We don’t care that bicycle caravans will always be a heavier, more expensive and less practical alternative to carrying a tent. In fact, we love the idea so much we built the whimsical model pictured above – and we earned a Guinness World Record for our troubles.
Given the Marmite relationship Brits have with both bicycles and caravans, it’s unlikely our roads are ready for the designs listed below, but we’re thrilled they exist.
For adventurous spirits looking for a novel alternative to sleeping under canvas next summer, the 40 kg Wide Path Camper could be just the ticket.
The fibreglass-bodied camper can sleep two (well-acquainted) adults in comfort, boasts 300 litres of storage space and collapses to half its size for towing.
The TAKU-TANKU concept cycle camper is designed to be built with off-the-shelf and upcycled materials.
The superstructure comprises two 3,000-litre plastic water tanks connected by a ring of wood that frames the entrance.
A French boat building company is behind the Foldavan – a lightweight bicycle caravan that collapses for easy storage and towing.
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.
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 as a set of plans and takes an estimated 50 hours to build. 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 second-hand 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 our QTvan may be the ideal accessory for cyclists who demand the height of luxury on their camping trips. We designed and built the tiny caravan as a light-hearted demonstration of how bicycles are extremely capable load carriers.
Here in Britain, cyclists appear reluctant to fit panniers, opting instead for rucksacks, but elsewhere in the world, bicycles are routinely used to carry and tow heavy cargo. The QTvan features a full-sized single bed, 19” television, drinks cabinet and tea-making facilities.
Start your own cycle camping adventure – we’re giving away an e-bike
The ethical choice
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.
The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.