BASF dives into the details of 2019's coolest camper van
Even with a few months of 2019 left to go, we feel confident that the Hymer VisionVenture is the coolest camper van of the year. The concept camper has absolutely captured the public's imagination, showing how a little bit of creative tinkering can turn the art of sleeping in a van into world-class luxury travel. When Hymer announced the concept at the start of the 2019 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, it mentioned incorporating over 20 materials and technologies from German chemical giant BASF, touching upon some of the most integral. BASF jumped in this month to further detail exactly how its tech can benefit future van lifers.
Hymer certainly gave credit where it was due, recognizing BASF's role in the opening paragraph of its VisionVenture announcement and detailing elements like the Chromacool exterior paint and Veneo Slate transforming-bathroom trim. Still, it wasn't quite clear just how deep BASF's participation ran. Knowing a thing or two about the power of a buzzy concept vehicle (like a bike or car), BASF released some additional information last week to squeeze a little extra press out of the VisionVenture, a star of the 2019 Caravan Salon that featured in RV, auto and tech publications and blogs all over the world.
BASF tech features on virtually every inch of the VisionVenture, from the running gear and structural components of the van itself, to the various rooms of the living area build-out. In addition to the 22 technologies listed in the infographic above, BASF helped in the production of the van's more than 100 3D-printed components.
Some of the features are a bit too "chem nerd" to be of much interest to the average traveler or outdoor enthusiast, but some really promise to tangibly improve the mobile living experience. The pop-up roof, in particular, is home to a number of comfort-enhancing materials and finishes, starting with the Elastollan coating on the signature inflatable canvas walls. The water-resistant finish fights off both precipitation and wind, helping ensure a comfortable night of sleep no matter the weather. The tent's inflatable design, meanwhile, offers a simple form of insulation, creating an air barrier between sleeping campers and the frosty night air, much the way inflatable sleeping pads offer some insulation between camper and cold ground.
Speaking of nighttime temperature regulation, BASF's Elastocoat C Spray Gel gives the pop-top mattress and other cushioned furniture a cool touch. It's not uncommon to wake up at camp in a hot sweat due to a combination of heavy sleeping bag and direct sun, so Hymer and BASF attempt to create a cooler, more comfortable sleeping environment.
The foam mattress also enjoys a little extra dampening thanks to the slatted frame below, where Hymer puts BASF's Infinergy expanded TPU to work. More commonly recognized as a driving component of Adidas Energy Boost running shoes, the elasticized material adds pressure point relief while saving weight and enhancing durability. The material also features in the step construction.
We mentioned BASF's Chromacool (mistakenly calling it Climacool) exterior paintwork the first time we looked at the VisionVenture. The paint reflects away infrared radiation, helping to lower the temperature of both the vehicle body and interior. As BASF points out, this offers a related advantage in opening up more individualized paint options without any performance penalty. While plenty of camper vans have color options, if you go to any motorhome show, you'll notice a sea of white motorhomes and caravans, painted that way to help prevent heat absorption and keep things cooler in the summer. With Chromacool, campers can enjoy regulated temperatures inside a more colorful ride. Hymer's choice of green definitely adds to the VisionVenture's overall appeal, and the tech is available in a full palette of colors.
Sadly, while the VisionVenture concept is definitely the "camper van of 2019," it doesn't look likely that a production version will be the "camper van of 2020." Hymer does plan to incorporate some of the van's better ideas into its production lineup. Hopefully that list includes the drop-down tailgate deck, convertible wet/dry bath and ladder-replacing staircase.