Outdoors

10 amazingly livable and lovable mini-campers of 2021

10 amazingly livable and lovab...
Beachy debuts as a cheaper, more youthful alternative to existing Hobby caravans and motorhomes
Beachy debuts as a cheaper, more youthful alternative to existing Hobby caravans and motorhomes
View 55 Images
The Dailycamper starts under 40,000 euros
1/55
The Dailycamper starts under 40,000 euros
With sliding doors on both sides, the Dailycamper is a versatile camper and everyday MPV
2/55
With sliding doors on both sides, the Dailycamper is a versatile camper and everyday MPV
The Dailycamper doesn't have swivel cab seats but includes a bench and a third seat/stool
3/55
The Dailycamper doesn't have swivel cab seats but includes a bench and a third seat/stool
The Dailycamper includes a small kitchen block and a Dometic fridge box that stores under the bench
4/55
The Dailycamper includes a small kitchen block and a Dometic fridge box that stores under the bench
Because the rear cabinet and bench/bed don't remove, Dailycamper owners do lose some rear cargo space
5/55
Because the rear cabinet and bench/bed don't remove, Dailycamper owners do lose some rear cargo space
With its angles and facets, the Edgeout definitely doesn't look like a rolling Yeti cooler
6/55
With its angles and facets, the Edgeout definitely doesn't look like a rolling Yeti cooler
Touring the bush with the Edgeout teardrop trailer
7/55
Touring the bush with the Edgeout teardrop trailer
Simple but effective, the Edgeout tailgate kitchen comes with a dual-burner stove, basic sink setup, slide-out for fridge/freezer and available microwave
8/55
Simple but effective, the Edgeout tailgate kitchen comes with a dual-burner stove, basic sink setup, slide-out for fridge/freezer and available microwave
Edgeout's diagram shows how the two individual pods and the trailer chassis fit together
9/55
Edgeout's diagram shows how the two individual pods and the trailer chassis fit together
The Edgeout interior includes a 5.5-in-thick queen-size mattress
10/55
The Edgeout interior includes a 5.5-in-thick queen-size mattress
A work-from-van option, the Nissan x OGUshow Mobility Table moves easily around the cabin for typing or dining
11/55
A work-from-van option, the Nissan x OGUshow Mobility Table moves easily around the cabin for typing or dining
OGUshow's concept knows how to find that work/life balance, winding the day down with the owner's favorite pastimes
12/55
OGUshow's concept knows how to find that work/life balance, winding the day down with the owner's favorite pastimes
On solo Workation Concept trips, both the owner and bicycle can remain inside the van at night
13/55
On solo Workation Concept trips, both the owner and bicycle can remain inside the van at night
Another interesting feature on the Nissan/OGUshow Workation Concept concept, the left window features an electronic shade that switches the glass between transparent and opaque
14/55
Another interesting feature on the Nissan/OGUshow Workation Concept concept, the left window features an electronic shade that switches the glass between transparent and opaque
Nissan x OGUshow Workation Concept graphics
15/55
Nissan x OGUshow Workation Concept graphics
The Beachy 450 is the largest of three models
16/55
The Beachy 450 is the largest of three models
Inside the mid-size Beachy 420 caravan
17/55
Inside the mid-size Beachy 420 caravan
Beachy keeps price down by keeping things simple, light and functional
18/55
Beachy keeps price down by keeping things simple, light and functional
With more space than a residential queen, the Beachy bed sleeps as many as two adults and a child
19/55
With more space than a residential queen, the Beachy bed sleeps as many as two adults and a child
Whether the plan is to set up on open sand or deep in the forest, the Beachy caravan makes a comfortable place to stay
20/55
Whether the plan is to set up on open sand or deep in the forest, the Beachy caravan makes a comfortable place to stay
Beachy debuts as a cheaper, more youthful alternative to existing Hobby caravans and motorhomes
21/55
Beachy debuts as a cheaper, more youthful alternative to existing Hobby caravans and motorhomes
Each Girovaga box works as part of the bed frame and part of the kitchen/dining area
22/55
Each Girovaga box works as part of the bed frame and part of the kitchen/dining area
The single-bed Girovaga Box layout saves space for a bicycle or other gear
23/55
The single-bed Girovaga Box layout saves space for a bicycle or other gear
Girovaga Box bed set up inside van
24/55
Girovaga Box bed set up inside van
Girovaga boxes all packed up
25/55
Girovaga boxes all packed up
The new Escapod Topo2 at the 2021 Outside Adventure Expo
26/55
The new Escapod Topo2 at the 2021 Outside Adventure Expo
Escapod goes full composite and hot-dipped galvanized steel with the new Topo2 off-road teardrop trailer
27/55
Escapod goes full composite and hot-dipped galvanized steel with the new Topo2 off-road teardrop trailer
Escapod regularly added improvements like the cabinet door/side table to the original Topo and incorporates them into the all-new Topo2
