Inspired to compete in the Olympics, Ben Hayward needed an affordable way to travel to his kayak races and training venues. Costs add up fast between flights, hotels and dining out. But he was adamant that if he were to build his own camper, it had to be reliable, cost-effective and feel like home. Luckily Ben has a background in architecture, and even though he’d never done a full-on project like this before, he was up for the challenge.
With help from a friend, he constructed this 72-square-foot camper on the back of a flatbed truck. It looks like it’s straight from Middle Earth – decked out with artistic butterfly windows, a circular back door and wind turbine to generate electricity. On the side, a huge Canadian maple leaf is painted with the names of those who have donated to help fund his project.
Ben and his friend built the shell in just four days. The interior design was mainly done by Ben, and took another two weeks. It wasn’t until months later when he decided to add in these gorgeous butterfly-style windows:
He sleeps up top in a king-sized bed, with sofas down below that fold out and feature hidden storage underneath. His kitchen is spacious with an array of coffee-making supplies (including our favorite, the Aeropress).
Living on the road has also helped him as an athlete. Being able to sleep in his own bed, make food in his own kitchen, and see the beautiful sights along the way helps keep his mind clear for racing. Talk about living the life!
Building the camper wasn’t cheap. The total cost ran 9,500 in Canadian dollars (about $7,300 U.S.), including: $2000 for the truck, $1500 for the wood, and $6000 dollars for the appliances, solar panels and 300-watt wind turbine.
On top of that, Ben had to shell out an additional $3000 for insurance. It took him three days just to find an insurance that was willing to cover such a whimsical vehicle, driven by someone with no driving record.
Funding was mostly raised from his website, VanStarter.com. He still accepts donations to help cover living expenses, and in return offers t-shirts, cookbooks and your name on the van. Check out the video below for a full tour (and make sure to change the settings quality to 1080p HD):
Wow! I love how the windows open and close, and how the lights inside change colors. What do you think – could you see yourself living in a sweet camper like this? Let us know in the comments below.
If you like this camper, check out this homemade Hobbit-style teardrop.
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