Equipped with wind and solar energy, flushing toilets, ACs, rain harvesters, kitchenette with running water and ovens, Ecocapsules is as close as it gets to a hotel room in the wilderness.
Move over camping tents and caravans, this is how you’re gonna camp next holiday season. Going by what was showcased last week at Vienna’s Pioneers Festival last week, by the end of year next (2016), chances are outdoor camping will be a whole new experience. No need to carry gas lamps, portable gensets, and tanks of fuel; no back-breaking labour pitching tents; and no need to be threatened by the extremities of weather as you say good bye to overheated tents, creepy crawlies and wild animals barging in. No need to suffer freezing temperatures while camping outdoors, and rest assured, your tent will not be blown away by winds in the middle of the night. In short, you will enjoy a night as restfully and as comfortably as you would in a hotel room.
Enter Ecocapsule, a low-energy self-sufficient micro-home packed into a compact form. It merges an energy efficient shape, compact volume and off-grid capabilities with the luxuries of a warm bed, running water and a hot meal. With built-in kitchenette and running water, flushing toilet and hot shower, this is as close as it gets to home while in the middle of a wilderness.
Designed by Nice Architects, a Slovakian design firm with “Love and Logic” driving their projects, this egg-shaped capsule can comfortably house two adults anywhere in the planet: From white water rafting sites in Shivpuri to snow-covered slopes of Gulmarg and Auli to the flatlands of Rann of Kutch, Goan beaches, or by the Kerala backwaters.
Plenty of storage space fits all your sport equipment and is fitted with wardrobes and all essentials for a comfortable prolonged stay without a need to recharge or re-supply.
So how does it power itself? Elementary. A built-in wind turbine, an array of solar cells and a high-capacity battery ensure that you will never run out of power, even when wind and sun are at an all time low. As for water supply, the spherical shape is optimised for the collection of rainwater and dew, while filters trickle drinking water.
The pods are 2.55 m high, 4.45 m long and 2.25 m wide, covered with 2.6m2 of high-efficiency solar cells, and has a retractable pole holding a 750W wind turbine. So all you have to do is to hook it up to your SUV and like Paul Young sings, Wherever I Lay My Hat…That’s My Home. “It can be shipped, airlifted, towed or even pulled by a pack animal,” says designer and partner at Nice, Tomas Zacek.
Will such innovations work in India? After all, Madhya Pradesh and Ladakh have welcomed Caravans and Campervans in large numbers. “We have to consider the safety aspect. You just can’t park a pod anywhere in India. Permissions are required, which is again not an easy process,” says Rajeev Varma of Lawrence Travels and a member of Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India.
But these are hardly issues with the vagabond hearts. Want to be an early bird in getting yourself one? Well, pre-orders start by the end of the year, with delivery in 2016. The cost of the pods are yet to be announced. However, with the four Es – environmental, economical, experimental, energy efficient – in place, cost is hardly a constraint for the Indian explorer seeking a whole new experience in outdoor camping.