Restricted from flying or traveling internationally, humanity was, for the first time in years, forced to reconsider options: for leisure travel, for work and even for homing. RVs, motorhomes, trailers and campers, vans and all manners of modified rigs suddenly became popular with segments of the population that, prior to this, had only occasionally fantasized about the nomadic life. If at all.
The market changed accordingly, and the range of options has increased. German company Ahorn Camp is still adjusting its offering, as the health crisis is far from over. The latest addition to an already considerable lineup boasts of being the complete solution for the idyllic vanlife: the 2022 Van Big City (hat tip to New Atlas).
The Van Big City is actually an upgrade on the previous release from Ahorn, the Van City, offering that one thing no vanlifer can do without: a bathroom. Man (speaking generically) can sleep just as well even if there’s no bed around, and he can eat without proper cooking facilities. Man can experience the great outdoors without many of the creature comforts he has grown accustomed to, but he cannot do without a toilet. Well, he can, but he shouldn’t. Ahorn is offering him a full bathroom. It’s tiny, but it will do.
The idea is to make the Van Big City the ideal vehicle whether you plan on using it for family vacations, as an actual home for longer stretches, or your very own office on wheels. Within a very tiny footprint, it packs all the things you’d need for a comfortable life on the road, from seating and sleeping for four people, to a kitchen, and the aforementioned tiny bathroom.
The Van Big City is based on the Renault Trafic van, and comes with a six-speed manual transmission, front wheel drive, and certain upgrades. It also comes with a new layout that includes a pop-up section up top that offers two additional sleeping berths. The “downstairs” section includes swivelling front seats, and a four-seating arrangement for the dinette right next to them. The table can be lowered and the dinette becomes a comfy queen-size bed, or you can remove it altogether and carry it outside for al fresco meals with the fam.
The left side is occupied by an L-shaped kitchen with everything you need to throw together tasty, if not exactly elaborate meals. There’s a two-burner stove, a stainless steel sink, and a 41-liter (10.8-gallon) compressor refrigerator with a freezer compartment. The rear end section of the kitchen, right above the fridge, serves as countertop. Generous storage is available, with Ahorn noting you can pack all the cups, plates, pots and cutlery you’ll need, along with groceries and other foodstuff.
On the right side and opposite the kitchen is the bathroom. It comes with a toilet with a separate tank, a teeny-tiny sink and the option for a shower for outdoor use. Considering this is a van we’re talking about, the integration of the bathroom is surprising, but most welcome. The only downside to it is that, with the pop-up tent deployed, the bathroom no longer has a ceiling so, while you still get privacy from peering eyes, using it might prove at least a bit awkward.
The upstairs section is accessible through a ladder, and comes with windows and plenty of space to sleep even two, more slender adults. With the pop-up roof open, the van offers standing height.
Ahorn says that the Van Big City could also work for the digital nomad. It offers useful charging options throughout, “modern design with LED ambiance,” modern digital control panel, and it offers all this in a vehicle that is still small enough for easy maneuverability on city streets. Speaking of which, the van measures 4.5 meters in length, 1.96 meters in width and 2.03 meters in height with the roof open.
The Van Big City is also an “all-rounder,” the kind of mobile home that you will not want to drive into storage once the warm season is over. Pricing starts at €43,900 (approximately $51,900 at the current exchange rate).