Bryony Symes
Staff Writer

See other caravan reviews written by Bryony Symes

Teardrop-van specialist Pod Caravans mixes low weight, low price and versatility in its retro Standard Pod – read more in the Practical Caravan review

Overview

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

The double-layer body and doors of the caravan are made of glass fibre, and sit on a galvanised steel chassis. You can even match the caravan's colour to your tow car's as a cost option.

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.

Lounge

The living area of the Standard Pod serves as a bedroom for two people and a dinette for up to four. Before welcoming guests inside, lift the section of floor between the front and rear bench seats – this does double-duty as the tabletop.

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.

Kitchen

Lifting the large hatch door at the rear, assisted by gas struts, does more than provide a lovely view – it also permits access to the kitchenette. The quality of this hand-built area is remarkable.

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.

Washroom

With no water supply, on your Pod caravan holidays you're going to have to pitch at campsites with washblocks.

Beds

When day turns to night, detach the table from the wall, collapse and fold back the leg, and return the tabletop to its cut out space in the floor. This creates a flat sleeping area roughly the size of a double bed.

There are no sprung slats – it's just a simple plywood platform, but the cushions are comfortable.

Storage

Mounted on the A-frame is a storage box for the 12V battery, which powers the two internal lights and the galley's 12V socket. You can order an additional socket as a £60 option.

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.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO320kg
Payload180kg
MTPLM500kg
Interior length2.4m
Shipping length3.28m
Width1.58m
Height1.57m

Verdict

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. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
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