TRAILERS and HOUSE TRUCKS

We love to spend time outdoors and both have kids that love camping so it seems logical to pool our relevant knowledge together to create an awesome “HEXscape”capsule for those times when we just need to blow town and be by the sea, up a mountain or hang out in a forest, but still want to have some creature comforts like a mini kitchen, a warm and dry living space and a comfy bed-  something to get outta town and explore, stripping back to the bear essentials…

This is our winter build starting in Decmber 2016,  which will be ready for road testing in the spring. A mid-sized caravan trailer intended for a couple with one or two young children. Its design is inspired by retro Airstream trailers, classic VW camper vans and domes:  its shape yields as much internal living space as possible whilst preserving aerodynamics on the road to save fuel. It will have a kitchen, wrap round U seating thats converts into a huge big bed/sleeping platform and a woodburner for warmth…

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Watch this blog as we update it with progress pics and technical discoveries.

As a starting point we liked the classic lines of an Airstream trailer. Although its curves mean that there is less volume inside, we believe with the right choice of interior materials, a cozy comfortable space can be created. The curves outside aren’t just for show, they also serve to improve aerodynamics making the caravan more stable during motorway travel and in crosswinds. We also are inspired by the work of Buckminster Fuller and his dymaxion car (below) and his geodesic domes. We are trying to create something that draws inspiration from all these different things and shapes that we like to make something combining 3D autocad and old hands on construction skills.

 

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We can’t ignore the coolest campervan there is and this design classic has influenced our thinking too. I particularly like the twin opening doors that make you feel like inside and outside space are the same. This example has a nice crisp interior design complete with matching curtains and cushions too which I like. However our choice of interior design will be defined by the materials we have available for now and I believe Conan has a load of bamboo ply which is going to look amazing! Perhaps something like this.

For now I’ll be working on our caravan’s basics, getting the size right and making sure the construction is durable and light. Here are some initial; thoughts on shape, construction and insulation method.

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The basic shape, I think the right placement and number of windows and double doors will give the caravan its final look and character.

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We are looking at an aluminum frame body for its durability and corrosion resistance. The struts will probably be bamboo ply which is very strong and resistant to damp. This construction also creates perfect cavities for effecting insulation panels to be installed.

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Insulation is going to make all the difference, not sure what Conan has in mind but it will be warm in the there! and cool in the summer too with some big double doors.

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This is what the basic insulated body will look like without the final outer skin, not sure right now what material it will be. Plastic or metal? and we also haven’t decided yet if the lower portion will have protective armor plate around it, popular with off road caravans. I think they look the business.

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The design process is never a linear one! So we find ourselves stepping back for a rethink on the overall shape. We are now experimenting with different shapes and one idea is to borrow geometry from geodesic domes, as they can give us three important things: 1) Rigidity. 2) The aerodynamic-ish lozenge shape that we want. 3) A basic form that we can build and customize further with our existing workshop tooling (we are never going to get those smooth Airstream curves without a huge sheet metal press). As you can see below we are re-interpreting the classic lines of an Airstream trailer and trying out some eye-popping window configurations too! (Although, the windows aren’t actually illustrated in this particular rendering, just the holes for now).

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If this project interests you, please leave a comment below, any input will help as you probably know more than us! Come back to check out our progress as we create our ultimate chill space for the wilderness.

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