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  1. #1
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    bicycle camping trailer

    I went bicycle camping this year for the first time,i bought a trailer put all my stuff and spent a week at a campsite and since then i cant stop thinking about it.I learned my lesson off being out of shape and not training for it but i want to do it again next year,so i have been looking for ideas maybe an electric motor for the trailer to assist or a bicycle camper.
    I read about the the kamp rite midget but don't like the 4 wheels and not to much storage space and the $800+ price tag(not that many good reviews either) and i have found a lot of interesting designs on the internet of DIY type.So i came across a design for a homeless mobile shelter and thought if i can put wheels on that that could be great.I really don't know because it took a lot of me with a 35 pound trailer and +80 of gear,i have this idea in my head and i just cant shake it out so just give your 2 cents worth of common sense and tell me i am not crazy for considering this.

    Pros: It would look cool.
    Cons:Heavy,wide,i dont know if it would pass the GW bridge and bicycle trails entrance have pylons to stop cars,did i say heavy.
    Here is the web site with the rest of the picturespe01.jpgpe07.jpgpe16.jpg
    http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/8/view/9562/mobile-homeless-shelter.htmltntt.com-teardrop-minidaylight2.web.jpgelectric-camper-bike.jpgkevincyr.net-tiny-bike-camper-trailer.web.jpgchuckwagon-w44.de-Gunter-Lorenz.jpg
    Last edited by batrike; 10-07-12 at 09:51 PM.

  2. #2
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    I spent a lot of time thinking about this at one time. I sleep during the day, and work at night. I figured I would ride at night when it was cool, and sleep during the day. The big advantage of this is that you can go almost any public place and lie down and sleep during the day, and nobody hassles you. If you had a trailer nobody would be even sure you were resting. If you did get bumped, you don't need to pull up stakes just cycle a mile or so, and try again.

    But, I hadn't counted on how dark it is in the country. I do not think cycling at night is a good idea in the sticks. And I never really came up with a design I liked. I design wooden ultralight boats, so I think I had a shot, but nothing I really liked came to mind. My best design was like a 2 kid trailer frame, but a composite nose cone was were the kids would be. So it is about half solid. You stuff your gear in there. Then like one of those aluminium lawn loungers, a frame would fold out for your legs to be supported, and a tent extention would keep them dry. But I really wanted an actual trailer.

    What about this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWnsu4dfNGs

    When designing stuff like this, I tried to think not of a teardrop trailer that I could tow, or some other common form. I think there is a novelty version of camper that is an attention getter, but is never going to replace a tent and panniers etc... I tried to think of what my concept was, and what I could design that would supply what I needed. Maybe it ends up looking like a hammock.

    In my case I wanted that psychic shelter a solid structure provides. I wanted to have privacy, and I wanted campsite mobility. I think this guy's design would do that. I was thinking of a "coffin" like structure. It has to be as aero as possible, and light to be practical. I specialize in folded plywood forms, so I can dig what he did here. Lots of room for thin solar panels.

  3. #3
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    I use panniers when I tour on dirt roads, and a Burley Nomad trailer when I tour on pavement. If the problem is not being able to make it up hills...

    The answer is to cut down the stuff you take and to get in better shape.
    Those DIY trailers you have pictures of are novelties, and not practical for serious touring.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  4. #4
    Senior Member saddlesores's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batrike View Post
    ....so i have been looking for ideas maybe an electric motor for the trailer to assist or a bicycle camper.
    you've only tried it once, so you don't have the experience yet to design your own. thousands
    of folks go bicycle camping - take a look at what they're doing first.

    Quote Originally Posted by batrike View Post
    because it took a lot of me with a 35 pound trailer and +80 of gear
    one word.............toomuchstuff.

    why pull a 35-pound trailer when a bob weighs in at 12?

    and why 80 pounds of gear? what were you carrying?

  5. #5
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    You could bring a huge 4-5 man tent that takes just minutes to set-up that would be bigger, weigh less, and cost less than a trailer. Not to mention the advantage of not having to pull extra contact patches. I dont see anything about those trailers that would have much advantage over a high quality tent.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Koga Miyata had a bike trailer 'chela' with a chair and table & a mast that you could hang a light from..

    or perhaps an umbrella .. included compartmentalized bags, and towed like a BoB.

    Looked good, was a hit at the euro-bike shows,
    but I asked 'why are the bags all sewn and so not dry/watertight
    for something that approached $1.5k in price?

  7. #7
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    I'm sure the trailers shown could be towed behind a bicycle. But unless you restrict yourself to tours that are flat and never have headwinds I'd expect the effort required would make the trip far less enjoyable than one using the traditional lightweight tent (or hammock for those who find them comfortable) and panniers.

