CRA Motoring News
Written by Will Gray
From amphibious mode to the ultimate retro chic, these high-spec campers are as cool as adventure travel gets.
When you think of a camper van, what normally springs to mind is one of those slow-moving, white plastic roadblocks you get stuck behind, always at the worst possible times. Well think again, because here are the coolest camper vans on the planet.
One can turn into a boat, one can even hide a sports car underneath it and one has its very own, erm, command centre. Yes, these are the most radical sets of wheels you would love to cruise into your nearest campsite with.
1. The classic one
No camper van will ever rise above the original VW Transporter. A stone cold classic, just take this refurbished number which gleams like it just came off the production line in 1964, only with some added high-spec cons.
Modified by Van Wurks, its pastel-hued paint job, with matching interior trim, makes it look like a kid’s die-cast toy. Added extras are a ‘disco seat’ with speakers, a modern kitchen and LED floor spots.
So if you’ve got your hands on a previously owned VW and want to get it tweaked in all the right places you know what to do!
2. The super luxury one
If you have a couple of million pounds spare (specifically almost 5 million CAD), this is the camper for you: a high-tech, futuristic monster with a pop-up rooftop cocktail bar, cosy lounge and a fireplace.
The sleeping area’s bigger than most hotel rooms, boasting a giant TV and rainfall shower, while the kitchen/diner has a wine cabinet, coffee machine and ice maker. To get onboard, there’s a set of folding steps which are lined with carpet (red, obviously).
Better start filling up that piggy bank pronto.
3. The off-road one
The best thing to come out of Canada since maple syrup, this is a showcase camper from Nomad Vanz, a custom outfitter based in North Vancouver. It’s loaded with gizmos and gadgets, including their signature ‘Mother Ship’ 175-litre water tank and a side-mounted mountain bike repair station.
What started life as a basic Mercedes Sprinter cargo van now has a lithium off-grid ‘Command Centre’, a kitchen with gas stove, a teak table and custom upholstery. It just shows how far you can go if you want to up-spec.
Truly next level, Nomad Vanz have different upgrade levels from around 60,000 CAD to 220,000 CAD and always create a bespoke look you won’t find anywhere else.
4. The wild one
This US camper was built to live in the wild. Its roof is covered in solar panels and it has a ‘plug-and-play’ interior that allows it to morph into different functions on different days. Not for nothing has it billed itself as the Swiss Army Knife of campervans.
It’s the attention to detail that makes this stand out from the norm – including a premium fitted kitchen, a carefully designed shower with 150-litre tank and funky LED rock lights that illuminate the ground at night.
Portland-based chop shop Outside Van are happy to either help you design your own van, or even choose from one of their ‘ready to drive’ models taking their cues from the camper above (prices available on request). Quick American road trip, anyone?
5. The one for the beach
This sumptuously specced retro-effect van is a modern VW T6 taken back to the style of the 1960s – with iconic two-tone metallic-on-white paintwork and diamond stitched and piped red leather seats.
UK-based Danbury specialises in kitting out basic T6s (which are already sleek enough themselves) with seven different layouts, all of which are designed to optimise space. This one’s based on the Surf and Surf King models.
6. The one with the car garage
This is made for the millions of us – ok, the rare few – who want to head out in their motorhome but can’t bear to be without their sports car.
A built-in garage can house a low-profile car – you know, like a Porsche, Ferrari, or BMW i8 – and slide it out whenever it’s needed. The interior has slide-out walls too, to maximise space, and is designed from scratch for every buyer.
It’ll cost you more than a million dollars, but then you’ll probably make your money back with whatever Fast & Furious-style heist you have up your sleeve.
7. The one with the bike ramp
This radical revision of a T25 camper was built by pro mountain biker Rob Heran and includes a blow-up roof tent and a bike ramp that turns it into a freestyle jump on wheels.
The van was re-fitted with a TDi engine, Recaro seats for added comfort and, as you’d expect, plenty of bike storage. The ramp is made of a series of connected bike rails and it hooks to the roof rack that carries them.
8. The amphibious one
CAMI, or ‘Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International’, have cooked up something brilliantly offbeat with the Terra Wind camper van.
Just one of the company’s wild and wonderful designs, this is a massive million-dollar motorhome that actually turns into a boat. If James Bond ever started a family you can bet he’d be taking his clan vacationing in something like this.
Far from fiction though, a high-tech dashboard controls the gizmos that make it possible to float on water and if you fancy a swim in the middle of the lake, the back drops down to create a handy dive platform.
Watch it in action here.
9. The one for desert dunes
This rugged truck might look as if it were built for lugging a bunch of tourists around on a long-distance road trip through Africa, but it’s actually made for mad independent adventurers who want to do it for themselves.
Built on a MAN or Mercedes Unimog chassis, there are six different base models to suit different travellers, from basic to luxury, with a modular system that lets you kit it out with all the different elements you want.
A few of the amenities you’ll find in the TC52-Comfort, for instance, are a solar power system, motorbike bicycle carrier and flushing porcelain toilet. With prices start from around $500,000, affording one means you’ll have to be pretty flush yourself.
And one if you can’t afford a campervan just yet…
Finally, while everyone loves the retro VW camper, many can’t afford the price tag of these super cool 1960s surf vans. Fortunately, this offers a solution… sort of. It’s a VW Camper – but it’s a tent. It’s exactly the same scale as the original, has two zip-separated double rooms inside, and to get in, well, you just open the side doors like you would on the real thing. Happy camping.
Credit to RedBull.