Stylish caravan cabriolet peels back its roof to connect with nature
The Düsseldorf Caravan Salon is charging full-steam ahead, which means the next few weeks should see the debut of some of the sleekest, most groundbreaking motorhome and caravan designs of the year. One such design is the all-new Lume Traveler, a smooth-cornered box trailer with an interesting twist – it's a convertible. The fabric soft-top pulls away to connect occupants with nature, bringing in fresh air and unimpeded views of starry night skies.
European media outlets have compared the Lume Traveler to both an Airstream and a horse trailer. Both comparisons are apt, but the Traveler also has some serious presence all its own – even before you get to the convertible roof. Rivets and lower body strakes help to give the distinctively boxy but smooth aluminum shell plenty of character. And unlike an Airstream or horse trailer, the Traveler's oversized rear hatch opens up access to a spacious outdoor kitchen.
The kitchen area features a clean design more reminiscent of a modern luxury apartment than a camper. The PITT gas burners are integrated seamlessly atop the stainless steel worktop, while on the opposite side, a wash basin, faucet emerging from the backsplash and cutting board lid combine to create a sink. The 40-L cool box slides out from a drawer below the counter, and other lower and upper storage areas hold cookware, dishes and tools. A gas connection allows the owner to throw a gas grill into the outdoor meal prep mix.
The interior is every bit as impressive as the exterior thanks to the emphasis on natural, modern and sustainable materials. Teak flooring and a leather rear wall create a warm ambiance quite distinct from other caravans. The walls are upholstered in soft, dirt-repellent wool felt, and roll-up felt curtains cover the windows at night. Lume also offers alternative selections, such as oak or linoleum flooring and linen or wood rear wall trim.
With the kitchen outside, the Traveler interior is dedicated to the adjustable double bed. The bed doesn't fill up the entire cabin, as you'd see on a teardrop trailer, and photos show a clear entry path past the foot of the bed, along with a cabinet/dresser unit against the front wall. Buyers can go au naturel or add modern technologies like a 32-in flat screen, Wi-Fi connectivity or a seven-speaker Bose audio system.
As you might have gathered, we would have been inclined to feature the Lume Traveler even without its convertible functionality, owing to its modern, distinctive design. But we reckon it's high time to get to that defining feature.
Made from Sunbrella fabric, the 6 x 3.6-foot (1.85 x 1.1-m) soft panel stretches across most of the roof. The fabric retracts to let in fresh air, open up a full view of the sky and create an all-around more tent-like living experience. Lume's convertible system includes a built-in screen so that you can enjoy the view while still keeping bugs out.
The soft-top doesn't quite stretch from edge to edge because it shares the roof with a 100-watt solar panel that helps to power onboard equipment.
The convertible roof helps the Traveler fill a niche between a tent and a more traditional hard-side/roof caravan. It brings sleepers closer to the raw nature just outside the walls and provides an airier, more natural camping experience than the traditional travel trailer without interfering with the superior element protection of four hard sides.
The Lume Traveler features aluminum sandwich panel construction and rides atop a Knott chassis and 15-in wheels shod in 195/70 R15 tires. It weighs in around 2,200 lb (1,000 kg) and measures 17 x 6.6 x 6.9 ft (5.2 x 2 x 2.1 m, Length with drawbar x Width x Height). It can hold up to 770 lb (350 kg) of additional weight.
With its standard convertible top and other upmarket amenities, the range-topping, limited-edition Traveler No. 1 fulfills the complete vision of Lume founder Hein van de Laar, who wanted to be able to enjoy nature in home-like comfort. All its style and premium materials don't come cheap, and the flagship trim starts at €46,500 (approx. US$53,600), rising quickly over €50K if you start packaging in options like a polished aluminum exterior (in place of anodized aluminum), Wi-Fi and TV. Lume plans to offer just 50 No. 1 models.
For those looking a little downmarket, Lume also offers the €39,950 (US$46,000) Basic package, which comes standard with a solid roof and more basic equipment and trim than the No. 1. For instance, it trades out the hovering PITT burners for a Systemline dual-burner stove, the teak floor for linoleum, and the wool felt wall trim for anodized aluminum. Buyers can order the premium features and trim, including the convertible fabric roof, individually, alongside No. 1 options like Bose sound and Wi-Fi.
Lume also offers the entry-level €27,250 (US$31,400) Shell model, essentially an empty trailer with walk-in tailgate that customers can build into their own perfect camper, either by themselves or with help from Lume.
The Traveler is the latest in the market surge of super-stylish, well-equipped, often high-priced camping trailers that seem to be resonating with the young, style-conscious and adventurous. Other examples we've seen this year alone include the fiberglass Airstream Nest, expanding Tipoon, and icy Mink teardrop.
We'll be attending this year's Düsseldorf show, starting on August 23, and we look forward to seeing what other new trailers and camper vans sprout in this crop of modern, stylish holiday vehicles. Stay tuned for more photos and details about the Lume Traveler and other interesting debuts and show models.
The video clip below shows some quick but pretty Lume Traveler action.