In September, I had the privilege of taking Adria’s new Active Duo campervan out for a test run for 10 days. The trip turned into a mixture of work, parental duties and pleasure.

But to begin, let’s take a look at the basics. The Adria Active Duo is the first-ever campervan from the motorhome manufacturer, and it is based on a Renault Trafic, rather than the more usual VW Transporter.

Now the Renault Trafic might not have quite the same kudos as a Transporter campervan, but it drives in an equally good way. I was particularly impressed with its turning circle.

During my journey, I took it right down onto the docks at Wivenhoe, near Colchester. I had been hoping to find a suitable location there for a possible magazine cover shoot.

Unfortunately, I discovered that, while it may once have been a charming little fishing village, Wivenhoe these days is really just a posh suburb of Colchester (although it is still very pretty).

But whatever I thought of the place, I have to say the vehicle behaved admirably. I never had to do a three-point turn, part of the reason it made its way into our best camper van round up.

Driving on the open road was comfortable, and I was aided by the reversing camera and parking monitors whenever I stopped anywhere.

My first destination was Fen Farm Caravan Park, on Mersea Island in Essex, which features in our best motorhome sites in Eastern England guide.

It was very easy to set up camp, because the roof in this small camper van is one of the easiest to operate that I’ve ever encountered. There are two catches next to two well-placed grab handles. You just move each of these inwards, then push upwards.

As a larger than average person, I certainly appreciated the extra width you get at the top of the ’van when you are doing that, particularly in comparison with the VW T5.

Our model had an electronic brake, so there was no hassle swivelling the cab seats. And you can easily fill the water tanks from the inlet just inside the tailgate door. The only downside is that the hook-up point is next to the driver’s door, so you’ll need to be aware of the cable when exiting.

This ’van includes the same roof canvas design as the Adria Twin Sports models, where you have to unzip the whole canvas if you want a view of the exterior from up here that is anything larger than just a peep-hole in the zip.

I appreciate that having a completely see-through roof would be ideal if you are at a sporting event and want to have a good view. But otherwise I can’t see why you would want this. Do other campers really need to know you’re up there?

Fen Farm proved to be a spotlessly well-kept campsite, with easy access to a shingle beach. If you don’t mind a stumble across a field to avoid what is apparently a rat-run road, it is also just a short walk to The Dog & Pheasant, a pub with a wonderful beer garden, where I enjoyed some fantastic fish and chips.

The great foodie finds continued the following morning, with a wonderful (and highly calorific) slap-up breakfast at nearby Mersea Barns. They also have a fine interior-décor shop, one of several such places I have come across around here that are worth stopping at, when you have as much storage space as you do in the back of the Duo when you slide the bench seat forward.

That space proved more than adequate for the next challenge I threw at the Active: taking a student back to her digs for the start of the new university year. We loaded all her possessions (including a full-size bike and several house plants) into the back, and they all came out safely at the other end.

I spent that night at the Cambridge Camping and Caravanning Club Site, which is at least cycling distance from the riverside gardens of The Backs, if a fairly long (but flat) walk.

The staff were very helpful, but the campsite is within earshot of the M11 motorway. However, you may be intrigued by the ultramodern suburb of Trumpington, on the edge of the park.

Next morning, after another easy spin through Suffolk countryside, I was sorry to say goodbye to the Active Duo, which served me very well in both activities. A truly versatile vehicle.

The Duo recently had its price dropped too, lowering it by 15.6%.

Our ‘vans can make a great base for enjoying our hobbies – Mike Thomas is an example, as he tells Deputy editor Paul Critcher about how he uses his campervan to enjoy Brisca Formula 2 stock car racing. You can see how I got on when taking our new long-term loan out too, the Adamo 75-4I, for its first trip.

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