Camping accessory and trailer tent supplier Camperlands made its first foray into producing a solid-roofed caravan some 18 months ago, with the Campmaster.
This housed a double bed, with the rear kitchen partly exposed to the elements. It has now been renamed the Lightweight, to make room for the Campmaster King, the company’s first fully fledged caravan, a two-berth with a front lounge. We went to view it at the firm’s Manchester base.
Pitch and set-up
The King is built on a Knott chassis and braking system – a name that might be unfamiliar to anyone with a British caravan built in recent years, although trailer tent owners will no doubt recognise it.
In many other respects, it is similar to any other British van, with a large, easily accessible gas bottle locker up front. It has a GRP outer and inner skin separated by Styrodur insulation. And you get Dometic windows with fly screens and blinds.
Working with its Polish manufacturer, Camperlands has managed to bring the MTPLM of the King gown to just 750kg. But that doesn’t necessarily make for a drastically cheaper price. Camperlands says that its efforts to bring the weight down – by, for example, going for lighter but more costly wood inside – account for much of that higher than expected price.
One other way Camperlands has kept the weight down is by not including a space heater. There is underfloor heating, but the firm claims a caravan of this size and with this insulation can warm up in 10 minutes with a portable heater.
Having sat in our test model on a cold March day in the showroom, with a small heater plugged into one of the two mains sockets under the clip-on table up front, it has a point: in 10 minutes we were warm.
That table doesn’t take up all the space in the aisle, so there is room to stretch your legs. The lounge is reasonably well lit, even with no sunroof, and it looks funky, too, with charcoal-grey upholstery contrasting with bright orange scatter cushions. But you only get strip lights over the settees not spotlights. As standard there are also no sockets for connecting up a TV.
For a van of this size, there is good workspace in the end kitchen, next to the two-burner hob that is amalgamated into the side of the large sink. There’s a useful row of hooks to the right of the sink and the area is well lit, with a window and a strip light.
Underneath is a 60-litre fridge – perfectly adequate for the food of two. You don’t get an oven or a microwave, but there are two on-board fresh-water containers for the kitchen and the neighbouring washroom, in the cupboard under the sink. You normally have to look for far more sophisticated caravans to get that.
The corner washroom has a big window with a blind, and a large lit mirror, but there is perhaps a bit too much white plastic here. The handbasin is small, and although the shower tray is a good size, it doubles up as the space in front of the basin, and there is only one drainage hole. Beyond this, the toilet sits below a high shelf. You also get a toilet roll holder here, and three handy plastic hooks.
The settees are long enough to make single beds that stretch to 1.9m. If you unhook the table and place it between the settees, with the extension (stored in the wardrobe), you can have a 1.9 x 1.9m double.
The only problem is the base cushions, which are rather unwieldy. It would have been better if there was a split base cushion, which would make this task easier. On our test model, the table clip was a little fiddly, too.
There is a huge amount of clear storage space under the settees, but the bulky base cushions make access tricky, because you have to remove them to rummage without having to hold the door. Things are a bit easier with the small locker at the front under the table. The wardrobe is half-height, but a good width.
There is one large overhead locker, and shelving in the lounge. Kitchen storage is a better proposition. You get two overhead lockers, a double cupboard and three drawers. There is one shelf up high in the washroom. Overall, though, you only get 60kg of payload, which will probably do for a couple, but only just.
Not having a space heater could be a big ask for some, although we were impressed how quickly this caravan heated up with just a little heater. And there is underfloor heating to keep off the chill.
If this kind of daring omission gets a van down to a weight where it can be towed by a smaller car – the kind we could well be driving in future – then this welcome new design from Camperlands is, perhaps, a clear sign of things to come.
- Thumbs up: Light weight, huge double bed
- Thumbs down: No space heater, settee base cushions not split
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There is underfloor heating, but the firm claims a caravan of this size and with this insulation can warm up in 10 minutes
|Interior Length||3.64 m|
|Shipping Length||4.80 m|
|Spec list||Knott chassis and braking system, 48W underfloor heating, 60-litre fridge, Dometic double-glazed windows, Thetford toilet, Three mains sockets, Two USB sockets, LED lighting|