One of the most radical camper designs that I’ve ever seen, the W2 Romotow T8, is about to go into production. This wild $268,500 camper is built in New Zealand and its headlining feature is the fact that it swivels open, revealing an enclosed outdoor porch. It’s amazing, yet also amazingly impractical if you’re an American, let’s take a dive into it.
Sometimes, campers are like cars and you’ll see stunning concepts that never reach production. Remember that Airstream and Studio F. A. Porsche collaboration from last month? That camper is a good example, as it’s not intended to go into production. This W2 Romotow T8 is something that has existed largely as a concept for over 14 years. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s vaporware. Yet, the company behind it is finally pulling it off and this concept camper will be appearing in production form.
From Houses To A Camper
W2 Limited was founded in 2007 by architectural and interior designer Matt Wilke and chartered structural engineer Stuart Winterbourn. Located in Christchurch, New Zealand, W2 is known for distinctive architectural design. In 2009, Wilke and Winterbourn opened another company, Romotow New Zealand. This company would take the pair’s experience in designing houses and interiors and apply it to a camping trailer. Neither of the two founders have ever designed a camper before, but to them, that was a good thing.
In 2012, Winterbourn and Wilke unveiled concept renderings for the Romotow, a camping trailer that swiveled open, revealing an enclosed deck.
Speaking with Gizmag, the founders of Romotow explain why they went with such a radical design for a camper:
W2 Director Stuart Winterbourn told Gizmag he’s never found caravans all that interesting: “To a lot of people, they’re not desirable … including us. Generally, you’re using it in summer, and it’s stinking hot, and you don’t really want to be inside a caravan. And if you don’t want to be inside, you’ve got maybe some sort of screen you can pull out, and a rickety chair and table … it’s not that nice.
“We thought why don’t we come up with something that integrates a house and a deck. Generally you’ve got a good view when you’re out in the wilderness, and you want to take advantage of it. That was the inspiration, just to create a connection with the outdoors.”
Winterbourn says that the design of this camper was inspired by a Swiss army knife. The design team found itself playing with one of the knives one day, flipping it open and closed. That’s when the design team had a eureka moment and realized, what if their camper rotated open like the famous utility knife?
The Swiss Army Knife Of Campers
To make a camper that is desirable, the team at Romotow designed a travel trailer featuring a massive panoramic window and a luxurious interior designed like a house. That would be cool enough, but the trick feature is a floor that rotates out, creating an enclosed deck and increasing the camper’s floor space. This is supposed to connect you with the outdoors and nature. Back in 2012, Romotow wanted to put it into production, but the company wanted to get a feel of the market and find a production partner first.
News about the Romotow camper then got quiet for about six years. In 2018, the camper popped back up on the radar and this time, Romotow announced that it was entering production in 2020 for $350,000. At the time, Romotow was constructing the very first prototype. That first proof-of-concept finally hit the road in 2020 and now, Romotow says that the camper is finally ready to enter into production. So, what are you getting with a W2 Romotow T8?
The production W2 Romotow T8 has made its debut at the Covi Motorhome, Caravan and Outdoor Supershow in Auckland, New Zealand. Romotow says that it secured a production partner with ACM Motorhomes, a builder of aerodynamic custom motorhomes. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that the Romotow T8 has stayed true to its original concept.
Starting with the exterior, the camper is 30.5-foot-long and weighs 7,495 pounds when fully loaded. It rides on a frame made from mild-steel tubing and is suspended with a tandem Cruisemaster ATX spring suspension. On top of this chassis is your camper, which is constructed out of an aluminum monocoque cabin structure. Inside are insulated composite walls, floor, and ceiling.
The interior of this camper is a familiar luxury experience.
You get a surround sound system, large panoramic windows, and a full kitchen. Romotow says that the camper has a few different layouts for the interior and standard options include a gas range and oven as well as a sizable refrigerator. Behind the kitchen is your bathroom, which includes a cassette toilet and a shower. If you’re not fond of a cassette toilet, one optional upgrade is a black tank and a macerating toilet. Behind the bathroom is your bedroom and you could have it with a king bed or two single beds. The dinette also converts into more bedding, allowing four to six to sleep in the Romotow T8.
