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Man Builds a Bicycle Camper for $150 Out of Campaign Signs

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Man Builds a Bicycle Camper for 0 Out of Campaign Signs


Paul Elkins is tinkerer/inventor who has built a number of micro-campers, peddle-powered vehicles, boats, and more. One of his most clever creations is this bike trailer micro-camper/micro-home made almost entirely of plastic campaign signs and zip-ties.

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bikeHouse_2The camper is almost entirely made of coroplast, that corrugated plastic material used in those endless “Vote for Pedro” yard signs we see littering our visual environment during political campaign seasons. The only wood used in the camper was a very light wooden frame for the bottom. The bottom of the camper itself is coroplast but the outer frame and cross bracing are 1″ x 2″ pine. All of this was done to keep the weight of the camper as low as possible.

bikeHouse_8Here Paul explains the framing:

For the frame, I used six 1″x2″ pine boards purchased for under a buck apiece. The cheap electrical plate wheel supports were not my idea, but borrowed and modified from a trailer design I saw on the internet. Thanks to the person who thought of this! The front wheel weighs 3.5 pounds and the rear wheel 4.5 pounds. The wheels and frame together weigh 18 pounds at a total cost of under $40.

bikeHouse_3Paul was going for an Airstream trailer look on his camper, so he cut coroplast panels for the nose of the trailer to create that classic Airstream shape. All of the joins in the camper are done by simply awling holes in the coroplast, using zip-ties to join the panels, and then covering the seams with duct tape. The result is a surprisingly lightweight, sturdy, and waterproof structure.



The skylight or upper vent is a recycled gallon bucket. Ample calking was added around the edges. A Plexiglas window was added to the lid. For keeping cool another lid can be added that has bug screen instead of Plexiglas.

Silver bubble insulation was added to the inside to keep in heat during the winter. Vents, windows, and the skylight provide air circulation and cooling during the summer.

bikeHouse_6To the left is a sink (made from a bread pan) and a glass water reservoir to feed it. Above are food storage shelves, all made from coroplast. To the right is a stove (a propane camping stove that slots into a hole) and a food prep area. Beyond that are plastic bins to store clothing, etc.


All total, the build cost around $150 and the vehicle weights in at under 45 pounds. Paul has more details about the build on his website and he also sells a 64-page set of plans if you want to build one of these yourself.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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