Ten crazy caravans
Just as you don’t have to stick to boring standard tents when camping, neither do you have to buy a generic white caravan. We’ve had ten awesome tents , now here are our ten crazy caravans. We want them all. All.
The QTvan : Designed during 2011’s Royal Wedding for elderly folks to bag the best spot on the procession route without sleeping on the pavement (and, less excitingly, to highlight the lack of breakdown insurance among mobility scooter owners), the QTvan is named after three somewhat British traits – queuing, tea and caravans. It’s designed to be pulled by a mobility scooter, which will make those of you who already complain about being mown down by the things in the local supermarket even more happy, and comes with a 19” telly, a drinks cabinet and tea-making facilities (well, of course). And if you run out of teabags, you can tow it inside the supermarket to pick up supplies. All this, and a tidy price of £5,500. Clever.
Earth caravan : What’s a guy to do when he’s got billions to spend and even the world’s biggest RVs and tourers are merely a click away from having? Build his own ginormous earth caravan, of course. This globe tourer is owned by the ‘Rainbow Sheikh’ Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan and is said to be one-millionth the size of the actual earth. Take that, Robert de Niro's RV .
Brickwork caravan : The phrase ‘home away from home’ was surely designed for this painted caravan, which even has its own specially illustrated door – with painted letterbox. And very easy to track down if the caravan thieves nick it.
Camper bike : You know how it is. Your legs get tired with all that pedalling, especially in busy city traffic, and you just want to be able to pull over and dive into your sleeping bag right away. Which is why this camper bike is such genius. Designed by artist Kevin Cyr in 2008 and tested on the outskirts of Beijing by his friend Wayne Wang, this camper bike makes us want to take to the road straight away. Or we could take it to Tesco – plenty of room to store the shopping…
Festival camper bike : Festivals are notoriously muddy. And wet. So even though this was designed for the dry and non-muddy Burning Man festival in California, we think it has a definite niche in the UK market. It’s suitable for all weather conditions, is lightweight enough to be towed by even the most lethargic cyclist, and comes with a folding bed, kitchen and heaps of storage space. It was designed by Paul W Elkins , who’s turned his crafty hand to all sorts of modified bikes and places to lay your head – we particularly like the treehouse camping pod.
You raise me up : Sometimes it’s not the caravan that’s a bit strange, it’s where it’s been put. Perhaps the owner of this caravan got tired of kids playing football outside and withdrew in a huff to the highest point they could reach. Or perhaps it’s what’s somewhat politically incorrectly known as a ‘redneck deer stand’, which ‘bring[s] the hunting experience to another level, literally’, say some manufacturers of such things. We’d still like to know how they got it up there.
Swivel : Standard caravans can sometimes be a bit teeny for our tastes and our book collections. But massive vans like the Earth one above might be a bit difficult to steer down tiny Cornish roads. The solution? The Romotow, a caravan inspired by a Swiss army knife, which swivels out (the caravan, not the knife) to produce 70 per cent more road space. 'You can even,' say New Zealand designers W2, 'use it as a home and horse float and travel with your horse to an overnight equestrian event.'
Customised cell : This multicellular creature was designed in response to the ‘fast-moving age’ in caravans where buyers want their own personalised custom-made tourer. ‘People want to be mobile but at the same time, have a strong desire for a lasting home and their own personal four walls,’ say designers Nonstandard of their Mehrzeller caravan, to which we say, ‘Only four?’ If this was ours, we’d paint each section a different colour, like a mad Harlequin tourer.
On a wing and a prayer : Yet more customised genius, this time on a Honda Goldwing GL1800. Biking can get cold in the winter months, so we think having somewhere to snuggle into a mere foot or two away is the best bike/camping combo we’ve ever seen. For a rather less stylish version of a Honda Goldwing customised for camping, see here . (We still want it.)
The double decker mansion : Basic caravans, let’s face it, don’t always have lots of room. Which is why we’re very surprised that more people don’t build upwards like landscape designer and sculptor Daniel Lobb , who not only added an extra storey to his caravan installation but based its design on a stately home. The Grange has wood panelling, a table with a grand piano leg and a cooker cupboard with carved claw and ball feet - to see it in all its double storey glory, visit Sutton House in Hackney in 2013, where it'll be part of a breakers' yard garden designed by Daniel for the National Trust property.