A blue work tricycle (single front wheel with platform between two rear wheels) sits on an asphalt path with trees and wildflowers in the background. A boxy, white camper with a front overhanging the bike seat is attached to the platform. It has a yellow stripe and curtains like many campers did in the 1970s. One white male is exiting the door of the camper while his brother is standing to the left of the camper by the bike seat.

Bike Camper With Retro Flair

As we’re approaching summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, thoughts naturally turn toward road trips. While most people do this in their car, the [Dangie Bros] built a 500 lb bike camper for their own take on the great American Road Trip.

Taking a maximalist approach not seen in most bike campers, this behemoth has a working sink, propane stove, seating area, and an upstairs sleeping area. A small window in the front of the camper opens to let the passenger inside converse with the person pedaling, and a solar panel charges a small battery for lights and a roof fan.

While the camper is very ’70s retro-chic, its lack of assist (other than the passenger getting out to push) meant that on the second day of their road trip they resorted to towing the camper behind a second bike in a pseudo-tandem arrangement. The fold out bed takes some design cues from RVs, but clearly needed more reinforcement since it collapsed partway through the night. With an e-assist and some refinements, this could be comfortable (albeit slow) way to go bike glamping.

If you’d like to try your own hand at a bike camper but do it more aerodynamically and attached to an assisted bike, checkout this teardrop trailer or this bike camper.

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Electric Volkswagen Adds Rooftop Solar

Volkswagen has continually teased the release of a new Microbus in the same way that Duke Nukem Forever strung us all along in the 00s, but unlike the fated video game it seems as though Volkswagen is finally building a hip new van rather than continually teasing its release year after year. With the clunky name of I.D. Buzz, European drivers can expect to see them later this year while those in the North American market will have to wait until 2024. That release will have a camper-equipped option though, but you may also want to equip yours with some solar panels as well.

The German tuning shop ABT is behind this design, which adds 600 watts of solar fixed to the top of the van. The solar roof will generate electricity largely to power the van’s auxiliary systems and is being aimed at those who are looking to outfit this van as a camper and need something to power things like refrigerators, interior lighting, and various electronics while on extended stays. There is also some mention of a 1000 watt option but with the limited space available on the roof may involve a side panel of some sort.

ABT is also noting that this system can be used to extend the driving range and, while technically true, don’t expect to be driving an I.D. Buzz on entirely solar power unless you’re willing to let it sit to charge the battery for days at a time. Like other solar installations on vehicles we’ve seen from various ingenious builders, the lack of real estate available on passenger vehicles limits their use largely to auxiliary electrical loads, but it can be possible to drive a vehicle on solar energy alone with the right design.

Revamping The Camping Trailer With More Power

Pulling a trailer behind your bike has an aspect of freedom and exploration to it. However, the reality is that pulling a large, heavy box behind your bike is incredibly draining physically. So [Drew] returned to the drawing board for his bike camper and added a motor, making some tweaks along the way.

We covered his first attempt at a bike trailer; this¬†update encompasses everything he mentioned as future improvements. First, he strengthened the axle, and the trailer mount bolted straight into the chainstay arm for added strength. Then he built a custom battery pack out of 18650 cells clocked in at just under 3kw. Next, he installed a hub motor kit into the bike’s back wheel. Finally, a flexible 100W PV solar panel was added to the roof and routed to a small battery bank inside that provides USB and a few AC outlets for laptops and phones while camping. [Drew] does note that he could charge the big e-bike battery with the smaller bank, but since the e-bike battery is much larger than the small one, it would take a few cycles.

[Drew] takes a journey to a music festival and is happy to report better stability and the battery having fantastic range even without him pedaling. We love seeing a good project revisited, and we hope [Drew] gets some good use out of his camper. Video after the break.

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Camping For $25: Thrift Store Hacks To Keep Cozy

A hacker is somebody who’s always thinking creatively to solve problems, usually using what they have on hand. Sometimes that means using a 555 to build a CPU, and other times it means using a dead flashlight to start a fire. In the video below the break, [Kelly] shows us a series of hacks you can use while camping in the woods for a night to keep you warm, dry, and well fed!

[Kelly] started his camping trip not in the woods, but rather at a local thrift store. Instead of packing along hundreds of dollars in gear, his aim was to keep costs low. Very low. With some searching he was able to find a blanket, cooking utensils, rope, knife, tarp, and several other camp necessities for just $25.

