5 Best Bike Campers in the USA

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People are starting to learn about bike campers in the USA. Yet, in Europe, these micro campers have been around for years. In the “Land of Motors,” our growing population of cyclists who don’t own a car are learning that they can enjoy the RV lifestyle. Using a bike camper in American cities and trails throughout our country allows them to see and do more.

In this discussion, we’ll show you some of the best bike campers that are available in the USA that you can purchase. Some are DIY bike camper trailers you can build yourself, and others come ready-made. Since the bicycle camper is still a new concept in the U.S., you’ll discover what they are and the realities of towing one with your pedal and e-bike.

What’s a Bike Camper?

What is a Bike Camper

Bike campers are one or two-person dry mobile shelters that connect to pedal or electric bicycles. These campers may have small batteries for lighting or charging mobile devices. Their key advantages are that they are a step or two above a tent, have storage, and give you some creature comforts.

As you explore the many bike camper designs, you’ll see that they come in three primary shapes. Many European companies make them either a fat-tire teardrop bike camper form or a half-circle. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and some manufacturers use a rectangular box with a rounded roof that looks like a neighborhood mailbox. 

The key to a bike camper build is to make them the most ultra-lite travel trailer on the planet. Pre-built bike camper frames generally use wood, but some manufacturers use aluminum tubing. Exterior camper shells can be canvas, fluted plastic, a hard shell polymer, or nylon. Mattresses for the sleeping space use moisture-resistant foam.

5 Best Bike Campers in the USA

The majority of bike camper manufacturers exist in Europe. Bike trailers in the U.S. mainly exist as small versions for cargo, children, or pets. However, bike campers in America are finding their place both in the DIY and prefab sectors. If you’re interested in paving the way into this exciting new way of #BikeLife, here are some bike campers in America you can choose.

1. Wooden Widget Foldavan – Best DIY Bike Camper Plan

  • Length: 7.10 ft.
  • Height: 4.11 ft. 
  • Open Width: 3.9 ft. 
  • Closed Width: 2.5 ft 
  • UVW: 66.14 lbs.
  • CCC: 165 lbs.
  • GVWR: 440 lbs 
  • Sleep: 1-2

Wooden Widget is a french company that sells blueprints around the world. The owner, Benjy, started as a boat builder using locally sourced materials. He expanded into many other sectors, including bikes and the Foldavan folding bicycle caravan (the European word for a travel trailer). 

When you buy this DIY bike camper plan, it comes with a guide on using the standard tools, epoxies, and everything else you’ll need to build the micro bike camper trailer. Benjy designed the Foldavan, so anyone at any skill level can create one themselves. Wooden Widget will also plant five trees for every purchase customers make.

As you see in the video, the example bike camper uses a white outer material, but the other two-person sleeper used a piece of green patterned fabric for the roof instead. Since the Foldavan folds up, you may want to have your traveling companion use a cargo bike trailer for your essential accessories and supplies.

2. Wide Path Bicycle Camper – Most like a Camper Trailer

Wide Path Camper Exterior is one of the best bike campers in the USA
Wide Path Camper Interior photo is one of the best bike campers in America
  • Folded Length: 4.89 ft.
  • Open Length: 9.35 ft.
  • Height: 5.74 ft.
  • Width: 3.18 ft.
  • UVW: 88 lbs.
  • CCC: 10.59 cu.ft.
  • GVWR: 120 lbs.
  • Sleep: 1-2

You may have read about this manufactured bike camper before. The Wide Path Camper Model 3 has had a lot of coverage here in the U.S. This Denmark company was the first to export its bike camper in the American marketplace. It’s the most RV-like compared to its contemporaries and has bigger siblings towable by compact cars.

When you pivot down the bike camper’s shell, the interior living space gives you an incredible amount of room. Users can set up the dinette table inside our out. The folding cot inside can stretch out for dual sleeping or fold into a bench for two on one side of the four-person table. The standard mattress is 2-inches, but the luxury package adds an extra inch.

When you purchase the Wide Path Camper bike trailer, you can add the solar package, a fold-up panel that connects to a battery. Other accessories include an attachable awning, an outdoor furniture kit, and additional decor features with the luxury package.

3. Nomad Bike Camper – Inexpensive DIY Bike Camper

Nomad Bike Camper Exterior
Nomad Bike Camper Interior
  • Length: 6.5 ft.
  • Height:  4.2 ft.
  • Width:   3.2 ft.
  • UVW: 60 lbs.
  • CCC: 240+
  • GVWR: 300+
  • Sleep: 1

Paul Elkin’s Nomad Bike Camper is one of many ideas in his da Vinci Notebook sketchpad. The inspiration came from an emergency homeless shelter he saw, but he let his creative mind reimagine it. The Washington State resident used locally sourced, repurposed materials to take the design off the page, bringing the DIY bike camper into America’s bike paths.

