Automotive

Rocket camper van keeps it roomy with pulleys, straps and carabiners

Rocket camper van keeps it roo...
Rocket Camper debuted the Rocket One at CMT 2020
Rocket Camper debuted the Rocket One at CMT 2020
View 26 Images
Rocket Camper uses some outside-the-box solutions, and we particularly like the paper towel holder lashed to the side wall track
1/26
Rocket Camper uses some outside-the-box solutions, and we particularly like the paper towel holder lashed to the side wall track
Rocket Camper imagines campers loading up the storage pouches at home, hanging them up in the van and getting on their way
2/26
Rocket Camper imagines campers loading up the storage pouches at home, hanging them up in the van and getting on their way
The hanging table is a unique solution, designed to free up legroom below
3/26
The hanging table is a unique solution, designed to free up legroom below
The large folding kitchen top covers up the stove when it's not in use, creating a handy counter
4/26
The large folding kitchen top covers up the stove when it's not in use, creating a handy counter
The show model has a single-burner stove, but Rocket Camper also mentions a dual-burner option
5/26
The show model has a single-burner stove, but Rocket Camper also mentions a dual-burner option
Perhaps the most interesting part of the build, the deconstructed bathroom combines a sink, slide-out portable toilet, outdoor shower and personal organizer
6/26
Perhaps the most interesting part of the build, the deconstructed bathroom combines a sink, slide-out portable toilet, outdoor shower and personal organizer
Another hanging storage pouch
7/26
Another hanging storage pouch
The Rocket One comes standard with an 80-L compressor fridge
8/26
The Rocket One comes standard with an 80-L compressor fridge
Rocket Camper also gives the Rocket One a sporty, multi-tone look
9/26
Rocket Camper also gives the Rocket One a sporty, multi-tone look
Rocket One floor plan
10/26
Rocket One floor plan
The rear bed is raised over a lower storage garage and separated from the living area by a curtain
11/26
The rear bed is raised over a lower storage garage and separated from the living area by a curtain
The Rocket Camper is good for anyone from couples to families
12/26
The Rocket Camper is good for anyone from couples to families
With no kitchen block taking up space against a sidewall, Rocket Camper fits three individual removable seats across
13/26
With no kitchen block taking up space against a sidewall, Rocket Camper fits three individual removable seats across
Pop one or two seats out and you can bring along a bike or other large gear
14/26
Pop one or two seats out and you can bring along a bike or other large gear
Inside the new Rocket One camper van
15/26
Inside the new Rocket One camper van
Storage cubbies integrated into the interior wall design
16/26
Storage cubbies integrated into the interior wall design
We're not sure it's necessary, but the pulley is there to lift the bed up to create more storage space
17/26
We're not sure it's necessary, but the pulley is there to lift the bed up to create more storage space
Rocket Camper debuted the Rocket One at CMT 2020
18/26
Rocket Camper debuted the Rocket One at CMT 2020
Overhead storage
19/26
Overhead storage
The slide-out toilet includes a hard lid to work as a step
20/26
The slide-out toilet includes a hard lid to work as a step
Electrical hookups between the kitchen and mattress
21/26
Electrical hookups between the kitchen and mattress
Inside the compressor fridge
22/26
Inside the compressor fridge
The Keder rail offers a versatile way of hanging things up
23/26
The Keder rail offers a versatile way of hanging things up
Bathroom area with organizer and shower shelf
24/26
Bathroom area with organizer and shower shelf
Rocket Camper says its pop-up roof is lighter and roomier than average
25/26
Rocket Camper says its pop-up roof is lighter and roomier than average
The Rocket One will be sold in limited numbers
26/26
The Rocket One will be sold in limited numbers
View gallery - 26 images

On a mission to create a lighter, more versatile breed of camper van for families, German motorhome dealership Rocket Camper launched one of the buzziest vans at this year's CMT show. With solutions like a pulley-lift bed, hanging dining table and deconstructed indoor/outdoor bathroom, the 236-in (599-cm) Rocket One kept the crowds pouring in right until the show's end (we know because we were waiting patiently to get a few photographs). The Rocket One is definitely a sportier, more flexible spin on the camper van, but is it a more intelligent design?

With a dealer lot stocked full of camper vans from Weinsberg and VanTourer, Rocket Camper noticed something missing. In conversations with its customers, it felt demand for a different kind of camper van and started to flesh it out in early Rocket One sketches. After several years of development, it launched the highly distinctive Rocket One this month at CMT.

Rocket Camper essentially set off a bomb in the middle of the camper van interior, blowing up many of the design standards common throughout the market and replacing them with new solutions. Its brief in doing so was to rearrange things to create a more functional, livable space for a family of five. To start with, that meant eliminating the ubiquitous dining bench with two drive seats in order to fit three rear passengers on the ride to and from camp.

With no kitchen block taking up space against a sidewall, Rocket Camper fits three individual removable seats across
With no kitchen block taking up space against a sidewall, Rocket Camper fits three individual removable seats across

Of course, in a space as finite as a van cabin, adding an extra seat necessitates deleting something else, in this case the full-time wet bathroom you would reliably find in other camper vans this size. In place of a wet cell, Rocket breaks the bathroom down into its base components and arranges them around the full-width, L-shaped kitchen block, which becomes more of a "living block."

