I’m not too sure if there’s ever been a skateboard tour that has featured, of all the crazy things in the world, a homebuilt micro-camper. But this one will…!
If you’re not familiar yet with my micro-camper , I’ll give you a brief synopsis to get you caught up to speed:
I designed, and built, my little camper about two years ago now. It’s built on a Harbor Freight utility trailer, and is made of wood… much like a skateboard ramp would be. It weighs about 700 lbs (or so), features a queen-size mattress (with a memory-foam pillow top), and tows easily behind my little Toyota Yaris. The same Yaris, by the way, that I took out on my 2008 Tour. Back then, the Yaris was brand spankin’ new. Today, it has a compiled a lovingly reliable 187,000 miles. I just realized that, by the way, as I was writing this paragraph. My, how the time flies.
The camper has been through a few revisions, and has had some press over at Tiny House Listings; Google “Bud Stratford camper” to find the articles, and they’ll pop right up, three articles in total.
Since I built it, the camper’s probably racked up well over 30,000 miles, and has been all over the western United States. You could probably build one for about $2500 or so; of course, I have a bit more than that invested in mine, with all the various revisions and rebuilds over the last three (or so) years. But even then, I’d be shocked if I had more than $3500 invested in the whole project.
Given that the Yaris still gets about 25 mpg while towing the camper, this is probably the most fun, functional, relaxing, and enjoyable way to experience the vast, wide-open wilds of America, on a threadbare budget. Whatever “vast, wide-open wilds” that remain, at least. And trust me, there aren’t that many left.
I know, because I’ve been looking.
The camper was originally designed and built with long-distance snowboard expeditions in mind. Like, to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for my annual pilgramages to Mt. Bohemia. It didn’t dawn on me until quite some time later that this thing might actually work pretty well for spring, summer, and fall camping, too. I can be a really short-sighted idiot like that, sometimes.
At first, I was a little disinclined to agree to, and follow through with, yet another overly-ambitious summer tour. I really didn’t think that I had it in me, and in any rate I suspected that the ‘ol knees would immediately protest and/or veto the whole shenanigans.
But once I remembered the fun-times potential that the camper provides, then I was all about it. How much better could it really get, than to combine three of my favorite lifelong loves… skateboarding, road tripping, and camping… into one big, epic adventure…?
I turned it over in my head a few times, and quickly realized that it cannot possibly ever get any better than that. The Tour was a total go, and I was excited to get my ass going.