Ahorn rolls out the small camper van with bathroom the world needs now


Much the way Ford added a bathroom to its adorable Nugget mini-camper van by releasing a pair of "Plus"-sized variants, German camper van manufacturer Ahorn Camp goes "Big" with its Van City mini-camper. After stretching the wheelbase, it rearranges the floor plan with a cozy corner bathroom, L-shaped kitchen, and upper and lower beds, perfecting the all-new Van Big City for both city-dwelling family adventurers and full-time single and couple van lifers.

After an overwhelmingly favorable reception at the 2020 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, Ahorn's latest Renault Trafic-based Van City camper got the production go-ahead last December. The versatile 197-in (500-cm) mini-camper van gets a boost from a new rail-mounted three-seat rear bench able to slide the length of the rear van cabin to increase flexibility, but it still lacks the bathroom many RVers refuse to go without.

Ahorn Camp Van Big City floor plan
Ahorn Camp Van Big City floor plan

Ahorn addresses the Van City's biggest weakness by introducing the 2022 Van Big City, which stretches out atop a 213-in (540-cm) Renault Trafic that carries the extra cabin space necessary to squeeze in a bathroom. We're not sure if it's solely the extra 2.4 inches (6 cm) the Big City boasts over the Ford Nugget Plus, but Ahorn manages to carve out a slightly more discrete bathroom compartment instead of a standalone tailgate toilet with privacy screen.

Ahorn's bathroom is still in the tailgate area, but it's divided off from the rest of the camper with a side and front wall, along with a pull-out screen door. Also included is a small counter with sink and an optional outdoor shower.

The wall's a bit short due to the pop-up roof, but the Van Big City bathroom is a little more of a private, dedicated space than some other bathrooms in similarly sized camper vans
The wall's a bit short due to the pop-up roof, but the Van Big City bathroom is a little more of a private, dedicated space than some other bathrooms in similarly sized camper vans

On the downside, the pop-up nature of the van eliminates the ceiling when the roof is opened at camp, meaning that users — and user odors — will not be contained within a fully enclosed bathroom. Still, as far as tiny wet bathrooms inside small pop-up camper vans go, this one seems to get the job done about as elegantly as possible.

The Van Big City has an L-shaped kitchen block next to the bathroom and comes equipped with a two-burner stove, stainless steel sink and 41-L compressor fridge.

With all the functional equipment at the rear, the front of the Big City is dedicated to the bedroom/lounge. Instead of relying on swivel cab seats, Ahorn squeezes in a rear-facing bench behind the driver's seat to go along with the indoor/outdoor dining table and front-facing bench. The dinette converts over into a 52 x 72-in (133 x 184-cm) double bed at night, joining the 48 x 78-in (121 x 198-cm) pop-up roof double in sleeping a full family of four.

The dinette folds into a double bed
The dinette folds into a double bed

It might look different after a few weeks or months on the road, but on paper, the Van Big City's layout is one of the more impressive bathroom-included small camper vans we've seen, packing everything a traveling couple or family needs into a footprint compact enough to comfortably navigate traffic-lined city centers. It's quite similar in layout to the Trafic-based Karmann Danny 530 but prices in cheaper three years later at €43,900 ($51,875) to start. When we tried to look up current Danny 530 pricing, we found it replaced in that part of Karmann's lineup by the new €46,990 ($55,525) Ford-based Duncan 535. The Van Big City also prices in well lower than the €58,134 ($68,675) Ford Nugget Plus.

The Van Big City packs all the camper essentials into a highly manageable and affordable package, something the air travel-deprived, RV-crazy world could really use while continuing to navigate the ups and downs of an unpredictable global pandemic. Jump in and enjoy a build-your-own vacation when daily life gets claustrophobic.

Source: Ahorn Camp