The van sluis family has been camping in the shelter since 2012

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What makes the Shelter so special?
We started camping around 1970, always in a tent, either by car, motorbike or bicycle. We were always touring, the joy of taking in 5 to 10 (or more) camp sites was and still is pretty standard. Slowly but surely, we became aware that camping in a tent gave a different feeling to sleeping in a caravan. When we finally made the switch 2 years ago, it was really important to us to keep that feeling, in other words, no big white thing hovering behind our car. We also felt that we didn’t want to miss out on the fun aspects of basic tent camping and a small(ish) tent which you put up and take down easily (De Waard Albatros Junior and Hilleberg Stallon GT), when switching to a caravan. A tent trailer was never an option for us, because if we wanted to sleep in a tent, we’d sleep in a real tent.

So why a Shelter? Of all the possibilities we looked at, the Shelter was unique. Really basic, which was what we wanted to hold onto. The Shelter simply gives the proper ‘tent feeling’, more so than any other caravan. That feeling gets enhanced even further thanks to the De Waard awning, because why should a caravan suddenly need both a tent and an awning attached when you were happy enough before simply with a tent and awning? The Shelter is a good example of “the art of omission”. In other words: ‘less can be more”. It’s got everything you need. Anything else would be ballast. We didn’t bother with the built-in heating either. The advantage is that we can go places which a larger caravan can’t reach, and they’re often the best spots on the camp site. We always take a gas lamp with us, which gives us the option of a plot without electricity. We soon agreed on that, the location is more important than an electric hook-up. Another aspect which certainly helped us decide was the design/interior. When compared with most other caravans, the Shelter just looks so fresh and cheerful on the inside. And because it’s so basic, you have plenty of space.

It’s a very relaxed drive with the Shelter. Of course you know it’s behind the car but it’s a perfect combination together with our Peugeot 308 SW with 110 hp engine. A fantastic weight ratio and plenty of reserves when overtaking or going up hills and mountains, etc. There’s no need to worry whether the car will make it or whether it’s not being overworked, which I think is a nice added bonus.

Where have we been and what have we experienced?
Aside from a few camping trips in the Netherlands, we travelled to Scandinavia in the first year (2012). Via Germany and Denmark, halfway up Sweden. From there, we crossed over to Trondheim in Norway before heading slowly back home. We covered a total of 4500 kilometres, and 12 different camp sites. Our most exciting route was in central Sweden where the road (which was a main road on the map) suddenly turned into a dirt track.. Admittedly it had been levelled out but the rain tends to form potholes after a while. The slalom test was pretty exhilarating but luckily that stretch was only 40 kilometres or so!!!

In 2013, we headed for France: Normandy, Brittany and the Loire. That was another 4500 kilometre holiday, of which 3000 with the caravan in tow. The weirdest experience that time around must be when our SatNav sent us up a forest path. That was a bit of a problem. I normally always cope with reversing up, but this really was a case of unhooking the caravan, turning the car, turning the caravan and hooking up the caravan again.

For our next holiday, we’re planning to spend a full month in England and Scotland, from south to north and back. That will once again entail plenty of kilometres and no doubt a few surprises along the way.

All in all, even though I’ll always really be a tent camper, the Shelter is fantastic. We’ll keep it!

Van Sluis family

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