I want to re-share this camper I posted about back in 2010.  I would still like to know more about it but love what I’ve seen so far.

I see some definite similarities to my own concept of a vardo but I really like to metal sheathing as a modern, low maintenance exterior.  Also, the rounded front was a long consideration in my plans but in the end I chose a more “old-timey” look.

You can just about see the evolution of the Airstream design in this construction.  They also have a nice Tiny House that’s worth checking out here:

For those who don’t follow the Tiny House Blog, check out the ProtoStoga here:

Novel Camping Trailer from 1929

From the ingenuity of the Roaring 20s.  Pack up with your favorite Flapper and head to the wide-open spaces!


Novel Camping Trailer Opens Into Comfortable Quarters
A NOVEL camping trailer has been produced in London which is hailed with delight by lovers of the outdoors because of the comfort it provides. The trailer, compact when closed, is attached to the rear of the automobile by a device which makes it ride easily with a minimum of side sway. But when camp is made the sides of the trailer let down to increase the available space and a door at the end provides access to the interior where there is ample headroom.

From Modern Mechanics and Inventions, December 1929.

Who Says Bigger is Better?

Okay, in some cases maybe.  This cute little combo caught my attention a couple years ago and I’m just getting around to posting it.  A truly minimal teardrop trailer that I suspect can just sleep two with about one suitcase each. I found it labelled “The 1941 Kozy Coach Travel Trailer ” but a search around the internet didn’t turn up anything confirming this.  My only real fear in pulling this micro home on wheels would be the complete lack of rear visibility.


A perfect little combination.

All I have is conjecture and observation for this one.  If anyone knows more and wants to share then please post in the comments section.  As a scooterist myself, I’m a bit jealous of this rig.


And for some continuity, my great-grandfather on his brother-in-law’s scoot just after the war.

A Steampunk Teardrop Camper

34viewSome of you Teardrop aficionados out there have undoubtedly seen photos of Dave Moult’s spectacular build.  The best write-up I’ve come across is from the Living in a Shoebox blog.  This is not Mr. Moult’s first build and it clearly shows.  This one has a retro-futuristic Steampunk theme and uses a lot of copper and recycled wood to create a real eye-catching look.  The gizmos and do-dads are not merely for show and that’s something I can truly appreciate.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”  William Morris.

vwntearMr. Moult has created something that is not only useful, but beautiful and interesting with this camper; and his tow-rig isn’t too shabby either.  The trailer comes in at about 400 kilos loaded (just under a thousand pounds) so it will not be a chore to tow for most vehicles.

steampunk-teardrop-dave-moult-9I think the genius here is in the details like the copper tubing for both water and conduit.  Like most of the finer teardrops, he uses the outside of the trailer for many functions.  (If you aren’t familiar with this design, I think the best way to describe them is a large outside kitchen area and a box to sleep in).  Don’t worry, this nifty sink folds away for travel.  The kitchen proper holds many amenities including running water, lots of storage and surfaces, and even a propane refrigerator (the mechanism and vent are exposed on the starboard side of the camper adding to the Steampunk look).

The interior is well lighted from the dormer-ended mollycroft and portholes on three sides.  Supplemental lighting is in the form of well-placed LEDs; there’s even a small chandelier in the sleeping compartment.  I think they travel in style; in the words of George Washington Sears, “not roughing it but smoothing it.”

Finally, a great and whimsical illusion adds to the interior ambiance with the use of library wallpaper.


View looking aft through the front porthole. The interior leather is salvaged from an old leather couch.

Small enough to be pulled by a classic Mini? Now that's cool.

Small enough to be pulled by a classic Mini? Now that’s cool.

More photos of Mr. Moult’s projects can be found on his Facebook page and HERE.

Another Great Design

From Casual Turtle Campers

Peter at Casual Turtle Campers has come up with a great new design in a minimalist caravan.  I have posted his earlier work here a couple times and this new design is worth a look..  This model looks like it would work well as a base camp for one or two people who don’t need a substantial kitchen or keep the cooking gear in the tow vehicle.  The low profile will certainly appeal to people who drive lower vehicles as well.


Peter Pavlowich of Casual Turtle Campers

It has his signature roof-line as found on his other designs.  The compound curved roof is a nice, artistic touch.


It reminds me of an old Ben Roy design or a Teardrop on steroids.