The residential mailbox-shaped bike camper frame has a rounded top and front for aerodynamics. Elkin used 1×2 wood studs for the chassis and fluted plastic campaign signs as the outer shell. 

The near-weightless polypropylene plastic’s rigidity, UV resistance, and waterproof nature was the perfect building material for the bike camper’s shell. (also, it was free after election day). In addition, Elkin used zip ties to hold everything together, saving weight on hardware pieces.

Elkin insulated the bike camper with radiant sheeting and sealed it with duct tape. He made the most out of the fluted plastic by creating overhead cabinets and counters. Plastic bins added storage space throughout the bike trailer. He even installed a single burner propane stove using aluminum heat shields with a one-pound bottle.

Paul’s total cost to build his Nomad Bike Camper was $150, including the used $20 bike. He sells the 61-page bike camper PDF plans via PayPal for $20. The instructions include drawings, photos, and written instructions that walk you through the DIY bike camper build process. You’ll need basic hand tools, a drill, a conduit bender, a creative mind, and the will to see it through.

4. BikeStream RV – Bike Camper Built in the USA

  • Length: 6.5 ft.
  • Height: 4.2 ft.
  • Width: 3.2 ft.
  • UVW: 70 lbs.
  • CCC: 240+
  • GVWR: 300+
  • Sleep: 1

When Paul Elkins built his Nomad Bike Camper in 2015, he created his website to tell his story and share his various ideas with the world, including his DIY bike camper plans. That summer, the founders of BikeStream RV saw great potential in the design. Located in the “RV Capital of the World,” they made an exclusive agreement with Paul and invested six years on R & D.

Today, BikeStream RV has bike campers and cargo trailers that sell in several bike shops and outdoor stores in the greater Michiana area (Northeast Indiana and Southwest Michigan). 

Customers can customize the interiors, choose from 14 colors, and add their unique design to the exterior. For example, look how great maize and blue compliment each other on the bike camper video above!

If you’d like to take one of these $2,395 bike campers for a trial run, BikeStream RV leads three all-inclusive “hands-on” trips a year. Then, after the adventure, if you’ve fallen in love with your bike camper, they’ll deduct the cost of the journey from the purchase price of the bike trailer

5. Kamp-Rite Midget Bushtrekka – Super Lightweight Bicycle Camper Trailer

great lightweight bicycle camper in the USA
  • Open L x W x H: 30 x 32 x 6 inches 
  • Closed L x W x H: 90 x 32 x 40 inches  
  • UVW: 56 lbs.
  • CCC: 4.3 cu.ft.
  • GVWR: 250+
  • Sleep: 1

Kamp-Rite’s Midget Bushtrekka bicycle camper was a fantastic idea for on or off-road multi-day bike hiking. The tandem axle micro bike trailer looked like a high-sitting bike cargo trailer with a thicker top. When it was time to pull over for the night, users would set the four corner jacks down and unfold the 600-denier rip-resistant nylon tent.

Users could lift the expanded tent without collapsing it to access the storage bay if needed. Collapsing the tent the following day was a matter of pulling the aluminum poles towards the center of the bike camper. The weather wouldn’t be much of an issue since the nylon had a weather coating to enhance the moisture resistance.

You’ll find the Midget Bushtrekka bike camper listed on Amazon, but you won’t find it on Kamp-Rite’s website. It could have been due to poor sales performance or an issue with the axles. Yet, with the growing appeal of bike campers in America, we could see Kamp-Rite improve the design and release a new version. Meanwhile, you may find used Midget Bushtrekka’s online.  

How Much Weight Can You Pull With a Bicycle?

You’ll be surprised how much weight you can pull with a bicycle. Looking to the past, rickshaw bikes and street vendors with concession bicycles have populated city streets worldwide for decades. Using thicker frames similar to a mountain bike and all-terrain hybrid variants, the average person can tow around 300 pounds on a bicycle.

The average person in good physical shape could tow that much on level pavement on a calm day at 10 Miles Per Hour (mph). The same person can pull 600 pounds at eight mph at a strenuous level. 

Climbing a hill requires much more effort. A hill with a 2% grade requires three times the effort with 300 pounds. The same hill with 600 pounds requires 4.5 times as much physical power. Luckily, if you have a multi-speed gear system on your bike, the 18-22 inch gears will give you that low-end torque assistance you need. These gears will help you conquer those hills without deflating all of your energy.

Electric bikes and bike camper trailers pair well together. But, like their car and truck counterparts, the heavier the trailer, the less distance you’ll get from the battery on your e-bike. Learn more about this in RVBlogger’s June 2021 issue of RV Camping Magazine

It’s a good idea to upgrade your e-bike’s battery and have a spare on hand. If you’re on a multi-day adventure, have a solar generator with a portable solar panel in your bike camper to keep your batteries charged. 

