If you ride a bike regularly, you probably understand the "awesome" part. An e-bike trailer is a halfway solution between bikepacking or traditional camping and owning a full-size RV, an addition to your e-bike that can extend your stay in the middle of nature by at least one night. Depending on how you define comfort when camping, you could even go longer.
Like a regular RV you tow by car, a mini-trailer for a bicycle provides a compact habitat with all the basics, so you can get out of the city – and stay there longer. Unlike a regular RV, an e-bike trailer is usually priced incredibly high. Luckily, we still have plenty of DIY (do it yourself) units to inspire and motivate us.
Velocamper, which he calls "the slightly smaller caravan," is that something. It's a lightweight and durable trailer that weighs under 90 kg (198.5 lbs) when fully loaded, made of composite sandwich hard foam EPS and XPS panels, insulated, and finished as a surprisingly elegant interior with diamond quilt fabric.
It rides on 16-inch rims with integrated drum brakes and Schwalbe tires and is hooked to the seatpost with a DIY drawbar that integrates an overrun brake. Wetzel explains that he chose this type of drawbar over the traditional rear-wheel connection on considerations of stability and ease of use, ignoring the disadvantage of the complexity of building it himself or the absence of a rear rack on his bike.
He estimates he spent about €3,000 (approximately $3,200 at the current exchange rate) on the materials and 120 hours working on the camper in his garage, which is also his work shed. He never planned to sell it, but if he were to consider it, he imagines a standard unit would retail for at least €5,000 or €7,000 ($5,300 to $7,400). It would still be cheaper than what an e-bike trailer is asking right now, by the way.
Inside the Velocamper, there's a seven-zone comfort mattress and a storage area that doubles as mobile or makeshift galley in the sense that it holds a portable cooker, water canisters, foodstuffs, and plates. The walls offer additional storage options thanks to fabric pockets, and there's another compartment for storage under the bed, which can be accessed from within or from the outside.
Unlike other bike trailers we've covered in recent months, this one doesn't require any transforming or moving of items around to turn it into a bedroom. The bed is 0.80 by 2 meters (2.6 by 6.5 feet) and very comfortable, even for a heavier man like Wetzel.
The Velocamper was designed for year-round use, though Wetzel admits he'd never use it in really bad weather – mostly because he'd have to ride the bike in that same weather, too. For colder nights, he put in a mini electric heater that requires shore power to run, but he says that the insulation is enough to create a comfortable space inside once you shut the door and the windows.
If you have a space to work out of, some basic tools, and the patience and skill to carry through an extensive project, the Velocamper is happy to serve as inspiration.