Bicycle Travel Trailers Are Becoming Reality

Camping in a travel trailer doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars, nor is a car needed. Here are different examples of bicycle campers, or bicycle travel trailers coming on the market.

Looking at these examples, it wouldn’t be hard to design and build one. With the right equipment (running water, working drains and a flushing toilet hooked up to the sewer drain), one could live in a bicycle camper travel trailer long term.

It would be no different from a pop-up camper- just a lot smaller. The camper would have to consider weight, because he or she is the one providing the power.

Traveling uphill, or against a strong headwind is no problem. Most bicyclists, even without a trailer behind, get off and push. Since the campers are lightweight, anchoring with tent cords and tie downs is a good idea.

Here are a few examples of bicycle travel trailers:

Homebuilt Wooden Sleeper for Recumbent or Regular Bicycles

This sleeper resembles a tube, and appears to travel rather well behind a recumbent bicycle. View it in action on Utube. The designer/owner, who didn’t give a full name, let people know in the comments that if anyone wants a drawing, they can send an email to saholm(&) No mention was made of any price for the plans.

It does look interesting.

Bicycle Camper

This camper is a functional sculpture by artist Kevin Cyr. The Utube video shows a man probably in his sixties pulling the camper with an older model bicycle with no trouble at all.

The camper features working windows, an aluminum skin, and molding, gravel shield for the front window and a pop-up roof.

A camper bike is featured on the artist’s webpage. This looks like a miniature truck camper fitted onto a custom- built tricycle platform.

Both campers are functional. I have been unable to find out if the artist will contemplate selling his designs. From the comments I’ve seen on Utube, there is a market.


Britain will soon release the first commercially produced bicycle travel trailer (they call them caravans) for public sale.

Resembling small teardrop trailers, they are equipped with shelves, a 19″ TV with antennae, radio, 240-volt electric hookup for making tea or cooking, windows, a locking door and a very smart design.

Options include central heating (I imagine a space heater), solar panel, gaming console, luggage rack and satellite dish.

The dimensions are 2’6″ wide by 6′ long. It doesn’t say how tall the trailer is, but compared to the bicycle pulling it, I’d guess about 3′. It’s meant to be a bedroom, while the camper uses the bicycle for daily transportation.

It hitches to the bicycle (or a mobility scooter) using a ball hitch, just like any other travel trailer.

The current price is £5,500, or $8,682.57 as of 17 September 2011 using a currency converter. A little too rich for my blood, but then again, it looks like it’s built with lightweight fiberglass, so it would be lighter than a homebuilt and watertight.

My Own Idea

Hmm. I think I would borrow from each idea, including a little from the pop-up camper world and the high-low camper world. Now, the trick is to combine all that into a bicycle travel trailer.

I have no drawings of this, just ideas. I would start with axels rated for 300-500 pounds, although the trailer won’t weigh that much. I would be camping in it with gear, so the axels need to be sturdy.

The floor would be ½” thick plywood, treated for weather and water. The walls and roof could be 3/8″ plywood, and the top covered with EPDM rubber roofing. Fiberglass fabric could cover the wood, making it waterproof and giving it a strong skin. This could be painted with marine paint.

Now for the fun part. Borrowing from the high-low trailers, the trailer could be built as two boxes; one fitting onto the other, and raised with jacks similar to pop-ups. High-lows are hard-sided campers, while pop-ups are tent campers. The front and back end could be shorter on the top than on the sides, allowing sliding beds to pop out, just as in a pop-up camper. Canvas siding would snap on.

So, one side (near the drains) would be two pieces of wood, making a hard side. Water proof seals would keep the rain out. On the ends, it would resemble a pop-up camper. The front would pop-out just like a folding tent camper. All on a bicycle frame. Interesting.

But wait. There’s more. I would have the front, possibly the back top and bottom on hinges to swing out, giving the interior more space, and snapping tent canvas into place for sides. The hard top would have working windows. A folding door in the “solid side” or in the “tent side” could set inside a bolted-in-place frame, with a lock. Lightweight wood or PVC lattice would stabilize the canvas wall(s), and discourage anyone from trying to get through.

Don’t get the idea that this would weight several hundred pounds, or that the floor plan would be huge. This would still only fit one person. The entire trailer would be 6′ long closed. The beds on the ends would be long enough for a single or double mattress at best. The inside floor, folded up, would be about 3 feet wide. Folded out, about 5-6 feet.

Inside, there would be shelves, a fold-down desk, and a place for my cat and myself to work and relax. Include an RV toilet that’s hooked up so it drains into the sewer drain, an incoming water connection with a sink that drains into the drainpipe, and a power cord connection, and it could long-term stay at any RV park.

There would be no holding tanks, for the sake of weight. Think of it as a miniature park -model travel trailer. Two golf-cart batteries wired to give 12volts of power, a solar panel on the roof, a charge controller, and interior lights and fan are covered. No AC- the weight issue again. Running lights (I wouldn’t travel at night), are 12volt and easily powered.

So the reality is that this would qualify for the designation of a “tiny house,” or tiny trailer. And it would work as a long term RV living space, since it would hook up to water, sewer and power.

Propane isn’t needed- a patio burner (also known as a fifth burner), a crock-pot, an electric skillet, and a toaster oven take care of cooking. On hot days, a small propane grill works fine, or use a solar cooker.The power cord would come in from the RV park pedestal, and plug into a surge protector. Managing how many appliances I use at once would be mandatory, but easy.

Folding furniture is best, and if not fitted inside the camper when it’s lowered, a roof rack (with the solar panel and rooftop protected), can carry belongings. A smaller trailer would work fine for shopping, going to the laundry, etc. Perhaps using the two in tandem when moving- there’s no law I’m aware of against two bicycle trailers at one time. Add an awning, solar-powered awning lights, a few potted plants, and I’d be set. Bet I make the newspapers.

Hey, I might just build this- why did the guy climb Mount Everest? He said, “Because it’s there.” I should do this just to prove living in this is doable. The summer heat (especially the heat wave of 2011), isn’t a stone I’ve stepped on yet, but heat during the winter would be a space heater. Insulation from the hardware store and warm clothing would work in the winter. (Yes, there are people living in pop-up campers in cold climates).

As for the rates at RV parks, I don’t imagine any discounts because of the trailer being bicycle-powered. Strong cable locks to the nearest tree secure the trailer and the bicycle. Scissor jacks would stabilize the trailer.

Dear readers, my notepad is in hand, and I’m working on it. When it’s finished, I’ll make the plans available for anyone who needs them. I’ll also live in this to show it can be done. You’ll get the pictures on Associated Content, and nowhere else.

Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse forms of DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects and more.

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