Shelter experience 2012-2014


We’ve been campers in heart and soul for more than 40 years, starting off with…yes, you’ve guessed right,….the Shelter tent. The fun of camping with only 2 poles, a top rod and 6 tent pegs. It was soon exchanged for a lightweight version however, because that made life easier on the motorbike. Everything had to fit, and be collapsible, folding or inflatable.

For many years, our holidays took us all year round to the beautiful regions of Italy, France, England, Switzerland, etc., etc. When you’re camping with a motorbike, you learn to plan carefully. Your petrol burner, the most comfortable air beds, folding sinks, tiny towels and electricity from your bike, as well as anything rechargeable.

Along came the children in the 1990s, and we decided to attach a two-seater EZS side-car to the Guzzi. It was amazing how much space that added. If you could only have seen us, heading off on holiday with Mum as the leader of the pack on her Guzzi and me following with the 2 children seated next to each other in the side-car, with plenty of provisions and toys for the long trek south. Boy did we have fun.

The tent just kept growing now that we had 2 children, our home-made folding cardboard playpen and enough loading space for a 6-person Esvo pyramid tent from Volendam.

Child number 3 arrived in 1994, and it was time to weigh up our options: shall we add another side-car, an even bigger one, or do we need to switch to using one of those incubators on four wheels, where you can only breathe in fresh air through specially designed ducts in the plastic dashboard? You know the feeling you get in a museum, when the mummy is staring at you from his cabinet and you’d like to be able to touch him? It’s that direct contact with the world around you, that’s the feeling I miss in a car. There was no point complaining though, so from that day on we were indeed resigned to a car for holidays.

We soon discovered how much work it was to put up the tent all the time, with the children ‘patiently’ waiting, strapped into their buggies while we unloaded all the gear and set up our tent. After a number of years, we decided to look for an easier option, especially once we were joined by child number 4. Personally, I’m the type of camper who’s always looking for functionality and for products which have sustainability stamped all over them.

And so we bought a tent trailer, but not the type designed for the amusement of fellow campers, reclining in their luxury camping chairs with their cappuccino, while you and the wife have that discussion about how to put together all the frame tubes. No way, it needed to be a quick-fit job without a separate frame, suitable for erection in record time. We took a while to look around but soon settled on the Holtkamp Flyer. Wow, what a pleasure that thing was; it followed quietly in our tracks over the most impassable roads and regions imaginable. It was a joy to put up and the amount of space we had, the views, being one with nature, the canvas around you and the camping comfort regardless of the weather, was simply tremendous.

Four years ago, we bought ourselves a younger Holtkamp Flyer and headed for a camp site in Callantsoog for Easter weekend. Two of the children had flown the nest by then, and so there were only 4 of us left. Anyway, the weather was glorious, plenty of sun and temperatures of 26 degrees C and more, made it a great break. We planned to pack up camp on Sunday morning, had it not been for the coastal fog of the previous night which had totally soaked the Holtkamper. Nope, it wasn’t leaking, but it was totally saturated. (300 grs. Ten Cate Cotton is pretty absorbent).

And so we decided to fold everything in and unpack it again at home to allow it to dry out. Two hours of sun generally works for that. Things didn’t go to plan however, as it rained continually for 5 days, with all our camping gear still in the tent trailer. When adding the 2 days of packing beforehand, this weekend away had cost 10 days’ work. That was the final straw for me. Wasn’t a holiday meant to be relaxing? The rest of the family all agreed with me, but what else could we do?

A caravan was the last thing we were interested in, but if we could just find something to give us the same comfort and sense of camping, which could be slung behind the car and was also suitable for year-round use, that would be ideal!

Believe me, anyone buying a tent trailer thinks: easy to put up, and I can use it all year round, well I reckon 90% only actually uses it for those 4 weeks in the summer holidays, as long as it’s not too cold and wet.

As you can imagine, we had high hopes by now, by the time we walked into De Vrijbuiter store in Gouda in April 2012. Our main target was to find two comfy chairs with lower leg support for our siesta on the camp site, with our Holtkamper. My wife and daughter headed off on their own while I sauntered around the entire collection of De Waard tents before catching up with them. And then my wife said:” Around the corner here is something I think might tick all our boxes when it comes to camping.” And sure enough, I was met around the corner by a fantastic, compact camping option, surrounded by canvas, in a safari setting. It had an ergonomic and modern design, it could be hooked up to the car and it would even allow us to take a motorbike along. The KIP Shelter!

What an ingenious way of camping! After recovering from the amazement, I put my mouth into gear and said to my wife: “Honey, we’ll be heading off for 400 km of French roads with this, in 2 months’ time.” She said: “you’re kidding”. I said: “no I’m not, let’s do it”.

We sold the Holtkamper online within a week and decided to buy the Shelter. In July 2012, we took our steel blue Shelter, along with De Waard awning and all possible comfort, to Brittany for a holiday. We attracted plenty of attention along the way and also on arrival at the camp site, even the receptionist stood up from his chair in amazement to catch a glimpse of the Shelter. From Brittany, we moved south to the Dordogne, after which we tried out a number of camp sites along the river.

So easy to “set up”, and that idea of being able to see the starry sky at night because of the canvas roof with ventilation. And it’s standing height, which is good for me, at 6 foot 6. And when you’re sitting comfortably in the Shelter, writing in the daytime, you still feel like you’re outside because of the panoramic view through all the large, luxurious windows and the awning opening (true camper emotion), not to mention the outdoor kitchen seen through the wide door, that really does it for me, I couldn’t be more satisfied. The spacious luggage storage and the sleeping efficiency with which the Shelter has been designed, also gives us so much holiday pleasure throughout the year. We’ll be heading off time and time again this year on fantastic adventures, with our cosy, stylish and oh so comfy Shelter, we couldn’t leave home without it.


Sacha, Kiki and Bram

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