Yatoo concept turns your car into a camper with a tent, kitchen and bed
By C.C. Weiss
July 11, 2012
The French-designed Yatoo is a camper concept that looks like a lighter version of the Swiss Roombox. The three-part system equips a standard car, truck or van with the essentials for wilderness living. Owners get room to sleep, live and cook while keeping much of the vehicle's interior cargo space.
Unlike the average camper, which entails a separate trailer or roof unit, the Yatoo concept makes use of the car's interior. The Lidoo part of the system is a bed that's made up of a series of slats that compact like an accordion for travel. During the ride, the Lidoo's small footprint allows you to keep the seats upright and haul gear in the trunk. When it's time to turn in, the slats fold out into an elevated bed on top of the folded seats, offering sleeping for two. It sets up in as little as five minutes and includes two inflatable mattresses.
In addition to the bedding, the Yatoo also offers black-out window inserts for shade and ventilation. The Lidoo doesn't require any vehicle modification and assembles without any tools.
The Lidoo may be camper enough for couples, but families and larger parties will want extra room. The Tipoo part of the package is essentially an add-on tent module. It can connect to the back of the car in several configurations, and also appears like it could work as a standalone tent. It expands the amount of camping space you'll have, providing sleeping quarters for up to two additional adults or three children. It also provides a shelter for sitting, changing clothes, playing games and other activities that can't be comfortably performed in the back of a car. The Tipoo includes front and side doors, two windows, mosquito netting, storage room and removable floor mats.
Outside of sleeping, the one primary essential of camping is eating. The Yatoo handles food preparation with the Kinoo kitchenette. The unit consists of two separate modules: the cooking module and the washing module. The former includes a gas stove and drawers to store utensils and other cooking essentials. The washing unit houses a sink, 20-liter clean water tank and 20-liter waste water tank. The unit appears to mount securely inside the trunk area, and includes a combination of sliding rails and kickstand that allows you to pull it out and set it up right outside the car.
The Yatoo system suffers from the same drawback as the Swiss Roombox and other small camper systems we've seen: high price. The price depends on the specific equipment that you purchase and starts at €510 (US$625 at the time of publishing) for just the Tipoo tent and vehicle connection module. A fully equipped three-piece Yatoo prices in at more than €3,500 (about $4,300), which is moving into camping trailer territory. The Lidoo bedding unit with window inserts retails for €1,565 ($1,915), and the Kinoo kitchenette retails for €1,510 ($1,850), as described above, or €719 ($880) for just the cooking half.
While it's nice to have the option of buying the components separately, pricing still seems high. We'd love to see a comprehensive in-car sleep-cook-clean unit that isn't competing with used and low-end camping trailers. Ideally, it would be priced more like a tent with kitchen - somewhere in the mid- to high- three figures sounds about right. Since the Yatoo requires you to sleep in your car anyway, you could save a whole lot of money by buying a camping stove and sink and configuring a sleeping area on your own.
The Yatoo system is available for more than 160 vehicle models. Yatoo's distributor network is concentrated in Europe, and it doesn't appear to have a presence outside of the continent. The device has been around for a few years. It is being showcased at Germany's Outdoor Friedrichshafen show this week.
Check out the video for a thorough look at how the equipment works in the field.