When I was a kid, one of my favorite stories was Danny the champion of the world by Roald Dahl. Danny and His dad live in a gypsy wagon. Fast forward 40 years and my wife and I were in a dilemma, she wanted to get a travel trailer and I realized that if we did buy one the first thing I would have to do would be to gut it and redo the interior. I had started out my woodworking career building boat interiors, so I was spoiled by being in and working on beautiful tiny spaces built with quality materials. In the end, I decided to build my own after seeing some of the gypsy wagons that other folks had built. I bought a used 16’ trailer and started building. I have always loved figuring out how to maximize small spaces and really enjoyed putting together my land yacht using the skills I learned boatbuilding.
The Red Wagon as we call it is 16’ long plus a 2’ deck and weighs 5200 lbs loaded with food and gear. It has a 40-gallon water tank, 12v LED lighting and is wired with 110v outlets when plugged into shore power. It has a small battery bank to run the 12v lighting. The bed is queen size and like traditional gypsy wagons has a space below the bed for the Kidd’s to sleep. The couch is long enough to sleep an adult also. It has a “Little Cod “ wood stove made by navigator stove works on Orcas Island which has alcohol burner inserts for summer cooking. The composting toilet is a c-head made by Sandy Graves in Florida and works really well. The toilet/shower space is 4’ x 2’ on the ground but because of the flared sides has plenty of elbow room at standing height. The hot water heater is an on-demand propane heater made by Precision temp.
Rent it on AirBnB here
The next project, “ the Blue Wagon” was built for my oldest son to live in when he goes to university. It was designed for a single person to live in but easily converted to sleep two in a queen bed and one on the couch. It is 14’6 inches long plus the 2’ deck. It weighs 4200lbs loaded. I had figured out by this time that I needed to use lighter materials and so was able to shed off 1000lbs from the weight. It has the same toilet/shower setup as the red wagon, a 30 gal water tank, and the same hot water heater. It has a Dickinson Marine wood stove on the wall and a typical RV propane stove for cooking. ‘‘This wagon has a 100w flexible solar panel mounted to the roof and a plugin for a portable solar pane as well. The battery bank is a house under the seat, the hot water heater under the bed all easily accessible for maintenance.
Rent it on AirBnB here
None of the wagons have Grey water tanks. In campgrounds, a portable tank sits under the wagon and then emptied at a dump station when full. The toilet requires no shavings. All the big wagons are insulated with 2” foil faced foam giving about R11 insulation value. Easy to heat even in the coldest of winters.
Lastly, inspired by a friends “tiny” gypsy wagon, I built a small caravan on a 6’x10’ trailer. The Green Wagon weighs 2500lbs fully loaded. It has a 30 gal water tank, composting toilet hidden under the bench seat and an outside shower that is hooked up to a portable propane heater. The bed is a twin/queen slide out. Cooking happens on a portable propane stove either outside or inside depending on the weather. The green wagon is not insulated as it is designed for lightweight 3 season use. It has a portable solar pane that hooks up to the battery bank and an inverter in case 110v power is needed, but which I have yet to use. The 12v lighting and water pump are easily powered by the single deep cycle battery for several days before needing to be charged. This wagon is great for tucking away into tiny spaces in the woods and has been on many trips and several hunting expeditions to Montana.
The Red and Blue wagons are currently being rented out on Airbnb on our property in the mountains of Washington. The green wagon is loaded and ready for adventure whenever the mood strikes me!
I do not have any plans for these wagons, I just built them out of my head and a few chicken scratches on paper along the way.
Guest Post by Andrew Campbell of Beaver Hill Woodcrafters: beaverhillwoodcrafters (at) gmail (dot) com