Bikepacking is a great way to explore the great outdoors and using an e-bike makes things even more accessible, taking the sweat out of cycling up hills and allowing you to finish the day feeling fresh. But what if you don't fancy spending your nights under canvas? What if you like the idea of roaming the country on your bike, but miss your creature comforts at the end of the day?
That's where the weird world of e-bike caravans comes in. These tiny trailers are small and light enough to be towed by a standard pedelec, but provide you with a full set of home amenities. Whether you've finished your ride longing for a heated bedroom, a proper shower, a home-cooked meal or just the dignity of an actual toilet, these tiny trailers have you covered.
The dinky Hupi Carriage is the creation of Finnish designer Urpo 'Upi' Merranmaa, who was given an e-bike as a gift and loved the sound of exploring his beautiful home country, but wasn't so keen on the thought of camping in a forest. To solve this problem, Merranmaa created a perfect little caravan for his new steed, which weighs just 65-70kg without accessories.
The Hupi Wagon provides a comfy sleeping space for one, and is equipped with a solar panel that powers a mini fridge in the dinette, interior and exterior lights, and even a TV. For an extra fee you can add extra panels and batteries, cabinets, a portable gas stove, and even curtains and rails. It's all terribly civilized.
Of course, hitching this tiny home to your bike will reduce its range significantly, but you can also use the solar panel to juice up its battery while you take a break.
Each Hupi Carriage is handmade, with a price tag to mach. The base spec model is €5,990 (about $6,600) without the extra luxuries, but just think of all the money you're saving on cabins and hostels.
Yes, you're seeing that correctly – this tiny caravan rolls along balanced on a pair of bicycle wheels. Made in France, the TinyVroum CapsulBike is a super lightweight little e-bike trailer made to keep you warm even in the depths of winter. The body of the caravan features a memory-foam sleeping pad and a heated sleeping bag to keep you snug all night during multi-day adventures. If you're travelling with kids, there's an optional rooftop tent for them, too.
Like the Hupi Carriage, the CapsulBike furnishes you with interior and exterior lighting, a mini fridge, and a little camping kitchen. This e-bike caravan also provides a rainwater recovery and filtration system, a solar camping shower, and even a fold-out toilet. It uses bags rather than a flush, but that's a significant step up from digging a cathole. Just make sure you take everything away at the end and dispose of it properly.
Again, these mini caravans are hand-built to order. They start at €3,900 (about $4,100) plus delivery from France (contact TinyVroum for a quote).
Woodenwidget is a French company that designs compact caravans using traditional boat-building principles, and the petite Foldavan is its tiniest trailer. If you want to start your bikepacking journey somewhere other than your front door, this is the caravan for you, folding down flat to fit on your car roof.
The real draw here, though, is that you don't need to pay for shipping from France – or anywhere else. Rather than selling fully made trailers, Woodenwidget will provide you with the plans to build your own Foldavan using basic tools, even if you've never tried your hand at carpentry or sewing before. It's MYOG on a grand scale.
The luxuriousness of the end product is entirely up to you. You could simply use it as an alternative to a tent, or add a full camping kitchen and solar panels to replicate the functionality of fancier wagons.
The plans cost just €60 (about $65). For more info, contact boatbuilder Benjy at Woodenwidget and he'll be happy to help. He'll even plant five trees on your behalf when you buy the plans. What a guy.
Why carry your home on your back, when you can carry it on your bike? That's the philosophy behind the B-Turtle from German firm GentleTent, which is described as a bike trailer with a micro-caravan.
In 'turtle mode' the micro-caravan (basically a pop-up tent attachment) is packed down inside the trailer, which also has enough space for essentials like cooking equipment, your cooler, sleeping bag, plus as many luxuries as you like. When it's time to stop riding, the tent expands into 'camping mode' to provide sleeping space for two on a reclining platform (no worries about rocks in your back) with three closeable windows fitted with mosquito netting, and a generously sized awning.
The whole package weighs just 30kg, and the folks and GentleTent says you could even get it onto some trains if you do your research first. It costs €3,499 (about $3,700) and shipping is free within Europe.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.