Just thinking about the acronym ‘RV’ makes us excited. After Hyundai Motor Company launched the Grand Starex RV in 2018, the automaker has given us another present using its Porter II model – the Hyundai Porest. We took a ride to Daebu Island with this beauty. There we watched a beautiful sunset and the wide-open Yellow Sea.
After leaving Seoul, the sea and the Sihwa Lake greeted us from each side of the road. Although I wanted to arrive at the camping site as soon as possible and open the awning, I thought the journey itself was also part of the camping trip so I decided to enjoy the surrounding scenery as we drive.
In fact, Korea has more campsites than most countries. However, these places are mostly ‘tent sites’ for setting up a tent. On the contrary, it is so easy to park an RV when you’re in New Zealand, Australia, or European countries, where RVs and motorhome trips are very common. You can easily find a place where you can get water and electricity and deal with sewage. There are also many people who enjoy free camping whenever they find a good place for enjoying nature. I envied this the most when I traveled in my RV in those countries. However, the demand for camping cars is increasing in Korea as well. Since 2014, the number of registered camping cars has increased fivefold and regulations on remodeling have been eased. If this trend continues, the infrastructure for camping cars will also increase.
I finally arrived at my destination. After parking Porest on the reserved camping site, I plugged it on for a recharge. It is always better to charge the battery before departure. Electric vehicles rarely use auxiliary batteries on the move; they are useful by the time they arrive at their destination. Porest switches to safe mode and shuts off its electric power supply to all electronic devices including the lightings when the remaining power is less than 5 percent.
I also refilled the water tank after I saw the red alert on the screen indicating a water shortage. The tank can store water up to 80 liters through the hole to put a water hose in. On the right side of the luggage box is the drainage button, which allows you to drain water when not in use. It prevents freezing in winter.
We came out and opened the awning. It makes it very comfortable for all of us because no one has to set up a huge tent while being helplessly under the sunlight. Even with an RV sometimes you need shade for better protection under the scorching sun if you are to enjoy some daytime activities. No matter how many camping cars, shade is essential for simple outdoor activities. That’s why the Hyundai Porest has an awning attached to it.
To set up an awning, you should put the lever that looks like a long stick on the winch at the end of the case, then rotate it. Once you unfold the awning, get the legs fixed, and set the tables and chairs. Finally, it was all set. Now we were ready for camping.
The Hyundai Porest has got seven 220V outlets and five USB ports, making it easy to use electric devices. You can simply push the button says “220V” on the screen.
First, we activated the power supply and turn the fridge on. Then we started to put the food we got from the grocery store on the way here. The Porest Deluxe Trim is equipped with a 150-liter VITRIFRIGO refrigerator made in Italy. This is what luxury camping cars usually have, with the quiet night mode and the turbo mode, not to mention the deodorization mode to remove odors when it is not being used.
We thought we could eat, so we made ourselves some snacks. The kitchen consists of several storage spaces along with a sink. The sink has a cover, which would keep water from coming out while driving and can also be used as a cooking stand. You need a portable stove if you are to cook your meal. This is for the passengers’ safety in case of an accident while driving.
There are few restrictions on cooking in the wild. You can bake or grill anything you want without worrying about smoke. These days, it is easy to get quality utensils and portable stoves for camping, so you may even cook extraordinary cuisines that you might have never dreamed of when you were at home.
The water pressure in the sink is similar to that of a typical home. What is notable is that if the car is tilted, water in the sink might not get drained well. So, it is important to park the camping car on nice, flat ground.
As the sun sets, we moved to the mudflat at low tide. The children were more excited than anyone else. The mudflat was a heavenly place to dip in the sea, and to run around on the soft, wet ground. It becomes bad news for the marine animals here, such as crabs, sea snails, and clams. They could end up being on somebody’s dinner plate! This is another advantage of camping; that you can cook your meal using fresh ingredients just captured in the wild.
The children and adults altogether enjoying the mudflat did not seem to notice the sun was setting, as they solely concentrated on things in the mud and enjoyed their own exploration. When looking at Porest from the mudflat, the vehicle looked as strong as a hermit crab with a shell on it. Maybe the first guy who designed the first RV ever could have been inspired by the hermit crab for real.
The sun started to set as we got back to the car. There is an external shower attached to the vehicle, which makes it easy to wash your feet. There is also a shower stand, so if you adjust the angle well, you can even wash your back by yourself. It would freshen you up nicely even in the heat of summer. These showers in the wild are quite luxurious things you can enjoy while camping. For your information, external showers need special care in winter. To prevent freezing, remove the showerhead and place the hose down so that the water inside is always drained.
After washing our hands and feet, we lit a fire for dinner. Then we came inside for a while and looked out of the window. The sun rises and sets every day, but sitting here watching the sunset definitely is refreshing. Watching the sunset is one of the most addictive things that make you desire camping.
After making some charcoal, we grilled the meat, mushrooms, and sausages; the barbecue feast began. Barbecue tastes deeper as the meat gets smoked above the charcoal, and it tastes much better than to grill them on fire. Others around us were making dinner in their own ways. Darkness fell upon us and people stayed around small campfires, watching them as if they are trying to send smoke signals. Someone even brought fireworks.
The meat was well done and we carried them to a cozy table inside the cabin. We also prepared instant rice with the microwave oven and plated them nicely using the kitchen counter. It was dark outside, but on the contrary, the cabin was brightly lit.
With the window screen shut and the air conditioner and ventilator on, the cabin couldn’t get cozier than that. Beyond the windshield, the moon was shining brightly on the open mudflat.
After finishing dinner, it was time for bed. All the camping equipment we used outside was now in the luggage compartment in the rear storage. The luggage compartment can open from both sides, making it easy for loading and unloading.
Porest also has a shower booth and a toilet. Considering the black water tank, we tend not to use the toilet, but it can be very useful when we are stuck in the middle of highways. A shower booth is big enough for an adult to take a shower comfortably.
It’s time to change the cabin into a bedroom. By clicking the switch in the luggage compartment, the rear extends up to 800mm, making the bedroom larger.
The table in the front transforms into a bunk bed. Lowering the table height, folding the chair, and arranging the cushions like arranging blocks would make a large bed in no time. The highlight is a smart bed. The hidden bed comes down from the top and makes a great bunk bed. This creates enough room for eight adults.
HMG has announced the concept of Porest as a ‘portable house.’ Even the name was also “Porest,” combining “Porter” and “Rest.” Maybe this was why Porest was the hottest vehicle at the campsite. People showed a lot of interest in this, looking around as if they were in a showroom, asking about the price. Then they usually ended up having a short discussion: “Should we buy one like this?”
People say luxury will become a subject matter in the future. An RV like Porest, which becomes a house the moment you turn off the engine, could also be a luxury that millions of campers would dream of. The Hyundai Porest will surely take you to a forest.
Words by. Cho Doo-Hyun
Writes articles about cars and travel for Motor Trend and Hankook Ilbo Newspaper. Now he is also working as a travel photographer. He constantly writes and creates films about cars and trips, more specifically, about car camping, camping, natural and cultural heritage, and exploring the wilderness.
Photograph by. Kim Yoon-Sik