Camper vans usually sleep two to four people on a combination of rear bed and optional pop-up roof bed. Occasionally we see a van that can sleep five or six. The latest Boxlife from Germany's Knaus goes a step further, sleeping up to seven people on four available lift-away and stow-away beds. That's impressive enough, but the van's variable, multifunctional furniture also allows campers to clear out the load area to pack in bikes, boards and other gear for the trip. All in all, it's an outdoor adventure powerhouse.
Knaus revamped the Fiat Ducato-based Boxlife this year, declaring it an ultra-flexible space for travel and recreation. The 630 ME floor plan is the highlight of the lineup, a 250-in (636-cm)-long van that starts with one standard rear bed. Set longitudinally for full comfort, this 77 x 67-in (195 x 170-cm) bed features a manual multi-stage adjustment system that lets you set it at different heights. Lift it up high to store large gear during the ride, then drop it down to sleeping height at night, much like on Knaus' VW Boxdrive. That makes the base van a versatile, little two-sleeper.
Where the Boxlife 630 ME pulls speedily away from other vans in terms of sleeping capacity and versatility is in its full selection of optional add-on beds. The first of these beds mounts below the rear lift-away bed, creating a bunk bed layout that sleeps two more people on a larger 80 x 72-in (202 x 184-cm) lower longitudinal mattress.
The versatile lower rear bed can lean up into sofa position, allowing campers to sit and enjoy the view out the load doors. It can also remove completely when not needed, freeing up more cargo space. Or owners can leave a single mattress installed to sleep a total of three people in the rear while packing a bike or other cargo just behind it. Owners gain serious control in managing space around people and gear.
Moving to the front of the van, buyers can add two more sleeping berths via the available 76 x 51-in (194 x 130-cm) lift-away bed. Below, an available convertible dinette kit adds a final 63 x 24-in (160 x 60-cm) single bed to round out the seven available berths. Adjust the beds out of the way during the day, and you still have a comfortable van with plenty of cargo and living space — only at night does it become a veritable hostel on wheels.
Beyond its bedtime trickery, the Boxlife 630 ME is a straightforward camper van with traditional European layout. The kitchen block inside the side entry includes a glass-top dual-burner stove and a sink with worktop lid. A 90L fridge just to the side keeps cold food close at hand, while a foldable counter extension to the other side adds additional work space.
Across the way, the wet bathroom includes a shower and rotating toilet and the dinette splits the two-seat rear bench and swivel cab seats with an adjustable, extendable table. The van can sleep up to seven, but it only seats four during dinner and driving — so those others will need to find their own way to the campground, and they should probably bring some folding chairs.
The Boxlife includes a Truma Combi 6D cabin/water heater standard and also comes with a 95-Ah AGM battery, 12V and 230V outlets, LED lighting, comfort blinds and plenty of overhead storage. Thanks to the diesel heating system, the new van relies on a downsized 2.7-kg LPG canister, which is easier to replace and adds more space in the rear.
The Boxlife 630 ME starts at €51,670 (approx. US$58,325) in Germany, according to the 2020 price list Knaus released this month. It rides on a Fiat Ducato with 118-hp 2.3-liter Multijet engine.
The video below zooms in on the flexible, multi-position Boxlife rear cargo/sleeping area and other van features, showing how it adjusts on the fly to make #vanlife more efficient and comfortable.
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