Feargus O'Sullivan is a contributing writer to CityLab, covering Europe. His writing focuses on housing, gentrification and social change, infrastructure, urban policy, and national cultures. He has previously contributed to The Guardian, The Times, The Financial Times, and Next City, among other publications.
Wide Path Campers make bike-camping more accessible (and comfortable).
Love camping but don’t like using a car to get into the great wide open? This can be a sticking point for those seeking a green, back-to-nature experience: Unless you are backpack-trekking with a bare-bones pup tent, getting all the camping paraphernalia you need for a comfortable trip into the wild can be nigh on impossible without burning gas. A Danish company has just come up with a plausible, neatly designed answer to this problem: a travel trailer light enough to haul behind a bike.
The Wide Path Camper could help reshape the future of camping. It weighs just 40 kilos (88 lbs.) unloaded, so pulling it behind your bike it may give you chunky calves but will hardly snap your hamstrings. And it turns out to be pretty roomy when folded out from its travel mode. Courtesy of a projecting metal nose, the Wide Path extends far enough to make space for two face-to-face sofas and a pull-down table, all within a shell that’s far warmer and more weatherproof than the average tent. The sofas flatten at night to form a double bed large enough to sleep two people. If you want to make the whole package greener still, the Wide Path comes with an optional solar cell for charging devices. The trailer currently costs around $2,500 (15,000 Danish Kroner to be precise)—not outrageous, but a good reason why Wide Path is also offering the campers for rent.
It’s the camper's lightness that makes the Wide Path groundbreaking. There have been a few prototype bike campers around for a while, but what’s been brought to market so far has been too bulky and heavy. These two models really need an electric-assisted bike, as hauling their weight would feel like being stuck on a Victorian workhouse treadmill. This lighter model, on the other hand (apparently designed for people who always wanted to camp on top of a trolley), looks so top-heavy I’d be afraid to turn over in my sleep.
Dragging the camping equivalent of a tiny house behind you on vacation isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but steep gradients may not have been uppermost in the designers' minds. For people worried about Danes slogging up hills with this sisyphean weight trailing behind them, here is a photo of Denmark’s highest mountain.