steve dawe may have built the world’s smallest campervan


Having already built a teardrop trailer, vehicle enthusiast Steve Dawe decided to put together his own tiny campervan, possibly one of the smallest ones out there. He opted for a Piaggio Ape MP600, restoring its scooter base, flatbed trike, and engine before fitting it with a custom-made and demountable pod that transforms the trike into a tiny but practical campervan.

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‘graphics to let everyone know this really is a camper’, says Dawe



While the flatbed was sent away for sandblasting, Dawe (see more here) got to work on a disused sofa, re-upholstering it in olive green — hence the name of the camper van: ‘Olive, The Micro Camper’. He also added rollers on the legs to move the sofa in and out when needed.


The sub-frame was painted in Hammerite black, while the panels were coated in green Rustoleum. When fully dried, Dawe put the panels back together before proceeding with the mudguards and finer details. The insides were painted in the same green color to give it a fresh new look. 





topping the trike with a fully equipped, wooden camper pod 


Once Dawe completed the base, he began building the camper pod out of plywood of different thicknesses. He used 12.5mm ply to cover the side with the window cut out, 9mm for the windowless side, and 6mm for the roof to keep it as lightweight as possible. The entire woodwork was then painted in two-part epoxy and sanded to add a coat of cream paint matching the mudguards.Dawe also placed a storage area atop the cab, followed by a tailgate and door at the back.

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the camper has self contained 12v electrics, powered by a 170W solar panel, controller, and 110ah battery



The final Piaggio Ape Camper has its own self-contained 12v electrics, powered by a 170W solar panel, controller, and 110ah battery. The pod space includes a double bed, hot and cold running water, a three-burner hob, oven, mood lighting, downlighters for the kitchen area, TV, radio, and, of course, the 4-seater sofa. During nice weather, Dawe can open the tailgate and put the kitchen on legs to take it outside for cooking. 

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Piaggio Ape MP600 Flatbed Trike renovated before making the demountable camper pod

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interior before soft furnishings were added

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kitchen area with a tiny charcoal burner/water heater on the wall, to the left

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double bed with the fridge on the right hand side at the top




project info:


name: Piaggio Ape Camper Project
design: Steve Dawe



designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom