during storage. The electric aluminum roof pops up at camp to offer 82 inches (2.08 m) of interior headroom, more than enough for the average person to stand up and walk around, a convenience that smaller, lower teardrops lack. The trailer sleeps three or four and includes home-like comforts such as a flush toilet and shower. The large windows let you experience the grand scenery of the outdoors while remaining under the roof.

The Alto R1723 starts at around CAD$28,500 (US$24,500), and Safari also offers the smaller R1713 for CAD$1,000 less.

Knaus Travelino camper concept

Our only question about the Travelino is its odd shape; something more traditional like a ...

Much like automakers do at every major auto show, German manufacturer Knaus Tabbert has been using the annual Düsseldorf Caravan Salon to showcase ideas for the future of the industry. It followed up last year’s much talked about Caravisio concept with the 2014 Travelino trailer.

While we aren’t really sold on the odd, broadsided shape of the black-and-white Travelino, the real highlight is the interior. The caravan offers very versatile use of its limited space through carefully designed and placed equipment. In place of a dedicated bathroom, a folding-panel wall and slide-out cassette toilet provide indoor privacy without permanently occupying floor space. The indoor and slide-out outdoor kitchens share a portable camping stove, eliminating the need for fixed cooktops.

The Travelino launched as just a concept, so there was no accompanying price information, but it’s easy to see how some of its features could find their way into production camping trailers.

Marco Polo Activity light camper van

Mercedes revealed the Marco Polo Activity alongside the latest Marco Polo at the 2014 Düss...

Manufacturers around the world have come up with very clever ways of packing all kinds of amenities and comforts into small, portable vehicles. But there’s really only so much equipment you can fit into a camper while keeping it light, spacious and comfortable. And not every overnight trip requires a full bathroom, kitchen and living room. If you’re sleeping in a ski resort parking lot or adjacent to a surf break so that you’re in prime position to take advantage of first tracks/early morning waves, you don’t necessarily need a fully equipped RV, just a roof and a comfortable place to sleep.

In that spirit, Mercedes-Benz dropped some of the usual camping equipment to make a lighter, simpler camper van in the form of the Marco Polo Activity it revealed in Düsseldorf. The Activity has a three-seat bench that extends clean across the width of the van thanks to the absence of the kitchen unit. That bench folds down into a bed for up to three, and two more people can sleep below the pop-up roof. If you need to cook your own meals, you can slide the bench forward on its rails and store a stove, cookware and plenty of other gear in back, then eat on the included folding table in the cabin. What you give up in equipment and amenities, you gain in versatility and spaciousness. The Activity was released at a starting price of €38,960 (US$49,000).

Action Mobil Global XRS 720 6×6 camper

Action Mobile showed the Global XRS 7200 at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon (photo: Mess...

Our second rolling, all-terrain luxury apartment, the Action Mobil Global XRS 7200 introduced at the 2014 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon was this year’s exercise in no-expense-spared expeditioning opulence, the type of vehicle one only considers if the very thought of “roughing it” is a much bigger deterrent than a seven-figure price tag. The 720-hp, 18-ton MAN-chassised 6×6 is eager to travel to any part of the world and stay there about as long as its occupants can handle. Once inside the spacious, climate-controlled cabin, they’ll immediately forget about whatever harsh, desolate reality surrounds the exterior walls. The cabin is appointed in materials like stone and metal, includes a master bedroom, is hydrated by a 720-L (190-gal) fresh water tank, and keeps everyone entertained with a multimedia system that’s more impressive than what many people have in their living rooms – 40-in HD TV, satellite internet, Apple TV, Bose audio, and a large-capacity hard drive for storing multimedia content. There’s even a bidet and washer/dryer. Not a bad living situation for the middle of $#@#$in nowhere.

Pricing info out of the Düsseldorf show put the XRS 7200 at €850,000 (US$1.1 million) to start.

Look through our gallery for a closer look at the interiors and features of each of these campers and tents. And if you’re wondering how this year’s designs compare to last year’s, take a trip back in time with our best of 2013 camper round-up.