28/55
Escapod regularly added improvements like the cabinet door/side table to the original Topo and incorporates them into the all-new Topo2
Escapod introduces the second-generation, composite-monocoque Topo2
29/55
Escapod introduces the second-generation, composite-monocoque Topo2
The Topo2 steps up with a nicer Ruvati inbuilt sink
30/55
The Topo2 steps up with a nicer Ruvati inbuilt sink
The spaces flanking the floating cabinet unit are the Escapod Topo2 mudrooms
31/55
The spaces flanking the floating cabinet unit are the Escapod Topo2 mudrooms
Escapod's independent trailing-arm suspension system puts the shock and spring on the same plane for 5 in of travel at each wheel
32/55
Escapod's independent trailing-arm suspension system puts the shock and spring on the same plane for 5 in of travel at each wheel
The Vanderer Urban Camper is based on the 475-cm Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot Partner or related vans
33/55
The Vanderer Urban Camper is based on the 475-cm Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot Partner or related vans
Sliding the Vanderer kitchen out
34/55
Sliding the Vanderer kitchen out
The Vanderer table power-adjusts in height for dining and sleep configurations
35/55
The Vanderer table power-adjusts in height for dining and sleep configurations
Enjoying the Vanderer Urban Camper's downstairs apartment
36/55
Enjoying the Vanderer Urban Camper's downstairs apartment
The Vanderer Urban Camper premiered at CMT Digital this week
37/55
The Vanderer Urban Camper premiered at CMT Digital this week
The Vanderer Urban Camper transforms from five-seat van to comfy wilderness lounge
38/55
The Vanderer Urban Camper transforms from five-seat van to comfy wilderness lounge
CarCamper founder Moses Kramer developed the kit for his own Opel Astra and now looks to sell it to other adventure-minded small car owners
39/55
CarCamper founder Moses Kramer developed the kit for his own Opel Astra and now looks to sell it to other adventure-minded small car owners
Making the most of a tiny car interior with CarCamper
40/55
Making the most of a tiny car interior with CarCamper
Depending upon the vehicle, the CarCamper bed platform can sit behind folded-up front seats or over top folded-back front seats
41/55
Depending upon the vehicle, the CarCamper bed platform can sit behind folded-up front seats or over top folded-back front seats
Ready to pop the CarCamper bag open and make base camp
42/55
Ready to pop the CarCamper bag open and make base camp
The ModyPlast Mody Bicycle Caravan combines the quaint nostalgia of a teardrop trailer with a lighter, more eco-friendly way to vehicle camp
43/55
The ModyPlast Mody Bicycle Caravan combines the quaint nostalgia of a teardrop trailer with a lighter, more eco-friendly way to vehicle camp
ModyPlast Outdoor bicycle caravan
44/55
ModyPlast Outdoor bicycle caravan
The Mody is not a two-person trailer, but maybe a single person + dog?
45/55
The Mody is not a two-person trailer, but maybe a single person + dog?
A look at the simple but cozy interior of the Mody teardrop bicycle trailer
46/55
A look at the simple but cozy interior of the Mody teardrop bicycle trailer
Load up the Mody trailer with camping gear, hitch it to your ebike and find a scenic camping spot off the beaten path, where cars can't reach
47/55
Load up the Mody trailer with camping gear, hitch it to your ebike and find a scenic camping spot off the beaten path, where cars can't reach
In this example, positioning the single seat in front of the Southvan Allrounder bench makes room for the available storage shelf
48/55
In this example, positioning the single seat in front of the Southvan Allrounder bench makes room for the available storage shelf
The narrow Southvan Allrounder bench creates a narrow bed, but it's still large enough for two ... especially if the kids sleep downstairs, adults upstairs
49/55
The narrow Southvan Allrounder bench creates a narrow bed, but it's still large enough for two ... especially if the kids sleep downstairs, adults upstairs
The Allrounder Light kitchen has a slide-out single-burner gas stove and an inbuilt door fridge
50/55
The Allrounder Light kitchen has a slide-out single-burner gas stove and an inbuilt door fridge
Sleeping with gear in the Southvan Allrounder
51/55
Sleeping with gear in the Southvan Allrounder
The Allrounder Light kitchen back inside next to the motorbike
52/55
The Allrounder Light kitchen back inside next to the motorbike
The Southvan Allrounder mini-camper is smaller than the typical moto-hauling camper van, but it looks to work for two people exploring via van and bike
53/55
The Southvan Allrounder mini-camper is smaller than the typical moto-hauling camper van, but it looks to work for two people exploring via van and bike
The Allrounder kitchens can also double as mobile offices
54/55
The Allrounder kitchens can also double as mobile offices
Southvan Allrounder induction cooktop and available shower kit
55/55
Southvan Allrounder induction cooktop and available shower kit
View gallery - 55 images

