Introducing: the Sealander... The caravan that thinks it's a boat
This 380kg microcaravan comes with an outboard motor
Tuesday, 13, Sep 2011 05:02
by Chris Jefferies and Marie Bleier
Lightweight, micro caravans are often sold as a cheap, convenient way of exploring the great outdoors, but none of them can have such a strong claim to this as the Sealander.
At just 380kg, this remarkable amphibious caravan, which was unveiled at the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon earlier this month, is light enough to be towed behind a Volkswagen Golf, and buoyant enough to double up as a boat.
The brainchild of German industrial designer Daniel Straub, the Sealander is built using faserverbundtechnolgie (a material similar to carbon fibre) and features a modern Ikea-style pastel green and white interior.
The large panoramic windows allow you to get a great view of your aquatic surroundings, and you can even take the roof off on sunny days.
Those expecting the premium facilities you'd get with a Swift Challenger Sport, or even an entry-level Bailey Orion, will be disappointed.
In the Sealander, you're limited to a sink, a cool-box, a cooker and a camping toilet, but the freedom that it offers is beyond compare.
As the video below shows, you can just reverse up to a lake, push your Sealander into the water, pop on the outboard motor and the water is yours to explore.
Ambitious amphibious gadgets
Herr Straub isn't the first inventor to try his hand at an amphibious camper, though, with similar inventions dating back to the 1950s.
More recently, in 2006, Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond memorably turned a VW Type 2 into his ill-fated Damper Van, which sank like a stone during a challenge in Rudyard reservoir.
Due to its waterproof chassis, the German-made Sealander is sure to avoid a similar fate, and the wide, bowl-shaped hull means it won't run aground, even in the shallows.
Finally, the modular interior can be converted into a double bed, and when it comes to swimming, there's a fold-out ladder to help you climb in and out of the water.
Daniel Straub, said of his creation: "A product like the Sealander needed a lot of testing, and after two years of developing and working, it is a stunning moment seeing how your baby learns to walk, or in our case, how to swim!"
The Sealander is due to be released next year, priced at roughly 15,000 euros (around £13,000), which is almost £5,000 more than a comparable micro caravan. But then again none of those can float, and you can't really put a price on that.