Horse-Drawn Cart Meets Tonke Camper

The Dutch-built Tonke Camper is a more stylish version of mobile home than those found in the average campground or RV Park.

The Explorer II has been designed for the traveler who requires a small, maneuverable camper, but wishes comforts like a permanent bed as well. The Explorer II offers sleeping accommodation for three people. (Source: tonkecampers.nl)

The Explorer II has been designed for the traveler who requires a small, maneuverable camper, but wishes comforts like a permanent bed as well. The Explorer II offers sleeping accommodation for three people. (Source: tonkecampers.nl)

It features a wooden home set atop a Mercedes Sprinter platform and can be used like an RV or removed off its vehicular underpinnings and planted on firm ground, reports Gizmag.

When he hauled a gypsy cart through northern France back in 2005, Tonke founder Maarten van Soest used a 4×4 as tow.

While he had a memorable trip, he realized quickly that a rickety vintage trailer really needed to be atop a modern truck for properly navigating roadways.

“When we got home two major things happened in our life: my wife gave birth to our first child, Tonke, and I made the first Tonke Camper,” van Soest explains on Tonke’s website (SEE link below).

“It had the combination of some of the good things in life: a safe and modern truck, a sailing-yacht style interior, and roughly the exterior aesthetics of the gypsy carts. I sold this truck to a well known comedian here in Holland and began to build a second camper.”

And as they say the rest is history.

Unlike most modern recreational vehicles, Tonke Campers use a distinctive wooden shell that indeed gives them a look of the horse-drawn carts of generations past.

The Tonke Fieldsleeper 2 is the company's flagship.  flagship. (Source: tonkecampers.nl)

The Tonke Fieldsleeper 2 is the company’s flagship. (Source: tonkecampers.nl)

Van Soest’s father built wooden boats and toys, and Maarten grew up with an appreciation for wood craftmanship, which he has applied to his Tonke trailers. The interior and exterior blend different types of wood styles into a rustic and classic look.

Each Tonke camper in the Fieldsleeper and Explorer series is planted behind a Mercedes cab packing a 130-hp 2.2-liter CDI turbodiesel engine.

Tonke also mentions that buyers can select other vehicle bases.

Out on the road, owners can drive and sleep in the Tonke camper like an RV or remove the camper from the vehicle base in about 10 minutes.

In addition to using it for open-road overnighting, Tonke mentions purposing it for a guest home or building annex.

Tonke describes the Fieldsleeper 1 as a “storage space wonder.” Longer than the Explorer series, the Fieldsleeper 1 includes a vertical garage for hauling up to three bikes. It sleeps three with a built-in bed and a living area that converts into a second bed. It includes a kitchen with two-burner stove, stainless steel sink and refrigerator, as well as a bathroom with toilet and shower. It has a 4 kW heating system, 140-liter frost-free fresh water tank, 10-liter hot water tank and 83-liter waste water tank.

Tonke offers a number of different Fieldsleeper and Explorer models, along with van campers for those that want something smaller and more maneuverable.

Each model is built by hand upon order.

Fieldsleeper 2 interior..  The emphasis here is living space. Even so, there is still space for carrying 2 bikes or other things in a storage space under the large bed. (Source: tonkecampers.nl)

Fieldsleeper 2 interior.. The emphasis here is living space. Even so, there is still space for carrying 2 bikes or other things in a storage space under the large bed. (Source: tonkecampers.nl)

Prices range from €61,570 ($80,400.) for an Explorer I camper with floor but no vehicle, to €103,291 ($134,118.) for a Fieldsleeper 2 with the Mercedes Sprinter.

The most interesting part about a hand-built wooden camper is seeing the craftmanship inside and out.

Details

Tonke Campers

Tonke Campers products include Tonke Van Series (1-4), Explorer Series (1-2), Fieldsleeper Series (1-2), and Tonke Specials (Drop Sides, Cargo Unit, Yacht Style, Fifth Wheeler, and Eco Style)

Visiting address (by appointment only): Munnikenhof 2, 4844 PK Terheijden, The Netherlands

Phone: +31-(0)76-59 35 644 or +31-(0)6-19 64 07 37

Website: tonkecampers.nl/en/travel

Worth Pondering…

Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.

—Anon

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