Romotow doesn’t say how big the black tank will be, but says that the fresh and gray water tanks are 79 gallons. You also get a Truma Combi space and water heater, though an air-conditioner is an option. The optional air-conditioner is somewhat confusing to me since being stuck in a camper in a “stinking hot” summer was one of the motivations for building this.
Powering this camper for off-grid action is one 200Ah lithium battery charged from 395W of solar panels. An option Romotow offers is expanding off-grid power with more 200Ah batteries. Other options for the camper include an air suspension, a camera system, various TVs, and more luxurious finishes. All of it, Romotow says, is designed like a house.
A Great, Impractical Feature
Of course, the headlining feature of this camper is its rotating floor, which swings open in less than a minute. When you park the Romotow T8 at a campsite, an automated hydraulic cabin rotation system will rotate the cabin sideways, revealing an enclosed porch that you can relax on or maybe kick back and enjoy a movie on. Another automated system will level the whole rig.
The porch has the appearance of the kind of teak decking that you’d find on a yacht, but Romotow says that this is just a composite made to look like teak decking. You can even attach temporary walls and turn this into another room.
Romotow says that when the camper is rotated open, you get a bump from 290 square feet of floor space to over 312 square feet. In the open position, the camper takes up 24.7 feet of width. As of right now, Romotow is planning on selling these in New Zealand and Australia, but invites RVers in other countries to try to buy one. If you’re an American, you might not be able to use this to its fullest potential.
Many campgrounds in America give you just 20 feet of space between your RV parking pad and your neighbor’s. If you somehow get one of these in America, every time you call up a campground you’ll have to ask how wide each plot is. And even if the site is wide enough, you’ll have to be mindful of obstacles such as the pole for shore power, built-in grills, or trees. At least in my experience, you’ll largely be limited to the kinds of wide open spaces shown in the promotional images, which isn’t ideal when you’re dropping at least $268,500 on a camping rig.
One good thing about the Romotow T8 is that you can camp in it without rotating the cabin. Still, it’s a bummer that you wouldn’t be able to use its headlining feature at many campgrounds.
All of that said, I absolutely adore the fact that the Romotow team was able to turn a concept into reality without a ton of changes. I’m sure the buyers who do find their way into one these will love it. ACM Motorhomes will be constructing the Romotow T8 in New Zealand and if you want one, you’ll have to contact Romotow. Delivery dates have not been announced, but securing a place in line–assuming you can get one in your country–will cost you $6,300.
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.
The Mystery Of The Oldsmobile Toronado Airstream Camper Has Been Solved
I Toured The Inside Of An Airstream Rangeline. Here’s How The $131,882 Camper Van Compares To Its Competition
This Compact Airstream Concept Camper Gets Its Sharp Looks From Studio F. A. Porsche
The Airstream eStream Is A Revolutionary EV-Powered Camper That Can Help Tow And Park Itself
This is ridiculously dumb in so many ways yet i still love it. I’m prepared to forego common sense for looks?Yes i am.Apparently i’m that shallow.
BTW that price is insane.In a world where everything’s twice as expensive as it should be,this one takes it to another level.
So if I spend $200k+ more than a regular camper, I get a heavier camper with less headroom, over-engineered mechanical that will be expensive to repair, with a reeeeeally expensive awning that can’t be utilized as intended in many campgrounds? I’ll take 2!
Ooh…..and missed the ‘optional’ black tank. Luxury indeed!
This rich guy toy will get shaken to absolute pieces in no time.
Can it be just partially open?
I like it! The idea of having a large, open room in a camper, where you can leave it open or enclose it seems like a useful thing. I could see someone in Australia really liking this, since lounging two feet off the ground probably keeps the nasties at bay.
Do people ride in the front of camper trailers, or is the front just a practical space for windows? Unless they are automotive glass, I wonder how many miles it would take to start scratching up those windows. I would have considered folding it to protect them, instead of leaving them exposed. I also am not a camper engineer, so what do I know?
(Someone will show up to Burning Man with one of these.)
Looks cool as a concept, but as a production item, it seems like it would have far too many problems. This is like if Lancia built the Stratos Zero as a production car—awesome as a fantasy vehicle, but reality would stomp down on that pretty quick.
I remember obsessively designing motor homes as a small child and my grandpa trying to drum into my head that ‘You can’t get something for nothing’ when it comes to space. That comes forcefully to mind when I see the twoish feet of mostly unusable vertical space on this thing.