Creating Caravans


Jim Tolpin’s advice on how to design, build and use a roadworthy caravan. Downloadable PDF, seventy seven pages.



Trace your ancestry back, and it’s likely that some of your kinfolk at some point lived in a wagon and took off for the distant horizon. Born of necessity and wanderlust some of those utilitarian wagons became known as Caravans or Vardos and were transformed into warm shelters to follow the road less traveled. Jim Tolpin felt that call,  and over the years designed and built a series of caravans. Starting in the 1970’s with his first makeshift “Bow Top” on the back of a 1940 Ford truck through a series of more refined and delightful wagons made to tow behind a vehicle. Several of these are based on 19th century designs that are adapted to fit on a steel chassis so they can be towed on modern highways. The best part is that most of the build is within the reach of any woodworker. All of these traditional caravans were an individual expression of it’s builder so much of the aesthetic choices are left to you the builder. Jim walks you through the practical aspects of building a roadworthy wagon that’s safe, sturdy and comfortable. Plus it’s filled with ideas that can inspire you to create your own.

Note: Maybe a caravan isn’t on your bucket list, but it’s still a terrific woodworking story. It might just inspire you to set out on your own road less traveled. This is a downloadable PDF , seventy seven pages of  text and photos.