Over-the-top camper box swings, slides and grows to create bizarre (but roomy) VW camper van
Some camper vans have widespread and timeless appeal. Some are more purpose-driven, suited for a very specific subset of travelers or adventurers. And some look like an alien spacecraft clinging on in an evil plot to extinguish humanity one VW bus at a time – or at least one does. There's often a fine line between genius and insanity, and the Queensize Camper Galeria ForFour hopscotches over top it, swinging, sliding, swiveling and folding into a roomy VW van that sleeps four and packs a bathroom, kitchen and full-time dining area. If you can get over the top-heavy bulk and awkward look, it's definitely more spacious and fascinating than the average VW camper.
The straightforward "Queensize Camper" name very much belies just how complex and odd its Galeria ForFour design is. It looks something like a Thule roof box Photoshopped to multiple times its proper size and painted baby blue.
The design springs forth from the mind of Hamburg marine engineer Christopher Weiss (exceptional name), and it does indeed look more like an upside-down boat hull than any kind of camping equipment with which we're familiar. But it is a camper, and it's designed to offer a roomier alternative to the more classic pop-up van. It's not exactly a simple plug-and-play solution, but it does install without any permanent modification to the base Multivan.
Not surprisingly, the hulking roof-top dome arching its way up from the roof of that pre-facelift T5 is what makes the whole system tick. It holds an 83 x 59-in (210 x 150-cm) queen-size bed inside a roomy, hard-sided shelter, but more importantly it holds the expansion module during travel. At camp, this component slides out of the dome, drops down over the van's sliding door and serves as a van cabin expansion. Watching it in action is a gripping spectacle of 90-degree rotation, sliding, folding, and securing various supports and panels. You can see it for yourself here:
So what exactly is the point of all that? The two upstairs sleeping berths are nice, but nothing you couldn't get from a simpler pop-top or high-roof van ... and those don't involve strapping a 220-lb (100-kg) half-igloo to your roof. As for the expansion space, a mudroom could be useful but not for that kind of effort.
There is some method to the madness, though. The Galeria mass may be centered atop the vehicle, but its real impact is felt inside the cabin. The entryway expansion allows Queensize to spin the 79 x 59-in (200 x 150-m) central bed into transverse position, extending the foot of the bed beyond the van sidewall to make it fit. The slide-out kitchen and fully adjustable dining table slide over to support that foot section, which tapers down to 35 in (900 cm), necessitating more creative sleep positioning. This bed design eliminates the need to fold the rear seats down, leaving the entire cargo area free for other uses.
Queensize's idea on how to use that cargo area is one that many a VW camper van owner has yearned for: a bathroom. There are other Transporter camper vans with bathrooms, but it's not a standard feature (even VW decided to upsize its California van instead of stuffing a bathroom in the smaller model). Those vans that have them tend to have some form of cramped rear bathroom/kitchen configuration that we imagine has to cause some arguments on an extended road trip.
Queensize splits its rear bathroom from the main kitchen, which the van chef will surely appreciate. It even builds some walls for better separation from the living area, something you won't always find on the rear bathrooms squeezed inside compact vans.
Bathroom space gets slickly optimized with clever features like a wood sink basin that folds down off the wall and uses the toilet as drainage, and a toilet-paper holder that slides out from inside the wall. The hanging shelf module slides from one side to the other, depending on whether you need access to the toilet or the 80L fridge on the passenger side.
The kitchen itself is an unusual but ingenious design. At first it looks like a standard slide-out, emerging from under the convertible dining bench/chaise lounge, but it swivels into two separate positions for indoor and outdoor use. In fully extended mode, the kitchen stretches right past the drop-down entry, its dual-burner ceramic cooktop and sink standing next to the drawers. But the sink/stove block can also lift and swing on top of the drawers for use inside the entryway room (or just outside the sliding van door).
This dual-position kitchen design also turns the entryway room into a shower room, using water from the sink and a shower curtain to close it off from the main cabin. There's even a water heating system that repurposes waste heat from the stove to provide a warm shower. By putting the shower here rather than in back with the toilet, Queensize opens up nearly 8 ft (2.4 m) of headroom.
The Galeria ForFour is still a concept, and Queensize presented it at Abenteur & Allrad 2019 last week. We're sure it attracted a lot of attention, but we can't imagine the 4x4 crowd there being too enamored with such a heavy, topple-ready vehicle. Still, we'd have stopped to check it out. In fact, we're hoping to run into it at a future show and take a closer look at the interior and some of those moving parts.
Source: Queensize Camper