It was another pandemic year and another big year for RVs of all shapes and sizes, especially the smallest variety. 2021's collection of new mini- and micro-campers included some of the most versatile multipurpose camper vans we've ever seen, tiny teardrop trailers light enough to tow by bicycle, and modular camper kits so small and flexible they can make campers out of three-door hatchbacks. It proved a very interesting year indeed for the world's smallest campers.

Freizeitmobile Dailycamper city-to-mountain adventure MPV

With sliding doors on both sides, the Dailycamper is a versatile camper and everyday MPV
With sliding doors on both sides, the Dailycamper is a versatile camper and everyday MPV

One of the smallest camper vans to cross our path this year, the Dailycamper was also one of the most impressive. The 187-in (475-cm) Fiat Doblo-based van gets its name from the fact that it readily trades out its side kitchen for a three-seat rear bench in order to transform from holiday camper to five-seat daily commuter. As a camper, it has a snug two-person floor plan that's plenty comfy thanks to a folding 47 x 79-in (120 x 200-cm) bed, compact kitchen block with single-burner stove and sink, and a Dometic cool box and optional toilet hidden below the seats. The adorable mini-MPV/RV still starts at €38,900 (approx. US$43,900), according to the Dailycamper website as of December 2021, making it as affordable as it is functional.

Edgeout rotomolded teardrop trailer

The Edgeout comes with a battery and LED lighting
The Edgeout comes with a battery and LED lighting

Billed as a first of its kind, the South African-born Edgeout trailer is like a high-end rotomolded cooler on wheels, only large enough to sleep two adults very comfortably rather than just carry milk and eggs to camp. Plastic rotomolding specialist 4EVR Plastic Products uses its expertise to marry individually molded living and kitchen modules into a single teardrop-style camping pod planted atop a rugged chassis. The result is ultra-durable, seamlessly weatherproof and much more affordable than other molded composite trailers at a starting price of R249,000 (US$15,680).

Nissan x OGUshow NV350 Caravan ES Mobility Concept workation wonder

Finishing up some morning work before getting out to cast a line in the water
Finishing up some morning work before getting out to cast a line in the water

A quintessential mini-camper of the COVID-19 era, the Nissan x OGUshow NV350 Caravan ES Mobility Concept had such a long, clunky title, we renamed it the Workation. That's because it's the ultimate work/play van, optimized for throwing a fishing rod, surfboard or bike in back, dropping a laptop bag in the front seat and escaping for a day or week of extra-remote office work. The key to this versatility is the folding rear bench/bed setup that can become a double bed, a single bench/bed or a functional workstation. The tubular racks above hold fishing rods or surfboards and hang wet gear for drying.

The Workation was just a concept when we looked at it in February, but Nissan and Co do offer very similar NV350 camper vans, including the ¥3.4 million (approx. US$29,825) Multibed we looked at a few weeks later.

