It’s always interesting to see what grabs the visiting public’s gaze as they wander around the halls at the NEC Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show.
We visited the February 2022 event and when it came to smaller vans, Wingamm’s compact Rookie 3.5 and the bijou Mink 2.0 Sports Camper were certainly getting plenty of attention – those Instagrammable curves and bright colours were the subject of many an admiring photo.
But for buyers looking for something a little more versatile in terms of practicality and accommodation options, the Freedom Carpento range also provide a draw.
There are three models in the line-up – the two-berth 310, the four-berth 360 and, as seen here, the five-berth 410.
Pitch and set-up
Manufactured in Turkey just outside Istanbel, the Freedom Carpento has been tailored for the British market with the door on the UK side. The 410 is based on an Al-Ko chassis with a heat-resistant 32mm sandwich body made from a glass fibre skin with a Styrofoam centre and boxed aluminium section.
It’s a two-piece unit with a one-piece roof that goes all the way round, to prevent leaks. The complete glass fibre construction of the Freedom’s shell also means that there are no unnecessary gaps or joins, only the essentials, such as the door and windows.
Another sign of practicality is the main door being fitted with storage and a fly screen. Overall, the caravan has a smart and very contemporary look, with charcoal and grey outer foil graphics that are stylish and fun.
Stepping into the Carpento, you’ll find the main living area on your left, where the first thing to grab your attention is the almost completely panoramic window, flooding the lounge with light – there’s a skylight, too.
That window give you an excellent view all round, other than a small area at the front. These are single-glazed caravans, but we are assured that they remain very warm and the rubber seal around the window looks robust.
Just under the window is a hinged tale in a light oak colour, which matches the interior storage and work surfaces found throughout the van. The comfortable bench seating on either side can easily seat four.
The cushions are supportive enough and come in a stain-resistant fabric. Teal-coloured curtains provide privacy when required.
The lighting throughout the caravan is well planned – a mixture of spots and LEDs that provides an agreeable level of illumination.
At the back of the van is another, more compact, living area, with a smaller table cut on the diagonal for easier access to the seat behind the inbuilt ladder, which can be used to access the overhead pull-down bunk.
To the right of the door as you look out, the kitchen is small but functional, providing a two-burner hob and sink. The hinged covers above can provide more work surface and the area is well lit with LEDs and spots. That worktop is low though, so taller users, be prepared.
The 410 has an on-board water tank and above the sink, you’ll find the battery and water level indicators. Behind you is the 50-litre 12V fridge. You won’t be hosting elaborate gourmet nights, but there are facilities enough to cook basic meals and we are told future generations of Carpento may have a built-in oven.
That practicality we mentioned comes into its own in the sleeping arrangements. The front table and seats turn into a 1.3 x 2m bed by lowering the table and dropping in filler cushions. You simply unclip the table, which drops down into place easily.
At the other end of the van, it’s a similar system, although this bed is better described as a large single or a three-quarter bed, rather than a double. It’s cropped like a French bed, to allow for that built-in ladder, which gives access to the pull-down bunk up above.
Given the overall size of the caravan and its many sleeping options, it would be unrealistic to expect too much from the washroom. Like the kitchen, it’s small but functional. But it still looks smart and there is a small cabinet for toiletries, a Thetford cassette toilet, a basin with an extendable 12V tap, and an acrylic shower tray.
This is a sealed unit and there’s a ceiling fan, too. It’s perfectly acceptable for a short stay, although if there are five of you on board, you might prefer on-site facilities.
Given its size, the 410 performs well, with small cupboards in the kitchen and a sizeable unit above the fridge. If the drop-down bed is not being used, you could store items there while on site. The hinged bed base up front offers more storage space underneath the seating on both sides.
There’s a great deal to be said for the 410, which given its practicality and low weight would suit first-timers, small families or perhaps those towing with an electric car. It’s smart and compact, with touches of retro styling that will appeal to many.
- Thumbs up: Head-turning retro styling; light weight for easy towing
- Thumbs down: Washroom might be a bit small if five are on board; low kitchen worktop
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It's smart and compact, with touches of retro styling that will appeal to many
|Interior Length||4.15 m|
|Shipping Length||5,40 m|
|Spec list||Al-Ko chassis, 13-pin Euro plug, Front gas/storage locker, Flyscreen, Outer foil graphics, Two-burner gas hob and sink, Astern 50-litre 12V fridge, LED lighting and spots, 12V water pump, Water and electric level indicators, Battery charger, Mains electric and 12V fusebox, 50-litre fresh-water tank, Thetford toilet|