Almost exactly six years ago, in the younger, more innocent days of 2012, we looked at an absolutely wild caravan concept from New Zealand architecture and engineering firm W2. The Swiss Army-like Romotow was a vision of a swing-out trailer with a combination of cabin space and sheltered deck, easily packed up and towed to camp but doubly spacious once there. At the time, even W2 wasn’t sure if it would move past the concept stage, and to be honest, we didn’t really expect to see it again. But fast-forward to late 2018 and W2 is deep in the works building the very first model, with sales to commence next year.
We’ve seen some equally fantastical expanding caravan designs in the years following the Romotow debut, including the pop-up (and out) Tipoon travel machine and self-sufficient sCarabane, so Romotow production is not quite as surprising as it might have been in 2012. Still, given that it’d been six years without much sign of progress, we previously presumed the Romotow concept dead and buried.
But recently we noticed some healthy vital signs, and co-owner and structural engineer Stuart Winterbourn confirms the very first Romotow unit should be ready in early 2019. It will be used as a demo model to show potential customers.
Winterbourn seems to be the point of contact for the Romotow (or at least he’s the one who answered our queries in 2012 and 2018), but the initial idea came from W2 co-owner and architectural director Matthew Wilkie. Sitting at the park with his son one day, Wilkie began envisioning the type of camping trailer he’d like for family holidays. The idea for the Romotow was born, and Winterbourn happily lent his expertise toward pulling the vision out of Wilkie’s head and rendering it for the world to see.