Handmade Matt’s Truck Camper

The December issue of the Tiny House Magazine has a story about handmade, wooden truck campers in it and one of most talked about versions on the Web is the whimsical truck camper designed and built by Handmade Matt. Matt is a craftsman and tiny house enthusiast from Surrey, England and is currently available as a consultant for anyone looking to build their own tiny house—on or off a 4×4 truck.


Matt’s step-by-step process of the camper build is available on his website, and while the camper has been sold to a new owner in Sweden, Matt has recently finished up a new design. The vision for the first camper was to create a traditional looking removable camper with modern comforts. The camper is fully insulated, has solar power with 12v outlets and inverter. It contains a full kitchen with running water from a 13 gallon tank and a refrigerator, a two burner stove and a heater. There is an emergency composting toilet for when a public bathroom is not available.


“I wanted a four wheel drive camper and I have woodworking skills. It was the cheapest and most stimulating option,” Matt said. “The design was inspired over the years by all the things I have seen, a lot from Lloyd Kahn’s books. I am actually featured in his latest book, “Tiny Homes on the Move” with another cabin that I have built. I make no real plans when building, it all comes from my imagination. I make it up as I go along, no drawings, limited forethought. The projects just evolve.”


Matt said his favorite part of this particular build was the finishing touches.

“It’s when the magic happens and the whole vision comes together,” he said. “It’s finally when other people can see what was in my imagination all along. It’s a way of getting something that is inside me to come out into the world.”

Matt and his girlfriend took the camper all over the UK, through the southern English counties and into Wales. It did just fine in the mountains and also served as a home for his girlfriend who worked at various festival events.

For future builds by Handmade Matt, keep an eye on his website or the Tiny House Blog.



Photos by Handmade Matt

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Plain Huts Shepherd Huts

These delightful shepherd huts are already making a splash in the United Kingdom with articles in several magazines, but Plain Huts could also be a wonderful addition to the tiny house communities here in the States. If you have the desire (and funds), these modern takes on the Shepherd’s Hut can become your own tiny house on custom wheels.


Plain Huts Shepherd Huts are a family run business in Wiltshire on Salisbury Plain in southern England (10 minutes from Stonehenge). Cath Caesar, her husband Ian, their children and even Cath’s sister run the design and construction business of the huts. The huts are simple yet sturdy, fully insulated and utilize the cast iron wheels of traditional shepherd huts. Cath and crew have designed the wheels specifically for the huts and they can’t be purchased anywhere else.


The Plain Huts, built on an oak and steel chassis, are available as a flexible space to be used as a tiny house, guesthouse, meditation studio, office or workspace. Features include double glazed windows, a covered deck with stairs, redwood or metal siding, a wood stove, and space for a bed and even a small kitchen or bathroom.

Several designs are available including the 124 square foot Romney for £13,500 ($21,200), the 112 square foot Jacob for £11,900 ($18,700), and the 75 square foot Manx for £11,900 ($18,700). Plain Huts can be delivered fully built within England, but if you are keen on building your own, a flat pack version is available. The rolling chassis comes with four insulated walls ready to erect. Doors and windows can be installed later. The Delux Flat Pack Shepherd’s Hut Kit is £6,500 ($10,225) and includes full insulation and Western Red Cedar siding. You can also get the basic kit without insulation for £3,800 ($5,977). The company is willing to ship the kits to the U.S. if the buyer organizes the shipping logistics.

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Photos courtesy of Plain Huts and Jo Povoas


By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Instructables Vardo

For anyone dreaming of their own vardo wagon to sleep in or rent out, this sweet, little red wagon was built by J.M. Labrosse and featured by Instructables. J.M.’s step-by-step guide breaks this project down into manageable parts and a PDF of the project can be downloaded from the Instructables website.


The insulated vardo features a classic shape with a Dutch door, stained glass windows, decorative trim and an unusually shaped deck. It contains a full bed with storage underneath, bench seating, a heater and a fan as well as 110 power and plugs. The 4×8 foot vardo was built on a 48×96 inch Harbor Freight trailer with a 1,720 lb load capacity. The trailer weighs under 1,200 lbs and was framed with both 2×4 inch and 2×2 inch boards.


The wagon is currently available as an Airbnb rental in Seattle, Washington along with an additional vardo J.M. built.


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Photos by J.M. Labrosse


By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Collaborative Vardo

If you are thinking of building your own vardo as a tiny house or for camping, Instructables recently featured a collaborative wagon built by Paleotool (author of Building a Gypsy Wagon), PaleoPunk and a friend of theirs, AmericanPikey. The instructions for this tiny, wooden wagon are available as a free download. AmericanPikey recently retired and wanted a mobile retirement home, but not an RV. He also wanted the utility and towing cost to be small. The total cost to build the wagon (including the trailer) was $2,400.




The wagon is built on a 10×5 foot flatbed utility trailer. PaleoPunk mentions that flatbed trailers, while expensive ($1,000 for this one) are much easier to work with than a re-purposed trailer which sometimes have to be dismantled and prepared for building. This particular trailer had metal side rails to support the wagon’s walls. The overall length of the wagon is approximately 10 feet long and is 7 feet wide. The floor on the inside is about 5 feet across with one-foot ledges extending over the wheels.
The wagon has a Dutch door,  the 20 inch porthole windows are made from actual ship portholes, and a Lexan window was placed in the front of the wagon. The bed is about four feet off the floor and has storage space underneath. There is a trap door under the storage area that opens to an enclosed space underneath. Several benches by the bed also serve as steps up into the bed. The wagon also contains a small wood stove made by Marine Stove and a portable propane stove for cooking. The wagon does not have electricity or plumbing.
Photos by PaleoPunk



Handbuilt Gypsy Camper Dream Home

I’ve been a custom furniture builder for over 15 years and I started to become unfulfilled in just creating high-end furniture. At heart, I always enjoyed the simple things and when I built my first tiny cabin home for my daughter to live in I felt like I found my niche in creating handmade simple dwellings.

Last winter, my fiance and I dreamed of building a gypsy-style camper on the back of an old truck. A month later we found “Buddy” a 4×4 1960 Dodge Power wagon with the perfect faded patina and we started to work on this unique project.

buddy caravan

It became a fun challenge with all of the curves and angles we incorporated to accomplish the traditional gypsy vardo style we were inspired by. We used as many reclaimed materials as possible in the construction of it. Most of the wood was hand-scraped and not sanded which adds its own level of character.

The truck we started with has only 52,000 miles on the original flathead six engine that runs and drives great. We have been on three long distance trips in Buddy creating smiles everywhere we go.

We are offering up this unique traveling tiny home for sale at $14,500.

Check out our video and learn more about Buddy:

My passion is building handmade alternative structures from nails and wood to straw and mud. I would love to help make people’s simple living dreams a reality. Please contact me for custom tiny home projects or alternative dwelling construction. We are in Idaho planning to relocate to Southern Oregon this summer, but can travel for custom orders.

Phone: 208-280-4570
Email: naturalbuilder.jp@gmail.com

buddy side view

buddy porch


bunk and living space

entry door