It was just last week when I thought it was best to stick with some kind of Volkswagen Transporter if you want a camper vehicle. Mini has decided it needs a place in the small-vehicle-you-can-sleep-in stakes and released pictures of new designs for you to study. Fascinating.
Think about it, though. For the kind of person who has a lot of friends with Minis, likes to camp but potentially sleep alone, the company may be onto something here. At least, that's what I'm gathering from the photos released.
The first is the Clubvan Camper, which means they have, apparently, found a use for the Clubvan that doesn't necessitate you moonlighting as a locksmith. It's a comfortable sleeper for one person to also be able to watch The Simpsons and cook eggs out in the morning on a stove mounted on the back. Mini also says it has hygiene covered, because there's a hand-held shower somewhere in here. You really could live in here!
The only bit of concern – other than it not being very hospitable for two and the fact you probably can't see out of it when you're using it as a car – is the strange exiting procedure Mini recommends. It appears you have to open one of the rear doors and hope you're going to land on a soft surface when you're forced out of the vehicle.
What if you need more space for entertaining? There's the Countryman All4 Camp (sounds like song lyrics from a Boy Scout camp) that is more of a Westfalia reminder. It comes with a pop-up tent "for an adventurous couple, evoking images of African safari and expedition vehicles," according to Mini. OK.
If you're not fond of climbing into a tent on top of your Countryman, however, why not bring along the Cowley caravan? It also sleeps two in reported comfort and aims to be the luxurious sleeper for couples, complete with cooking facilities, sink and a fridge and a TV with DVD player. Just like a motel room.
Mini says it has no plans to produce the camping set just yet. If it were to be produced, you could probably get loads of comfortable campers for the price of a converted Countryman. But if you have friends with Minis and think this would be a great way to get all of you to spend more time together, or you live in an area where paying to drive and live in that Clubvan Camper is cheaper than an apartment and bus pass, start your letter writing.