DIY Solar-Powered Bike Camper Has Unlimited Range, Drop-Down Tent

It’s the little things that matter in life, we often hear – and probably don’t believe most of these times. This solar bike camper that’s a complete DIY project on a budget is proof that when it comes to wanderlust, you really can go the “simpler is better” route.


24 photos

Photo: YouTube/Far Beyond Ordinary (Composite)

The conversation around vanlife and all possible variations of it has continued in recent years. It’s not hard to see why: modern man feels stressed, overwhelmed, unhappy, stuck, and stuck in a rut, and vanlife is proposed as a kind of miraculous escape from all that, while maintaining a livelihood.

In an ideal world and forward social media, the modern modern lifestyle is a sum of solutions for most modern problems and ailments, providing meaningful experiences, affordable housing, reduced costs, a reduced carbon footprint, and even monetization opportunities to all who they dare to try. Although we are all adults who know better than to believe everything we see on the ‘Gram, the attraction of this dream is irresistible, made a little less by the prohibitive prices.

There’s always the DIY (do it yourself) route, of course. Today’s example is very good in this sense, providing an alternative to all those super-expensive ones e-bike campers and trailers that have started to pop up.

The DIY camper trike has unlimited range thanks to the solar panels mounted on the roof

Photo: YouTube/Far Beyond Ordinary

At the base of this project is a motor-assisted recumbent tricycle, also built from the ground up. Dan from Far Beyond Ordinary describes himself as a modern nomad with a fixed base in Wisconsin and an inventory that believes electric vehicles are the future. He usually travels in a self-converted van, but for shorter trips, he favors smaller vehicles like the one we’re looking at today.

Inspired by European velomobiles, which are essentially closed tricycles with or without engine assistance, this bike camper has been more than a year in the making. Dan started building it at the end of 2021 and was done with it in the fall of 2022. He kept tinkering as he took it before settling on it the most. suitable configuration.

In the summer of 2023, Dan took the solar-powered bike camper on a 400-mile (644 km) adventure that confirmed it was the ideal small scale. EV for adventurers looking to taste a bit of that wanderlust on a budget, with a certain degree of comfort, and unlimited range.

The DIY camper trike has unlimited range thanks to the solar panels mounted on the roof

Photo: YouTube/Far Beyond Ordinary

This was actually Dan’s fourth build up of the type, and later said that it was neither the lightest nor the fastest of the bunch. This would be his second velomobile, which was so light that it could hit 20 mph (32 kph) without engine assistance and without effort, but which unfortunately had a range of only 30 miles (48 km) per charge.

This does not know this type of limitation, although it is much slower. That’s because it’s longer, more angular and heavier than its predecessor and also because it has four flexible solar panels on the roof. They have a total of 600W and feed the motor in the middle with the help of a 30ah 24V battery mounted inside, on the back wall of the camper construction section. On completely clear days, with the battery alone, the bike has a range of 25 to 30 miles (40 to 48 km).

To help the engine, Dan opted for a two-speed sprocket on the front wheels and a six-speed derailleur on the back. The vehicle comes with a tail light with brake lights, a front headlight, strobe lights on the panels (front and back), a loud horn and a windshield to protect Dan from the elements.

The DIY camper trike has unlimited range thanks to the solar panels mounted on the roof

Photo: YouTube/Far Beyond Ordinary

With the problem of range anxiety more or less solved, this bike camper also takes care of others needs of digital nomads. It offers USB ports for devices, a mobile phone holder, and above all, a comfortable sleeping quarter through a drop-down tent hidden on one side of the lightweight shell.

Dan shows the setup in the video tour below: once the camper is parked and the cover goes up over the cab to protect it from the elements and prying eyes, you raise the side with the built-in tent and get to work. More like a regular tent, you have poles and ropes that you have to secure to make the structure stable. Since the construction is coroplast, you need all the security you can get to keep the shelter from getting lost in the wind.

You could argue that the difference between this camper and bikepacking isn’t significant since you’re still sleeping on the ground. You’re right, you still sleep on the ground, but the rear camper section offers enough storage space to carry all your gear and provisions, an air mattress, and more comfort than you’d get with anything you could pack in. your bag. accommodation for the night.

The DIY camper trike has unlimited range thanks to the solar panels mounted on the roof

Photo: YouTube/Far Beyond Ordinary

As a mobile shelter or a mobile home, this bike camper blades compared to larger constructions or even products designed specifically for e-bikes. But it is cheaper than all of these, and costs practically nothing to run while also covering the basic needs of an adventurer, as long as it is not too demanding for accommodation.

More importantly, driving a bike camper like this comes with a sense of pride that you probably won’t get with something you buy from an established company: the pride and joy of knowing that this is it. something you did. Dan’s smile when he speaks really speaks louder than any words that come out of his mouth.

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