Remote-control pop-up camper tows like a sports car, grows into a breezy cabana
Quite different from other camping trailers we've covered over the years, the iCamp from Dutch company Udo Camp rides to the campground as a flat trailer with a rear-end that looks like it belongs on a sports coupe. At camp, the electric pop-top quickly sheds any resemblance to a car, rising into an 8-ft-tall (2.4-m) shelter that sleeps and feeds up to four people. Multifunctional equipment throughout creates a comfortable, versatile space for camping and travel.
We don't look at Dutch campers as often as those from markets like the US, Germany and Australia, but every time we do, they really stand out. Attention-grabbing Dutch designs we've seen have ranged from 21st century wooden gypsy wagons, to sleek aluminum caravan convertibles, and now to the iCamp, a poly-bodied expander that grows into a boxy screen house/tent.
The iCamp trailer turns heads from the time it rolls out onto the street. The trailer's rear-end is quite clearly inspired by passenger cars, starting with a curvaceous upper with wraparound taillights, a central badge and the outline of a 60-L trunk. Below, there's a clearly cut bumper area and even some contrast underbody work that resembles a rear diffuser.
At first we actually mistook the iCamp for a licensed replica-type product, a trailer modeled after a specific car. Then we came to realize that it's just a uniquely styled camping trailer, an effective tool for pulling in gawkers – at least it was successful in pulling us out of the aisle of the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon and into Udo's booth.
While it packs some curvy automotive styling in tow form, the iCamp is conversely quite boxy in expanded camper form. The length of the slender 14.4-ft (4.4-m) body eliminates the need for the extension rooms seen on many pop-up trailers, allowing the walls to rise straight up and create a large living box with 6.6 ft (2 m) of standing room inside. It's not the prettiest design, but it looks plenty roomy.
The iCamp roof is electrically actuated, rising into form in under 30 seconds at the push of a remote control button. Beyond that, set-up entails dropping down the interior cabinets near the ceiling and arranging the interior furniture and cushions as desired for day or night use.
Once inside, campers can let light and breezes in to their hearts' content. Fabric panels on the entrance wall roll up to leave the entire front completely open or covered only by mosquito netting. Large screen windows on every other side further increase ventilation, as does the air-permeable (but weatherproof) TenCate fabric. In bad weather, campers can batten down the hatches, ensuring the entire space is protected by wall fabric.
The iCamp interior looks simple but comfy, filled out with a 6+2 seating arrangement with a main wraparound sofa and a day bed/lounge. The former sweeps around the two-panel table providing plenty of space to eat, work, chat and play games. At night, the tabletops drop down to serve as part of the convertible 64 x 78-in (162 x 200-cm) bed, sleeping two adults. The longitudinal bed orientation lets each sleeper get up and access the door freely, without having to roll over the other.
The other side of the tent houses a second bed measuring up to 77.5 x 43-in (197 x 110 cm), with a little extra length on one side created by the slight pop-out nook built into the rear of the tent. Udo says the second bed is best for an adult and child or two children, making the iCamp perfectly suited for a family of four.
Adding to the spacious feel of the interior is the lack of a standalone kitchen block. Instead, the clever indoor/outdoor kitchen hides below the front cushions on the second bed. Lift these cushions and the kitchen lids and you can cook inside. You can also slide the kitchen out through the external hatch, support it with the drop-down leg and cook outside. Kitchen equipment includes a four-burner gas stove, sink with 12-V pump-fed tap and 40-L compressor cool box.
The kitchen's slide-out capability allows quick, easy access to food and kitchen equipment without having to erect the entire camper – for a mid-ride lunch, for example. The indoor "trap door" access means you don't have to cook outside in bad weather. It seems like a nice all-around solution that cuts on compromises.
The iCamp includes an onboard 50-Ah 12-V battery, trickle charger, 20-A 230-V inverter, and a series of 230-V outlets and USB ports. Two interior LED lights and an exterior kitchen area LED keep things visible when the sun goes down.
With an empty weight of 1,186 lb (538 kg) – listed weight excludes four-burner stove, fridge and cushions – the iCamp can be towed by a variety of vehicles, not just big, powerful trucks and SUVs. Udo also says it's light enough to be pulled and positioned by hand before it's hitched up to the tow vehicle. Total payload is 467 lb (212 kg), putting gross vehicle weight rating at 1,650 lb (750 kg).
The iCamp starts at €13,650 (approx. US$15,700), and available extras include a front awning with available sidewalls and floor, an electric heater, extra storage cabinets and a bike carrier.
Those interested in seeing the iCamp in action can take a two-minute tour in the video below.
Source: Udo Camp