Last year, German camper specialist Knaus Tabbert used the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon to present its vision of the future camping trailer. The yacht-inspired Caravisio
was a large, luxurious home-on-wheels with some careful aerodynamic treatments. This year, Knaus went small, light and simple, presenting the Travelino concept, a compact trailer outfitted with space- and weight-saving features.
From the ubiquitous soft top to multi-panel glass retractables
, car convertibles have always been a staple of our coverage. Lately, boat convertibles have picked up steam, in the form of vessels like the Revolver 44GT
and 88 Florida
. As accustomed to the wide range of convertibles
as we've become, nothing quite prepared us for the convertible motorhome, a concept that appeared at the recent Düsseldorf Caravan Salon. The one-of-a-kind, "penthouse-on-wheels" lets wind flow through the driver's hair with the retraction of its sliding roof.
If the Earthroamer XV-LTS
and Mercedes Zetros
don't quite reach the level of luxury-meets-off-road-fortitude you're looking for, may we suggest the Action Mobil Global XRS 7200. This large expedition vehicle combines six driven wheels of off-road fury with a luxuriously appointed living pod that has the look of a chic city apartment. It brings comfort and style to the farthest stretches of desert, highest reaches of mountains and deepest sections of jungle. And it costs several times the average stationary home.
At last year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, Mercedes showed several camper vans
, including the Viano-based Marco Polo. Since that time, it's introduced the all-new V-Class, and it's applied the Marco Polo camper conversion to its latest MPV for this year's Düsseldorf show.
Mercedes-Benz may not have as timeless a name in van camping as Volkswagen
, but it does offer several popular platforms for van camper conversions. In fact, it claims that its Sprinter van is the number one base vehicle for luxury campers. The German manufacturer recently showcased three camper conversions of its own using both the Sprinter and Viano platforms.
The drive-in movie theater may be a thing of the past, but German camper manufacturer Dethleffs recently made a play to bring it back ... with a twist. You could call it the drive-up movie theater. Dethleffs calls it the Mini Movie Campy, a home theater packed neatly into a small camping trailer.
Perhaps it's just that we've been paying closer attention to the segment lately, but we've seen a surge of innovative, small camper hardware over the past few years. From utility trailer build-ups like the Teal panel kit
, to car conversion "campers in boxes" like the SwissRoomBox
, to more permanent van and Jeep conversions, these small campers let you escape in your everyday vehicle without the bulk and cost of larger motorhomes and RVs. Our recent trip to the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon revealed that there are dozens upon dozens of small camper designs to choose from.
With removable, modular living equipment, camping trailers like the Teal
seamlessly switch between sleeping people and hauling toys. At the recent Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf, German materials manufacturer Vohringer showed a trailer concept designed to do both at the same time. The Speed-Wagon uses a hydraulic lift system to open up space for a motorbike while still sleeping occupants comfortably.
The 2013 Dusseldorf Caravan Salon was stuffed hall to hall, wall to wall with RVs, camping trailers, pop-ups and mobile living equipment of all kinds. Perhaps it's the timelessly romantic appeal of conquering anything the Earth puts in your way to enjoy its bounty, but we were particularly impressed with some of the rugged, off-road-capable campers. We've put together a tour of every off-road model we found, designs that range from tented gear haulers to full-blown tactical 8x8s.
Citing declining caravan numbers in Europe, German manufacturer Knaus Tabbert decided to rethink camper design, creating what it calls "the caravan of the future." The Caravisio design study draws its inspiration from the water as well as the future, pulling some yacht-like elements onto the streets.