Highly adaptable VW Dog Camper is the ultimate RV for dogs and owners
Germany's Flowcamper has a history of launching some of the quirkiest but still functional camper vans humans have ever seen, from its original psychedelically nostalgic peace-and-love V-dub to its transforming wood cabin Sprinter. This time around, it's paying less attention to the humans and thinking like a dog. Its new VW T6.1-based Dog Van features a cozy design optimized for canine comfort and enhancing the man/dog road trip experience. Happier dog, happier holiday.
Flowcamper officially names the new camper van "Fellschnute," which translates literally to "fur snout." At first, we were figuring "muzzle" or "snoot," but when used in conversation, the term appears to be more akin to something like "furry friend" or "fur baby" in English, a loving, informal fill-in for "pet." Flowcamper also refers to the build as a dog camper or dog van, and we think "Dog Van" sums things up succinctly enough to stick with it.
Motor vehicles were not designed with pets in mind, so traveling with a dog can be challenging, doubly so on a long road trip ... like a camper van vacation. Flowcamper looks to deliver something warmer, safer and more social for the dogs than traditional options like an uncomfortable squeeze into a crowded rear passenger area, a cold lonely trip in the pickup bed, or a cramped ride in a dog crate.
The Dog Van traces its lineage back to the Dogscamper, developed by Flowcamper's former sister company Terracamper. Terra and Flow eventually split to focus on their own distinctive product lines, with original founder Martin Hemp remaining on as the innovative leader at Flowcamper. The Dog Van is a revived and refined version of the original Dogscamper concept.
Flowcamper starts with the modular floor rail system it uses on several other products, but instead of focusing solely on mounting human-grade furnishings. it splits the floor plan into dedicated dog and human areas.
The dog part of the camper is highly customizable via Flowcamper's series of panels of different sizes. Its maximum volume of 43 x 51 x 30 in (109 x 130 x 75 cm) nearly doubles the volume of Gunner's largest G1 crate, which measures roughly 28 x 40 x 33 in (71 x 102 x 84 cm), meaning more space to move around and not be cooped up. It also has slightly more volume than the MIM Safe Variocage Double MAX-size model when the latter is fully extended to 42 x 46 x 33-in (107 x 117 x 84-cm) form.
And unlike a crate, Flowcamper's setup has both interior and tailgate-facing doors, meaning passengers can easily let the dog(s) out for a stretch inside or outside the van.
Flowcamper says the van can fit one to four dogs, depending upon the final kennel area layout. It can carry two to five human occupants during the ride and sleep two overnight campers on the 47 x 74-in (120 x 187-cm) fold-out bed over the kennel and folded rear seats. Two more can sleep in the optional pop-up roof on its 43 x 73-in (110 x 185-cm) bed.
The long sideboard against the driver's side wall has a dual human/canine function, housing the 18-L fresh water system that pumps to both the kitchen and rear hookups. The hand shower travels between the kitchen sink and the tailgate area, so it can go from washing dishes to filling the dog's water bowl and spraying down dirty humans, dogs and gear.
The kitchen sink basin fits neatly in the long sideboard, while the remainder of the galley finds a home at the bend of the L-shaped unit, a design we first saw on Flowcamper's VW Casper camper van. A dual-burner indoor/outdoor gas stove and slide-out 30-L compressor fridge/freezer are included, separated by a utensil drawer.
To keep the hottest, furriest of best friends cool when parked on sweltering summer days and nights, Flowcamper adds an available portable air conditioner that sets up at camp using the included supply/exhaust tubes and tool-free connections. Flowcamper notes the system is designed to lower the crate area temperature by roughly 15 degrees but not meant to cool the entire van interior. It relies on power from a 400-watt solar charging system so as not to eat too deep into the onboard AGM or optional lithium leisure battery.
Flowcamper also includes a critical option for humans: a dry separating toilet that can be hidden away below a raised rear seat or used as a bench at camp. Canine companions are still encouraged to wander outside and find an appropriate place for relief, however.
Flowcamper sells the Fellschnute Dog Van in €70,900 base (approx. US$76,400), €73,900 mid-level and €80,900 ($87,200) 4Motion AWD configurations, based on the specs of the VW T6.1 base van. While the human-ready camping hardware is included in that price, the dog area is not, owing to its customer-specced design. Flowcamper does not break down the kennel figures on its otherwise complete pricing sheet, urging potential buyers to give a call for layouts and pricing.
Source: Flowcamper (German)