Terracamper puts extra flex in world's toughest off-grid VW camper van
We've looked over many an all-terrain VW Transporter camper van on the floor and grass of some of the world's largest camper and overland shows over the years. The production model that continually pops up as the alpha dog of the bunch is the Terracamper Terock. Not only does this versatile, little box of mud-detonating diesel muscle usually wear accessories like a hard-edged pop-up roof and snorkel outside, but its modular interior features construction that's conspicuously more robust than average. Those things don't change on the updated 2020/2021 van, but the camper does benefit from an even more versatile layout that easily goes from two-person off-grid camper van, to four-person family adventure camper, to six-person passenger van, to empty cargo van.
When we were searching the CMT show floor for new VW T6.1 camper vans earlier this year, we were disappointed to find that Terracamper had not yet moved the Terock up to the updated T6.1, and was still showing an older Terock. That momentary disappointment quickly dissipated, however, when our eyes landed on the new Sprinter Max from Terracamper's once-sibling Flowcamper.
The reason Flowcamper and Terracamper are no longer proper siblings is because Terracamper was sold to new owners Lars and Kanittha Cramer in 2019. Vanufaktur owners Martin Hemp and Petra Filmether found themselves pulled in too many directions with a trio of divergent camper van brands that also includes Dogscamper, and decided the time ripe to put Terracamper in the hands of a younger, enthusiastic set of owners who could focus their time on raising the brand to the next level. The Cramers moved production from Hagen to Kassel, Germany.
The Terock update is the first new product we've seen from Terracamper since the change of hands, and it's quite a fitting one. Prior to being owners of the Terracamper brand, the Cramers were simply owners of a Terracamper van, having spent four years traveling in a Terock affectionately called "Vader the Van." The Cramers were essentially doing R&D during their travels through Iceland and Sardinia and now have the chance to turn some of their notes into product evolution.
In updating the Terock for the facelifted T6.1 van, the Cramers focus the most attention on improving the Terock's already impressive interior versatility. A revised Flex-Layout floor rail system makes it easier to convert the Terock between all four configurations mentioned previously. From the little bit of the floor we can see in the lower corner of the photo below, it appears the new layout employs more floor rails to allow for this expanded versatility.
The Terock retains its primary three-person floor plan, which sees a single rear seat fixed behind the driver's seat and the kitchen on the rear passenger side. The load area of the van is dedicated to storage, including an available portable toilet stowed in the center. The rear seat folds down into a 35 x 79-in (90 x 200-cm) single bed, and a 43 x 79-in (120 x 200-cm) double bed fills out the pop-up roof, which can be upgraded to the custom-designed "Xtreme Open-Sky." The upgraded pop-top features an angular hardshell burly enough to make the new Ford Bronco flinch and a rooftop hatch that provides for a breezier night of sleep.
With the updated floor rails (and some available extra equipment), Terock owners can now rearrange the Terock into Terracamper's other VW camper van floor plan: the four-person Tecamp. This plan slides the kitchen over to the driver side and positions it in a small L configuration to make room for two rear seats that fold down to accommodate the fold-out double bed that adds the extra sleeping berth.
Whether the owner is set in Terock or Tecamp configuration, they can also remove the primary camper modules to create an empty work van or to affix seating for a total of up to six people. The hard-edged modules are visibly more robust than your typical camper furniture, relying on aluminum frames and composite panels to withstand the abuses of overlanding and frequent rearranging.
Terracamper also adds an available onboard water treatment system for increasing the vehicle's autonomy by giving it the ability to remove contaminants from natural water collected to refill the 40-L fresh water tank. Adding to the Terock's autonomy is an available 100-Ah lithium battery with solar charging and 600-W inverter. Both the water and electrical hardware are integrated into rear side panels and remain on the van permanently, even when removing the other modules to use the camper as a passenger or cargo van.
The kitchen includes a 34-L slide-out compressor fridge, sink and available portable indoor/outdoor dual-burner stove. A set of hinged lids drop over top the full length of the kitchen to make it a worktop cabinet when not actively in use.
Volkswagen's T6.1 brings a few changes of its own. In addition to the gaping, dual-tier grille, updates include electromechanical steering, new digital bits in the cockpit, and newly available driver-assistance features like trailer assist and lane-keeping assist.
We can't recall ever seeing a Terock that wasn't built up into full off-road adventure van spec, but the array of off-road components are in fact optional. Options include an upgraded suspension with lift, AT/MT tire upgrades, snorkel and winch.
The new Terock starts at €74,000 (approx. US$88,350), but given that many components are pieced out into options and upgrades, that price will rise substantially for those who want to build out something that looks like the pictured model. German camper publication Promobil reports that the brown T6.1 Terock shown would cost a buyer upwards of €126,700 (US$151,250).
Terracamper will be showing the updated Terock at this year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, which starts this week.