Beachy 540 camper van rolls out as a nomadic budget beach house
A camper van inspired by a surfy trailer, itself a spiritual successor to the classic wave-chasing camper vans of decades' past – that's the basic formula behind the new Beachy Van 540. Beachy, a fun-loving spin-off of German staple Hobby, launched one of the most stylish, memorable caravans of 2021 and plans to quickly grow the family with a small camper van that brings the same cool, surf-and-sand vibes everywhere it travels, whether that's to the actual coast or to the extreme opposite end of terra firma.
With real estate prices skyrocketing nearly everywhere one looks, we don't even want to know how expensive oceanfront properties at thriving beach destinations are at the moment. The Beachy Van 540 promises to be a much more affordable alternative, packing the spirit of a boardwalk-front rental into a van that can hop from beach town to beach town, mountain village to mountain village.
More than a just a beach-inspired aesthetics package for a basic camper van, the Beachy Van 540 debuts with an innovative hybrid layout capable of carrying five passengers while driving and sleeping four comfortably at night. And if at least one of those passengers is a small child, we suspect the Beachy could squeeze all five on its two beds.
Beachy combines two popular floor plans into one to create a versatile space fully ready to take advantage of its surroundings. Like many European camper vans, including models from parent brand Hobby, the Beachy Van has second-row seats that work with the swivel driver cab seats and a removable dining table to create a front dining/living lounge. In place of the common two-seater bench, Beachy fits in three individual rear seats as part of this particular lounge.
Beachy is able to squeeze in a full-width three-seat rear row because it blows up the feature usually included in this type of camper van: the passenger-side kitchen block. Instead, it shrinks the kitchen down to a squarer footprint and shifts it over to the driver side, just behind the rear passenger seats. The compact kitchen doesn't have the dual-burner stove, worktop space or drawer/cabinet volume of the typical long, narrow passenger-side kitchen, but it still packs the essentials: a sink, a slide-out gas cooker and a 70-L compressor fridge under the counter.
Taking a step farther back, Beachy has replaced the usual fixed or foldaway rear bed with a second dining lounge – a pair of benches set on opposite sides of a removable folding table. Having a second lounge is a little redundant, but this layout provides more flexibility for taking in the local scenery, allowing the driver to pull up to the edge of a bluff, throw the rear door opens, and enjoy a meal or beverage amidst the scenic backdrop and fresh air. Such rear lounges are usually installed in place of a front lounge, as in the Hymer VisionVenture concept that pushed the design to the next level, but here Beachy has combined them into a single floor plan.
At night, the Van 540 rear lounge transforms into a transverse double bed, and the available second bed in the pop-up roof brings the official tally to four berths.
With two lounge areas and a small kitchen, there's truly no room left for a bathroom in this 213-in (541-cm) Citroën-Jumper-based build. But Beachy doesn't leave Van 540 dwellers to search for public restrooms on the sand or boardwalk, hiding an available portable toilet in a dedicated bench box across from the kitchen.
In terms of styling, Beachy continues what it started with its caravan lineup, keeping things light, bright and open. It trims the walls and ceiling in light, seashore-inspired fabric with "Beachy" embossings and rips the overhead cabinet doors off in favor of lighter strap-based retention. It skips the hanging lamps from its trailers, though, likely to avoid the possibility of whipping rear passengers during the drive.
Beachy previewed the Van 540 at last year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon and plans to launch it in summer 2022 (Northern Hemisphere). We'll look for a more detailed spec sheet and pricing information closer to launch.