FOR OUR SECOND day we turn our attention to something we’ve often been tempted by – a compact camper under 6m with proper bed and shower facilities.


On longer tours we enjoy the comfort of an A-Class but on shorter trips locally in the Lake District or Scotland we long for a go-anywhere vehicle. Recently tempted by an Adria Twin or the new Hymer Compact, it is time to see what else might fit that particular bill.


[tl:gallery index=0 size=460×307]Sneaking in early we are amused to witness an army of Dethleffs sales personnel ducking, diving and saluting in a “We are family…” motivational sing-song. A serious day’s selling obviously lies ahead. It’s noticeable that the biggest-selling mainstream brands (caravans as well as motorhomes) such as Bürstner, Hobby, Dethleffs and Hymer have a significant presence here – huge numbers of their models are on show and serious sales are made.


The Adria Twin is a rear bed, front half-dinette ’van conversion, a layout so popular in Europe that it has spawned dozens of copies. To us it provides lots of storage, that all-important sports gear storage along with the facilities you need away from a site.


The Globebus/Pössl versions seem to us superior quality and even more exciting this year is a 5.4-metre version across many of the brands. Hymer Compact and Bürstner Brevio were launched last year as coachbuilts with the footprint of a van conversion but with more internal space, and the range is expanded for this year. However we don’t fancy the sleeping experience that would be offered by the new drop-down bed, with no windows or storage nooks.


During our search we become convinced that you could, in Germany at least, get a permanent bed, full-facility ’van conversion only 5.4 metres long. Apart from the Adria Twin-Style layouts, we particularly like the Karmann Dexter and Bresler Mobile Junior – high-tops with rear, wrap-around kitchen and shower room and a drop-down bed over the front living area.


[tl:gallery index=1 size=460×307]Even more radical in design is the Hymercar Serengeti, featuring a shower room across the rear and a drop-down bed over the central kitchen units. If we ever do decide to downsize to a small camper we feel sure that we’d have an exciting choice.


Needing a break from all that van-hopping, we install ourselves in the Dream Tours tent to see one of the many exotic travel films screened throughout the show. Sadly our lack of German makes it a visual experience only but the commentators’ passion is infectious and we leave feeling inspired. Maybe British shows should arrange similar screenings. Such inspiration would surely spur on sales as in effect we all buy a dream!


[tl:gallery index=2 size=460×307]There are other distractions at the show and as it’s now the weekend it is particularly busy – families with children are enjoying the entertainment, play areas and beach and jungle-themed stage sets where you can try your hand at this and that.


A bit more light amusement rounds off our day – have you ever seen a boat-style caravan with rear deck, a camper on a boat or tree-house style, car-top campers? We hadn’t, either, but we have now.


[tl:gallery index=3 size=460×307]Tonight is ‘party band’ night at the Caravan Centre so we pop along to join in the fun. There’s something on every night at the show in a marquee erected for the purpose, with plentiful sausage stands and beer gardens outside.


After a beer or two it doesn’t seem to matter that the music is a bit naff; after all, the Germans know how to enjoy themselves and we are made very welcome. Much beer is consumed as the general merriment gets under way.