Alastair ClementsSee other caravan reviews written by Alastair Clements
Bang on trend with 2017's hottest layout and with an eye-catching look, don't miss our review of the brand-new, top-of-the-range Compass Camino 660
It’s four years since the Explorer Group reintroduced the Compass brand and, while its ranges have their followers, it has struggled to establish the mass-market appeal of its Elddis-badged stablemates. That’s in part because the waters surrounding the sibling brands were a little muddied, with the Compass lines perhaps lacking the clear identities of the Elddis Avanté, Affinity and Crusader.
For 2017 Explorer has pulled off a neat trick, giving the brand an injection of character, while simultaneously aligning its ranges more closely – in spec terms – with sister Elddis caravans. That means three ranges rather than two, with the Compass Corona and Rallye replaced by the entry-level Casita, mid-market Capiro and this, the Camino, a four-strong Compass incarnation of the luxurious Elddis Crusader.
As well as a new name and a new look – most notable on the Camino with its aluminium sidewalls in a stylish metallic blue – there are new layouts, too, the most exciting of which is undoubtedly the twin-axle 660. It features a central washroom and a rear transverse island bed. And to see other Compass caravans for sale, click here.
Pitching and setting up
There are shock absorbers and Secure wheel lock receivers, too, along with heavy-duty steadies and external lights on the sides and rear of the van. Unlike the Lunar Delta RI, which provided clear inspiration for this new model, the main services are positioned on the offside – good news if you plan on using an awning, which will be disturbed only by your fridge vents.
On the nearside you’ll find a gas barbecue point and two external locker hatches, with further evidence of thoughtful design in the front one: there’s a small cutout in the corner of the door for leads, with a 230V socket and aerial point inside.
The lighting options, both day and night, are particularly impressive. A panoramic front window and long ‘Stargazer’ rooflight add plentiful daylight, while at night you can choose between subtle ambient lighting or targeted spots, depending on what you are doing.
Tech fiends will appreciate the two USB charging points in addition to a 230V socket. There are two more 230Vs plus a 12V charging point and a TV aerial socket on the sideboard beside the entrance door, with a glitzy cocktail cabinet above.
The granite-effect sink looks a little dated, but it’s domestic in feel and sits in a huge expanse of worktop – sufficient that a lift-up flap isn’t deemed necessary. It’s all lit by a quartet of LED downlighters.
You’ll find another pair of 230V sockets here, along with an Omnivent extractor fan, while the huge fridge is on the other side of the caravan, with a microwave at an accessible height above it.
Instead of the compromised circular unit found in some rivals, there’s a large, square, fully lined shower cubicle on the nearside. It has a backlit riser bar with an adjustable soap dish and an EcoCamel Orbit water-saving showerhead, though there is some wheelarch intrusion in the tray at the base.
On the opposite side there’s a WC with a classy integrated cistern, and alongside it a bowl sink with pop-up plug, sitting on a plinth. Two cabinets, a towel rail warmed by the standard Alde wet central heating and a backlit mirror complete this well-equipped room.
It’s a shame that there’s no window, and the slightly cramped feel with both screens across means that you don’t get the sense of space that you do in the Lunar Delta RI, but it also results in a roomier lounge and bedroom.
All Explorer Group island beds now retract a full 400mm, which means plenty of space to walk around the foot of the bed in daytime, and a backrest should you want to sit and read. At night, it extends to a generous 6ft 3in with an infill cushion, and an impressive 4ft 5in wide.
There are bedside shelves with drawers beneath, reading lights and a thickly padded headboard, and in the nearside rear corner an attractive vanity unit with a cupboard, TV point, plus 12V, 230V and two USB sockets; there’s another 230V socket in the bed base.
The options for guests or kids/grandkids are good, too. At 5ft 11in long, the lounge sofas make decent single beds; but to really stretch out you can pull a set of slats from beneath the front chest to make a huge 6ft 8in x 4ft 8in double, with reading lights at each corner.
The bedroom boasts another pair of overhead lockers, like those in the lounge featuring ‘quiet-close’ hinges, plus a slimline wardrobe on either side to give plenty of hanging space. There’s the usual under-bed storage, albeit partially taken up by an on-board water tank.
While the Compass Camino 660 might not have the same washroom wow factor as the first van we saw with the layout, this interpretation should work well in practice. It offers a generous amount of living and entertaining space, a strong sense of privacy to the luxurious rear bedroom, and similar levels of flexibility.
The revamp of the flagship range of Compass caravans also gives it a unique identity and an attractive new style – it should really stand out on site!
- It has a luxurious feel and a spacious living area
- It's very well specced, including plenty of 230V sockets
- This van looks glamorous, inside and out
- It has a weighty MTPLM, yet the payload isn't particularly high for a large twin-axle caravan
- A split washroom won't be to all tastes