Perhaps the most interesting part of the build, the deconstructed bathroom combines a sink, slide-out portable toilet, outdoor shower and personal organizer
Perhaps the most interesting part of the build, the deconstructed bathroom combines a sink, slide-out portable toilet, outdoor shower and personal organizer

Located against the sidewall, the sink works as part of both kitchen and bathroom. The toilet is stored away in a drawer to the left, a hard cover allowing it to double as a step, both for children accessing the sink and for adults stepping up onto the rear bed. A shower sprayer hooked to the water system hangs on the wall behind the sink, designed to run out through the purpose-built dropdown side wall panel and serve as an outdoor shower. During showering, the side panel itself works as a shower shelf.

The slide-out toilet includes a hard lid to work as a step
The slide-out toilet includes a hard lid to work as a step

Sliding over toward the passenger side, the kitchen occupies the bulk of the block in front of the transverse rear bed. A single- or dual-burner stove rests below a hinged cover, creating a seamless workspace and opening onto the bed when it's time to cook. The flat underside of the cover can then be used as extra work space, assuming you don't mind working atop the mattress.

The show model has a single-burner stove, but Rocket Camper also mentions a dual-burner option
The show model has a single-burner stove, but Rocket Camper also mentions a dual-burner option

In back, the raised bed measures 55 x 76 in (140 x 193 cm), relying on a divider curtain to create a bit of closed-off privacy. The space below the bed is left open as a storage garage with tie-down tracks, and the odd little pulley hanging in back works to lift the rear half of the bed up to add extra storage space.

The Rocket One will be sold in limited numbers
The Rocket One will be sold in limited numbers

Cutting weight is also a focus of the Rocket One design, which starts with the pop-up roof. Rocket developed its own roof to increase interior space and save weight. The sleeping quarters inside are fitted with LED lighting and USB ports.

Back downstairs, lightness takes the form of decentralized storage. Rather than loading up with wardrobes, shelves and drawers, Rocket uses light, compact solutions like Keder rail, fabric pouches and retention nets for simple organization. It adds overhead storage cabinets above the rear bed.

Storage cubbies integrated into the interior wall design
Storage cubbies integrated into the interior wall design

The most conspicuous part of the Rocket One interior is the table hanging from the ceiling. The removable tabletop is attached to the side wall but relies on support straps in place of a pedestal, freeing up legroom for all five people. The straps easily attach and detach to ceiling hooks by way of carabiners. Completing the dining lounge, the individual rear seats with Isofix points mount to the floor rails and can be easily removed when storage space takes priority over passenger space.

The Rocket Camper is good for anyone from couples to families
The Rocket Camper is good for anyone from couples to families

When we first came across the Rocket One, we were sure it was a concept van, as it seemed to have a whole bunch of ideas thrown together, some practical, some questionable. But the van is an actual product that bases in at €57,650 (approx. US$63,875)when built atop a 118-hp Peugeot Boxer. Standard equipment includes a 48-L fresh water tank, Webasto diesel heater, electrical system, 80-L compressor fridge and 18-L portable toilet.

The price seems quite high, especially when you consider that the van comes standard as a two-sleeper, equipment like the extra rear seats and pop-up sleeper roof are optional. As equipped at CMT, the Rocket One priced in at €75,153 ($83,275).

Rocket Camper says its pop-up roof is lighter and roomier than average
Rocket Camper says its pop-up roof is lighter and roomier than average

The van seems best-suited to the young, active entry-level end of the market, given functional but inelegant solutions like the pull-out toilet and strapped-up table, and we don't see Rocket Camper selling many at that higher price point. But the project seems less about pushing vans off the lot and more about experimenting with different ideas. Rocket Camper only plans to produce a limited number in conjunction with manufacturing partner Volklandt GmbH, and the van will serve as a jumping off point for evolving in-house design ideas. It also made a pretty effective billboard at CMT, located in Rocket Camper's home city of Stuttgart.

Source: Rocket Camper

View gallery - 26 images
2 comments
Tony Samson
We are designing a Campervan based on a Mercedes LWB Sprinter. This Rocket design makes, in my opinion, a poor use of space. Our design is primarily designed for two persons for full time touring, however, there will be sleeping for six with separate and combined shower and toilet. Kitchen. Three burner hob and oven. Full size fridge freezer 500mm wide. Microwave. Two person front table and chairs, a rear 4 person dining table. plenty of storage and his and her wardrobes Office station with 32 inch monitor that double as the TV. Printer station, draws and filing. Long off-grid capability with 480 watt solar with angle adaptation for winter and summer for maximum absorption. 3 x 110amp hr batteries, and a 6ft high x 3 ft deep rear garage. It takes a very long time, and a lot of camper living to get a design right. When our first conversion is complete, we hope to prove it. Look out for "Wheely Living. Life in the slow lane...". Best wishes. Tony
ljaques
The massive amounts of mismatched gray surfaces, the glaring ROCKET CAMPER emblazoned on every strap, single burner, small fridge, and the huge price really sold me on this unit. // Good luck, Tony!