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    I understand that some of you have reason as to why complicate something so simple as a pannier or trailer and if you want the comforts of home just get a motorcycle and trailer and why spend money on something that is going to make you slower and a bigger target on the road maybe is not what you like,in my case i do see myself going along this way.Less just say put a 400w motor with gear reduction 2 x12v 100 ah battery even a 40w solar panel,before you ask were to charge i have a small 20 pound 800w generator.I did a simulator in ebikes.ca i put 772pounds on 26" wheels and it said 82 miles lets trow hills and wind and cut it to half that 40mph that's not a bad number.
    I just want to see how feasible would it be,i will probably only use it 3 or 4 times a year but who knows what lies in the future.

    Another pros is your in a city or small town park on a street no hassle,or if its raining,one of my concerns was every time i went in a store was my stuff going to be out there when i came back out.
    Trailer 225 pounds
    battery 100 pounds
    gear let's say 100
    i am 200 pounds
    lets round it up to 700 that's a lot a weight.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by batrike View Post
    so just give your 2 cents worth of common sense and tell me i am not crazy for considering this.
    That's asking too much.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Top of the page, that seems more like a homeless shelter than a bike touring tent substitute..

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    Too much conventional thinking. Of course a trailer is not a pannier touring set up. But none of the objections stated are any more convincing than they would be if one was comparing a sports car to a truck and trailer combo. There are many disadvantages to towing an RV. I don't own one, but I have a 30 foot trimaran trailer, and it is not at all the same kind of experience as riding in a sports car. But there are a ton of people who enjoy it.

    There are only really two questions to be considered. What would a trailer allow you to do that panniers etc... would not. Another is can it be done.

    While I take a very light approach to touring, I think it is fair to ask "Why?" Is it always advantageous to do 80+ miles a day? There are situations where slower would be better. One of the problems with fast, is that one needs a big route, and then you need to return from maybe a thousand miles. While the scenario I outlined above did not make sense, it could work for a semi urban tour, where camping is hard to come by. Someone mentioned the walmart option. In toronto you could tour the whole town, with lots of stops, and stops at walmart for camping, or do the night and day thing. If the trailer could be made for 60 pounds (one in video), which I think is a high number. Then you drop a bunch of weight based on racks panniers, tents, sleeping bag, stuff sacs, etc... You are not coming out even, but you would be OK.

    We have trailerred 120 in our kid carrier, and it is a tug, but my 98 pound wife can do it. So it is feasible.

    Another option that would make sense would be winter travel. This could be winter in the south where it is cold, but not so bad, right on up to Canada. Some germans crossed canada in the winter, and they camped in tents much of the way. A box would be a lot more comfortable. It is windproof. It could be ventilated, while a tent just keeps building up frost. I wouldn't want to do the real winter stuff, but someone probably does. Same probably goes for rainy places. Your gear could stay absolutely dry, and you can arrange ventilation with fan ports or dorados.

    There is also possibly a napping kids possibility, in the right time and place.

    There is a ballistic shelter type deal. No I am not scared of wild animals, some people are. areas with lions, wolves, wild dogs, or truly extreme weather, may call for something more than 1.6 ripstop, or some of the people currently staying at home may think so. That is probably going to run a little more weight, could be worth it for a slow tour somewhere with really large teeth.

    Is it doable, yeah. I think the weight and wind resistance can be engineered.

    Another reason to do it is the challenge. This has been tried almost as long as there have been bikes. Eventually someone will come up with something that really works. I think the Youtube trailer is real close.
    Last edited by MassiveD; 10-08-12 at 01:12 PM.

  12. #12
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Top of the page, that seems more like a homeless shelter than a bike touring tent substitute..
    This thread smells similar to the recent tandem one

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    power available from a pair if legs is challenged to put out enough to light a 100w bulb
    let alone try to tow a third of a ton.. up any slope.

  14. #14
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by batrike View Post
    I went bicycle camping this year for the first time,i bought a trailer put all my stuff and spent a week at a campsite and since then i cant stop thinking about it.I learned my lesson off being out of shape and not training for it but i want to do it again next year,so i have been looking for ideas maybe an electric motor for the trailer to assist or a bicycle camper.
    I read about the the kamp rite midget but don't like the 4 wheels and not to much storage space and the $800+ price tag(not that many good reviews either) and i have found a lot of interesting designs on the internet of DIY type.So i came across a design for a homeless mobile shelter and thought if i can put wheels on that that could be great.I really don't know because it took a lot of me with a 35 pound trailer and +80 of gear,i have this idea in my head and i just cant shake it out so just give your 2 cents worth of common sense and tell me i am not crazy for considering this.

