Rob GanleySee other Blog articles filed in ‘Editor's Blog’ written by Rob Ganley
It took until the last day of the Spring Caravan and Camping show (19-24 February 2013) to unearth my favourite thing I’d seen all week: Bilbo’s Space campervan.
It was tucked in the shadow of the (admittedly gorgeous) Westfalia Joker camper, and was very low-key to look at. And we’d received no pre-show press release – it was a gem I simply stumbled across.
The Space is a concept van for now, and the model on show was described as a prototype. Based on the VW T5 window van, it was completely unadorned from the outside, with no fancy graphics or holes cut into the steelwork for installation work, passing for a run of the mill commercial vehicle.
Raise Bilbo’s trademark side elevating roof, though, step onboard and it’s truly impressive. Not for any bells-and-whistles kit and equipment but for the simplicity and flexibility of its design.
Instead of fixed furniture units, what you get are a number of removable pods that fit into the rear of the camper, and can be adapted to allow for different ways of using the van.
There’s no gas installation work. Instead, there’s a kitchen pod, that comes with a couple of fresh water canisters behind a sliding tambour door, and a portable stove unit in a self-contained plastic box, with its own integral gas cylinder. There’s a pod that will house a portable potti toilet, and there’s a cool box pod. There are others too.
You simply mix and match the pods to your needs, and remove them when they’re not required. Run it as a working van during the week, and a camper at the weekend.
It offers the best of both worlds, and I love the idea. I’m delighted that Bilbo’s – an NCC approved converter with some 35 years of camper conversion know-how – has decided to throw its considerable ability at making motorcaravanning more flexible and affordable. I can’t wait to test a production-ready model.
Rob Ganley, editor, Practical Motorhome