With ever-rising costs, B&B has long been out of my reach – youth hostels are good but mostly in big cities and even they are starting to stretch my meagre pension, making trips less and less frequent.
“There are no problems in this world – only solutions” John Lennon.
To this end I have decided to build myself a very small teardrop sleeping pod, one step up from a tent which means I can go wild camping in both summer and winter, Scotland can be even more beautiful in winter and devoid of pests like the midge and the tourist.
This will be a teardrop trailer suitable for the smallest tow vehicle including large motorcycles. This design was inspired by the Eis Piccolo made in Germany in the 1950s and adapted to my needs and modern materials. The free Generic Benroy plans on the Teardrop and Tiny Travel Trailers forum (http://www.mikenchell.com/forums) can be used for the many details of building a teardrop trailer.
My pod will be built from plywood using the stitch and glue method that was very successful for small boat and kayak building from 1950 to 1960s, giving the structure great strength (mono-cock construction) the stand-alone body can then be bolted to a simple chasse.
The trailer will serve its intended purpose well but is not suitable for other uses – if you want to also use your trailer to, say, collect scrap of frequent visits to the recycling centre, then you better pick another design.
To get the minimum size, the trailer has been designed to be low, no more than is needed to enable the occupants to sit up with their heads nearly touching the roof and to be not much longer than the bed length. To fit in two people in bearable comfort, the width has been kept at the traditional teardrop of four feet wide (or the width of an 8X4 sheet).
There is no galley and no hatch at the back, to save both weight and size. If a full galley is wanted, it can be built into a traditional camp kitchen box that sits inside the pod during towing and is taken out at the campsite, (the internet has many such lightweight camping kitchens that might be cheaper and lighter than homemade.)
There are no lockers inside – that would need a bigger trailer. But there is a shelf over the sleepers’ legs; this will provide somewhere to store clothes, while sleeping and storage for bedding during the day, (you will find this in many small cabins on boats.) Net pockets could be incorporated in the design to hold phones, laptops or valuables.
Warning: this trailer is designed for my need, so builders should satisfy themselves that it is large enough for their needs. This design is one size smaller than even a normal 8ft teardrop. I marked out and cut a pattern then laid it out on my bed, happy that the completed trailer weighs should be no more than 2 cwt.
So far all I have achieved is a paper cut out and a headache, but once I have the timber things will pick up the pace.
Years ago I was given an old fibreglass row boat as a punt to get out to my yacht in the harbour, it leaked but then you don’t look a gift horse in the month, (or an old boat for that matter.) I had some epoxy resin but no fibreglass cloth so after patching the holes I used a length of tartan cloth, and epoxy to cover the whole outer surface of the hull. I used it for a number of years and after I sold my boat I gave it to a lad in St Monans for the same purpose. When I visited there recently I saw the old boat still doing sterling service as a tender, taking him out to his yacht.
It has stood the test of time, which gave me an idea.
I wanted to cover my pod with thin fibreglass cloth and epoxy, this would keep it 100% watertight and would outlast me. But it would look not unlike an old tea chest (making in plywood tends to look like an old tea chest) so today when I was over in Dundee I popped into several charity shops and found just what the doctor ordered, a Duvet cover that looks very seaside in blue and white stripes £3.00 a bargain (always difficult to get the lines straight and if not never look right) but it will make the wee ‘Fife Pod’ look really something.