Slick, versatile camper van becomes a camp-in movie theater
Kompanja's camper van would easily be one of the coolest, slickest compact camper vans at this year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, no matter what. But the German conversion shop has taken things a step further by debuting an all-new projector system that turns the pop-up roof into an indoor/outdoor movie theater. This versatile multipurpose camper van just got even cooler.
Every time we read the "Kompanja" name, we end up processing it "Camp ninja," and that's not a bad description for what this little van is all about. Based on the Renault Trafic, the Kompanja van features a highly functional camper configuration secured via floor rails. Those rails mean that the camping furniture and seats can be easily attached or removed from the van, allowing the owner to go from a six-seat people mover, to an empty cargo van, to a four-berth camper van within minutes.
A German conversion company doing its work on a French van might seem almost blasphemous, given the high-profile domestic options like the Volkswagen Transporter and Mercedes V-Class. Indeed, Kompanja recognizes that it runs against the grain, but it has some very clear reasoning. The company explains that the boxy, broad-shouldered Trafic doesn't taper in at the roof the way a VW Transporter does, allowing for added pop-up roof bed width. Running the Kompanja's 53 x 77-in (1.35 x 1.95-m) roof bed against the Volkswagen California's 47 x 79-in (1.2 x 2-m) roof bed reveals an extra 6 in (15 cm) of bed width.
Kompanja also believes the Trafic offers better bang for the buck and provides a base with front airbags, rear parking assist, hill start assist, air conditioning and Bluetooth radio, along with a 123-hp diesel engine. The company also offers a variety of base van upgrades, including a 143-hp diesel engine, navigation system and LED daytime running lights.
Kompanja works to get the most out of the boxy Trafic interior, nixing the folding benches you see in other camper vans in favor of two individual rear seats that team with the swivel driver cab seats to create the living area, complete with removable dining table. At night, the double bed folds into the living area, providing 79 in (2 m) of length and between 50 and 66 in (1.28 and 1.68 m) of width, depending upon whether you opt for both the left and right bedside cabinets, one or the other, or none at all. The roof bed sleeps another two people.
For cooking, Kompanja secures a compact kitchen area just inside the sliding door, providing an indoor/outdoor solution. Both the 35-L refrigerator and single-burner stove sit on pull-outs accessible from inside or outside the van. The fold-down outdoor table makes it easier to prep and work in the fresh air.
Beyond that, Kompanja is all about storage and organization. The bedside cabinet configuration the buyer selects is complemented by a cabinet in the living area. The rear trunk space below the bed offers plenty of room for storing gear, luggage and other cargo.
That basic Kompanja camper van package would have inspired us to write an article on its own, but Kompanja really drew us in with two unique options showcased at its Düsseldorf booth. The one we spotted first was the available bed structure that allows the bed to extend out the tailgate of the van. Kompanja calls it the Bivouac Bed, and you can use it to sleep in the fresh air or hook a tent around the tailgate and enjoy an overnight shelter that doesn't require converting the living area. So when you wake up, you can immediately have access to the full living area without having to fold the bed away.
The indoor/outdoor bed is an interesting option, but honestly, if we're camping in a van, we'd probably opt to sleep inside the hard walls, converting the bed back and forth as needed. The new feature we'd be more interested in is the "Bus Kino" projector system, a simple, versatile combination of magnetic-mount LG projector and dual-sided display screen.
The projector and screen can be moved around the van, but the set-up at the show seemed perfect – the projector mounted to the underside of the folded roof bed and the screen serving as the front wall of the pop-up roof. This set-up allows for easy viewing from the indoor/outdoor bed, the rear van seats or even outside in front of the van, providing the opportunity for a full campground movie night.
The idea of watching movies at camp will certainly run afoul of many people's ideas of camping, but that's the great thing about a customizable camper van – there's no reason you have to opt in on the €1,450 (about US$1,690) projector system. Instead, you can go for a simpler, purer camping experience by starting with the €41,950 ($49,000) base camper, which includes the cabin bed, kitchen area with stove and refrigerator, electrical with 105-Ah AGM battery, two 12-L water tanks, living area cabinet, and general conversion hardware like insulation and interior trim.
The pop-up roof is available separately, and the long options list also includes items like solar power, portable toilet, diesel heating, exterior awning and plenty more. The Bivouac Bed prices in at €535 ($624).
So the Kompanja is a fully customizable, multipurpose floor rail-based camper van that easily converts into an everyday people-mover or cargo van. And it offers a slew of options, including a neatly packaged projector system, so you can build it up into your ultimate adventure van.
Forget the Volkswagen California – we want to see this one make its way over the Atlantic to the American market.
Source: Kompanja (German)