The Foldavan bicycle caravan

 A French boat building company has unveiled the Foldavan – a lightweight bicycle caravan that collapses for easy storage and towing.

Foldavan bicycle caravan

Wooden Widget already produces a range of collapsible boats and sailing dinghies that can be towed behind a bicycle and the Foldavan shares many of the same design principles.

Built from wood, carbon fibre and reinforced PVC cloth, the teardrop-shaped Foldavan has three modes. When being stored, or transported on a car roof rack, it collapses flat. While being towed by a bicycle, it opens to 60 cm – about the same as the width as most handlebars. Once at its destination, it takes less than five minutes to transform the Foldavan into camping mode. Fully-extended, the caravan measures 1.2 m wide and offers over one metre of headroom.

Foldavan bicycle caravan

The Foldavan weighs only 30 kg and has a low centre of gravity, which means it can negotiate even quite rough terrain – in high winds, the sides can be unzipped to let the wind pass through.

The Foldavan trailer is available for £30 as a set of plans. It takes about 50 hours to build a Foldavan. The materials needed are easy to find in varying qualities to suit any budget – A Foldavan can be built  for next to nothing using reclaimed timber and secondhand parts.

The carbon footprint of the Foldavan is small because all the materials can be found locally or salvaged. Furthermore, the company plants five trees every time it sells a set of plans.

QTvan bicycle trailer

It’s not as practical a proposition as the Foldavan, but the QTvan may be the ideal accessory for cyclists who demand the height of luxury on their camping trips.

QTvan bicycle caravan trailer

Commissioned by the ETA to demonstrate the versatility of the bicycle, the single-berth caravan boasts a full-sized single bed, 19” television, drinks cabinet and tea-making facilities.

Battery boost

The caravan can be towed by most conventional bicycles, but its range can be extended considerably by hitching it to an electric bike

The bicycle caravan
Top speed: How fast can you pedal?
Dimensions: 2m x 75cm
Range: You decide
Power for TV/kettle: 240v hook up
Entertainment: 19” TV, radio, alarm clock, book shelves
Accommodation: Full-sized single bed
Cooking facilities: Kettle, drinks cabinet
Eco rating: Entirely carbon neutral (if electricity for electric bicycle is bought from a sustainable provider)
Optional extras include: Solar roof panels, satellite dish, gaming console, central heating, external luggage rack, bespoke paint

Cycle Insurance

Cycle insurance from the ETA includes new-for-old, third party insurance (in the case of an accident you may need to seek compensation or even deal with a claim by someone else), personal accident cover, race event cover and if you suffer a mechanical breakdown, we will come out and recover you and your bike. Electric bicycles can also be covered. Includes 90 days’ European cover and 60’ days worldwide. Get a quote

9 Comments

Comments

  1. David

    Reply

    WHY would I want to tow a large sail behind my bicycle? Seems incredibly impractical as illustrated and should fold down for transport by bicycle.

    • Chris Payne

      Reply

      For sure a bicycle caravan is not for everyone, but he seems to have taken the sail problem into account by allowing the sides to unzip.

  2. Jerry Gatlin

    Reply

    Hello I really like this invention for Bicyle Trailers here keep creating good things for Serious Bicyles like myself Jerry Gatlin I ride a E Bike Electric Bicyle every day. 1-31-04….

  3. Fred

    Reply

    A few years back some US firm made a neat folding single berth camping trailer for bikes that folded nearly flat. Not sure how much storage it had, but it was a good idea that maybe didn’t have enough interest or sales to keep going.

  4. Miranda

    Reply

    I have a design suggestion (unless someone tells me it exists already).
    A cycle trailer about 1.2m long by 1m wide and about 80 cm deep. The trailer is a single bed folded in half, with extra space for storage and canvas. Unfolded, it extends to be a bed with a tent around it, so you can sit on the bed or stand (on the ground) upright in the tent. This would include putting a strut at each end of the bed for stability. The added advantage of this would be the optional connector – a zip-on tube to connect to another trailer so a couple can tow a trailer each and zip together a goo-sized tent with twin beds and shared space. With a bit of thoughtful design, extensions could be made so that a group could make larger tentage – eg 2 kids towing their own zip-ons, either with beds or just a seat and canvas and a foam bedroll to sleep on the groundsheet.

    As well as the advantage of zip-ability, this would be a much easier thing to tow, being low and squared instead of towing a lot of air – I live in a very windy country! And it allows space to pack at least some of the necessities of life (clothes, soap, tea bags…!) into the trailer, minimising the need for pannier loading.

    Anyone feeling creative?

  5. simon raistrick

    Reply

    What exactly is wrong with the more practical tent in a bob trailer or the even better topeak bikamper tent?!

  6. Chris

    Reply

    Interesting, but I’ll stick with the tent.

  7. laurence

    Reply

    The great thing about a caravan is that you can stop anywhere. You do not even need a level or smooth surface. And of course it is a trailer to carry all your stuff too so you don’t need paniers on your bike. I think there is a general prejudice against trailers but I am always surprised at just how easy they are to pull around. This caravan is perfect for those who want the ultimate in comfort when they go camping. Not everyone likes to rough it and sleep on a 1 cm mattress with tree roots and stones poking into their back. It might even encourage more people to try camping due to the elevated level of luxury. Plus it could be built for next to nothing from recycled parts. What’s not to like?

  8. Moz in Aus

    Reply

    That looks like a great idea. And better yet, people who like the idea can build one, and people who don’t can … not.

    I like the idea of a comfy mattress, currently I use a hammock but that requires trees, and some parts of Australia don’t have too many of those. Having it expand sideways makes a lot of sense, it means you’re not getting hung up on anti-motorist barriers on bike paths all the time (I’ve got a 1.2m wide trailer now, it can get ugly). For most places, a long trailer doesn’t really matter, it just takes longer to pass any given point. It’s the 30kg part that I’m concerned about. Add the 50kg of gear I carry and that’s a lot of weight pushing a lightly loaded rear wheel. I suspect rear panniers would be necessary for that alone.

    Obviously not the ideal thing for towing up big hills, or carrying into hotels. But for camping holidays… might have to think about it. Main issue is getting it to the start of my cycling section then getting it home from the end. Can’t see getting it on a plane, for example. But if modified slightly, I could fly with most of the bits and just buy a sheet of plywood at my destination, fit it in, then give it away at the end.

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