Tech

E-scooters, folding bikes and more: mobile on the campsite

Let’s go camping! During the corona pandemic and the resulting restrictions on long-haul flights, Germans have rediscovered their love for camping. At least if you can believe the car registrations, because the new registrations of campers and caravans rose in 2020 to a high for years. So if you are going on a camping trip in your second year, you are probably longing for a little more comfort. The distances are often further than you think, especially on the large camping sites. And if you have to get your rolls in the morning, you think twice about whether you really want to park in the beautiful, quiet place on the corner of the campsite or perhaps more centrally.

But you can also have both. Because both e-scooters and electric folding bikes have fallen significantly in price in recent years. This not only allows you to relax and jet to the bakery in the morning, the more modern e-folding bikes in particular are also ideal for excursions into the surrounding area. The photos you take there can then be conveniently shared with others via your own LTE router in the camper.

An e-scooter is great. Most devices can be folded up so small that they only take up minimal space in the trunk or caravan. But you can travel quickly with them, as long as the ground fits. The road should be tarred, paved, or at least firmly trodden. Most scooters with their comparatively small tires do not like gravel or gravel. Anyone who buys an e-scooter with street approval in Germany should be able to use it in most countries (and especially on private property such as camping sites) without any problems. Germany is one of the strictest when it comes to maximum speed, lighting or braking functions.

Which scooter should you take? That depends entirely on your own requirements. The Xiaomi Mi Scooter Pro 2 (test report), for example, is inexpensive and costs less than 550 euros over the counter. It also has the advantage that it is robustly built and that there are tons of spare parts and repair instructions on the Internet. If you are looking for more power, you should take a look at the Egret Ten V4 (review). Thanks to the 500 watt motor, it accelerates quickly, and the pneumatic tires ensure a very pleasant driving experience. Thanks to its ingenious folding system, the scooter can be stowed away in a pleasantly compact manner. However, it costs almost 1000 euros more than the Scooter Pro 2. A tip from us for camping trips would be the Elmoto Kick (test report). The scooter is in the upper middle class when it comes to driving experience and range, but it has a brilliant idea: It uses Einhell batteries. In other words, with one set of batteries you can not only drive the scooter on the go, but also a cordless screwdriver or other Einhell cordless tools if necessary.

If the scooter has too little power or the roads at the campsite are worse, then we recommend using a folding bike. These have been popular with travelers for decades, simply because they can be folded to a fraction of their size and conveniently stowed away. The technology has also developed here and there is now a huge selection of folding bikes that support the driver with a motor.

In addition to manufacturers such as Brompton, who supply the Bromtpon Electric (test report), which is probably one of the best and, at 3200, also the most expensive folding e-bike, there are surprisingly many cheaper manufacturers in this segment, mainly from China. The problem then is usually that the bikes are not street legal in Germany, for example because they have a throttle stick. On the other hand, on private property or in a more relaxed country abroad, the bikes can usually be used without any problems. To be on the safe side, check the rules on site before packing or unpacking the bike.

If you want a legal model, you should take a look at the Blaupunkt Fiene 500 (review). It costs around 1500 euros, significantly less than the Brompton bike, but is street legal. In our test, we liked it above all with good pedal support and a comfortable ride.

Why should you even look at e-bikes from China? Quite simply, because of the price. Because a Fiido D4S (test report) costs less than 600 euros and was popular in the test with a good driving experience and a reasonable size, even for taller cyclists. The Fiido M1 (test report), a folding bike with fat, 4-inch wide tires, was also really fun in the test. With it you can make good progress even on forest paths or gravel. It costs around 800 euros, around half of the Blaupunkt bike. We show more about the bikes in the article E-Bikes from 400 euros: The best folding e-bikes from China. There we have also found voucher codes for numerous products, with which TechStage readers can get the e-bikes a little cheaper. Our comparison test of nine e-folding bikes from 500 to 3000 euros provides even more information.

If you don’t just want to relax, but also use the caravan as a home office, sooner or later you will stumble upon the topic of mobile internet. Yes, many campsites offer WiFi, but whether that extends to the camper and whether the throughput is high enough is questionable. The remedy is a dedicated LTE router with a reasonable tariff.

A router offers several advantages over tethering a smartphone. It runs on its own power supply or a large rechargeable battery, so that the cell phone battery is not drained. However, it is even more important that the routers usually have better or more antennas. In a comparison between the Netgear Nighthawk M2 (test report) and two smartphones, the LTE router achieved a significantly higher throughput in the same position. Many of the devices have a socket to which an external antenna can be connected. You can, for example, put it on the roof of the camper and get an even better reception.

When it comes to tariffs, on the other hand, it’s more of a shame. In Germany you get an unlimited LTE tariff only with a router in the O2 network. If 15 GByte per month is enough, then you can also get a tariff in the Telekom network, which then costs from 20 euros. We show even more offers in the article LTE router: The best tariffs for mobile surfing.

Anyone who knows the huge camping sites in Tuscany or Croatia would like to have a set of wheels for their second trip at the latest. E-bikes or e-scooters are ideal for anyone who does not have touring bikes with them. The folding versions also fit in the car if you don’t have your own caravan, but rent a high-end caravan to “glow”. Because even if they have whirlpools with them, for example, you still have to fetch rolls yourself in the morning.