Hobby Beachy caravan

Whether the plan is to set up on open sand or deep in the forest, the Beachy caravan makes a comfortable place to stay
Whether the plan is to set up on open sand or deep in the forest, the Beachy caravan makes a comfortable place to stay

With a sleek, curvy exterior, simple, functional layout and beach-inspired vibe, the new Beachy caravan from Hobby is timeless and contemporary at the same time. It brings the same spirit of freedom and adventure as the classic VW pop-top, but for a new generation concerned with mobile connectivity and up-to-the-minute design trends. The Beachy looks like a smartphone or Apple mouse on wheels from outside and houses an elegant interior with hanging lamps, fabric-trimmed walls and warm, bright colors. With a large center aisle and foldaway table, the little caravan can transport sports gear like a toy hauler before setting up into a beachfront tiny home.

The Beachy comes in three different sizes with prices that started at €12,000 (US$13,550) when we looked at it in June.

Girovaga Box modular camper bricks

The Girovaga Box kit creates a two-person camper van and outdoor kitchen, but you'll need two Girovaga kits to recreate this particular photo
The Girovaga Box kit creates a two-person camper van and outdoor kitchen, but you'll need two Girovaga kits to recreate this particular photo

Why can't building out a camper van be as simple and fun as building with Legos? Italian startup Girovaga Box makes it so with camper kits based around rearrangeable boxes that store gear, form the frame of the bed and remove from the van to stack up into the outdoor kitchen. Campers can create a single or double bed, using any leftover room to store gear as large as bicycles. When the camping trip is over, the boxes easily remove and return the van to stock form. The Girovaga package is a unique spin on the camper-in-a-box system, and it appears quite user-friendly. With Kickstarter pricing that started at €1,818 ($2,050), the Rodos small van kit was also rather wallet-friendly.

Escapod Topo2 composite teardrop

The new Escapod Topo2 at the 2021 Outside Adventure Expo
The new Escapod Topo2 at the 2021 Outside Adventure Expo

The Escapod Topo off-road teardrop trailer was a winner when we tested it in the Utah desert in 2019, and it's only improved since then. The all-new Topo2 replaces the simple aluminum-on-wood construction of the original Topo with a molded single-piece composite shell that's bigger and bolder while towing lighter. The new interior houses a full 60 x 80-in (152 x 203-cm) queen-size bed and a pair of entryway "mudrooms" good for hanging wet clothes and drying them with the air heating. The tailgate galley, meanwhile, brings a long countertop with plenty of work space, large Ruvati sink, slide-out dual-burner stove, Yeti 75 cooler and multipurpose cabinet door/side table. A new independent suspension system helps the Topo2 level out all kinds of rugged terrain while making its way to remote campsites.

At $39,500, the Topo2 debuted at double the price of the original Topo, but it certainly strikes us as a work of art as much as a light, off-road-ready camper.

Vanderer Urban Camper rear lounge mini-camper

The Vanderer Urban Camper transforms from five-seat van to comfy wilderness lounge
The Vanderer Urban Camper transforms from five-seat van to comfy wilderness lounge

Somehow the minds at Germany's Vanderer have managed to take one of Europe's smallest van families in the 187-in (475-cm) Citroën Berlingo/Peugeot Partner and turn it into a space in which campers will actually want to spend time. And we don't mean just "grabbing a quick night of sleep below a hard roof" time but valuable daylight hours spent chatting with campmates inside the lounge while preparing an espresso or bowl of soup.

Many mini-campervan converters are happy to follow the same safe but boring cookie-cutter format, but Vanderer flips its floor plan around, giving its Urban Camper a full rear sofa lounge and dining area and indoor/outdoor kitchen space. It still saves space for five passengers and cargo during the ride. With help from the pop-up roof, four of those passengers have a warm bed on which to spend the night. The modular kit even removes, freeing the van to be used as a seven-seat MPV. Due to the demand for campers, and the vans upon which they're based, Vanderer announced a significant MY2022 price increase in December 2021 to €41,990 ($47,400) for its Berlingo base model.

