It’s no secret that we love everything about the Volkswagen Bus Camper, so it’s also no surprise that this eye-catching VW T6.1 camper conversion blew us away as soon as we set eyes upon it. Not all campervans have to be off road trucks or ‘giant monster camper adventure truck giants’ for us to like them. Sure, they’re good to imagine driving and make for exciting conversation when you’re chatting with your mates, but when it comes to serious off grid living and looking for the best van to take out for weekends away in the wet and windy British countryside, then we look for comfort and functionality every single time. UK conversion company Autohaus have got both of these by the bucketload, and they’ve used them to create a nifty little camper that can more than hold its own with the big boys.
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We decided to pay the team a visit down in Somerset so that we could check this stunning VW T6.1 camper conversion out in person, and it did not disappoint. The attention to detail that Autohaus has put into this camper is second to none and features all of the van life essentials that any weekend warrior could possibly need to feel relaxed and comfortable while living off grid. The orange beauty that we’re going to be walking you through is called the ‘Ashton’, and it’s a modern take on the very first conversion that Autohaus completed back in 1994. Same build quality, improved modern design – what’s not to love!
Meet Ashton, The Gnarliest VW T6.1 Camper On The Planet
Living in a van is a pretty bold thing to do, so you might as well go with a bold colour choice to let people know that you’re coming. We love the orange exterior on this VW T6.1 camper conversion, but for those of you that are afraid of the sun or just don’t like bright things (commonly known as ‘Reverse Magpie-itis’ amongst medical professionals), then Autohaus can provide you with a range of colours for your future camper conversion, including two shades of grey, black, white, blue, and lime green.
The outside of this VW T6.1 camper looks the business, with a rear gas-lift tailgate that opens all the way up to give you direct access to the back of the camper, custom wheels, blacked-out privacy windows, and that all-important pop-top roof that VW lovers everywhere go crazy over. It’s what makes these campers so special and also one of the reasons that make them so family-friendly too.
Each Reimo front elevating roof is matched to the exterior colour of the vehicle. Not only does it create additional headroom when wielding your top cooking accessories and bring in extra light and air through the windows in the side canvas, but it also turns the sleeping berth of this camper from two to four with an optional roof bed upgrade. Taking your kids along for the ride has never been easier than in Ashton, possibly the best family camper of 2020? And besides; if you’re a kid, then a pop-top roof would definitely beat a tent any day of the week!
What’s On The Inside?
While the outside of the build is undoubtedly impressive, it’s the inside where the magic happens and where you can start to appreciate just how much the Autohaus team care about attention to detail. The colour scheme inside each camper compliments the colour of the vehicle on the outside with authentic VW fabrics being used to upholster all of the seats inside. Every detail is taken into account right down to thread colour and pattern matching; now that’s what I call quality!
Some of the campervan conversions that we cover here at Van Clan fall short of the mark when it comes to the craftsmanship of the furniture inside the van; a.k.a the bits that you’re going to be using day-in-day-out and that need to both look good and last the test of time. All of the furniture that Autohaus produce is built by a team of in-house carpenters and cut to size using computer-controlled cut-bots that remove any chance of human error from the equation. It all certainly looks very impressive, and each piece helps to create a unique layout designed to maximise space when the camper is in both day and night modes.
What’s It Like To Sleep In?
So we’ve already mentioned that the pop-top roof can be upgraded to fit a two-person roof bed in it, but where are the adults, i.e you, going to sleep? Autohaus install RIB rock ‘n’ roll seat-beds into all of their VW T6.1 camper models. Unlike other, sub-standard brands of folding beds that just use one type of foam throughout, these beds have separate sleeping and sitting surfaces, allowing for even wear over the lifetime of the product and a comfortable nights sleep that will leave you wishing your bed at home felt like this too.
Can you see those two little doors underneath the bed? This is a handy little storage area that could be perfect for shoes, games, or winter clothes that you just want to store inside your van all year round should the elements change and suddenly surprise you. Speaking of storage, the Ashton VW T6.1 camper has tonnes of it, with eight cupboards at your disposal to fill with all of your dry foods, tins, snacks, books, and other digital nomad gadgets that you might need to bring with you on the road. Gas and water storage can be found at the rear of the camper, sitting neatly underneath the bed when folded down. Each camper comes with 30L of fresh water and a fully ventilated gas locker, as well as carbon monoxide monitors to keep you and your family safe.
Can I Live Comfortably In This Camper?
Every element of this VW T6.1 camper has been carefully considered to provide you with the best experience once you leave your house and set off into the wild. The front passenger chair swivels around to face to the rear seating area, where a removable table can be fitted into place for when it’s mealtime, games-time, or even just ‘stick your feet up and have a look out the window’ time.
Autohaus has both fully insulated and soundproofed this VW T6.1 camper, so not only will you have a cosy nights sleep without having to wear all of your clothes at once, but you’ll also be able to sleep through the sounds of morning traffic should you have to park up in the city (unless you’re an incredibly light sleeper, then there’s just no hope for you). All of the windows come with blackout blinds to stop that pesky sun from peeping in under your lids in a morning, and the LED lighting provides a soft glow for reading or tackling the Guardian crossword before bed.
One of the features that I’m most impressed with is the design of the curved fridge unit. Rather than just leaving the fridge face bare, Autohaus has decided to make a feature piece out of the 50L fridge-freezer by covering it with a furnished curved case that provides even more storage on the inside once opened up. This could be a great place for your camping cups and plates, and directly above the fridge is a small pull-out drawer unit that is perfectly sized for all of your cutlery.
All this talk of fridges has made me hungry, so it’s a good job that this VW T6.1 camper has a built-in hob with a cover to provide more food prep space. The same goes for the tap and sink area, the tap folding down into the sink to maximise the amount of counter-top space in the kitchenette. And if you really can’t be bothered to make any food and just want to ingest something immediately before the ‘hanger’ takes control and harms innocent bystanders, then there’s a grill in the unit next to the fridge that you can use to whip up some cheese on toast. Cracking, Grommit.
Tell Me About The Electrics
Even though camping is all about getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we still want to know that we can keep our phones fully charged in case the Mother-in-Law has an emergency or the next-door neighbour sees a burglar prowling around in the back yard. Each Ashton Conversion comes with a mains 240v hook-up for when you’re heading to the campsite and can be upgraded with a 100w solar panel if you prefer spending your weekends out in the open. You can take advantage of two double sockets with USB ports which should cover any cameras, drones, tablets, or e-readers that you might want to take away with you.
The Ashton comes with a control panel that houses all of the electrics, including a split charge relay system that hooks up to an AGM leisure battery. If you’ve checked out our list of the best camper van batteries, then you’ll know that AGM batteries are great all-rounders with a better lifespan than your bog-standard Lead-Acid products. This is a great set-up for anyone who is thinking of taking their van away for a long weekend, and if you need any more power while you’re away, then you could always think about purchasing a Powerpack 450 for charging on the go!
If you’re looking for a smaller camper that you can use for anything from day trips to the beach to long breaks in the wilderness, then the Ashton VW T6.1 camper conversion is the perfect fit. Stylish, modern, and oozing with cool, this camper has everything that you could need for an epic off grid adventure, and the price isn’t bad either.
A converted Startline 5-speed VW T6.1 camper will cost you around £39,999, with conversions starting from £17,999 if you already have a T6.1 and want to spruce it up with the Autohaus treatment. Finance options are available if you simply can’t wait to get your hands on one of these nippy campers, and the Autohaus team are available to have a chat with potential customers either online, over the phone, or in person. You can find out more about the Ashton and other camper conversion models over on the Autohaus website!