The evolution of a caravan for the 21st century

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Amongst serious outdoor types, caravans don’t usually enjoy a great deal of cache. But that could be about to change.

As the last of the Boomers think about uncoupling their tow hitches and retiring to a static in Linton, there are radical stirrings in the ultra-conservative world of caravanning.

Realising that the white-box-on-wheels approach just isn’t cutting it with the next generation of potential customers, some of the more enterprising European manufacturers are experimenting with altogether more exciting leisure vehicles that offer a more versatile passport to adventure in the grat outdoors.

At the Caravan and Motorhome Show at the NEC this weekend, German manufacturer Knaus is show-casing its Sport & Fun trailer, which is designed to provide simple accommodation and transport for your toys.

With two double berths, lighting, heating and cooking facilities, a big fridge and a shower, it’s significantly more comfortable than camping, yet the Sport & Fun also offers enough load-lugging capacity to swallow mountain bikes, surf boards, windsurfers or stand-up paddle boards – either inside – or on mounted on the roofbars up top. As a base for a couples exploring the mountains or the coast, or even young familes looking for adventure, it really does stack up. Knaus also had a heavier duty trailer – the Deseo Transport – designed to take two dirt bikes and offer simple sleeping quarters for their riders.

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Elsewhere at the show, Dutch manufacturer Kip offered the Shelter – a similar proposition to the transport, while TripBuddy showcased the Escape – a beautifully designed and engineered getaway vehicle with a rugged, ‘hose down and wipe clean’ interior, which would be ideal for watersports fans.

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In many practical ways, these clever little trailers make a lot more sense than the vehicle of choice for outward-bound adventurers for the last five decades – the iconic Volkswagen Campervan. They offer more accommodation, more carrying capacity and more refinement. Hitch one to the back of a Bug – and you have arguably the ultimate package for footloose fun-seekers. Not sure this van from Lego would withstand the rigours of life outdoors for long though.

 

Question is, if the term caravan seems so crusty to adventure-seeking Gen Xers and Millennials, what on earth should we call this new generations of, er, caravans? Answers on a postcard…

Author: Mark Sutcliffe

Freelance writer and editor specialising in the outdoors, environment, walking, cycling, food, travel and adventures.

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