Road (and field) Test: Combi-Camp trailer tent

I feel that I should probably do a review of our Combi Camp trailer tent, because we’ve used it quite extensively this summer. How has it fared and how easy is it to use?

Pitched up with Combi-Camp friends at 2CV meet.

Combi Camps compared. Ours has a ‘wonderful patina.’

First, the history. Combi-Camps originate from Denmark, and first became available in 1964. The premise is simple enough. Make something light and very quick to erect, so you get something that’s better and more comfortable than a tent, but not as much hassle to tow as a caravan. There have been many models over the years, and you can still buy Combi-Camps new! They’re all a bit fancy these days, but the basic design of ours – which I think is a late 1970s/early 1980s one – continued with very few changes for quite some time.

Ours is a Combi-Camp 2000, so it clearly dates from a time when the year 2000 seemed a long time in the future! The curtains and mattress are more recent additions, albeit very colourful ones. As far as I can work out, it weighs about 300kg – though that might include the awning which we’ve never used. Frankly, there’s plenty of space for a couple for a weekend. For one person, it seems an almost unseemly amount of space.

Folded up and ready for the next adventure! Lights are excellent.

Folded up and ready for the next adventure! Lights are excellent.

It tows beautifully. There are no brakes, because it is so light. My 110bhp Citroen XM barely feels the strain of pulling it along and being a similar width, I don’t have to worry about squeezing through gaps, nor bothering with extra mirrors. If the car will go through, so will the trailer tent. It seems to follow a very similar trajectory to the tow car too, so it isn’t very often that I even have to think about it. I sometimes get reminded I’m towing when I take level crossings too swiftly and the poor trailer tent bounces into view! The 2CV should be able to tow it too. I look forward to testing that at some point. Some 2CV friends of ours are currently heading to Poland with their 2CV/Combi-Camp set-up. Brilliant.

On arrival at site, it’s very easy to erect. Because the jockey wheel is missing on ours, I find it easier to ‘deploy’ still hitched up to the car – it helps that I can lower the suspension on the XM to get the trailer tent nice and level. You release two small legs at the rear of the trailer tent, then unclip the catch and simply fold the canvas out. Job done! You can even make your bed at home, then fold the trailer tent so you really are seconds away from kip on arrival. Folding isn’t really much more effort, you just have to keep stuffing the canvas in as the lid closes. The huge luggage rack acts as a countweight, so the lid doesn’t close too swiftly. Genius!

Camping perfection at last?

Camping perfection at last?

There is an inner, which we leave permanently in place. The bed is huge! Not far off kingsize width. The mattress on ours is perhaps a little thin, but it’s non-original. An airbed could be used. I find it comfortable enough on my own, but not so comfortable when sharing for some reason – perhaps because I can’t move around the bed so freely to find a new comfortable position. If we keep it, I may need to make changes.

But it’s so quick to erect and so much more comfortable than roll mats on the floor of a tent! There’s plenty of standing room and enough space for a table in the ‘standing’ area. There’s room for one seat too, and you can park yourself on the end of the bed. Some apparently can convert the bed into a sofa.

Age is the main issue. There are quite a few rips, one of which is proving very difficult to repair. However, I’ve camped in some horrific conditions in it, and it has generally fared very well. Overall, I’m very impressed and I think I may well seek a fresher example at some point. Certainly, in my many years of camping, having tried small tents, big tents, camper vans and even a little caravan, it is my favourite so far by quite some way.


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