Andy Jenkinson

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Yes, you can go caravanning even if you have a small tow car – find out more as Practical Caravan reviews the Wingamm Rookie 3.5, priced from £14,425

Overview

Micro-caravans make great tourers for singletons and couples and are ideal for towing behind a small car. We take a look at this offering from Italian manufacturer Wingamm.

Wingamm, which has been manufacturing motorhomes since 1977, specialising in GRP moulded construction, branched out into tourer production several years ago. The Italian manufacturer has applied its GRP construction methods to a quirky-looking micro-caravan.

The Rookie tourer didn’t quite make its mark on the UK market. But now it's back. It joins five Wingamm motorhome models on the forecourt of Wingamm UK, based in Edinburgh, and is now enjoying a slow but growing demand. 

Available as a two-berth layout (with the option for a third), this 3.5m-long tourer is lightweight, easy to manoeuvre on site and can be towed by most small cars, and that includes the diminutive Fiat 500.

Pitching and setting up

The Rookie’s GRP bodyshell is fitted to an Al-Ko chassis with an AKS hitch stabiliser. There’s no A-frame cover, but standard-spec alloy wheels add a touch of class. Large, sturdy, stainless-steel grab-handles at the front and rear of the van allow for easy manoeuvring onto a pitch.

The Rookie doesn’t have a front window as such, but it does have an opening window, instead of a rooflight, positioned at the front of the micro-caravan’s roof.

The graphics are quite low-key, but their jaunty design reflects the caravan’s distinctive and unusual profile. A large gas locker in the Rookie’s nose houses two 13kg cylinders, plus a mains cable and wheel-chock levellers.

The unglazed, one-piece entrance door is located on the offside at the back of the caravan. All the windows are Dometic units, with the offside window having a slide-open action. Service points for mains electric and water, plus the cassette toilet hatch, are positioned on the nearside.

Lounge

The front lounge area is small, but by no means cramped. You have to stand up for views out to the front of the van, but the sunroof and the two large side windows allow in natural light and offer good ventilation.

Our test caravan was fitted with the optional Wisteria upholstery and there are four other designs to choose from. The clip-on table is large enough for two to use at meal times, and when not in use it simply unclips from the front wall.

Night-time illumination is courtesy of two centrally mounted LED lights on the front panel with LED striplights over each side window. Heating is delivered via two blown-air vents in the lounge coupled to the gas-only Truma heater. The lounge is compact but perfectly comfortable for a couple and the occasional visitor.

Kitchen

The Wingamm Rookie 3.5's kitchen is basic but practical. It’s divided in two: on the entrance door side is the twin-burner hob, sharing the same stainless steel unit as the sink, which is supplied by a mixer tap. No grill is fitted and worktop space is tight.

Opposite is a Dometic 70-litre fridge, plus a mains socket and a better worktop area. It’s here that the simple control panel is located. The area is illuminated at night by the LED striplights under the overhead lockers.

Washroom

The washroom is located at the back of the tourer where there is the most height and it’s quite a surprise for the type of caravan.

We weren’t expecting anything grand, but it is a well fitted-out and finished area. A quality plastic moulding houses a large handbasin with a cupboard below. A shower tray does service as the washroom floor and there’s a Dometic flush toilet.

A transparent side window illuminates the area. The only real disappointment is the use of a curtain for the shower but, that aside, it’s a first-rate washroom.

Beds

At night, the lounge area does service as a double bed. This is achieved by using the clip-on table as a base, fitting it between the two sofas. The resulting bed measures a respectable 1.95m x 1.35m. There is also the cost option of an extra single bed.

Storage

Despite its size, the Wingamm Rookie 3.5's storage solutions are not bad. Next to the entrance door is a small wardrobe, whose base is taken up with the heater, but it still has good hanging space – enough for two people’s clothing.

In the lounge there’s good stowage in the seat base, but some of this will be lost if you have the optional 50-litre fresh water tank fitted. Overhead lockers and two cubbyholes add further storage options.

The kitchen has two large drawers, plus one good-sized cupboard, while the washroom moulding is equipped with shelves and a cupboard below the handbasin.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO720kg
Payload280kg
MTPLM1000kg
Interior length3.5m
Shipping length4.46m
Width2.15m

Verdict

The Wingamm Rookie 3.5 offers good lounge and dining space, a 1.96m-long double bed, kitchen and washroom facilities, all packaged with a dash of Italian flair into a 3.5m-long body. Standard kit can be boosted by a host of options, but as it stands it’s a lightweight, little tourer that can be towed by a variety of small cars and will raise a few eyebrows on site. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • It is light so can be towed by many small cars
  • It has a spacious, light and airy interior
  • For such a compact tourer, it has good storage
  • It tows well and is easy to handle

Cons

  • The kitchen has no grill or oven
  • Worktop space is limited
  • It lacks a front window
  • The seating could be more supportive
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