Olonne-Sur-Mer, France - We’ve featured some astonishingly luxurious campers on IOL Motoring over the years, from complete hunting lodges built on rugged, go-anywhere Russian truck chassis to panel vans with yacht-like living spaces coachbuilt inside them.
But this one, we think, takes the prize for sheer less-is-more ingenuity, tardis-like magical use of space, and overall cuteness.
The Tipoon Travel Machine is made in the Loire Valley of France, and into a trailer just 4.1 metres long, 1.7 metres wide and 1.7 metres high it packs two three-quarter beds - which can be combined into one king-size (190 x 220cm) playspace - a full 1.9 metres of interior headroom, a separate bathroom with shower, handbasin and toilet, a kitchen with a stove-top and fridge, a dining area with seating for four, and more storage space (accessible from both inside and out) than you’ll believe possible until you’ve watched the video a couple of times.
All of which happens automatically at the press of a button on the remote (or on your smartphone), as it increases its volume three-fold, lowers its self-levelling (of course!) support struts and switches on the interior lights to welcome you home.
There’s a lot of fairly high tech in this sophisticated mobile pied-a-terre, so it’s neither light nor cheap; the Travel Machine weighs a little more than a ton and costs a hefty €24 000 (about R400 000) - but, on the other hand, how much would you pay for a conventional caravan with all these features?
And you can’t park a conventional four-berth caravan in a single garage or tow it with a compact SUV such as the Jeep Renegade in the pictures.