BY: ZOE MELNYK
A number of modern nomads are taking minimalist living one step further past the van life and are instead slowly converting to the new idea of bike campers.
Bike campers allow travellers to venture anywhere they physically can while having a miniature camper trailing behind. The growing popularity comes from the simplicity behind the design and the low maintenance cost in comparison to living in a van. Bike campers also allow for greater accessibility, while eliminating the issue of paid parking.
Paul W. Elkins, known for his innovative vehicle designs, created his own personal bike camper to take to the week long Burning Man festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
Elkins’ bike camper comes equipped with a compact kitchen, a table, a ventilation system, and a folding bed complete with a small bubble window that allows some extra headroom and the opportunity to star gaze.
Bike campers are healthy and sustainable.
The bike camper relies solely on reusable resources with a solar power oven, solar water heating system, a wind turbine and solar lights.
The camper itself can withstand most weather conditions including rain and winds, only adding 100 pounds for Elkins to pull.
After the success of Elkins’ bike camper spread, travellers began to create new innovative designs expanding on the idea of biking with a camper.
Some ideas focused on the comfort and space provided by the camper. The Taku Tanku is a Japanese designed inflatable home made out of water tanks with enough space to sleep two to three people while also remaining light enough to be pulled by a bicycle.
Other ideas focus on the compact-ability of the camper. Some designs have converted the camper into pop up tents to optimize the amount of space and also decrease the weight being pulled by the biker.
The Bike Tire Pop-Up Tent is actually designed with the inflatable tent built into the front wheel of the bicycle, making it the most compact bike camper design.
Nomads are quickly becoming intrigued with the bike camper lifestyle since it eliminates the complications that come from travelling in a van.
Navigating in a bike camper also means not having to worry about the cost of fuel, constant break down and repairs, or dealing with insurance. Travellers are free to roam down the beaten path without the physical or financial restraints of a motorized vehicle.
They can be extremely spacious too. Kevin Cyr designed this bike camper.
Of course, traveling via bike camper comes with its own set of complications and setbacks.
Trekking through mountains and with high winds on a bicycle with a camper attached may prove to be an impossible physical task for some. For those who are physically able, traveling far distances will require specific planning and strategic light packing.
Most bike campers are currently being used for short distances and brief vacations, but with people looking to innovate and pursue new forms of adventure, there are endless possibilities for the industry to grow.