It is difficult to believe that it is now five years since we first tested a Swift Basecamp. In that time Swift’s “crossover” vehicle has developed, with the addition of a window in the rear door, then a four-berth model a couple of years ago. But the basic idea remains the same: a caravan very much geared to the adventure sports enthusiast, to which you can add a dedicated Vango awning (a cost option we’re not reviewing here).
The big development this year has been the launch of a six-berth, with two dinettes in the rear that converts into two sets of bunks.
We headed to Glossop Caravans to take a look around the new Basecamp 6 – the model that was the winner of the best 6 berth caravan category at the Practical Caravan Awards.
Pitch and set-up
With its orange, grey and black honeycomb graphics, the Basecamp already looks stroking in standard format. But for £895 extra, you can choose from eight alternative graphics.
As you might expect in a caravan aimed at outdoor enthusiasts, there is a good range of extras fitted on the outside, including a BBQ point in the nearside front corner, an exterior mains socket on the nearside, and an external shower connection near the cassette hatch.
Having a door at the rear means you can easily load any bikes you are taking along.
With an unladen weight of 1165kg, the new Basecamp 6 is relatively lightweight for a six-berth, and like all Basecamp models, this season it benefits from an AKS 3004 stabiliser.
The funky interior, upholstered in black, grey and orange, really adds to the Basecamp 6’s sporty image, as do the black worktops.
The lounge is, however, a bit on the narrow side. Outside mealtimes (when you have to collect the foldaway table from the wardrobe, beyond the kitchen), any children might prefer the rear dinettes. There’s only just enough room for six up front, and taller folk might not want to squeeze in against the wall.
That said, the central window opens wide and the lounge is well lit, with dimmable lighting and two spotlights with USBs. TV sockets are on the outer edge of the kitchen, so you could mount a small set there – if you’re after one, our guide to the best caravan TVs fills you in on the standout products on the market.
The two rear dinettes are comfortable, considering the seat cushions are essentially parts of the bunk mattress folded up. The tabletops are stored on the far side of the kitchen. Both dinettes have an LED light, and there is also a pair of USBs under each of the rear seats. Everyone gets a charging point!
The stylish worktop is lit by a strip light, and looks very impressive with a three-burner gas hob. You are well supplied if you bring a kettle, with two mains sockets with plenty of space around them, and you can always use the socket that’s part of the TV set-up.
The round sink is a good size and, below, you get Dometic’s Series 10 two-way opening AES fridge. At 83 litres, it is a little small for the food of six, but this is a van designed for quick adventure trips over long tours. You only get a Thetford Duplex combined oven and grill, however, and there is no microwave.
The long mirror by the washroom door is useful, and there’s another large mirror over the basin. The shower is in the centre – the wheel arch intrudes a bit and there is only one plughole. But there is a second strip light under the locker, a large roof vent and a towel ring.
Beds in the Swift Basecamp 6
The narrowness of the front lounge means you’ll have to make it up into a double, rather than single beds. This is, however, an easy matter of sliding two platforms together and pulling out a set of support legs. Swift has even included Velcro to bind the platforms, so there’s no danger of them sliding apart.
Assembling the bunks at the back involves rearranging the cushions – Swift has cleverly designed them without the need for infills. It has, however, fitted a guard for each bunk, and they take up a fair amount of room. If the occupants of the bunks are old enough not to fall out, we would leave the guards at home.
Storage in the Swift Basecamp 6
All seats in the Basecamp 6 can be folded to leave room for storing bikes. There are eight bike holds in the front lounge, and four more in the rear. So with a payload of 166kg, this caravan should allow you to carry a good selection of bikes, provided the weight is well balanced. That does mean, however, that you have to do without the underseat storage most conventional vans would have. As a result, storage in the lounge is restricted to two shelves and a cubbyhole.
The rear lounge is equipped with the Basecamp’s clever fabric ‘lockers’ , which you can unzip and remove for easy packing. But the wardrobe is only half-height and stores the table, so a family of six would have to travel light.
Kitchen storage is better, with three large overhead lockers, two drawers under the oven and a narrow cupboard by the fridge. The locker in the washroom is adequate.
Basecamp has undoubtedly been a success, and this new model will make it available for larger families. The lounge is a bit cramped, but if you tend to spend most of your time enjoying the outdoors on your travels, this would be a great option to consider.
The Swift Basecamp 6 also made it onto our best caravan round-up, where we shared our pick of the top tourers currently on the market.
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As you might expect in a caravan aimed at outdoor enthusiasts, there is a good range of extras fitted on the outside
|Interior Length||4.88 m|
|Shipping Length||6.57 m|
|Spec list||AKS 3004 stabiliser, Alloy wheels, Series 10 Dometic fridge, Three-burner hob, Thetford Duplex oven, Six USBs, Whale underfloor blown-air heater and water heater, External BBQ point, Shower and mains socket, 100W solar panel|