Four Paws solar-equipped motorhome keeps dogs comfy in a dedicated doghouse
Hiking boots, mountain bike, tent, grill, smiling, panting Labrador retriever ... a dog is as critical a part of outdoor travel and adventure as anything else. But sometimes a fully loaded car means you have to leave Rex home sulking - or worse, drop him at the kennel. German motorhome shop 4pfoten-Mobile (4 Paws-Mobile) makes sure that never has to happen again. Its Dog-Liner T 730 motorhome gives canines large and small a dedicated space all their own, making the ride to and from camp safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable for both dog and owner.
We've seen the 4pfoten Dog-Liner floating around in the past, and we mentioned it quite briefly when looking at another dog-friendly motorhome - the Dogscamper VW/Mercedes camper van. At this year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, we got a closer look at exactly how it's packaged.
Based on a 24-foot (7.3-m)-long Fiat Ducato, the Dog-Liner is a four (people)-sleeper motorhome with some very special features for dogs. Just behind the rear axle, 4pfoten has utilized some of the storage compartment to create a dog kennel sized for up to two large dogs. Getting in and out is easier than hopping into the back of a car or SUV thanks to the retractable entry ramp.
Once inside, dogs enjoy the ride in comfort, lying on the padded dog mat that lines the kennel floor. The included 1.4-L water bowl keeps the single or duo hydrated while preventing spills with its non-slip design.
The kennel area includes an exterior window, so the dog can look outside, like any dog loves to do. On the adjacent wall, the interior doggy door makes it easy to let the dogs into the greater motorhome. A sliding gate on that door keeps them connected to the rest of the family even while they remain locked in the kennel. The exterior door has a similar gate.
The Dog-Liner also includes a pair of vehicle-mounted rings just outside the exterior doggy door for quickly securing a leash or two when letting the dogs out. When it's time to let them back in, the owner can connect a hose up to the water hookup just inside the doggy doorway and clean dirty paws (and bellies) before the dogs hop back aboard.
The customized dog-friendly package also places a camera on the kennel, letting the owner monitor the dogs from the multimedia display in the driver cab. A pair of safety buckles just behind the cab allows the owner to secure dogs with a harness, should he or she want them to ride up front.
Of course, a motorhome can't be only about the canines - it needs to be comfortable for people, too. And the Dog-Liner does indeed appear comfortable. The roomy cabin includes a front dinette area and a central bathroom with separate toilet/sink and shower areas. The L-shaped kitchen is nicely equipped with a triple-burner gas stove, gas oven, sink and tall fridge/freezer.
The Dog-Liner T 730 sleeps up to four people on the fixed 55 x 75-in (140 x 190-cm) rear bed (over top the kennel and interior dog door) and the convertible dinette, which makes way for a 55 x 87-in (140 x 220-cm) bed. The cabin is fully climate controlled with both heat and air conditioning. A 100-watt solar system helps to keep the battery charged and electrical system humming.
Though the dog kennel cuts into the Dog-Liner's storage, the sizable motorhome still offers a large cargo compartment just behind it. And a dual-bike carrier accompanies the retractable awning as standard exterior equipment.
The Dog-Liner T 730 starts at €63,745 (approx. US$74,000), based on a Ducato with 128-hp 2.3-liter Multijet engine. If you're not sure if such a dog-specific motorhome is for you, you can always try it before buying - 4pfoten offers rentals from a number of locations around Germany, running between €95 and 125 a day, depending on season.