Bryony Symes
Staff Writer

See other caravan reviews written by Bryony Symes

Our experts assess the back-to-basics Kip Shelter Plus micro tourer – a lightweight, versatile and easy-to-store caravan aimed at intrepid adventurers

Overview

The Dutch-made Kip Shelter Plus is a little adventurer that is perfect for short getaways.

Compact micro tourers are especially appealing to young drivers and people who have very little storage space at home. In the past we've reviewed the T@B 400 TD and the Trigano Silver and written about some of the niche caravans spotted at the NEC show, such as the Trigano Mini Silver and Knaus Sport & Fun.

In this review we'll focus on the Kip Shelter Plus. It is suited to almost all tow cars and can be personalised to your tastes. There are lots of options for bringing the outside in, or the other way around, with a portable kitchen unit that can be used outdoors and space to store bicycles, a motorbike or surfboards ready for your next active outdoor break.

We had a look at the Shelter Plus with the following options added: blue metallic paint, alloy wheels, service package (which includes a jack, chocks and spare wheel), Whale space heating, and a side locker. Buy the Basic Shelter from £8995 or the Shelter Plus that starts at £11,995, and then choose the extras and design you want.

Pitching and setting up

This lightweight, compact van can be towed by a huge number of tow cars, even if you’ve chosen to increase its MTPLM from 750kg to 900kg. This boost provides sufficient payload for plenty of other features from the long list of possible additions to make the Kip Shelter Plus distinctly yours.

This model is all about flexible use; to increase living space, there are three options. First, the sturdy De Waard awning features removable sides and is available in a range of colours.

The Atomatent allows you to create the kind of covered areas you want by unzipping different sections of the canvas. You can create an awning or keep it closed up to protect against inclement weather.

Finally, there’s the De Waard Basail tent, whose unusual shape gives it great height. It has a removable floor, two windows and an awning. It even lets you decide whether to extend it with a 150cm-deep porch awning.

The sidewalls of the Kip Shelter Plus can be customised to your specification. Keep the standard Aluminium Raw plating or upgrade to a blue- or silver-metallic bodyshell. There is a selection of designs or you can supply your own photo and colour scheme, all as cost options.

Its standard equipment list is fairly impressive for a micro-tourer: hinged front and side windows, 230V electric hook-up connection (but no leisure battery), aluminium roof rails, gas and water pipelines. An on-board water tank is housed in the front locker, along with the optional service package and the steady winder.

Setting up the Kip Shelter Plus takes just a few minutes, including pushing up the pop-top roof, which is a breeze to use and boosts headroom to 1.98m. Nevertheless, the hooks that hold it down are strong.

There is also a handy awning light and ample storage in the seat boxes, though external access to them is a cost option.

Lounge

The Kip Shelter Plus has a multifunctional main space. The large dinette/lounge seats six people, while the tabletop doubles as the base for the bed. This can be removed to make room for your bicycle, board and other large pieces of outdoor equipment while in transit, as part of a sports package. To create this space, fold up the offside sofa; dedicated attachment rings on the floor allow you to secure your kit with tensioning straps.

Even the lighting is flexible: three spotlights are fitted to rails running through the caravan, along which the lamps can be moved, depending on where you need illumination.

Another creature comfort is the underfloor heating, which warms the interior very effectively. If you get too warm, simply unzip the flaps in the pop-top to catch a breeze.

There are two pairs of electric sockets, one on either side of the door for charging all the vitals and, of course, powering the essential kettle.

Kitchen

The flexibility of this van is carried through into the galley. The Kip Shelter Plus is fitted with a 60-litre fridge, a two-ring gas hob and a good-sized sink.

The hob and sink can be removed as a unit and relocated outside for al fresco cooking.

One end is supported by a leg and the other is hooked on to the caravan to the left of the door. Water and gas connectors make it easy to start cooking in the awning – freeing up space inside.

Washroom

There is no washroom in this van, because it is designed as a back-to-basics tourer. However, there is the option of adding a Porta Potti Qube 335, for £77.

Beds

The double bed is constructed by moving the table down to a slot between the two sofas. Then you can rearrange the cushions to provide a comfortable and spacious place to rest your weary head. The bed measures 1.7m x 2m.

The blinds combine with the caravan’s effective heating to create a relaxed and comfortable sleeping environment.

Storage

The nearside sofa has storage built into it, including an easily accessed drawer and a compartment that can be opened from the outside – an optional extra. A large cupboard is by the entrance door, and others for storing food and utensils across the aisle. It’s generous for two people’s needs.

There are also spacious lockers around the edge of the pop-up roof, with room for clothes and even bedding.

The beauty of this van is that it enables you to indulge in your favourite outdoor activities. If you’re a cyclist, the Bicycle Package provides a bike carrier, connection bar and securing rings on the floor, so you can safely transport your cycles inside.

The Motorbike Package includes a foldable, easy-store ramp for getting the bike into the caravan, a wheel lock and securing rings in the floor.

There is also a Surf and Kite Package for those into surfing or kite-surfing. This includes soft rubbers to protect two boards, a board rail that can be stowed on arrival at the site, and securing rings in the floor.

All of these are enabled by the wide caravan door at the rear, which can be extended from 74cm to 85cm, and a sofa seat that can be folded up and out of the way to create a large, simple-to-use storage area.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO595kg
Payload155kg
MTPLM750kg
Interior length3.45m
Shipping length4.6m
Width1.85m

Verdict

The Kip Shelter Plus is a funky tourer for more adventurous caravanners, who love the outdoors and don’t need all the comforts of home on board. It’s not a bare-bones caravan, especially if you dip into the long list of specialist options that are available. This caravan is ideal for quick getaways by active people, but they’ll want to book a site with decent washing facilities. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • Very versatile
  • Best for adventurous couples
  • Superb underfloor heating

Cons

  • No worktop space
  • No washroom
  • No separate lounge
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