Classic VW bus reinvented as a green machine


When the classic VW bus was at the height of its popularity in the ’60s, ads bragged about the fact that it got 24 miles per gallon.

Fifty years later, that’s actually still a lot better than some similarly sized vans, but it isn’t exactly carbon neutral. Brazilian designer Eduardo Galvani decided to reinvent the hippie bus as something truly sustainable.

The Nimbus is just a concept, but Galvani has sketched out all of the details.

The design uses a micro-generator to keep an electric motor and battery powered as you drive, which Galvani claims can keep the van going for 200 miles.

Solar panels on the roof and regenerative brakes add extra energy.

Though Galvani was inspired by the shape of older vehicles, every aspect of the technology is new, down to a special self-cleaning paint so the van doesn’t have to go to the car wash.

“The main characteristics of the Nimbus are from the age we are living in now, a clear global transition between the old and the new economy, between the old and the new ways of ecological thinking and practices,” Galvani says.

The van is big–about 14 feet long, and taller and wider than the VW bus.

Because it’s made from carbon fiber, titanium, and other lightweight materials, the gas mileage is high. Galvani estimates that the car would get 181 miles to the gallon if built.

Galvani estimates that the car would get 181 miles to the gallon if built.

Inside, the van has room for five passengers and everything you might need for a modern road trip: Wi-fi, USB ports and outlets, a mini-fridge, and a tablet that lets passengers do everything from control lighting and temperature to find a map, videoconference, or browse the web. The car would even have its own operating system, Nimbus OS.

Galvani doesn’t have plans to make the Nimbus, but he hopes it can inspire car manufacturers to make a better van—one that could ultimately be used both as a personal vehicle or as greener form of public transit.

This Fascinating Stillborn VW Prototype Would Have Been Revolutionary



This Fascinating Stillborn VW Prototype Would Have Been Revolutionary

By the late ’60s, VW was in a legitimate full-on panic about replacing the Beetle: somehow, they never really managed to figure this out. The Beetle was just selling too well for too long to worry until it was almost too late. Eventually, the Golf saved the day, but there was a brief moment where it looked like VW’s salvation would be much weirder.

After VW bought NSU and Audi in the late ’60s, the much more conventional water-cooled, transverse front-engined Golf/Rabbit was derived from NSU/Audi designs and saved VW’s bacon, as well as set the company’s fundamental technical DNA to this day. But this was a sort of last-minute desperation plan. The goal of replacing the Beetle as VW’s core product went back much further, and almost culminated in a surprisingly sophisticated and unusual car, the EA266 prototype.

This Fascinating Stillborn VW Prototype Would Have Been Revolutionary

The EA266 was developed with assistance from a Porsche team led by Ferdinand Piëch — the same one who would later become Chairman of the Volkswagen group. The EA266 was a very novel and innovative little car. It broke with VW’s traditional tech in some of the same ways as the Golf would, using an inline, water-cooled engine, but unlike the Golf, which used the Mini and contemporary Fiats as templates for its design, the EA266 must have been looking at exotic sportscars, because it was mid-engined, with the drivetrain placed low and in the middle-rear of the car.

The 1588cc inline four was laid flat under the rear seat in a longitudinal configuration with the transaxle directly behind it. The cylinder head was on the left side of the car (facing forward), while the radiator, fan, and other various bits were to the right. The whole unit was sealed in its own little compartment under the rear seat, sort of prefiguring the way the Porsche Boxster/Cayman would tackle this issue in the future.

This Fascinating Stillborn VW Prototype Would Have Been Revolutionary

It’s said the design was inspired by a 1961 Porsche 911 prototype, the Porsche 695, which was a sort of mid-engined proto-911, with room for four inside and the engine under the rear passengers’ butts.

The engine made between 100-105 HP (reports vary). That was pretty damn good for the late 60s, when, for example, a Beetle was making about 53 HP, and most other small economy cars of the era weren’t doing much better.