A good campfire is a necessity of course, and [Kelly]’s full of great ways to start a fire even if all you have is a lighter with no butane or an old flashlight with dead batteries. The purpose of the video is to show how anyone can get their bush craft on even when all they have is a few dollars and a little know-how, which he generously shares. And after watching, we’re sure you’ll agree that he met his mark.

Will you raid the local second hand store before your next camping trip? After seeing this video, you just might! And while you’re there, make sure to grab the things you’ll need to make your own camping-friendly French press so you have some good coffee while you’re out camping in your… uh… Corolla?

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Jet burner and close-up

$7 Tent Heater Provides Comfort On A Budget

At Hackaday’s Minnesota office, we appreciate central heat and hot coffee because the outdoor temperature is sub-zero in Celsius and Fahrenheit. Not everyone here has such amenities, and families living in tents could use heater help. If you live somewhere inhospitably cold and have the resources (time being the most crucial), please consider building and donating alcohol jet burners.

Alcohol burners like these are great for tents because if they tip over, they self-extinguish. You can fill them with 70% rubbing alcohol and they’ll heat a small space, and if running on denatured alcohol, they can be used to cook with. They won’t do you much good outdoors unless you have significant wind protection, as the tiny jet is likely to blow out. The first time you light one, you must heat the coil with a lighter or another heater to vaporize incoming fuel, then it can sustain itself by wicking fluid up from the reservoir jar. Relighting after a tip or accidental gust only takes a spark since the copper is already hot.

If you came for a hack, note how they fill the small tubes with salt funneled through a condiment cap before bending them. Sure, there are springy pipe bending tools, but who doesn’t already have salt and tape? Keeping humans warm is crucial, but heating metal takes a different approach.

Thank you for the tip, [cyberlass]

An Atari ST running a campground reservation system

Atari ST Still Manages Campground Reservations After 36 Years

“Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke”. That’s what we guess [Frans Bos] has been thinking for the past few decades, as he kept using his Atari ST to run a booking system for the family campground. (Video, embedded below.)

Although its case has yellowed a bit, the trusty old machine is still running 24/7 from April to October, as it has done every year since 1985. In the video [Frans] demonstrates the computer and its custom campground booking system to [Victor Bart].

To be exact, we’re looking at an Atari 1040STF, which runs on a 68000 CPU and has one full megabyte of RAM: in fact it was one of the first affordable machines with that much memory. Output is through a monochrome display, which is tiny compared to the modern TFT standing next to it, but was apparently much better than the monitor included with a typical DOS machine back in the day.

Since no campground management software was available when he bought the computer, [Frans] wrote his own, complete with a graphical map showing the location of each campsite. Reservations can be made, modified and printed with just a few keystrokes. The only concession to the modern world is the addition of a USB drive; we can imagine it was becoming difficult to store and exchange data using floppy disks in 2021.

We love seeing ancient hardware being actively used in the modern world: whether it’s floppy disks inside a Boeing 747 or an Amiga running a school’s HVAC system. Thanks to [Tinkerer] for the tip.

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Mobile Sauna For On-The-Go Relaxation

While it might be nice to imagine owning a cabin in the woods to escape from society, complete with an outdoor sauna to take in the scenic views of nature, most of us will be satisfied with the occasional vacation to a cabin like that. For those trips, or even for long-term camping trips, [Schitzu] and a group of friends thought it would be nice to be able to ensure access to a sauna. For that, they created this mobile, timber-framed sauna that he can tow behind his car.

The sauna is built out of a combination of spruce and Douglas fir, two types of lumber with weather-resistant properties. For an additional layer of protection, the frame was varnished after assembly. The walls are filled with baked cork for insulation, and heat is provided by a small wood-fired oven placed in the corner of the sauna with a stove pipe plumbed through the roof. Performance of the sauna shows good design too, as it can heat up quickly and performs well in all of the tests so far. The final touch on the mobile sauna was to finish the roof with some solar panels in order to gather some energy for long-term camping trips and also to ensure that the roof was protected from rain and weather.

The sauna is designed for two adults to sit in, but it will also accommodate a single person to lay down and sleep (presumably when not using it as a sauna), so the entire trailer actually makes a fairly capable mobile camper too. With the addition of a panoramic window, anyone can take in the sights as well as someone with their own permanently-located sauna could, which is a win in all of our books. If you’re looking for a mobile sauna that’s a little more discrete though, be sure to check out this one which is built in the back of a white panel van.