It was over thirty years ago that Volkswagen first started offering "pop tops" on its camper vans. In the years since, the soft-sided interior height-extenders have become a common sight on VW vans parked in campgrounds all over the world. Now, Welsh company Overlander Motorhomes is offering what it sees as the logical compliment to the pop top - it's the DoubleBack, a sliding insulated pod that extends the interior length of Volkwagen's T5 Transporter van.
The company starts with a stock 2.0TDI 140PS Long Wheelbase T5 van, then adds its patented DoubleBack pod package. When on the road, the pod stays tucked up inside the back of the vehicle. Once the driver stops and decides they'd like to settle down someplace, however, it electrically extends out of the rear in under 45 seconds, adding approximately two meters (6.5 feet) of useable interior space. Two legs also fold out from the bottom of the pod, which allow it to support up 600 kilograms (1,323 lbs), and to self-level on uneven terrain.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
T5 Transporters receiving the DoubleBack treatment also include an elevating roof, a fold-out double bed in the pod itself, a kitchenette, and other home-on-the-road features. It's unclear how the interior of the van is affected when the pod is pulled in, although Overlander claims that one of its converted vans can accommodate either a driver and one passenger in captain's seats, or a driver and two passengers if the bench seat option is selected by the buyer.
If the idea of an extending rear pod sounds at all familiar, that's because Nissan floated the idea on its NV200 concept cargo van, five years ago. The feature never made it through to the production version of the vehicle, however.
The DoubleBack T5 Transporter van is available now, for GBP54,995 (US$86,988). For a look at what else can be done to make a T5 more accommodating, check out the SpaceCamper.
The video below shows the pod in all its sliding glory.
Product page: DoubleBack