Friday, October 24, 2008

Exquisite Tonke Campers

Well, if your rationale for not becoming a wanderlust, caravaning hippie-sort has been based on your inability to find an adequately charismatic vehicle to meet your lofty standards, the call has been answered.

Though the site is in Dutch, we are able to glean enough information that this the most attractive gypsy wagon ever constructed.

Extraordinary taste, color palate and restraint combine to create the most attractive camper interior that I have ever seen. Let's face facts, this kitchen is better than most of the slop in residential kitchen design. Compactly beautiful like the Frankfurt kitchen.


The woodwork and the stainless steel appear to be nautical in design and construction. I suspect these campers have origins at a wooden boat shipyard.

With a lot in common with Jay's Tumbleweed Homes, the most attractive feature is the ability to detach your caravan trailer, leave your shackitecture cabin in a lovely pasture and then take your flatbed truck into town to get drunk with the farm girls!

Near as I can tell, the cheapest model is the Tonke Explorer I but at 33,600 Euros (USD 42,000) the Explorer I is not mounted on a truck. If it is on the back Renault Master truck, the price rises to 69,000 Euros. However, if you want a Tonke stateside, I would suggest buying the truck-less shackitecture cabin and sourcing a local flatbed truck.


If you are an optimist and an idealist, you might chose a vintage Chevy COE as a platform. After all, you will have a commodious and pleasant camper to spend your evenings after long days of tending your crumbling truck. Every so often, your idyllic breakdowns will be interrupted with brief periods of tooling down the highway at a top speed of 45 MPH. Though the frequent and glowing compliments will keep you going for some time, eventually, the constant maintenance will wear you down so that every thumbs up from admirer's will be met with a tirade about your busted knuckles, the metal filing that you caught in the eye and a dispiriting treatise on the hygroscopic nature of brake fluid.



Sensible individuals like Gaston will buy a Sprinter chassis from Mercedes by way of your local Dodge dealer. With a nationwide network of dealers, your time will be free to enjoy the company of the aforementioned farm girls.

Photo: Wikipedia

For those adventurers with a pluck, attitude, deep pockets and a set of metric tools, a selection of a Pinzgauer or Mercedes Unimog will provide the thrills of deep off-road exploration along with the more subtle joys of deep off-road breakdowns. Ah yes, repairs will be even more vexing when you call the nearest Napa Auto Parts from your sat phone and ask if there is a Mercedes authorized repair center for industrial diesel injection pumps within 500 miles. Unfortunately, your delightful Tonke camper will have provisions to support life for a mere three days as you have sensibly packed every storage nook with zipties, fuel filters, fan belts, fuses, duct tape and the original factory repair manual that stretches over a staggering number of three-ring binders.

Now, how did we get from that jewel-like galley to being abandoned in the desert hopelessly trying to snare a jack rabbit for sustenance? The crushing reality of reality, my friends.

Tonke Campers (Thanks, Steve!)

Previously, Shackitecture and, specifically, Tumbleweed Homes