CarCamper camper car in a bag

CarCamper's Solo bed and prototype kitchen/storage units create a cozy Solo micro-camper car with the essential functions of a larger camper van
CarCamper's Solo bed and prototype kitchen/storage units create a cozy Solo micro-camper car with the essential functions of a larger camper van

We've seen many interesting camper-in-a-box systems over the years, but the CarCamper kit we looked at this year was the first camper-in-a-bag we can recall. The ultralight, ultracompact kit features a collapsible aluminum frame and rollable bed platform that carry in a canvas bag. Within minutes, the pieces build up into a one- or two-person bed that stretches to sleep full-height adults. Top it with an inflatable or folding mattress and your car is now the tiniest of RVs. Best of all, the CarCamper kit is designed to work with virtually any hatchback vehicle – even little three-doors – so you don't have to own a van to create a camper.

Sure, a €249 ($275) solo bed platform kit isn't exactly a complete camper, but CarCamper plans to spend next year adding additional components like a kitchen and storage unit.

ModyPlast Mody teardrop bicycle trailer

The Outdoor model is a bit heavier than the other two variants, weighing in at 44 kg when made from carbon fiber
The Outdoor model is a bit heavier than the other two variants, weighing in at 44 kg when made from carbon fiber

A list of mini-campers of the year would be quite incomplete without the miniest of them all. A true micro-camper, the Mody from Germany's ModyPlast looks briefly like a typical teardrop trailer. Zero in on the short body and narrow tires, though, and you realize something's amiss: This teardrop is built to be towed by bicycle, not automobile. If pedaling a 93-plus-lb (42-plus-kg) trailer up and down your local hills and valleys doesn't sound enticing, that's okay because the Mody trailer is really designed with ebikes in mind, the electric-assist powertrain helping to tug the trailer along comfortably at speeds up to 15.5 mph (25 km/h). At camp, the Mody is large enough to accommodate the cyclist and perhaps his or her dog. While it doesn't have a built-in kitchen, ModyPlast offers an optional cooler and collapsible outdoor kitchen — you're on your own with finding a bathroom, though.

The Mody trailer comes in road, hybrid and off-road varieties. Prices published online as of December 2021 start at €4,999 ($5,650) for fiberglass versions and €6,999 ($7,900) for lighter carbon fiber models.

Southvan Allrounder nine-seat camper van

The Southvan Allrounder mini-camper is smaller than the typical moto-hauling camper van, but it looks to work for two people exploring via van and bike
The Southvan Allrounder mini-camper is smaller than the typical moto-hauling camper van, but it looks to work for two people exploring via van and bike

One of the most impressive uses of space we've seen in or out of the van market, the Southvan Allrounder is a true multifunctional workhorse. A veritable small school bus, the 197-in (497-cm) MPV can carry up to nine people to and fro during the week, quickly transforming into a camper on Friday afternoon. It can even carry all nine people to camp alongside the kitchen, but most campers will want to swap a few seats out for bikes, camping gear, fishing tackle or whatever they have in mind.

At camp, the Allrounder sleeps four people on its folding lower bed and pop-up roof bed and feeds the family via the indoor/outdoor flex kitchen with single-burner stove and fridge. At €51,990 ($58,900), an Allrounder definitely sounds cheaper than buying the separate daily commuter and pop-top camper van it cleverly combines into one.

After a strong 2020 and 2021, will 2022 prove a third big year in a row for mini-campers? We'll be keeping our eyes peeled for new designs the minute we swap out calendars.

Note on prices: Unless otherwise specified, the prices given are from the time we originally looked at the camper in question during 2021 and may have since changed. We included December 2021 prices where available and identified them accordingly. All conversions are based on exchange rates from December 2021.

View gallery - 55 images
1 comment
1 comment
Nobody
All of these mini campers are too small for most people. We have tried everything from a pickup to haul our motorcycle and tent to vans, cabin cruiser boats, to class A and C motor homes and 19 foot to 30 foot travel trailers. Each has its advantages and limitations. The most fun on land was the pickup with a tent and touring the mountains on the motorcycle. The most comfortable was the 30 foot Class A motor home which also towed a cargo trailer for our motorcycle and ATV. The best budget was a 19 foot travel trailer pulled with a pickup which also held our motorcycle or ATV and had plenty of room and storage. The 25 foot fly bridge boat which was small enough to tow with a full sized Blazer from the Great lakes to the Florida Keys was the most fun on water. It could also be hooked up like a travel trailer at RV parks when going cross country. We found van camping to be absolutely miserable and too cramped.