Top-ranked kayaker builds “Hobbit Van” for life on the road




When Canada’s top-ranked whitewater kayaker Ben Hayward (vanstarter.com) decided to pursue his Olympic dream, he began a life on the road racing in Europe. To afford this itinerant lifestyle, he crafted a 72-square-foot wooden home on the back of a flatbed truck, dubbing it the “Hobbit Van” for it’s big, round door and butterfly-style windows.

Hayward, and a friend from Wales, worked “7 straight days to source, insure, design, and construct every component for a homemade demountable camper”. His new home cost him 9,500 Canadian dollars (about $7,300 U.S.): $2000 for the truck, $1500 for the wood and $6000 dollars for the appliances, solar panels and wind turbine.

The insurance was an additional $3000. “After buying the truck the first thing I did was spend 3 days trying to insure the thing. It was incredibly difficult to insure a crazy, wacky vehicle for a non-resident of the UK, especially because this was my first car I’ve ever bought, I have no driving record whatsoever.”

With only a small nest egg, Hayward raised most of the funds through crowdfunding on his site vanstarter.com (he continues to solicit donations to cover living expenses).

The tiny space was an easy fit for Hayward. “I live out of a suitcase so much of the year so I’ve been kind of doing this for a long time. For many years prior to this I was really trying to figure out what are the bare essentials that I need while I’m over in Europe for a month or two months at a time. I was like well I’ve got my bare essentials suitcase, it was really an additive process rather than a subtractive process.” Now when Hayward is back home in Canada he says he misses his house on wheels.

Original story:

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26 Comments

  1. Kara Lee
    October 21, 2017
    Reply

    Just Beautiful!!

  2. CallmeMat
    October 22, 2017
    Reply

    6:38 Thought he'd never find that remote control again.

  3. missy lynne
    October 22, 2017
    Reply

    So cute… did you make a potty or is it behind a bush hand me the toilet paper…Shower time…

  4. Vangerline
    October 26, 2017
    Reply

    Interesting I normally skip to just to see the living Arrangements. This was so captivating are I thoroughly enjoyed Watching whole video. Love that window!!

  5. Royce Cervantes
    October 28, 2017
    Reply

    Marry me?

  6. Brian Clarke
    October 29, 2017
    Reply

    10mins 43secs space ship by the tree ? cool van by the way

  7. GQ24771
    October 30, 2017
    Reply
  8. Shari B
    October 31, 2017
    Reply

    So Good!!!!

  9. Flower
    November 10, 2017
    Reply

    Couch looks nice but it sure looks damned uncomfortable. Its a large space and a far more comfortable couch could have been put in. That would've been my choice. I like my comfort … Where do you wash? Where do you toilet? Hmmm? Pretty but not so practical.

  10. AJS-STUFF3
    November 11, 2017
    Reply

    Awesome video and as I have never seen anyone using a wind turbine on a vehicle before, can you tell me what is the comparison in cost and efficiency from a solar panel? Thanks man

  11. Carlos Ulloa
    November 12, 2017
    Reply

    what kind of software was used to design the architectural portion?

  12. Andy Schulgasser
    November 14, 2017
    Reply

    First, thank u for this, &, all the videos u do !!! I love them !!! Question: How do u film everyone driving away in a distance? Are u in a helicopter?

  13. Steven Labry
    November 15, 2017
    Reply

    Awesome

  14. TheDtfamu89
    November 19, 2017
    Reply

    Somehow the window made me uncomfortable. It looked as if some ancient alien monster was being born when he opened it and I felt a bit creeped out watching it. That said, there must be some self satisfaction in knowing that you can create something so desirable. He'll be able to sell his camper for much more money than it cost him to build it. It's unique.

  15. Harvie
    November 20, 2017
    Reply

    Very nice, however it looks extremely inefficient in terms of aerodynamics, which means bad fuel economy on long trips.

  16. Sami Dobre
    November 21, 2017
    Reply

    what if the car crashes?? 😀 well.. i'd say R.I.P house

  17. Bruce Truong
    November 22, 2017
    Reply

    At 9:30,,,that's so COOL….

  18. Kimmie Elzain
    November 25, 2017
    Reply

    Bravo!!! You should do this when you are back in Canada! Go Canada!

  19. Adrien Villez
    November 25, 2017
    Reply

    You got me at the LED lights!

  20. Dilly Dally
    November 28, 2017
    Reply

    Fun place to stay dry

  21. Verified Products
    November 28, 2017
    Reply

    You guys are amazing! I love your hobit van and are following you 🙂

  22. W.A. watson
    November 29, 2017
    Reply

    Bare essentials? How about a shower/toliet combo? The van is outstanding other wise.

  23. erlinda rodas
    December 5, 2017
    Reply

    Very nice indeed

  24. Christina Wilkinson
    December 5, 2017
    Reply

    wow

  25. christine grob
    December 5, 2017
    Reply

    Amazing Thank you!!

  26. Tom Pinion
    December 7, 2017
    Reply

    Love the couch design and that unique window. The thing is awesome!

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