Why Pull Dull? Tempting Trailers For Cool Campers

Cool, classy and easily available don’t often go together in the camping world. That’s why almost every caravan you see on the road is a white box and every trailer tent is a rather ordinary-looking tent in a rather ordinary trailer.

So, here’s our round-up of cool and quirky campers, caravans and trailers that might make you think again!

Do caravans have to be boring?

The UK is a country of around 60 million people and roughly 30 million cars. Only around one per cent of those people are caravanners. Jeremy Clarkson has done his bit to make sure that number isn’t on the rise!

An airstream 'home' in the hills

So, if you want to design something a little bit special, you’re reducing your market even more. It has to be expensive; it’ll probably be exclusive.

Trawl the web and you’ll find lots of fabulous prototypes that have never been built, simply because there aren’t enough people to buy them. And when production is small, prices need to be higher.

Our testers have found the same problem with lots of camping kit. Cheap, mass production seems to be the norm, and design innovation and finish suffer.

Of course there are exceptions – beautifully designed and made caravans, campervans and tents. Look at Airstream, for example or the VW California. 

Plus, you should keep an eye on those prototypes, because one day – maybe thanks to crowd-funding or the ability to sell globally rather than in a single country – you’ll be proud to pull your smart trailer down the M1.

Now take a look at the most interesting trailer tents, caravans and camping hybrids we’ve found. We add more as we come across them, so do check back now and then.

 Make sure you invest in a very important asset - a camping toilet for obvious reasons.


The Kip Shelter

Kip Shelter

Kip Shelter

Kip Shelter

These don’t look instantly amazing, but the devil is in the detail. They’re lightweight and incredibly customisable – from inside/outside kitchens to room for a motorbike. There’s even an off-road version. Prices start at around £9,000, but we’d guess that would quickly rise once you started adding on all the tempting extras. Find out more at Kip Shelters


The Pandavan

This unusual trailer-caravan is the work of Steve Seabrooke and it’s not just revolutionary, it’s been designed and built beautifully – well, the prototype has. It’s not yet available to buy, but we’re keeping a close eye on Steve’s progress and we’ll be reporting back when the Pandavan is ready. Meanwhile, though, we can tell you it’s a fully-equipped, one/two-berth caravan that rises magically from a streamlined trailer.


Boondock Trailers

Made for adventurers, the Boondock comes as a Grizzly or Cub spec and are possibly not for claustrophobes! The Cub costs around £6,000 and and is designed for quick escapes. It has a small double bed, LED lights and a solar generator. Small and light enough to be towed behind a small car. The Grizzly has a rear outside kitchen, a bigger bed and hook-up. Around £13,000. Find out more about Boondock


TripBuddy

A blob from the outside, a rather nice space inside. Designed and made in the UK, it’s absolutely customisable and is lightweight. Prices start at around £25,000. Find out more about TripBuddy

tripbuddy1

Tripbuddy

tripbuddy2


The Phieldbug

Built in very limited numbers at a workshop in Pembrokeshire, the Phieldbug costs under £3,000 and includes lighting, power sockets, blinds and backrests, It’s a micro teardrop caravan made of marine ply on a lightweight galvanised chassis. Options available too. Find out more about Phieldbug



Go Barefoot Caravans

barefoot-caravan-0017-970x647-cBarefoot Caravans

Rather smarter than your average caravan, the Go Barefoot aims for luxury and bespoke options for its £24,000 price tag. Designed and made in the UK. Find out more about Barefoot


The Sealander

Sealander caravan

Sealander amphibious caravan

Sealander

“An innovative and mobile accommodation with amphibian characteristics. It can be used as a customary caravan, but with a few hand grips and the help of an outboard engine it can let you travel on water.”

A German-designed space-age caravan that’s very dinky. Price: Around £15,000. Go check out sealander.de



The Opus Camper

Opus camper trailer tent

Opus camper trailer tent

Opus camper

“Opus is a revolutionary folding camper. It is ultra-lightweight and extremely easy to tow, even with a small car. Its low profile allows for all round visibility, so you can hitch up and drive away with confidence. It’s strong, rugged and extremely clever. With two reinforced lids and a universal racking system, it’s the perfect load-carrying platform. Carry boats,  bikes, kayaks, kites..and with the Opus Moto you can even carry two motorbikes.”

There’s now an Air Opus too, which uses inflatable poles to speed set-up time.

Price: From £13,000 to £16,000 Go to www.opuscamper.co.uk


The Opus Camper

Opus camper trailer tent

Opus camper trailer tent

Opus camper

“Opus is a revolutionary folding camper. It is ultra-lightweight and extremely easy to tow, even with a small car. Its low profile allows for all round visibility, so you can hitch up and drive away with confidence. It’s strong, rugged and extremely clever. With two reinforced lids and a universal racking system, it’s the perfect load-carrying platform. Carry boats,  bikes, kayaks, kites..and with the Opus Moto you can even carry two motorbikes.”

There’s now an Air Opus too, which uses inflatable poles to speed set-up time.

