Teardrop-van specialist Pod Caravans mixes low weight, low price and versatility in its retro Standard Pod – read more in the Practical Caravan review
Pod Caravans began trading in 2000. It produced only a handful of vans per year before its current owners took over in 2011. Over the past three years there has been significant development of the product as well as an increase in production.
The brand’s micro-caravans are low-spec, lightweight and stylish. The emphasis is on simplicity and comfort, with a 1940s- and 1950s-inspired teardrop shape. The range consists of four models: the Standard Pod, the Limited Edition, the Bespoke 1 and the Bespoke 2.
The Bespoke 1 is the same as the Standard model, but gives the buyer a choice of special interior fabrics. The Bespoke 2, meanwhile, has everything that the Standard Pod does, along with a choice of interior fabrics and exterior colours.
Here the Practical Caravan review team looks at Pod 1, the first van to come off the production line. It’s a Standard Pod, but has Cath Kidston fabric furnishings.
Pitching and setting up
This super-lightweight tourer is easy to manoeuvre and hitch up, and its towing-electrics cable has a seven-pin connector. The chassis lacks a handbrake, so chocks are needed on uneven ground.
The one-piece nearside entry door has an opening window, and the latch is lockable from the inside. There is also an internal latch on the rear hatch door. The offside features three porthole windows, two of which open.
Just below floor level, you'll find a section of industrial-strength, waterproof membrane that is held in place with clips and straps, like those on a rucksack, only stronger. Undo the clips and loosen the webbing through them to lower the material towards the ground. This creates a flat-based footwell and comfortable seating around the table.
Next, fold down the telescopic leg from the underside of the tabletop and clip the flat edge to the day table, which is fixed permanently to the wall. Before towing, the footwell must be pulled back up with the straps and re-secured with the clips.
The choices of fabrics on the Standard Pod are charcoal and cream, or red-and-cream blazer stripes. Customers may select their own material as long as it meets safety regulations. Prices depend on the type of fabric chosen.
A compact gas camping stove is provided for cooking (which may only be done when the rear is open), and the space works well, despite being so small. However, huddling under the raised tailgate may not be so great in the rain.
When it's time to clean the dishes and pots, you'll have to carry them to your campsite's washing-up sinks, because the Pod has no water supply.
There are no sprung slats – it's just a simple plywood platform, but the cushions are comfortable.
The kitchenette has dedicated space for bottles and jars, drawers for the stove and cutlery, and shelves. Below the worktop and drawers is a large space for the spare wheel and steady winder, plus other kit you wish to store here.
An awning that is in development would increase the living area by more than 50%. The Practical Caravan reviewers had a go with the prototype and believe it will also come in handy as extra storage space, especially for muddy shoes and other outdoor gear.
Staying in the Pod for this Practical Caravan review, we were charmed by its cool, funky look, its low price and the attention to detail that is clear throughout. It’s easy to use and live with, but, with no washroom and such compact dimensions, it’s only really suitable for back-to-basics caravanners.
To compensate, you may well find yourself staying on sites with washblocks and camping kitchens when on your caravan holidays.
- The space in the Standard Pod is well-planned and versatile
- It provides a roomy, comfortable double bed
- It can be pulled by most small cars that are homologated to tow
- This is not a tourer for rally fields or minimum-facility campsites – washblocks are a must
- The lack of mains electric sockets will be a struggle for some
- There is little storage space and no headroom for standing
- It has no water supply