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5 campers pushing RV design into the future

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These campers show just how creative people can be when it comes to mobile living

A modern camper van sits by a lake. The camper van boasts an open back door with small deck and a white pop-up sleeping area on the roof. Erwin Hymer Group

The camper world is full of impressive vans, trailers, and RVs that can fit most anyone’s needs. Looking to spread out in comfort? Class A is your best bet. Love boondocking and want to see the great outdoors? Consider an adventure van. But even though Curbed obsessively covers today’s best-selling campers, it’s rare to see a camper that truly surprises. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.

Except sometimes we do. At annual trade shows like the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon—the world’s biggest camper show—companies debut innovative concept campers that push both what a camper can do and how it looks. Most of these concept campers will never see production—although that’s changing—but they are archetypes of where RV design is headed and what’s possible. Often times a company will go all-in on a new concept design, only to later integrate some of the concept’s features into future mass-produced RVs.

Which concept campers are the coolest? We’ve rounded up a few options—with notes on whether they will ever make it into production—that we think show just how creative people can be when it comes to mobile living. From a camper that turns into a boat to a tiny home-inspired camper van, here are five campers leading the charge in cutting-edge design.

SylvanSport Vast

Courtesy of Sylvan Sport

Details: The SylvanSport Vast debuted at a new RV trade show called RVX in Salt Lake City in spring 2019. The Vast is an adventure-minded, hard-sided trailer that offers an array of innovative amenities. Measuring 21.5 feet long and 7.9 feet wide, it features oversized European windows, a full lift back tailgate, and sleeping areas for four people.

But it’s the transformative aspect of the Vast that make it stand out in a sea of travel trailers. A patented all-season, indoor-outdoor sliding kitchen is a trick we’ve never seen before. When traveling, the kitchen fits into the shower area, but once you arrive at camp it unfolds at cooking height to become an outdoor kitchen. And unlike some other outdoor kitchens that store away at your feet when not in use, the Vast can be used both from inside the camper (in the shower area) or outside. Read more, this way.

Will it ever happen: Yes! The RVX show prompted an array of initial orders for the Vast, and Sylvansport says the plan is to begin delivery in fall of 2019. The expected MSRP will be in the mid to high $40,000s, so stay tuned.

The VisionVenture concept van

Stairs leading up to the loft sleeping area are gray with wooden treads, while a hallway leads to the rear of the camper and the bathroom is on the left.
The stair design is reminiscent of tiny home storage.
Erwin Hymer Group

Details: At the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon in 2019, the Erwin Hymer Group debuted the VisionVenture concept. Built on a Mercedes chassis, the VisionVenture is a forward-thinking camper that looks more like a high-end apartment than a striped-down adventure rig.

To accomplish this, the camper’s interior uses warm bamboo, gray felt, and leather, mixing woods with other materials to add interest. The living area is located in the rear with two white sofas and a center dining table that folds down below the passenger-side bench. The stand-out feature of the living room is the panoramic rear window and large side windows. Fold out the rear door, drop a lower gate and the van boasts its own rear deck—complete with slide-out electric grill. See the other cool features, this way.

Will it ever happen: Unlikely. Like other concept campers, the VisionVenture isn’t in production and you won’t be able to buy it (even in Europe) any time soon. But its design could show where campers are headed.

The Romotow

Details: At first glance, the Romotow looks like a normal trailer. Push a button, however, and the center of the camper folds out, spinning around to reveal a deck area. The sleek white exterior is made from an advanced composite body shell and the whole thing sits on a carbon composite chassis.

The cabin can sleep four adults comfortably, two in a rear bedroom and two other people in a front sleeping area created from the living room couch. A customizable kitchen backs up to a spacious bathroom outfitted with high-end fixtures, and the show model will feature teak for all of the interior timber and a leather headboard. Read more about the Romotow, this way.

Will it ever happen: Yes! The world’s first Romotow is currently under construction in Christchurch, New Zealand. A team of experienced boat builders are tackling the project—you can follow their progress here—and the Romotow should be complete in just a few months.

The Beauer 3X trailer

Courtesy of Beauer

Details: Originally conceived in 2009, the Beauer 3X trailer is an expandable caravan that triples in size thanks to its telescoping design. When closed, the trailer measures a manageable 20 feet long for easy towing and all doors and windows are sealed making it safe from intruders. Use the electrical key and the camper expands to 130 square feet of living space in just 20 seconds.

The technology works by deploying three modules horizontally, something that looks like three nesting cans. In the folded position the furniture fits inside each other, but expand the trailer and you get a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, and dining room. The efficient design allows for a double bed, large dining table, and a kitchen with a two-burner stove, fridge, sink, and storage. The sofa even converts into a double bed to sleep your friends. Read more about the Beauer 3X trailer, over here.

Will it ever happen: We were skeptical, but now both the 3X trailer, a new 3X Plus model, and a smaller two-module model have come to market. Read about that, this way.

The Caravanboat

A white camper parked in a lot. There is a man and a woman standing outside of the camper. The camper is white with a grey base. All photos courtesy of Caravanboat

Details: Called Departure One, the 30-foot long camper sits on a trailer and consists of a seawater resistant aluminum hull. The inside can sleep four people and a small shower and washbasin sits just behind the sleeping area.

A closet provides room for clothes and gear, and a kitchen boasts a sink, microwave, fridge, stovetop, and storage for cooking tools. A fairly spacious living room can also provide more sleeping options, while more cabinets and LED lights bring the comforts of home. See more photos of the Caravanboat, right this way.

Will it ever happen: This one seems likely. There are dealers available in several countries, a few different color options, and a starting price of $67,448.