Germany's VanEssa is giving tailgaters and campers a sleek new way to enjoy a meal on the pickup tailgate. Its slide-out kitchen packs everything you need to serve up smoking hot food and icy cold beverages from the bed of the Volkswagen Amarok. There's no fumbling around with a disorganized pile of BBQ gear as everything is available at the pull of a drawer. You can even sit atop the whole package and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
While its product lineup covers everything from the Citroën SpaceTourer to the Land Rover Defender, it seems the company, like so many van camping enthusiasts, has a particular affinity for Volkswagen vans. If the long list of VW vehicles for which it offers products doesn't betray that preference, the fact that VW sits on the very top of the otherwise alphabetical vehicle list certainly does.
VanEssa's traditional lineup fits various generations of Transporter, as well as smaller vans and minivans like the Caddy and Touran. Its latest product goes beyond the world of vans, though, packing the Volkswagen Amarok's pickup bed with full cooking, cooling and cleaning capabilities.
The main Amarok slide-out unit mounts on the left side of the truck bed and houses a fully equipped kitchen. A countertop with kitchen sink is built on the front of the slide, while a 35-L fridge takes up the rear. A series of drawers below the sink and counter store cooking tools, including a simple single-burner stove. The sink is fed by a 32-L water tank and an available attachment turns it into an outdoor shower.
Next to the kitchen slide-out is a second slide with a basic tray that can be used for storage. Or you can use it to hold a mini keg or two, the way the traditionally dressed folks are doing in the photo at the top of the page – if you have to tailgate in an empty field, you might as well do it with a few Bavarian maidens and a slide-out beer keg.
Not surprisingly, there's no accompanying sleeping system, as there is on VanEssa's van packages, but those looking to use the kitchen as part of a camper or expedition truck could mount a roof-top tent on the roof or on a rack up above the bed. VanEssa does show it all set up with a folding three-piece mattress-based lounge on top, providing a comfy way to eat, drink and be merry.
When not needed, the boxes can be removed quickly to free up the pickup bed.
VanEssa teased the Amarok kitchen earlier this year prior to bringing it to Australia for some testing as part of its expansion down under. Its Australian team showed it at the recent Australian 4x4 show and the system is now on show at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon. Neither the German nor Australian website lists pricing or availability information, so we've reached out to try to get these details and will update when we hear back.
Update: VanEssa plans to get the system to market in Germany, Australia and other countries beginning in March 2018. It has not yet set final pricing but estimates that the total price of the system with kitchen and storage tray modules and slide-out hardware will be around €3,050 (approx. US$3,640). That gorgeous wooden bed cover featured in some of the photos will roughly double the total price, retailing around €3,000.
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