I wouldn’t be able to do it justice so here’s the description that Peter sent along:

The Hatchling – Here’s a new model that I’ve been wanting to build for a while.  It’s sort of in the size and tradition of a teardrop, but in Casual Turtle Campers style – dead simple, cedar, domed roof, lots of windows, etc.  In fact, it’s quite a bit roomier than most teardrops – and by leaving the entire trailer area as living space, the cabin feels damn near palatial!  Not really, but it is a nice little space that two people and a couple dogs could be perfectly comfortable in.

As an unsolicited build, I had planned to insulate and finish out the interior myself – but then I thought it might appeal to someone looking for either a dead simple, lightweight little camper, or someone looking for a project.  One could add nothing to it and have a very comfortable, capable, simple camper – or features could easily be added to their desires – storage, gear hooks, bed platform, etc.  And I’m perfectly happy to discuss building out an interior for someone. 

Here are some of details… It’s built on a very nice, custom 5’x8′, fully boxed trailer frame with 13″ tires from a great manufacturer here in northern Colorado.  The cabin’s frame is mostly western Hemlock, with Western red cedar siding.  The bottom of the cabin has a 90 mil PVC membrane covering, and the roofing is a fully adhered, 60 mil, ivory-colored TPO membrane – thermally welded at the seams.  It has four opening windows with screens, and two large fixed windows (forward bulkhead and door) for pretty good through-visibility.  It weighs 840 lbs, with about 110 lbs of tongue weight.  There are more specifications/details on the website –

I really like this camper, and I can see using it just as it is – or with a more developed interior.  Either way, its a great platform for someone looking to get into a very easily towed, comfortable, unique little camper.  At 840 lbs, this model could work with a wide variety of tow vehicles.  The forward bulkhead is short enough (66″) to tuck in well behind most crossover and small SUVs.  I even towed it around town with our little Subaru Impreza.

I’m 6’2″ and 195 lbs, for scale.  As a shell version, the walls and roof assembly are left open, showing the OSB roof deck’s bottom side – though it could easily be insulated and closed in.  If anyone has any thoughts/ideas/questions please email me at  I’d be happy to discuss this camper or something similar/different that you might be interested in.  And I’m also happy to discuss full or partial delivery from Fort Collins, CO for a rather nominal, mileage-based fee.

Thanks for having a look – and please share it with anyone you think might find it interesting.  I’m tentatively calling this model the Hatchling, but any other ideas for a model name would be welcome, too!

Price – $6,250

static.squarespace.comAnd he obviously has good taste in literature:

“I had to go alone…a kind of casual turtle carrying his  house on his back.” – John Steinbeck, from Travels With Charley.

Wooden Truck Topper

A couple recent inquiries prompt this quick post about a wooden truck topper.  The question that came up a few weeks ago was “why would you make a topper instead of just buying one?”  Well, I’m not wealthy and making something costs a lot less than buying it.  Also, if you are a woodworker, it’s easy to end up with surplus wood from projects.  Often, the next project is virtually free.  That’s what happened here.

DSC_0028Sorry for the grime in this photo but I live on the southern Plains.  What can you do?  I tried to streamline it and match the curves of the pick-up but honestly, I didn’t put too much effort into any aspect of the topper.  I just needed something to get me through last summer but I’ve liked it enough that it is now a fairly permanent fixture.  The arc of the roof approximates the arc of the truck, created by eyeball and a pen on a board.  There is no better tool than the human eye in the creative process.

DSC_0027While making the shell, it became apparent that the Toyota bed tapers to the back.  I decided, upon reflection, to be lazy and just ignore this inconvenient truth and keep the shell square.  I did, however, match the front of the shell to the slope of the cab and allowed the back of the roof to overhang slightly.

DSC_0026This interior shot shows the three frames and sill that are essentially, the skeleton of the whole thing.  Also, highlighted is the eternal mess in the back of a working truck.

DSC_0025Here’s the basic part list that I used: 2x4s for side and front sills, 2×4 frames, tongue and groove yellow pine for sides, front, and hatch, western red cedar roof.  Lexan front and rear windows, hinges, closures, and various fasteners to hold it all together.  For the roof exterior, 30# tar paper and a canvas truck tarp.  The whole thing is varnished with exterior spar varnish. I think the whole thing can be made for  a couple hundred dollars as opposed to a couple thousand from the store.

DSC_0519And besides, it matches the house…

Good luck!  Hope this helps somebody out there.