Over the past half century, the Japanese have focused on innovation and the development of new technologies. Among other things, they have become leaders in small space living, which lends itself to some great design ideas when it comes to RVs and campers.
Stephen Clemenger of Gizmag had a chance to snoop around the 2015 Tokyo Camping Car Show (Japanese). Most of these may never be available to American RVers, but some of the innovations will find their way into our market, as always happens.
The K-Camper, one of Japan’s “mini-truck” campers, lots of features in a little space.
First up is this pop top, called a K-Camper. The K-Camper is one of many Japanese camper models built on a mini-truck chassis. Mini-trucks are available in the US, although the RV versions are rare. This one is built on a Kei-Truck, a chassis that conforms to the rigid Japanese government standards regarding size and power output. This doesn’t lead to luxury, but they cram a lot into that little space. They are also known for their low price.
This Cab Conversion display model features a “fishbowl” window to showcase the interior.
Some of the largest motorhomes in the Japanese market are these Cab Conversions. They’re set on a freight truck platform, which is just a little bigger than the mini-truck. These full-featured RVs are popular among full time travelers. This one has what looks to be a convertible dinette, as seen through the picture window and a cab over sleeper (we assume) up in the front.
A rooftop tent from FOCS provides popup sleeping space to save cargo room.
One increasingly popular option that allows everyday passenger vehicles to be used for camping is the roof tent. We’ve shared this neat DIY version before. This one is on what looks to be the luggage rack of a fairly standard mini-van. Newer trends in the rooftop tents space seem to be moving toward hard shells that pop up, to create a tent with a solid roof and floor with soft sides. This Japanese rooftop camper pops up evenly at both ends, instead of on an angle, to provide more head space inside.
In this FOCS camper, you can see the extra dining room available when not in ‘bed mode’.
The FOCS campervan features a convertible platform inside that switches between dining and sleeping modes. This one has been styled for the show, but gives you a good idea of what options are available. The interior décor is modern and the table looks able to seat five comfortably. On the window is a photo of the platform converted for sleeping as a double bed.
The ‘Deck Cruiser’ provides flexible outdoor living space – plus a rooftop tent.
The Deck Cruiser from Karucan features a short ‘pickup-style’ bed in the back, with room for a kitchen unit. The tailgate becomes part of this exterior ‘deck’ when folded down to provide an elevated living space for cooking or relaxing. The smaller interior is made up for with a rooftop tent that features a steeply angled roof for easy access from the rear.
This pop-top minivan camper allows sleeping up top, or extra headroom when the bed is not in place.
The Voxy Hybrid Days features a hard pop-top that provides additional headroom below the bed platform. It also has one of the larger dining tables in this group and a lot of built-in storage along the sides, under the windows and behind locking doors.