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Product Review – VW California Additional Shelf

http://wildaboutscotland.com/2014/02/26/product-review-vw-california-additional-shelf/

VW California additional shelf

While the VW California is a hugely flexible and well-designed camper van its size means that one of its drawbacks is that storage and shelf space is sometimes at a premium.  This is a first look at an additional shelf designed to address this issue.

I find that you need to be incredibly organised to live with a Cali.  If you’re cooking, for example, the tendency is to lay out your ingredients on the nearest flat surface.  But if you need to use the stove or get into the fridge then you need to move them to the folding table; I’m forever shifting things around to find the most convenient free space.  Similarly at night we tend to use the top of the cooker and fridge to lay out clothes, books, glasses, keys and phones.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a handy shelf to put your glasses, books or cup of coffee on so they won’t be mislaid ?

I bought the additional shelf from the VW California Club online shop (imported I think from CaliTop.de).  It’s a simple but ingenious design which slots in underneath a horizontal rail just at the base of the roof area with two aluminium brackets.  The shelf itself is 15 x 70cm and made of lightweight anodised aluminium which is absolutely in keeping with the Cali’s smart design.  I bought the version of the shelf with a horizontal rail underneath, with six plastic hooks, but there’s a slightly cheaper version without the rail.  Other accessories (eg a garment rail) are also available from CaliTop.de.

While there were no instructions with my shelf it was easy to put together.  The plastic hooks snap onto the rail with a satisfying click, promising a rattle-free beginning !

The shelf components straight out of the box

The shelf fully constructed - a five minute job

I was puzzled at first trying to work out how the shelf attached to the van.  But after a few minutes’ head-scratching I discovered the aluminium rail that runs along the roof line above the kitchen window.  The two aluminium brackets slot in just behind this rail and hold the shelf in place without any fixings or glue.

Close-up of the brackets slotted into the horizontal rail

The shelf in place

The shelf in use with the roof up

The great advantage with the shelf is that it can be kept in place while driving and is therefore useful for when the roof is both up and down.  Having driven around with it for the last week I can also report that it produces absolutely NO rattles which is a huge bonus.

In use I’ve found the shelf to be … well, just handy for putting stuff on.  I recommend it !

What I like:

  • simple but effective design
  • lightweight
  • no rattles
  • stays in situ permanently
  • genuinely helps solve the lack of shelf space issue.

What I don’t like:

  • nothing.

The rail version of the shelf is available from the VW California Club online shop for £56.99 including delivery [Note: deliveries are not made outwith the UK].