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Caravan Review: Spinmet XCamper

1918
VIEWS

The first thing that struck me, as I entered the Spinmet factory where the XCamper is made, was a large white glider hanging from the roof. Within minutes of meeting Dave Mortimer, who designed and manufactures the XCamper, I discovered that he was an aeronautical draughtsman by profession. This explained the BJ4 glider, which he had helped build and design some 40 years before.

Words & Images Richard van Ryneveld

Dave’s actual business is making contract furniture, specialising in seating. The factory consists of quite a few disciplines: a workshop, a fibreglass shop, a steel shop and an upholstery shop.

‘We had to think laterally,’ said Dave, with a smile. ‘We had already branched out into the building of specialised trailers when a Romanian gentleman, Radu Marinescu, walked into my office and asked, “Do you think you can make this?”’

He’d shown Dave some pictures of an American concept: a mini caravan; more of a sort-of teardrop camper, if you will. Radu was very insistent: that was what he wanted. Eventually, Dave and his team bought into the idea.

Dave realised that, like the American version, it had to have a complete moulded fibreglass body. With the mould built, a lightweight galvanized chassis was constructed to carry the little cabin − and the first prototype XCamper rolled off the factory floor some eight months ago.

The prototype came out with two mattresses that fitted on top of each other to create a single bed, or you could move them side by side on the floor to create a large double bed.

Customer feedback led XCamper to elevate them, as this had the advantage of offering quite a bit of storage space under the bed.

In the prototype (the unit that I took out for a test) you will see that the cupboard of the camper was built into the nosecone area. This has been changed. The cupboards have now moved to the back of the camper near the entry door.

As Dave explained: ‘The advantage of this is that you can now step out of bed without having to step straight out of the caravan.’

The customer is king, with the folks at XCamper. With no dealer interface planned at the moment, Dave and his team are perfectly willing to customise the units to the client’s requirements.

My little XCamper had the original tear-drop-shaped windows built into the scallops cast into the body. These windows didn’t open. Ventilation was via a neat hatch to the front of the camper.

One of the latest XCampers that I saw rolling off the production line had very neat Dometic windows with built-in blinds and a fitted mosquito-net. Naturally, this puts the price up a bit.

After towing and sleeping in the little “gogga” for a couple of days, this was my conclusion: I believe that it will be a great vehicle for young, first-time campers. However, older folk will also enjoy the camper – it’s small, light, and easy to manoeuvre, but still a comfortable homefrom-home.

The bed was comfortable and the camper itself is extremely light and robust. Because the caravan is so light, you don’t need a special licence to tow it…basically, you can tow it with any car on the road.

When towing the XCamper with the Hyundai Tuscon, I was totally unaware that anything was swishing along behind me.

With a stable and solid feel on the road, and with an empty mass of just 350kg, I found I could move it around at the campsite almost like my wheelbarrow in the garden at home!

The XCamper comes standard with following

  • Rubax-type maintenance-free suspension
  • Safety positive lock tow bar
  • No loose wiring from trailer to tow vehicle
  • Hot-dip galvanised steel chassis
  • All-glass shell construction, including the floor
  • Double door entrance portal
  • Inner door with insect and animal security
  • Roof vent with or without fan
  • Roof vent includes light shade and insect (mosquito) screen
  • No loose wiring from trailer to tow vehicle
  • 3 inch wheels
  • 220 volt mains coupler with internal mains plugs
  • Permanent intelligent battery charger
  • 12 volt battery Box
  • 12 volt dual LED roof lighting
  • 12 volt reading lamps x 2
  • Cupboard and work surface
  • 2 x 150 mm thick mattresses
  • Stabilising jacks – wind down

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