Turkey is establishing itself as a caravan-producing country, although so far, vans that have made it to the UK market have tended to be quite basic. That could be about to change, with the arrival at Leeds Caravan Centre of the Capsule Mini, made by Umarsan, a firm based near Istanbul. I went to take a look.

Pitch and set-up

This caravan – currently only available as a two-berth with a front lounge and rear-corner washroom – sits on a fully braked Al-Ko chassis with a shock absorber.

It has a monocoque shell with 50mm of polyurethane insulation, yet with an MTPLM of only 750kg, it should be towable by even quite modest vehicles.

The best small caravans also have a stylish appearance, and I think that’s certainly the case here, particularly if you go for a higher-spec Capsule Mini R.

Here, instead of the standard Glacier White or Stone Grey exteriors, you can have Burnt Orange or Olive Grey, with shell hubcabs and white wall tyre bands.

Leeds Caravan Centre says the inclusion of a plinth in the roof means the van could be adapted to fit a rail for a caravan or a camper awning. A poled canopy and fitted awning canopy are available as extras.

The front gas locker is top-opening, a feature I like for the easy access it provides. The hook-up and water points have been positioned higher than normal, which means you don’t have to bend down to them.

Lounge in the Capsule Mini R

The interior differs, depending on whether you go for the standard Capsule Mini or the Mini R. While the standard interior might be more basic, you still get blinds and flyscreens on all opening windows. I was pleased to see they fasten with magnets, not annoying clips.

You also get LED lighting, wood-effect vinyl flooring and varnished pine worktops.

Go for Mini R and you have a curtain on the central front window, and very fetching rattan locker doors. So 1960s!

Interior of the van
Light and bright interior décor enhances the feeling of space inside the van

There’s a small sideboard to the left of the door that, I think, could make an ideal perching point for a battery-operated radio – there are currently no sockets nearby.

I found the U-shaped front lounge was big enough for four. The pedestal table swings around for easier access. The windows aren’t huge, but let in lots of daylight, while two LEDs down the aisle and two under each locker keep things bright at night. A mains socket and USB port are fitted under the settee.

Capsule Minis don’t come with heating as standard, but dual-fuel space heating is an £1100 optional extra.

Kitchen in the Capsule Mini R

The side kitchen has a one-burner hob, inline with a small sink. This has a glass cover for extra worktop, but in this type of caravan, there is already a surprisingly large amount of work surface available. The window – with a flyscreen and a blind – provides plenty of ventilation, and there is a mains socket near the sink.

The hob and sink
Single-burner hob and inline sink have a glass cover for additional worktop

Washroom in the Capsule Mini R

The caravan layout sees a corner washroom benefits from the monocoque shell. Water ingress is unlikely here, even if there is only one drain hole in the shower tray.

The handbasin is tiny, and when you pull out the shower head from the tap, there’s nowhere to hang it. But the window lets in plenty of light. There is no fitted cassette toilet, but there is space for the Thetford 565E Porta Potti that comes as standard.

Sleeping in the Capsule Mini R

When you’re looking for the best 2 berth caravan, the comfort of the bed and the ease of making it up will always be a huge factor. You make up the bed by loosening the bolt on the table leg and lowering the top to the appropriate height. You can then use the backrests to fill the space: they have solid backs, so should accommodate any gaps between the tabletop and the settee edge.

The made up double bed
Double bed is made up by lowering the table and fitting the seat cushions

They make for a snug fit, too. With the backrest at the front still in position, the bed is only 1m wide – which some might find a little narrow for a double. However, with the backrest stowed in the washroom, you can gain an additional 7cm.

Storage in the Capsule Mini R

There’s space in the gas locker, even with the bottle in place, to store the hook-up cable and one or two other light items. Inside, there is a cupboard by the door, although this could be partly taken up with electrics if you go for extras, such as the solar panel (£499). The two overhead lockers are lined. Then there is the undivided area under the seats: you reach this via trapdoors, which can mean quite a stretch.

Kitchen storage includes two large drawers and a pan locker. The locker underneath the compressor fridge is shallow. The washroom has a storage area under the handbasin, accessed by turning a knob.

Alternatives to consider

The Campmaster Duo is a compact tourer with an MTPLM of 750kg, plenty of storage, a comfortable bed and a reasonable price. Then there’s the Hobby Beachy 360, a tourer with an MTPLM of 900kg, a bright and airy interior, and a stylish, contemporary design.

Technical spec

  • Price: £16,995 OTR
  • Berths: 2
  • MiRO: 650kg
  • Payload: 100kg
  • MTPLM: 750kg
  • Interior length: 2.8m
  • Shipping length: 3.8m
  • Overall width: 1.98m

Spec list

  • LED lighting
  • Single-burner hob
  • Compressor fridge
  • Thetford 565E Porta Potti
  • Double bed 1.89 x 1.00m

Options include:

  • Additional 100Ah leisure battery (£289)
  • 100W solar panel (£499)
  • Dual-fuel space heating (£1100)
  • Gas BBQ point (£195)
  • External mains socket (£145)
  • Additional gas bottle and holder (£149)
  • Rooflight with flyscreen (£249)
  • Al-Ko stabiliser hitch (£379)

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