Six-sleeper pop-up electric catamaran RV glamps on land or sea
Combining a small boat and camper into a single land-water exploration machine isn't a new idea, but it's one that continually attracts new bright-eyed designers eager to stamp their own unique spins on it. The Sealander teardrop might be the most famous contemporary example, but there are a few others out there in markets stretching from Australia to Scandinavia. The Caracat is the latest to join the pack, combining a stable, electric-propelled boat platform with camper van features like an available pop-up roof and convertible furnishings. Don't let silly shorelines end your adventure – camp on "sea, lake and land."
The key to the Caracat's land/sea viability is the extendable pontoon system that looks like a more polished, production-ready version of a similar idea we saw years ago on the Australian-designed Transformis Inspire houseboat, albeit without the simultaneous wall expansion. The system tucks in for a roadable width of 2.5 meters (8.2 ft), making for smooth towing atop a basic boat trailer. On the water, the pontoons expand out electrically to create a more stable 3.7-m-wide (12.1-ft) footprint for comfortable flotation.
Whether camping atop the water or on a boat trailer behind the hitch, the level, open floor plan provides a comfortable stay. The vessel includes fore and aft sofa lounges, both of which convert over into double beds, providing sleeping space for four people. Add the available pop-up sleeper roof pulled straight from the camper van market and you can sleep an entire family of six (or three couples if you'd prefer to leave the kids with the grandparents for the trip).
Directly between the two lounge/bedroom areas, the Caracat houses a bathroom with toilet, sink and shower. The galley is located across from the aft lounge and includes a diesel-electric cooktop, fridge, microwave, sink and wine cooler.
As nice as the leather- and Alcantara-trimmed, teak-floored interior is, a vessel like the Caracat really isn't made for spending hours upon hours indoors. Instead, owners will undoubtedly want to spend their limited leisure time enjoying the great outdoors. For that, the Caracat includes a small balcony at the bow and an aft deck. The Caracat design team has also capitalized on the flat roof to carry an available sundeck lounge with deployable canopy.
On land, the tow vehicle does all the moving, but once on water, the Caracat comes powered by a modest 8-hp Torqeedo electric motor. Owners can operate it legally with a Class B driver's license. The Torqeedo drive is specced for clean, quiet operation on lakes, but those who need extra oomph for more ambitious sea voyages can upgrade with more electric or diesel power, up to around 100 hp.
The Caracat comes in three different sizes: 6.6, 7.6 and 8.6 m (21.7, 24.9 and 28.2 ft). The spec sheet for the 8.6-m model includes a Victron 220-Ah AGM leisure battery, 200-W solar panel, 32-A shore power hookup, Garmin 722 XS GPS/chart plotter, Truma air/water heater and Dometic air conditioner. Also included is an entertainment system with retractable LED smart TV and Bluetooth audio system.
Caracat is headquartered in Germany and manufactures in Turkey. The company told us at the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon that prices start at €130,000 (approx. US$129,900) for the 6.6-m model.