There are plenty of massive motorhomes and expedition trucks among the over 2,000 vehicles on show at this year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, but some of the RVs that make the biggest impression are the smallest of the show. It is the Caravan Salon, after all. From nautically inspired classics, to ultra-modern aluminum and composite boxes, these teardrops and small camping trailers are among the most memorable sights of a very large and diverse show.
Lifestyle Camper SteelDrop
With shiny LED lighting strips and even shinier metal skin, the SteelDrop from the Ukraine's Lifestyle Camper is easily the brightest small trailer we saw in Düsseldorf. As its name implies, that radiant skin is not aluminum, as seen on icons like the Airstream and Bowlus, but AISI 304 stainless steel over top some curvy plywood.
The 1,100-lb (500-kg) trailer has a basic teardrop layout with dual side doors, a full-cabin size mattress, and a tailgate galley with a stainless steel sink fed by a 50-L water tank and electric pump. A fridge and gas stove are available optionally, as are an outdoor shower and LED TV. As Lifestyle kindly wrote down for us at the show, prices start at €9,200 (approx. US$10,775).
It was a toss-up between the SteelDrop and Lifestyle's more rugged, bed liner-coated X-Line, but the SteelDrop's mirror-like skin won us over. You can see the equally intriguing X-Line in our full photo gallery.
Wingamm Rookie 3.5
The Wingamm Micros small motorhome was one of our favorite finds at Abenteuer & Allrad back in June, and it turns out the company's caravans are just as cool. The Rookie 3.5 is the small, entry-level model in Wingamm's caravan line-up, measuring 16.4 ft (5 m) long from rear-end through drawbar. Its distinctive look comes courtesy of the fiberglass monocoque mounted atop the AL-KO chassis below.
Despite its small size and 1,650-lb (750-kg) maximum weight, the Rookie 3.5 packs in a convertible dinette; kitchen block with dual-burner stove, sink and 70-L refrigerator; and washroom with toilet and separate shower. LED lighting throughout helps to further brighten that big, white monocoque.
As listed at the show, the Rookie 3.5's base price is €17,166 (approx. US$20,100), while the price as exhibited is €17,756 (approx. US$20,780).
Mini Freestyle 270
The Mini Freestyle range from Trigano impresses with pop-tops and efficient, multifunctional interiors. The 270 is the miniest of the Minis but still manages to pack enough space to bring your motorcycle along. In fact, the caravan's layout reminds us of a smaller, cheaper Knaus Deseo 400 TR, a highlight from last year's Düsseldorf show. The Mini Freestyle 270 includes a large rear load door that opens directly into the wide central aisle, where you can store a motorcycle for the ride.
Pull the motorcycle out upon arrival, and enjoy a roomy interior, where you'll find a convertible dinette/double bed at the front and a kitchen area to the side. The pop-up roof increases headroom to a comfortable 6.3 ft (1.9 m), letting average-height folks walk around without having to crouch. The trailer weighs in at 1,312 lb (595 kg) when all topped off with fluids and ready to camp, making for easy towing.
The sticker at the show lists a €9,990 (approx. US$11,700) base price and a €12,600 (approx. US$14,750) "as exhibited" price with options like the motorcycle loading hardware and touring package.
The 17-ft-long (5.2-m) Travelino sleeps four people standard, on a combination of a fixed front double bed and convertible rear corner dinette. The expanded-polypropylene "cube" furniture throughout emphasizes the smart fiberglass construction, which decouples the furniture design from the structural integrity of the trailer and helps to keep weight down to a max of 1,650 lb (750 kg). You can read more about Knaus' construction techniques in our Travelino Skyview article, but besides offering structural and weight advantages, the pod-like furniture and cabinetry also look pretty cool.
The Travelino has a kitchen with dual-burner stove, sink and 80-L refrigerator, and even squeezes in a small toilet room, using a fold-out sink and two-position folding door to optimize space. Position the two door panels outward, and you repurpose some living room floor to provide space in the bathroom; fold the panels inward and you close off the toilet room to open up more interior living space.
Knaus' sticker lists base price at €18,990 (approx. US$22,230). The model on show wears a price of €20,418 (approx. US$23,900), which doesn't include the €2,756 full-length air tent attached to the entry side.
The most classic of the classics
One thing that's always fun about the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon is the sprinkling of classic camper contraptions that inspire nostalgia for a simpler time in auto touring and camping history. If we're forced to pick a favorite, it has to be the impossibly tiny, wonderfully Bavarian combination of 1958 Glas Goggomobile TS 250 coupe and 1956 Elektro-Stahlbau Piccolo teardrop. The two-sleeper trailer is sized perfectly for its microcar tow vehicle, doing away with the tailgate galley and instead providing direct access into the cabin via the rear lift-gate. It weighs just 950 lb (430 kg) and was priced at 1,140 Deutsche Mark (approx. US$680) when it hit the market all those decades ago.
The cute red coupe doing the towing develops a very humble 13 hp (10 kW) from a 2.5-liter two-cylinder engine, providing for an equally humble top speed of 52 mph (84 km/h). Had you purchased one back in the day, it would have set you back DM 3,720 (approx. US$2,200).
The duo is on loan from the Erwin Hymer Museum, displayed by Hymer group brand Bürstner, which is also impressing crowds with the sleek, homey Harmony 3.
If you happen to be anywhere near Düsseldorf, you can still visit the Caravan Salon, which runs through September 2. If not, you can see all the cool, little trailers in our photo gallery, which includes more pictures of the models mentioned above, along with numerous honorable mentions of both the all-new and classic varieties.
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