    Pros: It would look cool.
    Cons:Heavy,wide,i dont know if it would pass the GW bridge and bicycle trails entrance have pylons to stop cars,did i say heavy.
    Here is the web site with the rest of the picturespe01.jpgpe07.jpgpe16.jpg
    http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/8/view/9562/mobile-homeless-shelter.htmltntt.com-teardrop-minidaylight2.web.jpgelectric-camper-bike.jpgkevincyr.net-tiny-bike-camper-trailer.web.jpgchuckwagon-w44.de-Gunter-Lorenz.jpg
    There was a guy in Texas a few years ago who was building tadpole trikes with small gas engines (Honda) or electric motors as options.

    With something like that, you could customize the seat to fold back and convert into a cot, on one side of the rear wheel and engine.

    A carbon fiber fairing or light plywood shell could be added. Or you could use a removable (sturdy) fabric.

    Learning to cut back on weight while maintaining good comfort levels is a good approach. See ultralight threads and the links in them.

  15. #15
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    Some older attempts
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    If this is a thread about a power assisted 700 pound trailer, that isn't even really on topic. This is human powered site. I don't conceptually see anything wrong with one of the heavier end trailers, like the burning man or hobo types, being slowed to a snails pace in fine weather is not what anyone around here has in mind. But there are situations where it might make sense. But if it isn't human powered, then it is another forum, ATMO. You also have to be very careful. You would be way over the limit for a lot of components. You are going to start to need trailer brakes, and real serious brakes on the bike. It just ends up not being a bike bin kind of project, something more in the range of a scooter, and even then I don't think they are designed around that kind of load.

  17. #17
    Warning:Annoying to jerks RaleighSport's Avatar
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    HTFU j/k.
    “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”


    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

  18. #18
    eternalvoyage
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    Another idea is using a fabric like Spectra or a bulletproof aramid, which would have weight and foldability/stowability advantages over rigid materials, while still offering better protection than something like ripstop. Ursacks are very creature resistant.

    Something collapsible like this could be adapted to a trailer design. It could even have a rigid nosecone if desired. But some of these ultrastrong fabrics might be effective enough by themselves.

  19. #19
    eternalvoyage
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    You might consider also the approach of minimizing weight and complications, and finding agreeable approaches to upping your fitness level. I think you will be happier with the outcome. Touring doesn't have to be exhausting, and you don't need to rely on motor assistance.

    Durianrider has some good ideas and approaches for fitness, and many entertaining videos, as well as other resources.
    Last edited by Niles H.; 10-08-12 at 01:54 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
    If this is a thread about a power assisted 700 pound trailer, that isn't even really on topic. This is human powered site.powered, then it is another forum.
    Sorry if i put this in the wroung forum becaus of the electric motor,i just thougt of the touring part,but the 700 pounds,200 are mine,100 pound battery becaus there sla there are other lighter but expensive out there,225 pound trailer thats the one in the pic,aluminum frame plastic sheeting could work lets take off another 100 pounds.So lets round it up to 200 to 250 with gear,food,ect. it sound more realistic then.
    If anybody else have any other ideas or substitution thank you.

  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Seems E-Bikes have a range of about 30 maybe 40 miles , add a load and it will be less ..
    so, consider trips of 15 miles a day between battery charges.

    many counties are bigger than that. , some metropolitan areas
    you may take 2 days to get out of town.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    A trailer as described would be an anchor in a lot of ways. Try putting that setup on a bus, train, or plane.

  23. #23
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    About the time you get to a REAL hill you'll be thinking how nice it would be to have panniers and a tent.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  24. #24
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batrike View Post
    I understand that some of you have reason as to why complicate something so simple as a pannier or trailer and if you want the comforts of home just get a motorcycle and trailer and why spend money on something that is going to make you slower and a bigger target on the road maybe is not what you like,in my case i do see myself going along this way.Less just say put a 400w motor with gear reduction 2 x12v 100 ah battery even a 40w solar panel,before you ask were to charge i have a small 20 pound 800w generator.I did a simulator in ebikes.ca i put 772pounds on 26" wheels and it said 82 miles lets trow hills and wind and cut it to half that 40mph that's not a bad number.
    I just want to see how feasible would it be,i will probably only use it 3 or 4 times a year but who knows what lies in the future.

    Another pros is your in a city or small town park on a street no hassle,or if its raining,one of my concerns was every time i went in a store was my stuff going to be out there when i came back out.
    Trailer 225 pounds
    battery 100 pounds
    gear let's say 100
    i am 200 pounds
    lets round it up to 700 that's a lot a weight.
    My entire multi-month touring luggage setup weighs about the same as your "small" 20 pound generator that you want to have in order to assist dragging the rest of that stuff around.

  25. #25
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post

    but I asked 'why are the bags all sewn and so not dry/watertight
    My Carradice cotton duck panniers are sewn, and both dry and watertight. Ive never had a drop of water get inside through 13 counties, including 2 monsoons and 1 typhoon.

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