Combining the romance of a covered wagon with some of the comforts of a modern caravan, the Wildwood Design Twagon divided opinions at Practical Caravan

Overview

Amazingly, there are caravanners out there for whom Carlights are too mass-produced and Airstreams too bland. The simple truth of the matter is that while the motorhome market will build you pretty much whatever you want (if you have deep pockets), there is no equivalent in the caravan world. There is no über-caravan. Knaus Tabbert’s £500,000 Caravisio, which headlined at last year’s NEC Show, comes close, but it’s a one-off.

So what is a super-discerning caravanner to do if they want to cause a stir on site? Dorset-based boat-builder Chris Ward of Wildwood Design thinks he has the answer. Rock up to your average campsite with one of his bowtop wagons in tow, and you’re going to get noticed.

It’s called the Twagon, and it’s an intriguing fusion of tradition and modernity. It might look like something you’d expect to find next to its horse in some utopian meadow or on glamping holidays, but in fact it’s hand-built in the 21st century using modern materials.

Pitching and setting up

The Twagon’s chassis is a combination of Knott and Al-Ko, with slightly staggered tag-axles for, Chris says, improved stability. A brief tow with our long-term Škoda Superb estate revealed no unpleasant surprises. Despite appearances, the electric lead is a standard 13-pin affair attached to modern running and tail lights.

The corner steadies are easy to reach, and while this 4.4m-long beast is likely to be tricky to manoeuvre by hand on your pitch, that’s no different to any other twin-axle caravan.

Our test model had no hook-up point, but there’s room in the rear stowage box for a battery, chocks and steady winder. It also lacked a water system, boiler or gas heater (though all can be fitted).

Chris tells us an awning can be sewn into the bowed roof, which comprises six sections of 100% waterproofed cotton, with 54oz recycled wool insulation.

This model has heating, but it comes in the form of a 4Kw wood-burner with a slate hearth. It may add more than £900 to the price, but it looks the part, and the warmth it throws out is remarkable. An Alde or Truma system just wouldn’t look right.

Lounge

The Twagon’s central living area comprises a pair of wooden bench seats. You can tailor your layout to whatever you want – within reason – but our test model is the standard arrangement. It’s basically one big wood-lined room (with 190mm-thick insulted oak floor and 317mm-thick pine lower walls), with the kitchen to your right as you enter and a large raised double bed at the rear.

All interior woodwork is finished with Danish oil to give a hard-wearing, but traditional look. This one – destined for a new life in Northamptonshire – does without fitted cushions, because the customers wanted to provide their own, but these can be supplied if required.

The seats continue beneath the bed area. LED lighting comes as standard, and we’d be amazed if any have been built without that wood-burning heater.

Kitchen

The galley is one of the most impressive aspects of the interior. ‘Ours’ is a solid wood sideboard with two cupboard doors and a pair of drawers, all finished with top-quality brass fittings and well dovetailed.

The fitted splashback gives the game away, though – there’s more than enough worktop space here to accommodate a sink, drainer and hob, and Chris can replace one of the lower cupboards with a compact cooker. The design of the roof precludes fitment of a window.

Washroom

There is no washroom, but dedicated storage for a Porta Potti should pose no problems.

Beds

The double bed fills the rear of the Twagon and measures a healthy 1.83m x 1.2m (6ft x 3ft 11in approximately). Getting into the bed can be tricky, since it’s a fair distance off the floor, but once you’re ensconced, it’s a heavenly place to catch an afternoon nap or a night’s sleep. The elegantly bowed roof and the presence of a small bay window in the rear wall are charming.

Better still, the void beneath the bed is big enough to house an optional child’s bed. This area gets its own seats, too, together with a dedicated window. It’s big enough to play in, even with a bed fitted. You can’t over-estimate how exciting this would be to your average five year old!

Storage

Both seats have ample storage beneath them, and the kitchen unit – if left in ‘sideboard’ mode – contains three large drawers and two low cupboards, one of which is double-fronted.

Don’t get too excited about the huge void beneath the bed, though – yes, you can get plenty of stuff in there, but only once you’re pitched. Excess weight right at the rear of a caravan – even on a twin-axle as big as this – is never good for stability.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO950kg
Payload1050kg
MTPLM2000kg
Interior length4.12m
Shipping length6.2m
Width2m

Verdict

The Twagon is aimed at a very select customer base. As we found, even within our team at Practical Caravan, you either ‘get’ it or you don’t and the asking price of our model (£14,950, plus £920 for the wood burner) – looks exceptional value, given the level of build quality.

If you 'get' glamping or have always fancied a ride in a horse-drawn gypsy wagon, you may like this.

On a more practical level, we’d probably want some form of rudimentary hob and dedicated storage for a Porta Potti.

We usually give an approximate insurance quote from The Caravan Club for caravans that we review in the print editions of Practical Caravan magazine, but unfortunately the Club doesn’t cover such an unusual tourer. In fact, finding cover might not be as easy as you think: we called the National Trailer Association and it was reluctant to commit to a figure because our test van was not fire retardant.

Specialist insurer Shield Total Insurance will be able to quote, but warns that cover would be restricted to exclude damage suffered when towing and premiums will vary according to storage location and customer information, citing concerns over the lack of security features and the non-standard construction. We recommend checking with your insurer before you buy.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Beautifully built
  • Modern chassis
  • Great value
  • Great fun
  • Has corner steadies
  • Good for glamping holidays

Cons

  • Kitchen costs extra
  • No washroom
  • Need to buy a Porta Potti
  • Wood-burner costs extra
Share with friends

Follow us on