It’s not everyone’s idea of what camping should be all about, but when it comes to sheer luxury and convenience, the Air Opus self-inflating folding camper is hard to beat. With leather-look corner sofas, LED floor lighting and a fancy sound-system, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a posh nightclub’s VIP suite rather than somewhere to enjoy the great outdoors. “But it’s not real camping, it’s caravanning,” some will say. And when you look at the way the Opus is kitted out, they might have a point. But this is still about living under canvas, even if it’s right at the top of the comfort (and price) scale. And if you can afford it, why not?
Compared to a caravan, towing is easy, especially if you’re used to pulling a camping trailer. The Opus took about 20 minutes in total for two of us to pitch (this proves it’s camping – you don’t pitch a caravan!) but more importantly was the lack of exertion required. All you have to do is find the perfect spot to spend the night, fold out the ends (the hyrdraulic struts make this easy) and flick a switch. In less than five minutes you’re good to go, with zero effort on your part. In fact, while it’s inflating, you’ve got just enough time to make yourself a cup of tea. Once the structure is in place, it takes a few more minutes to set up the inside. It’s all so simple, it could easily be done by one person and with a bit of practice we reckon that set-up time could be halved.
The Opus is comfortable and packed with the sort of extravagances humble tent campers can usually only dream of. A cooker, a microwave and a fridge provide excellent kitchen facilities, and there’s running water. Electric heating means you can take the Opus out any time of the year and the aforementioned floor lighting, comfy sofas and beds provide real comfort. The 2.5m ceiling height means there is plenty of headroom so no need to stoop as you’re moving around, and while floorspace is obviously limited, it feels noticably more roomy than other folding campers. The Opus also has huge PVC skylights that let light flood in during the day. They can be covered up at night or you can choose to leave them open so you can gaze at the stars. If you feel more living space is required you can add a full awning or a sun canopy, although clearly these will add to the overall cost.
The Air Opus provides luxury and convenience in equal measures. Pitching couldn’t be easier. Simply park up, fold out the ends and flick a switch and in a matter of minutes you’re ready. It’s not just about convenience though. The Opus Air is the height of luxury – the top of the range model we tried out boasts leatherette seating, a fridge, microwave, alloy wheels, and LED lighting as standard. And if you want to fork out for some additional luxuries, you can add a sound system, carpet and even a cinema screen! Of course, none of this comes cheap and that’s the big downside. The Full Monty package is just under £18,000, plus extras. But if you’re after comfort and luxury but aren’t ready to go over to the dark side of caravans, this is the answer.
Price From £15,495
Materials Aluminium frame, polycotton canvas
Closed 416 x 195cm Height (towing) 117cm
Open 580 x 195cm
Height (erected) 275cm