This Fascinating Stillborn VW Prototype Would Have Been Revolutionary

A VW museum description of the car lists the goals of the development project as

– maximum interior dimensions

– minimum interior dimensions

– economical purchase price and operation

– interior design maximizing operational comfort and convenience

I’m not exactly sure if the seemingly contradictory “maximum/minimum” interior dimensions thing was a joke or just confusing, but they sure as hell figured out a way to deliver on that one. Just look at this cutaway of the car:1

 This Fascinating Stillborn VW Prototype Would Have Been Revolutionary

This Fascinating Stillborn VW Prototype Would Have Been Revolutionary

Amphibious? Shoooooo looks it.

The protoype was a little bit bigger than the 1st-gen Golf that replaced it, but not by much. It has a bit of extra height to accommodate the engine without sacrificing interior room, but it’s overall still a small car.

So, it looks like it would have been very competitive from an interior and cargo-space standpoint, and an inline engine is likely a good bit cheaper than VW’s traditional flat engines (half the number of cylinder heads, you see). But what’s really exciting to think about are the performance and handling possibilities of the design.

VW was even thinking a great deal about all the possibilities of the design, coming up with sketches of an eventual van, sport coupe, and roadster versions. This would have been a very different — and to my way of thinking, much more exciting — modern VW.

This Fascinating Stillborn VW Prototype Would Have Been RevolutionaryExpand8

What’s the story with this alternative logo? It’s as radical as the car which is pretty sweet and something I didn’t know about, so thanks.

It’s built like a tiny exotic sportscar — very low center of gravity, mid engine, surprisingly good power — this thing looks like it could have been a blast to drive. It’s reported to have a top speed of about 118 MPH, which was genuinely fast, especially for an economy car of the era, and the handling characteristics were said to be excellent, with McPherson struts in front and a multi-link rear.

Who said they were excellent? Well, a few journalists at the time did get to drive one of the 50 prototypes built, and they seemed to have loved what they drove. In fact, they loved driving the EA266 so much more than the later Golf prototypes they drove that VW allegedly had journalists sign non-publication agreements about the EA266 after the project was nixed.

And that brings up the big question: why was the EA266 cancelled? It was very far along in development, just about ready for production, when it was completely and summarily killed by VW’s new boss, fresh from VW Brasil, Rudolph Leiding. In fact, it was killed within three weeks of his taking office, and this was from a man who had always been a champion of novel VW-based variants like the Brasilia and the SP-2, both of which even had a front-end design named after him.

this guy [Leiding] then went on to demand that Porsche destroy all prototypes, which they did using, wait for it…Leopard 1 tanks of Porsche’s own design to crush them. every single drawing, photograph, note, and napkin with a sketch ordered to be burned…they even cut up Piëch’s prototype engine.

Holy crap. They brought out the tanks to get rid of these, and burned the freaking napkins. That’s pretty intense. It’s not really clear why Leiding felt the need to be so draconian about making an un-person of the EA266, but clearly he did. It may just have been the need for a new leader to make his own mark, or resentment at Porsche’s involvement.

This Fascinating Stillborn VW Prototype Would Have Been RevolutionaryEven ignoring the drama-queen destructive impulses of Leiding, there were likely more rational reasons VW could have decided against the EA266 path. The car was quite complex and sophisticated for what was to be a high-volume, entry-level car, maintenance access would likely have been tricky at best (removable rear seat, or no access, like a Boxster?), and there were persistent cooling and noise issues to deal with.12

Boxsters are actually quite easy to work on for most engine-in-car repairs, there’s a huge access panel behind the seats and the top moves into a service position, giving good access to the top of the engine.

This Fascinating Stillborn VW Prototype Would Have Been RevolutionaryStill, I would like to believe that VW could have solved these issues in time, and it’s very hard to shake the feeling that we were denied a very interesting and exciting take on a mass-market economy car. The idea of a practical, cheap, mid-engined hatchback — or, even better, a whole family of mid-engined cars — is just too appealing to ignore.

Oh well. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the Large Hadron collider will accidentally tear some space-time hole in the multiverse, and that hole will lead to a world like ours, but one where VW sparked a revolution in fun, cheap, mid-engined cars. And maybe also delicious sandwiches materialize in your hands on command. What a glorious world that would be.