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Truck Camping Through Europe

Felix Agel takes us boondocking through France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany in an Adventurer 810WS truck camper he bought sight unseen.

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For most of us, a multi-month trip across the continental United States, Canada, Alaska, and Mexico would be more than enough to satisfy our wildest truck camping dreams.  But what about Europe and the other five continents?  How far can a truck camper go?

We have already discovered passionate truck camping explorers living in Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.  Today we’re exited to introduce Felix Agel to Truck Camper Magazine and add the countries of France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany to our growing list of truck camping possibilities.

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The family caravan

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The VW camper bus

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Crossing the Sahara

TCM: Did you go camping as a kid?

Felix: It was in the 1960s, the time of the economic miracle in Germany, when my family got into camping.  Campsites were sprouting up like mushrooms all over Europe and our holiday adventures were spent tent camping in Austria, Italy, and France.

My father was a practical thinking person and constructed a luxury foldable caravan.  His caravan worked by flapping down the four upper walls of the caravan, which was very tricky.  One of our first travels in his caravan was to the Netherlands.  We camped at the beach on the North Sea.  During the night, a little hurricane came through and a strong blast tore away the roof of the caravan.  The four walls flapped down like a house of cards.  We were shocked!

After that, father improved his foldable mechanism and the construction improvements made the caravan very stable.  My parents later changed to an old VW camper bus.

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Pictured Above: Felix’s Knaus Traveler X – two piece molded fiberglass camper

TCM: How did you get into truck camping?

Felix: That’s an adventurous story.  As a student of geology, I was fascinated by all photos and reports about deserts.  One day I decided to discover the greatest desert of the world, the Sahara.  It was great luck that, with the help of my father, I was able to buy a very scruffy 4×4 truck.  The truck was something similar to the Mercedes Unimog; a 13,000 pound heavy Hanomag AL28.  It took me about one year to restore the old Hanomag.

For three months in 1979, a friend and I crossed the Sahara.  I was twenty-two years old.  That trip brought me to the Hoggar mountains in southern Algerie, which are about 3,400 meters high.  It was summer and the temperatures were incredible!  That was a real adventure.  Our provisions were 240 bottles of German beer, Coca Cola, seventy tins of ravioli, and fifty gallons of fresh water.

A year later, I went on another Sahara expedition.  This time the target was the Tassili mountains in eastern Algerie.  This area is very famous for the 20,000 year old caveman rock paintings.  I will always remember when the gearing of my Hanomag broke and I had to repair it in the wild landscape when it was 122 Fahrenheit.  That’s hot!

After these unforgettable journeys, I used my Hanomag truck for three more years.  Then I changed to Volkswagen camper buses.  With my Spanish wife, Maria, we discovered Europe and Northern Africa.  When our first daughter, Felicia, was born, the VW bus became too small for our family.

In 1997, I bought a Mitsubishi L200 with a huge truck camper on it.  In 1997, there wasn’t a truck camper forum for help so I had to learn all the bad experiences myself.  For example, the gearing was too weak and broke.  I had to strengthen the gearing.  The springs were also weak and needed strengthening.  The same happened with the shock absorbers.

TCM: What kind of truck camper do you own now?

Felix: In 2004, I tinkered with the idea of purchasing an American truck with a comfortable truck camper on it.  We wanted more living space and not a tin of asparagus, as we have two kids now.  At the end of 2004, we made the decision to buy a Chevy Silverado 2500HD and an Adventurer 810WS.  I was not happy with the Chevy because it was in bad condition.  So, in 2006, I bought a Dodge Ram Cummins 2500 on eBay.  Now, I am absolutely happy.

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