Pop-top caravan starts camping (or coffee breaking) in 30 seconds
Pop-up tent campers are an age-old way of enjoying a light, aerodynamic tow and roomy base camp. They're not always as quick or easy to set up as the term "pop-up" suggests, however. The new TakeOff from Dutch startup Easy Caravanning follows through on the pop-up trailer's implied promise of quickness. A sort of pop-up camper van roof on wheels, the TakeOff rides low and light and sets up in about half a minute, making it perfect for a quick lunch break on the way to camp, as well as a cozy extended camping holiday.
Set-up times are nearly as varied as the myriad modern and historic pop-up tent trailers on roadways today, not to mention the people doing the assembly, but in looking through estimated times from sources ranging from dealership FAQs to pop-up owners' forums, 10 to 45 minutes seems to be a common range. Even the self-inflating Air Opus trailer takes at least five minutes to set up.
Between those types of set-up times, comparable or greater breakdown times, and fold-out expansion sections that increase the overall footprint of many pop-up campers, not many manufacturers are advertising their pop-ups as good for coffee breaks. But with a set-up time of 30 seconds, comparably quick breakdown time, and a design that expands up but not out, Easy Caravanning reckons you could stop at a scenic pull-off or rest stop parking space and enjoy a sandwich or cup of coffee in the cozy, sheltered comfort of the TakeOff. And we've certainly had some road trips during which a trailer break would have been much preferred over the option of sitting outside in rain, snow, wind or dust storm or piling into the car to eat elbow to elbow.
In order to reach a set-up time faster than even a remote-controlled electric pop-up, Easy Caravanning breaks the pop-up down to its simplest components: a hard roof, fabric sidewalls and a strut-assisted lift. To open, the owner merely unlocks the back, drops the entry step and pushes the roof up. The only set-up step inside is to adjust the dining table into place. That all happens in about 30 seconds while the TakeOff remains snugly in between the white lines of its parking space.
The TakeOff interior houses two rows of furniture running down the sides of a center aisle. The front dinette includes benches on either side of an adjustable table, converting to an 63 x 81-in (160 x 205-cm) oversized queen bed at night. The versatile, multi-position lounge can be set up in several configurations, including an optional eight-seat dinette and a shortened bed with rear dining nook.
The available kitchen block takes up the rear corner, entrant's left of the central door. It's a simple block with glass-covered dual-burner stove and sink, and it can be easily removed for outdoor cooking atop an accompanying frame. Quick-connect gas and water hookups make it easy to move inside to out, while available worktop extensions add prep space. The available electric fridge moves with the kitchen and has its own storage compartment inside the caravan. A ceiling peak of 6.7 feet (2.05 m) at the rear of the caravan makes for comfortable indoor cooking.
The 16-foot-long (4.9-m, tongue to tail), thermoformed ABS-shelled TakeOff doesn't pack a complete bathroom, but it can hide an optional portable toilet in a purpose-built compartment in the bench frame. Interior heating is also an option, as is an annex tent/awning that turns the comfy two-sleeper into a four-berth family camper.
During the drive to and from camp, the TakeOff stands at just 48 in (122 cm), ducking down below the vehicle for better aerodynamics. With a gross vehicle weight rating of 1,650 lb (750 kg), it's also light enough to be towed by small cars, as well as larger SUVs and trucks. It has an Al-Ko chassis with rubber suspension, LED indicator lights and an overrun brake.
Easy Caravanning introduced the TakeOff in October and is busy preparing for production. It will focus on its home market of the Netherlands first and plans to expand out to other European markets, including Germany and Denmark. It doesn't have any current plans for international distribution, but it tells us it's a possibility once things are running smoothly in Europe. We happen to think the TakeOff would fit quite nicely in a trailer-hungry US market that has recently turned its attention to smaller, more innovative designs.
The base TakeOff "Active" without the kitchen block prices in at €13,495 (≈US$15,000), while the fully equipped "XCite" version with kitchen, toilet, heating, X10T awning (tent still optional), fridge, eight-person dinette capability, and other top-level standard equipment is €18,995 (≈US$21,000). The mid-level "Sport" is €15,795 (≈US$17,500). Veteran Dutch trailer company Holtkamper will handle production, and deliveries are planned to start in March.
Source: Easy Caravanning