Lockdown DIY: Build your own caravan

DIY caravan Slidavan

If you’re a fan of self-sufficient holidays, DIY, and have a bit of spare time over lockdown, how about about building your own caravan?

No special materials or skills are needed to build a Slidavan, but you will need to dedicate around 200 hours to the project. If you buy all new parts to build your Slidavan, it may cost around £3000 which is a fraction of the cost of other small caravans available to buy today. However, using second-hand parts and reclaimed material can reduce this cost considerably. For example, there are many second-hand trailers available to buy on the eBay.

Most interestingly those with a smaller car, is the weight of the little DIY caravan. With an unladen weight of 300 kg, the Slidavan can be towed by a city car. For example, the Fiat Panda 1.2 has a towing capacity of 400 kg, giving the caravan a payload of 100 kg.

DIY caravan slidavan

Slidavan DIY caravan key features

  • Six-foot headroom with roof raised
  • Choose between two wide single berths or one large double
  • The roof can be raised in less than a minute
  • Can easily be built in a space no larger than a one-car garage
  • Two settee bunks
  • Enough room for a small hob and sink
  • Fuel consumption of tow car barely affected

The designers of the Slidavan will plant 5 trees on your behalf if you buy the plans to build your own Slidavan. The plans cost £50 at Woodenwidget.com

Bicycle DIY caravan

Prefer to tow your DIY caravan by bicycle? The company behind the Slidavan has thought of you too. The world’s smallest bicycle DIY caravan is the Foldavan – a lightweight design that collapses for easy storage and towing.

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 off-road terrain. In high winds, the sides can be unzipped to let the wind pass through.

The Foldavan trailer is available as a set of plans takes about 50 hours to build with materials that can be modified to suit any budget. The environmental impact of building a the Foldavan can be reduced by using reclaimed timber and secondhand parts.

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance, travel insurancebreakdown cover  and home insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.


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