Pat Hennebery calls Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada home.
It’s a small island of about 8 square miles with a population of around 1,000 people.
Pat founded a company there called Cobworks that specializes in building sustainable earthen homes.
He also holds workshops across North America to teach others how to build their own low-cost homes from natural, locally-sourced materials.
His company’s mission,
Cobworks is committed to building beautiful, affordable structures with natural and local material in a spirit of cooperation and social responsibility.
Pat’s Homemade Tear Drop Camper
Because of his interest in sustainable living, Pat decided to build a tear drop camper for his family.
At 16 feet in length and over 4,500 pounds, some might argue that his camper doesn’t qualify for ‘tear drop’ status.
But when you get right down to it, the layout, shape, and rear galley trace their design to a traditional tear drop trailer.
Built on a 16 foot two-axle trailer, Pat’s camper is big on room but lacks a few things such as plumbing, running water, and insulation.Generous interior living space and custom woodwork make this a homemade beauty. The ceilings are all tongue and groove.There’s a galley kitchen in the back but no running water or plumbing. The back hatch acts as a roof so you can still use the galley area when it rains.
Pat used about $10,000 of materials in the project. Though he built it by himself, labor would cost another $10,000 or so more.
He said you could reduce the total cost by using salvaged items and opting for a lower quality of lumber and roofing.
Building a Tear Drop Camper for the Chemically Sensitive
You may remember Corinne from My Chemical-Free House and her tiny home she built with non-traditional building materials.
Corinne suffers from multiple chemical sensitivities, and she asked Pat if this trailer could be built using materials safe for chemically sensitive people.
Pat said that to make the trailer safe for chemically sensitive individuals, you’d first want to switch out the cedar siding.
While cedar works great for siding because it’s naturally mold-resistant, its strong odor can affect certain people.
Some Possible Improvements
Pat wired the camper for 15 amps, which is less than that recommended for even a camper van.
Still, 15 amps is enough to run a small heater or A/C unit.
He doesn’t plan to live in this trailer year-round in Canada, so the lack of insulation or availability of a powerful heater isn’t a big deal.
He’s taken the camper from Canada to Mexico and back twice already. Plus he uses it during Canadian summers and Mexican winters, so the temperatures are quite mild to begin with.
While the current stainless steel roof looks great, next time he’d opt for aluminum as it’s a lot lighter.
Some may see the lack of plumbing and running water as a problem. But the place Pat stays at in the summer has a communal kitchen, so it works for him.
You can tell Pat has a special ability to take raw materials and turn them into something unique. I especially like the tongue and groove woodwork and the custom hardware on the inside.
You can see more of Pat’s traditional earthen buildings here. The video below captures the powerful memories of a workshop he held in Mexico.