Price: From £13,000 to £16,000 Go to www.opuscamper.co.uk


The Topeak Bikamper Bike Tent

Bikamper tent

“At about 1.6kg the Bikamper is light and small, enabling you to ride faster and further. A brilliant design uses your bike and its 26″ or 700c wheel in place of tent poles. Simple and quick to set up for one person, three-season use. Features three mesh panels for ventilation and stargazing on pleasant nights. Supplied with fork anchor piece, stakes, cords and carrying bag.”


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Carries a lot, folds up for storage…this is a great way to carry your kit for a cycling and camping trip.

It won’t win any design awards for innovative styling, but sometimes you just want reliable and sturdy.

The trailer holds 130l and has a 70cm-long tiller to attach to the rear wheel.


The Cricket, Woolly Bear and Tigermoth

Cricket trailerCricket camper2017 Cricket trailer

“The Cricket’s shell, made from aluminum composite panels, provides an unprecedented degree of insulation without warping. The result is an economical, lightweight and athletic trailer that exceeds industry norms for innovation, aerodynamics and durability. With a single touch roof latch that opens in seconds, Cricket removes the tricky set-up associated with most pop-ups, making it easy to use for all ages and abilities. Dual entry doors make loading and unloading a breeze.”

Newest is the sleek silver Cricket. The same company make adventure trailers called Tigermoth and Woolly Bear – both equally versatile, well-equipped and weird to look at.

Sadly not available in the UK just yet. Price: $12,000 upwards

More information at Cricket trailers

Should you be interested in Hard Sided Pop Up Campers, we wrote an article about their pros and cons.


Go Camper

Go camping trailer tent

Go camping trailer tent

Go camper trailer

“GO is simply the most versatile camping trailer on the planet and was called “The Coolest. Camper. Ever.” by National Geographic Adventure. As well as being superbly designed and built to the highest standards, it happens to be the only camper that can actually take your toys to the playground. Canoeing, mountain biking, road racing, motocross – your outdoor adventures will never be the same again!”

Price: From around £9,000, though they seem to have lost their UK distributor.

More information at Go Camper


Mehrzeller

Mehrzeller trailer camper

Mehrzeller trailer camper

“The Mehrzeller – the multicellular caravan. Using our configurator, we set up a design that is unique for our customers, including their own layout that they can identify with. The configuration is generated by a computer using the customer’s inputs, and then the final design is done by parameters from the architects to yield an attractive and practicable result.”

So what do you get? Well, that’s up to you, apparently. Price: Looks expensive!

More information at www.mehrzeller.com


Opera

Opera camper

Opera trailer camper

Opera trailer tent

Tracking down the Opera is tricky. There are plenty of pictures of this Sydney Opera House styled trailer camper out there, but we can’t find any in the real world. We’ve included it here because it’s lovely. Inside, the desk surfaces and beds are finished in oak, and the floor and veranda are teak. At the back of the room, behind a curtain, is a ceramic sink and toilet. There’s a choice of a gas/electric stove or a charcoal grill – the Opera carries its own gas supply, so there’s no need for canisters. Plus built-in compass for finding south, heating and an  espresso maker.



The Teardrop Caravan

Teardrop caravan 2

Teardrop caravan 3

Teardrop caravan 4

For around £10,000, you get a dinky caravan that can be pulled by almost any car. It has a double bed and a kitchen you get at from the outside (fairweather camping only?). To be honest, there are caravans we like better, but it’s  neat little thing.

More information at Teardrop

There are also teardrop-shaped caravans from several other manufacturers, including these two, that give the German Teardrop a run for its money:

The Teardrop Trailer Turtle – around £10,000



Schafer

chafer wooden trailer tent

chafer wooden trailer tent

chafer wooden trailer tent

If space age isn’t your thing, how about the age of elegance. The Schafer trailer tents look like beautiful wooden boats and have some lovely design features, like this pull-out kitchen. Sadly, they seem to have disappeared. We’ll leave their old web address here just in case they return, but it didn’t work when we tried recently. And if your Dutch is good enough, you could try this specialist company, who also list the Opera.

Price: Around £20,000.


The QPod

QPod3

QPod 1

A concept and soon to be a prototype..and possibly available from late 2019, the QPod is being designed as mobile glamping towable by a small car. Have a look at our full article on this new idea from former architect Duncan Chapman.


HEIMPLANET Original | The Cave 2-3 Person Dome Tent | Inflatable Tent - Set Up in Seconds | Waterproof Outdoor Camping - 5000mm Water Column | Supports 1% For The Planet

Good design in the camping world

Here are just an examples of unusual camping options that have made it to the (almost) mainstream.

Heimplanet’s incredible tents have an inflatable skeleton, and versatility built in. This is the four-person Nias.

For more inspiration, have a look at our article on tiny homes.

And see our recommendations for the best compact caravans and campervans.

Still hankering after a tent? We’ve chosen the best quick-erect tents.

And for the cheapest-ever option? Pop over to our article on camping in your car.

And how about this for behind a bike…..

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