Base vehicle: VW Caddy Price from: £23,400 Berths: 2 Travel seats: 5 Length: 4.88m Width: 1.79m Height: 1.84m Gross weight: 2,240kg Payload: Variable
Words & photos: Peter Vaughan
Campervan converter, Dirty Weekender, has a showroom like no other. In fact, shop would be a better word, were it not for the fact that, surrounded by every accessory known to campervan man (and all tested by company owner, Johnny Luebke) are a couple of new campers and a classic VW that does the rounds of the shows.
Central to the display, though, is the Egoé Nest, for which Dirty Weekender is the sole UK dealer. The demo model shown here is based on a pre-owned Volkswagen Caddy Kombi – a 66-plate vehicle with 55k miles recorded and priced at £19,500 plus VAT – making it a pretty affordable way into campervanning. Truth is, though, that you’re most likely to already have the MPV, SUV or van that you want to use as a camper – there’s a huge range of makes and models that can accommodate the Egoé unit, including the latest Land Rover Defender.
In the case of this long-wheelbase Caddy Kombi, the first job was to line and insulate the interior to make it cosier for camping. Around £1,000 covers the cost of Dynamat sound deadening for the wheelarches and side panels as well as Isotherm insulation and trim to cover all the previously exposed metalwork.
The heart of this conversion, though, is the £4,320 Egoé Nest that slots into the boot of the Caddy. Fully removable, this is also fitted in such a way that the vehicle can be insured as a campervan through specialists like Comfort Insurance.
But, at the same time, the versatility of the original VW is retained, with five travel seats and twin sliding doors. It’s just that now, when you lift the tailgate, you’re greeted by a slide-out kitchen pod.
There’s a Pinguin two-burner gas hob that can be used in situ, or you can lift it out and cook anywhere. It comes with a wind guard and is fed by 500g gas cylinders, which are said to be cheaper to replace and faster in bringing a kettle to boil than larger butane cylinders.
Then, the second essential is a water supply, so there are two 12-litre containers and a pressure drop water pump. They supply a collapsible sink (like those folding kettles and other camping kit), or you can add a shower attachment to hose off boots, dogs, etc. Other kit contained in this neat unit includes a soft bag for cutlery and utensils, while there’s space to add a Yeti 18-litre soft cooler or, alternatively, a Dometic 15-litre 12V fridge. The Yeti (a £299 extra-cost item) is claimed to keep food fresh for up to three days just with the addition of freezer blocks.
The other vital part of the Egoé conversion is the bed, which, in daytime mode, is revealed simply as sections of mattress stacked on top of the kitchen pod. First job, then, is to fold the rear seat backrests forward, followed by assembling the wooden bed frame, leaning in through the open sliding doors to set it up. Finally, the mattress (in four sections) unfolds on top and two side bolster cushions slot in to maximise bed width. The finished bed might almost fill the little Caddy but it impresses with its 2.05m by 1.42m dimensions.
Other options that can be added by Dirty Weekender include a Webasto diesel-fired heater and even a lithium leisure battery and battery-to-battery charger under the front passenger seat. If you want two more berths, DW also recommends a James Baroud hard-shell roof tent, priced at £2,700.
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