Flowcamper van packs in clever expansion and woodsy psychedelic style
Part throwback hippy wagon, part rustic lodge on wheels, the new Flowcamper Max is a Mercedes Sprinter camper van quite unlike any other. A follow-up to more compact, psychedelic Flowcamper vans of the past, the Max brings a larger interior with fixed bed and multipurpose living space. The expandable WC joins up with the kitchen block to create a roomy bathroom, and the kitchen compacts down when it's not actively cooking dinner. The Max connects the past with the present as it hops between music festivals or disappears off-grid for days on end.
Slathered in bright-orange paint, adorned with flowers and filled with tie-dye-themed furniture, the original VW T6 Flowcamper was probably the most retro modern camper van we've ever covered, at least prior to the Citroën Concept Type H WildCamp. The Max sizes up to a full-size van and also tones down the day-glow, free-loving retro-ness with a little modern flair. Specifically, the light, knotty wood walls and trim lend an on-trend rustic chic look to the whole affair, teaming with the available paint options to create a mobile living space bathed in light.
With or without the available pop-up roof, the 233-in (592-cm) Flowcamper Max is anchored by a 51 x 73-in (130 x 185-cm) transverse double bed at the rear. Thanks to the toilet room compartment and kitchen wall just ahead of the mattress, campers enjoy something of a discrete rear bedroom space separated off from the greater living area up front. Overhead cabinetry provides space for clothes and other essentials.
Moving forward, the innovative kitchen frees up a long wood countertop by packing its dual-burner stove onto a full slide-out module below. When it's time to cook, the stove module slides out from under the counter toward the front of the van, stowing away the rest of the time. This leaves room for the permanent countertop and the square, wood-trimmed basin sink at the rear of the kitchen block. The 40-L fridge/freezer is concealed behind a wood face panel below the stove and is accessible inside and out, whether the greater slide-out is pulled out or stowed away. The simple alcohol stove can be removed and used outdoors.
The expandable "Flow" bathroom is another clever space-optimizing feature that essentially teams with the kitchen block to create a full-width wet bathroom. Instead of packing the toilet and shower together in the narrow driver-side compartment, Flowcamper designers put the shower drain in the center aisle outside the small toilet closet. The toilet compartment door swings open 90 degrees to create a partition between the shower and bed, and a sliding extension panel closes off the front side to create a private shower room. The design relies on the kitchen sink to double as the bathroom sink, its faucet pulling out to also work as a shower head. The entire sink basin even slides out for more convenient access from within the bathroom.
The Max van seats between two and five people, depending upon options selected. It can sleep two on the rear bed, a third on the optional convertible front bench, and two more in the optional pop-up roof. The front bench works with an expandable table and swivel driver cab seats to create the dining lounge.
Around back, the space below the fixed rear bed houses the gas tanks and 50 liters of fresh water, leaving free space for cargo. Flowcamper also offers a dog crate, drawer module and other accessories to round out the load area. The van includes diesel air heating, a 1,500-W inverter, and an 80-Ah AGM battery that can be upgraded to dual 100-Ah lithium-ion batteries.
Vanufaktur, the company that builds Flowcampers and other vans like the Dogscamper, has not yet filled out the pricing section of its Max catalog, but German RV media put the base price at €60,000 (approx. US$65,375) when the van launched at CMT back in January. That base model is a simpler version of the camper that packs a basic storage closet in place of the expandable bathroom. Along with a more complete interior with bathroom, Vanufaktur offers a 272-in (690-cm) "Grande" version with longitudinal bed, various engine options and all-wheel drive. We've reached out to Flowcamper to get more detailed pricing information and will update the article when we receive it.