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CampMaster "Camping Magazine" Review
Click here to download a copy of the "Camping Magazine" article in .pdf format.
The CampMaster claims to bring trailer-tenting to motorcyclists and micro-car owners. Andy Stothert finds out what's on offer.
I know it sounds unlikely that there is a trailer tent out there which even quite small motorcycles can tour with and I doubted it myself, but seeing is believing in the case of the CampMaster 4. But to go back to the beginning, I arrived at Camperlands, who are marketing the CampMaster in Manchester, more than slightly dubious about the claims made for the product and when I saw the supposed ready-for-the-road trailer I thought that maybe I'd got my dates mixed up and that it was in fact April 1st not February the 11th. This trailer just looked so small, shiny and smooth, even sexy in an automotive kind of way; one thing this could not be is a four berth trailer tent.
'Err, I think you've got the wrong trailer out,' says I, running my eyes all over what looked to be a millionaire's baggage trailer, or the poshest golf trolley in the world. Cute, yes but trailer tent no. 'Oh, no' says the man from Camperlands. 'That's the trailer tent we promised you and there's a bike over there, which will manage admirably'. Gulp!
You'll have to forgive me for wimping out on the two wheeled towing experience but the last big bike I rode was Matchless G12, circa 1970, and my skill levels may be a bit rusty to be climbing straight onto the supersonic Honda Pan European, which Camperlands had lined up. I'm assured that it tows very amiably behind any bike legally entitled to hitch it to.
(Potential two-wheel towers should make themselves aware of the law relating to towing with motorcycles before considering purchase. Camperlands will gladly supply information regarding current towing laws and I'm confident they will give impartial advice on the suitability of your motorcycle).
The unit is so light that I reckon I could almost have pushed it the mile or so to the local camping park where we were going to erect the CampMaster. Feedback from owners has been very positive with regards to the on-road behaviour.
So, it's tiny it's light and it's incredibly good looking but what about practicalities? Surely something has to give? First you open it and there's room on top of the tent part for a couple of chairs and maybe a couple of sleeping bags. Fine. Then you pick up the whole top half (lid) and open that, revealing a cavernous place for your cooker, camera, clothes, towels and all manner of other previously banned items on motorcycling holidays. Just imagine it, clean underwear on a biking holiday - weird! Next thing to do is check underneath, because no trailer this small can have so much room in it. It's an optical illusion, a confidence trick, hypnotism, or perhaps something mystical even; but the space appears to move with it, so who cares.
The ease with which the tiny CampMaster transforms itself into a spacious trailer tent is just as ingenious as the design of the trailer itself. I think that the secret lies in the fact that the designer has incorporated a kind of 'ridge tent mentality' into the basics of the trailer tent construction and with a good dose of modern thinking chucked in too.
Pitching is simple enough and it took us less than 20 minutes from start to finish. What you end up with is a very stable, well made canvas tent capable of sleeping two bodies off the ground, with a good sizes kitchen extension, or second double bedroom across from the living area, where there is ample standing room.
It has that nice taunt canvas look when it's up too, with nothing flapping idly around. I always think that this is the best indicator of a stable well-made tent and though this may just be a personal foible, I suspect I'm not alone in the quest for kink free camping. Nylon doesn't often do it for me.