The micro bike campers themselves have an Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW, a.k.a. “Dry Weight”) that ranges between 50- 150 pounds. Depending on the model and customizations, the Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) can be as little as 80 pounds or as much as 180 pounds. 

You could buy DIY bike camper plans and build them with repurposed materials for under $50. The other extreme is to order a manufactured model for around $5,000. 

How Do You Camp With a Bike Camper?

The outdoor experience with a bike camper has a lot in common with small teardrop trailers. Like the Little Guy MyPod for cars, you can’t stand up in a bike camper, but you can sit. The floor has a foam mattress that acts as your sitting and sleeping area. The sidewalls have storage space and surface areas. 

Unlike tiny teardrops, micro bike campers usually have space for one person. People have kept themselves occupied by installing Bluetooth speakers, lighting, and other ultra-low wattage components that use small power sources. You’ll even see a few people install a single burner propane stove with a removable one-pound bottle. 

What Do I Need for an Overnight Bike Camper Trip?

Best Bike camper in the US for an Overnight Bike Trip

To successfully use an enclosed bike camper, minimalism is the key. You don’t have to wear the same clothing for more than one day but micro bike campers are great for a weekend bike hike. You can balance your essential accessories by attaching your water bottles and mobile devices to your bike frame.

The other essential points are safety and security when heading out for your bike camping excursion. For example, you’ll want to place reflective signs and tape on the back and sides of your bike trailer so others can see you at night. 

As we stated above, you could keep a pace of 10 mph with 300 pounds, but most veteran cyclists will tell you that’s a slower pace, and rarely you’ll find a flat trail. So you’ll want to keep your Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW= UVW + CCC) as lightweight as possible. 

You’ll also find that some of these bike campers have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR, the total weight they can safely hold) under 400 pounds. Increasing the GVWR on DIY bike camper projects can be as simple as substituting chassis and frame components with stronger materials.

As the days get closer to the trip, keep an eye on the weather report. Bike camper shells can handle rain because of their round roofs, but you don’t want to get stuck in a storm. Also, make sure the route you’re taking allows overnight bike campers.

A big issue that’s given the traditional RV community a headache is the cities and counties cracking down on crime and homelessness. Camping in certain commercial parking lots, parks and other areas now forbids RVs from staying overnight. 

Some of these places require a permit to stay overnight. No one wants to be woken up at 3 a.m. because a law enforcement officer wants to know what you’re doing there.

Where Are the Best Places To Use a Bike Camper in the USA?

The best places to use a bike camper in the USA have some intersections with traditional RV categories. Many National Forests and other public land areas have bike trails like nothing you’ve ever seen. 

There are many apps and websites online that help bikepackers plan routes, find accommodations, and locate other resources along the way. For example, the Travel Channel lists the best bike trails in the U.S., like Denali National Park in Alaska, Oregon Timber Trail, and Virginia Mountain Bike Trail. 

No matter where you take your bike camper in America, make sure you prepare yourself properly and learn more about the camping lifestyle. RV Blogger has some great articles about camping safely and excellent tips no matter what type of rig you’re towing. Also, if you need some essential accessories camping gear, we have some great recommendations on our RVBlogger Amazon page we use ourselves.

So, enjoy your bike camper adventure; thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time!


Related Reading:

5 Best Portable Solar Generators for RV Life and Camping

35 Biggest RV Beginner Mistakes to Avoid!

20 Best Ways to Reduce RV Weight

25 Must-Have Campervan Accessories

RV Boondocking Beginner Tips and “How-To” Guide


About the Author:
Although he’s from Motown, Brian Newman is a legacy RVer that grew up on I-75. He, his wife, and two working-class fur-babies have enjoyed the full-time RV lifestyle since 2017.

Like John Madden, he hasn’t “worked” in years because he gets to write about his passion. When he’s not working, he supports his daughter’s dog rescue efforts and disability causes.

Brian Newman and dog

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4 thoughts on “5 Best Bike Campers in the USA”

  1. I have mountain bike trekked across Mojave Desert and mountain biked from Los Angeles California down to Anzo-Borreggio State Park and Aqua Caliente’ hot springs spa, about 500 miles.
    Older now and soon retiring. Hoping to aquire affordable, sustainable, small RV lifestyle for Creative Retirement.

    Reply
    • Hi Dwight!
      Thanks for sharing some of your adventures! I wish I was younger and able to bike for 500 miles!
      Hope you enjoy your retirement and the RV life!
      Mike

      Reply
  2. Great info for minimalist who would enjoy much affordable freedom and creative endeavors while exploring beautiful places.

    Reply

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