Original Twist Camping Trailer

Expandable camping trailer.

Camping with a tent makes sense – a small package opens up to become a big thing. On that logic a caravan looks daft; transporting empty space. You start with a big thing and end on site with a big thing; a bit like putting up your tent before you leave home. It is more sensible to have something that can be towed easily, full of all your kit, and then be opened up on site at the press of a button. A full off-grid energy system built in would be the cherry on top and a satellite dish that gets the footie running straight away wouldn’t hurt either. And that brings us to the Original Twist Camping trailer.

Ever had one of those tool boxes where the top parts push away to reveal the box underneath? Well this trailer is just a big one with wheels on. The door frames at each end support the roof and lift it just like a four poster car lift. You arrive on site, the roof lifts up, the sides pop out and the roof closes down on them. The links that control the movement of the sides are steadied with torsion bars and chain and sprocket ties so powering it all is quite simple. The drawing shows one half closed and the other open; in practice both sides deploy together. The roof lift easily copes with the weight of the solar panels, dish, awning etc.

The side pods can contain beds with lights and TV built in and/or a kitchen unit. The choice is yours.

A shower room can be fitted over the draw bar as a separate cubicle that is entered privately from the main living quarters.

This design could be scaled up or down. Here it starts as the size of an SUV, for easy storage and towing, but still sleeps up to 5 when you get there. A bigger version would be sensational when deployed; imagine rolling into the campsite and opening up straight away, the dish locks on, footie on, beers out, all in about 2 minutes. A caravan that’s 4 metres wide before any canvas extensions go out! Stand by for a crowd of onlookers.

Heating is by a truck cab mini heat pump or gas.

The generous PV array raises an interesting question. If your electric tow car also had panels on the roof there could be significant range extension when all the panels are combined. In the new electric era tow cars will need all the help they can get. Note that the PV still works when you get home so it makes a useful uninterruptible power supply for your house – unless you park in your garage of course.

So there’s the idea. Does it exist? No, not yet, but let me know if you would like to build it.


Fits in a normal garage

Easy to tow – only as wide and as high as a car

Aerodynamic for economical towing

Automatic opening out and closing in a minute or two

Almost doubles in size

Roof raises for full height interior

Comparable with the biggest caravans

Sleeps 4 – 5

1.5kW of solar panels (4x 380W)

2kW inverter runs 240V fridge, TV, microwave, kettle, tools, lawnmower etc.

Built in awning and cover

4th solar panel folds out to make porch cover

Moulded in satellite dish recess on one roof, covered when stowed