Counter to COVID-19 - Camper trailer tourism
COVID-19 has unleashed "Corona Confinement" on us. Never before have we been locked in our homes or cities like this and many of us now have a massive desire to get away and break free. But where do you go and how? Social distancing is not possible in planes, trains, buses or hotels. The solution could be a "Camper Trailer" that is towed to your destination for you to stay in it. As OVERDRIVE feels the popularity of such vacations on wheels is likely to increase, we are doing a series of stories on this concept of road trips and driving holidays.
The prime mover of this US made towed caravan, is a Tata Xenon pickup
In this ongoing series we have featured luxury camper vans, off-beat camper vans, self-drive SUV campers, etc. What is different about Camper Trails is that they offer a caravan, also known as travel trailer, camper or camper trailer, which is towed behind a Tata Xenon pickup. So the Tata Xenon pickup is the prime mover and the driver and his assistant sit there. If required, passengers can be accommodated in the Xenon too. One of the big advantages of having a prime mover vehicle with a towed caravan is that the Tata Xenon can be detached at the camping spot, and the travellers can take it and go into town or some other place for sightseeing and so on. When you want to move to another destination, the caravan or camper trailer gets attached to the prime mover and off you go.
The caravan has a built in awning and additional jacks to stabilise it when stationary
At present Camper Trails has one caravan, which they have imported from the USA. It is a single-axle Jayco Jayflight SLX 184 BH model from one of the most renowned RV (Recreation Vehicle) or camper makers in the world. It has a large dining table which flips over and gets converted into a bed and there are some bunk beds too, making this a 5-sleeper caravan. The other features include a centralised a/c powered by an external generator, a bathroom with tub and a standup shower with easy refilling, mini-fridge, and kitchenette with a two burner stove and a sink, microwave oven and a TV. It also has lots of smartly designed compartments for storage and large windows for view and ventilation. It really is a well-designed and nicely constructed caravan with a built in awning on the outside. Camper Trails also provides a movie collection, indoor games like magnetic chess, playing cards, and Pictionary, and for outdoor games they have a football, archery kit and some cricket and fishing gear. They also carry a four sleeper tent, barbeque grill with charcoal, camping chairs and so on.
On the inside its like a mini-home on wheels
Chandrakanth Ramoji of Camper Trails says, "We have been operating the caravan since January 2018. We have not yet resumed operations after the pandemic lockdown, but will soon start after factoring all the safety protocols. What we offer is an incredible experience of bonding with family and friends while travelling in comfort. It is not a self-drive vehicle as it's a trailer and it truly is a different kind of animal. We provide a driver and an assistant who are 'non-intrusive' but handy, to start a bonfire or set up the BBQ grill or pitch a tent or just help in the route planning. What we offer is not a mode of transportation or a sleeping facility, but an experience to do your own thing. However, we have tied up with a number of homestays and resorts in Karnataka, Goa and Kerala, where our caravan is welcome to come and halt. In Karnataka we have tie-ups at Chikmagalur, Sakleshpur, Coorg, Gokarna, Mangalore,Mysore , Bandipur, etc. In the last two years we have done nearly 200 trips, though in these past five months it's all come to a sudden standstill. But now we are also suddenly finding a demand from all quarters as people are keen on getting out."
The Tata Xenon can be detached from the caravan and driven whenever required
The caravan is designed to be towed safely, but the driver has to be cautious and not overspeed
Sisir Kumar who rented the caravan for a vacation has this to say, "Travelling in a caravan is a new experience for us and I would definitely recommend the same. We went to Sakleshpur Karle Homestay in October 2019. Chandrakanth from Camper Trails went to great length in explaining what to expect and what not to, for example there is no high speed travel in the caravan. One of the first questions in my mind was the safety aspect. The caravan is imported and safe. I observed the braking is effective for both the pickup as well as the caravan. Thanks to the stabilising mechanism there is minimum "roll" in the caravan though it is towed. The ride can be a bit rough on some roads, but we were prepared for the same. The caravan is well maintained and clean. Five can travel inside the caravan and three more on the rear seat of the pickup. The luggage can go in the rear of the pickup too and the driver Manju and his assistant Murthy were very helpful and in the evening, they also helped arrange a barbecue. There were no surprises and all aspects were clearly explained and we enjoyed ourselves. We are looking forward to our next trip."
Camper Trails has tied up with many home-stays and resorts and arranged camping spots for their caravan
The caravan is a 5-sleeper and upto 3 guests can travel in the Tata Xenon
A 'Caravan Holiday' is still uncommon in India and neither do we have 'RV Parks' or any official 'Camping Grounds' as yet. But thanks to Camper Trails, one now has the option of renting and living in a proper US made RV or camper trailer, and experiencing a 'Caravan Holiday the American Way'.
Starts Rs 32.75 Lakhs