On a recent holiday in France, I spotted this rather unusual (and old) motorhome at the Aire de Service (motorway service area) where my wife and I had parked for the night (free, of course, unlike the UK).
What do you think?
It’s an unusual beast to be sure, so imagine my surprise when I discovered recently that a Dutch company has started making modern motorhomes based on exactly the same concept – a gypsy caravan on the back of a lorry or van.
Tonke Campers makes bespoke, wooden-bodied, demountable motorhomes that fit onto modern chassis vans. Founded by Dutch film-maker Maarten Van Soest, a Tonke Camper provides the chance to enjoy and relax in a cosy, natural environment that feels a million miles away from the regular plastic/fibreglass/laminate world of modern motorhomes.
Tonke Campers are fully fitted-out internally with sleeping, cooking, washing and toilet facilities and so are well suited for wild camping and extended touring, when their size and demountable abilities will come into their own. (A demountable vehicle body is one which can be separated from its host vehicle – US readers are probably familiar with campers that fit onto the back of pickup trucks; it’s the same principle).
Tonke Campers motorhomes are now also available for hire at fairly typical motorhome hire rates. The campers can be taken out of the Netherlands into most other European countries and can be driven on a standard UK car driving licence (check when booking). For more details, see the Huren (Hire) page on Tonke’s website.
Tonke’s website has loads of great photographs and lots more information – it’s well worth a visit. There’s an English version coming soon, but email them direct if you have any questions as Maarten (like all Dutch people I have met!) speaks good English. Prices seem on a par with similarly-sized conventional motorhomes and Maarten’s designs certainly offer something different with real personality – and how rare is that these days?
(For more information, see this review in the Guardian)