Dailycamper is a sub-40K mini-adventure wagon ... with toilet
Motorhome buyers know Fiat best for the ever-popular Ducato, but it also has a lineup of smaller vans, including two of the most fun mini-camper platforms out there: the ultra-mini sub-4-m Fiorino and the larger-but-still-tiny Doblo. Germany's Freizeitmobile (Free time/leisure mobile) dives inside the latter, serving up a convincing helping of tiny living within a hardtop kombi. The Dailycamper packs a full two-person camper floor plan (with toilet!) for weekend escapes, moves lightly and freely around the city on the way to and from, and swaps out its kitchen for three rear seats to carry the family during the week. It's a truly versatile city-to-mountain adventure MPV.
Company founder Thomas Kliem is one of the lucky few that can rightfully call himself a professional traveler. His resumé is loaded with more travel guides, magazine articles, test reports and photos than he can easily count, and he's also done work in TV programming, guided tours and lectures. During his free time (there's that freizeit) — he travels some more, having ventured out via RV for the past three decades with his family. And if that doesn't seem like enough relevant experience, he's also done RV-related work with the TÜV Nord international safety certification agency. Suffice to say, Kliem has some insights about road travel.
With Dailycamper, Kliem steps out from behind the RV wheel, travel journal and camera and into the innermost van creases and crevices, putting his lifetime of road-trip and travel experience into crafting a small motorhome of his own design, with help from his wife Andrea and son Thomas, an automotive technician.
Of course, eating regularly at the best restaurants in town doesn't magically make one a Michelin-starred chef. But the Kliems seem to have a handle on creating a mini-camper van that's highly efficient, versatile and ready for cozy mid-journey living. And it even pulls daily 5-to-9 duties.
The Kliems charged right past the easy path (the guided tour, if you will) for the self-guided voyage down the road less traveled. Instead of going with a more obvious, popular van platform, like the Ducato or Volkswagen Transporter, they chose the tiny Doblo, known to North American folks as the Ram Promaster City. The Doblo most certainly has a cuter face than the Ducato, and Fiat's second-smallest van stretches a mere 475 cm (187-in) in length in "Maxi" form, making it one of the true mini-camper platforms roaming European highways and countrysides.
Unlike Doblo and Promaster City mini-camper vans that rely on outdoor kitchen and dining equipment to save interior space, the Dailycamper has a fully indoor floor plan similar to what you'd commonly find on a larger midsize-van camper, only with slightly miniaturized equipment, fixtures and furniture. So the driver-side kitchen block you'd expect in this style of camper van is there, but instead of a dual-burner stove, it has a portable single-burner. That stove is joined by a compact rectangular sink fed by a 25-L fresh water tank and drained into an underfloor waste tank and a small dining table that sticks off the kitchen to work with the rear bench and portable stool. There's no room for a fridge/freezer in the kitchen block, so the 12/220-V Dometic cool box stores away below the rear bench. The driver-side sliding door allows the kitchen to be used from the outside, as well as in.
The Dailycamper's fold-out bed measures 120 x 200 cm (47 x 79 in), which is actually a little wider than we would have thought for this van and layout. Other mini-camper folding beds, like those in the Doblo-based Multifunctional Car, Promaster City-based Cascade Camper and VW Caddy California, don't break 107 cm (42 in). The Dailycamper is still sure to be snug for a couple at night, but not overly so for this type of mini-camper.
The under-bench compartment next to the fridge houses what should prove the Dailycamper's most-prized feature – the optional portable toilet. Plenty of larger camper vans don't include such a neatly integrated toilet solution, so this one's a big deal for anyone who recoils at the thought of an RV without a toilet. The van's obviously too tiny for any kind of enclosed wash closet, so toileteers looking to relieve themselves will probably want to either pull the bowl outside or clear everyone else out of the van. The cross ventilation of the dual sliding doors will come in handy should they choose the latter route, as will the sink waiting above.
The Dailycamper design lacks the ventilation (and headroom) of a pop-up roof, but a mosquito door screen lets the air flow while keeping pests out. And by not messing around with the roof, Freizeit keeps van height down to 1.9 m (6.2 feet) so the Dailycamper can clear 2-m (6.6-foot) parking decks.
The Dailycamper is not as fully modular as mini-campers in which all of the camping equipment can be removed and replaced with original seating, but the entire kitchen block and camper floor remove to make room for the three original rear passenger seats. Like that, mini-camper becomes mini passenger van/everyday driver for up to five people.
The Dailycamper starts at €38,900 (approx. US$45,700), and additional options include electrical and solar packages, a camp heater, LED lighting and a dog crate. The base van comes with a 99-hp 1.6-liter MultiJet diesel engine, six-speed transmission and the three removable rear seats, and options include a 118-hp engine upgrade, trailer hitch and roof rails.
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An LPG version is, I think, available in its home market which might make for a more enviro friendly vehicle.