The Wacky World of Bike Trailer Tents Part 1

Written on April 16, 2008 by Josh Lipton in Bike Cargo Trailers

"As I scrape the edges of the internet for all things related to bike trailers I've come across a surprising variety of bicycle trailers with tents built into them. The amount of design that has been put into these towable shelters is at the same time impressive and a bit odd.

When it comes to tents and bike trailers it would seem to me that the simple, obvious solution is to just bring along one of the numerous lightweight backpacking tents. That being said let's humor these interesting setups with the spirit of invention.

The first trailer I'll mention actually does seem to have some well thought out function for it's intended user.

This bike trailer designed by Tony Hoar of Tony's Trailer has been developed specifically as a shelter solution for homeless. This trailer unit converts from a large capacity bike trailer to an elevated tent in minutes. In it's bike trailer mode, the trailer has a large cargo area with side rails that keep items contained within. For conversion to tent use, the cargo area of the trailer flips backward doubling its length into a raised platform. The siderails function as legs of the extended base. A built in tent erects around the platform in minutes. What emerges is a platform that is off the ground and shielded from weather.

It seems like a great solution though its implementation among the homeless will likely be difficult unless the price could be brought down to a few hundred dollars.

While such a trailer could be helpful if it was affordable, it seems that looking into just making basic low cost trailer option might be a better starting point in terms of enabling bicycles to become better transportation tools for the economically disadvantaged. I discuss the Idea of a lower priced bike trailer as well as show plans for do it yourself bike trailer designs."


   Tony's Response to Josh's Article:

Thanks for the kind words.

It actually started out for cyclists but it was soon apparent that it would work for the homeless,

Ten were built and donated (via my private charity)over a period of two years with interesting results. It did however really help the homeless.

If you go to my website cargo section you will see the BinPicker in its test program. This was developed for the street people who didn't need the tent trailer. It works very well as also does the Flat Deck.

A group in Victoria which includes U-Vic, Compassion Victoria and VIPERG are putting together a program to put a fleet of 10 tent trailers on the streets as part of a research project to evaluate the impact on the Binner's lives of this type of shelter/tool. We will also be trying to get the Binners better access to the recyclables

The use of a good trailer increases the Binner's revenues and some are in the process of buying trailers on my local microcredit scheme at reduced prices. Interesting times as someone once said!

A recycling project in Duncan, Cowichan Recyclists are running a commercial human powered program using BinPicker trailers. This will be expanded soon. to include compost pick-up."

- Tony Hoar.