I must confess to being a bit of a Volkswagen Transporter fan. Back in the day, we all knew VW vans simply as ‘the Kombi’ which, in the recreational vehicle industry, has been the base vehicle for generations of campervans from a variety of manufacturers.
LAYOUT AND DESIGN
With a campervan, the conversion of the van itself is quite simple – the most obvious item being the large hole that is cut in the roof for the pop-top moulding. Add in a Fiamma F65 awning, the mains power socket and the fridge vent, and the external conversion is just about done.
Then there’s all the internal work to do, Frontline’s Adventurer features what it calls its ‘rear bed seat’ layout and the camper comes with a two person rear seat that will fold down into a bed at night. The bed seat is offset slightly to the left, leaving space along the offside wall for the cabinet area that contains a kitchen bench, wardrobe and general storage area.
Getting all the essentials into a campervan kitchen bench is a bit of a trick, but Frontline has succeeded in fitting the sink, fridge and microwave, along with several cupboards. There is no cutlery drawer under the benchtop, though, as the cooktop takes up that space.
Under the sink is the 12V panel with main switches for the fridge, fan and lighting, along with charger sockets for both 12V and 5V USB. The panel is centrally located and easy to access from both inside and outside the van.
Further along the offside wall, behind the kitchen, is a shelved wardrobe that utilises the available space well. The forward wall of the wardrobe makes a good mounting point for the 12V Sirocco fan.
BEDROOM AND STORAGE
Setting up the rear seat for sleeping is quite easy – simply release the catches on both sides of the seat and flatten it out to join up with the cushion in the rear. Making the bed up does take a little longer but there’s access from both sides and you could use something like a Duvalay to make things even easier.
Above the bed, a sliding storage compartment that fits into the grooves of the roof moulding provides useful extra storage. It can be pushed right back out of the way and then pulled forward for easy access.
The under-seat/bed area offers a reasonable amount of storage, which in this case is taken in part by the optional Porta Potti and the standard house battery. Access via the rear door is quite easy and a couple of plastic storage boxes with rollers would ensure things didn’t move around too much.
Also at the rear is a flexible-hose shower. While it’s certainly good for washing hands and feet, the addition of a ‘tent’ around the rear door makes it easy to use as a conventional shower, particularly with the addition of the optional hot water system.
Frontline has a considerable option list for its Adventurer – everything from solar panels to roof racks to an extra house battery, but I reckon a couple to seriously consider are flyscreens for the sliding door and a canvas/flyscreen room to fit the awning.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There are disadvantages, of course, to travelling around in a small van conversion, but it’s a fun vehicle to drive, is highly fuel efficient, is very quick to set up, will go many places that a conventional motorhome won’t – from a rough bush track to the local supermarket carpark – and it’s a Kombi!
HITS AND MISSES
- Great vehicle to drive and versatile in
many road conditions
- Quick to set up
- Designed for lightweight travel
- Pop-top adds good air flow
- No need for gas cylinders
- Central 12V panel
- Limited interior space
- Small water tank
- Methylated spirit stove slower