We’ve been following new Volkswagen Crafter camper vans since the launch of the second-gen model in 2016. Whether we’re talking Volkswagen itself, a large conversion shop like Westfalia, or a smaller name like NordVan, one thing these Crafter camper vans tend to have in common is a layout with rear bed and central bath and kitchen. German camper van converter, supplier and equipment specialist Reimo has different ideas for the Crafter, swapping the bed and bathroom and carving out the kitchen for a more spacious, versatile travel and adventure space.
Reimo has plenty of experience creating innovative, versatile camping solutions inside vans of every shape and size and supplying equipment for businesses and hobbyists to do the same. At last year’s Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, we were particularly impressed with some of the mini-campervans it built into the likes of the all-electric Nissan e-NV200 and Volkswagen Caddy.
With the 19.7-foot (6-m) Crafter-based StarCamper, Reimo presents one of its larger conversion packages, putting the focus on spaciousness and flexibility. Instead of the separate bed and fixed dinette bench you see in many other Crafter camper vans, Reimo combines those two pieces of equipment into one, installing its Variotech 3000 convertible bench/bed in the center of the van, more like what you might expect to find in smaller VW Transporter-based campers.
The two-seat bench can be used both as passenger seating during the drive and, when combined with the removable table and swivel driver cab seats, as the dining area. At night, it drops down and converts to a 77 x 54-in (195 x 138-cm) double bed. Reimo also has a Crafter sleeper roof in the works for those looking to make the StarCamper a family camper van.
With the bed positioned amidships, the rear of the van is free to host a sizable bathroom that splits the difference between wet and dry bath, combining a small toilet/sink compartment in the driver-side corner with a central shower floor with curtain, and a proper door closing the toilet room off from the shower. A closet on the other side of the shower provides storage space.
The StarCamper’s kitchen block is pushed back toward the rear, rather than extending into the sliding door entryway as is common on camper vans. Its angled counter frees up more space in the center of the van without sacrificing too much worktop. Farther back, camp cooks will find the usual dual-burner stove and sink below a flush lid. A 140-L refrigerator stands on the opposite wall between the bench/bed and bathroom.
We took a quick tour of the StarCamper at the CMT show this past January, and it definitely felt more spacious and easier to maneuver in than other camper vans with more centrally biased fixed-furniture layouts. It’s not the prettiest Crafter camper van interior out there, and the layout does limit rear through-loading when compared with something like the VW Grand California with fold-away rear bed, but it’s an interesting alternative. The spaciousness does decrease when the bench turns over to bed, however.
According to the price sheet that accompanied the StarCamper at CMT, the full van starts at €80,560 (approx. US$90,550). The show model packed numerous optional extras on both the Crafter base van and camper conversion package, including a 175-hp 2.0-liter TDI engine, 8-in touchscreen navigation/infotainment system, outdoor table and chair set, solar power, and the stylish little starlight headliner pictured below. All those options spiked the base price up just under €107,925 ($121,300).
Written by C.C. Weiss for New Atlas, May 13, 2019