When we came across this VW Doublesback conversion it was actually after we’d converted Roly, and amazingly along similar lines. The idea being to make bags of extra space out the back of the camper.
But before we get into our story, let’s have a brief look at what these Doublebacks are all about.
In short, they’re a slick extension that literally slides out the rear doors of the van to then provide additional space that hangs out of the back. A fantastic idea for creating more space in an already-tight VW van like a T4, T5, or T6.
Why Doublebacks Are Special
You can see the original details here, or simply search online it find videos and help, in the meantime here are six main factors about them.
1. Extra Space
Real simple, there’s suddenly all most double the exact space poking out of the back.
Although this is the same size width and height wise as the main camper, this can be a secluded bed area that leaves the rest of the main camper up for daily use.
2. Convenient Controls
All this happens automatically, no farthing around with moving parts in the rain.
Just press two buttons - one to move in and out, and one to even put down the bottom supports to the ground.
In actual fact, even the rear door is part of it and can be opened for access when in use.
3. Roof Extensions
For the main camper area, your typical pop-up type extension exists to help provide valuable head room.
Okay it’s not in the extended part, but this is only really needed in the living area anyway.
4. Sitting and Sleeping
This extra spaces allows a full double bed to cut across the camper area, not the usual say three-quarter ones you often see.
Plus, the front seats can swivel around, and you have handy flip-down seats in the main living area as well.
5. Slick Design
This is all down really nicely, with light-weight materials and flush finishes.
Manufactured by pros, and helps keep the weight of the camper down and potential damaged areas low.
The 3 ‘C’ Problems
But alas, there are three potential drawbacks. Not to say that this isn’t a great design, and of course you’re always going to get issues with anything like this, it’s more a case of going into this opened-eyed in order to make the right decision.
And at this point we’ll bring our Roly into the picture as a genuine alternative to consider along the same lines.
Therefore here are our three points to consider all beginning with the letter ‘C’:
There are of course some cupboards in the doubleback, and areas like under the bed to stash things away. However, it still feels a little light on this, particularly with so much extra space being available generally.
Maybe this is the trade-off for having an open feel and lots of windows on the side, but if you have many clothes and personal things to take with you then it’s good to have more storage space.
With Roly, it just feels like every square inch of space is used at the side and even under and over the bed unit.
Although the automation factor of the Doubleback is great, this can cause problems when going wrong.
With Roly it’s a more simple, rustic, and manual way of doing things which actually works a treat. The bed just rolls out the back, and the roof flips-up within seconds.
It kind of feels like you’re more in control of things, and not open to expensive mistakes and break-downs
Yep, real simple - although this Doubleback is a great and spacious solution, it comes at a hefty price tag of approximately £55,000.
Our simpler design is a lot cheaper, we reckon under 10% of this cost when you take into account like-for-like.
Okay it won’t be as sizeable and fancy as this, but with a cost in the thousands rather than the tens of thousands then certainly more realistic.
Double-Backing Extra Space
Looking at a Doubleback system is certainly worth it, after all it suddenly adds almost a whole new camper of space. For that quality and special touch, it’s certainly worth looking at.
But if this outside your price range, then don’t give up on the idea of extra space outside the rear doors. Our Roly is testimony if a more cost-effective solution to still do the trick nicely.