Gizmo Geek: Luxury Camping Unplugged
Ecocapsule is a perfect offering for glamping enthusiasts who want the glamour of an off-grid experience

We all know that camping is not for the faint of heart. Roughing it out in the wilderness, braving the elements and eschewing modern plumbing—it’s enough to send all but the most adventurous are running for cover. But what if you had a luxurious ‘capsule’ to stay in, with comfortable beds, climate controls, running water, the possibility of hot meals, 3G/4G internet and charging points? And all of it in a sleek, sustainable package?

The Slovakia-based Nice Architects’ Ecocapsule is the perfect offering for glamping enthusiasts who want the glamour of an off-grid experience but none of the rough-and-ready demands of traditional camping. This dinky, sustainable capsule makes it ever so simple to plant yourself at the top of a mountain. The manufacturers describe it as ‘a compact mobile home which can enable off-grid living under specific conditions and in specific environment’, be it as a ‘cottage, pop-up hotel or even a charging point for electric cars’.

Shaped like a giant egg lying sideways, the Ecocapsule is made of high-capacity insulated fibreglass shells overlaid on an aluminium framework, and built to house two people. It is tiny—sort of a prerequisite for its mobile status—14.6 feet long, 7.4 feet wide and 8.4 feet tall, but the makers have managed to work in a sleeping area, kitchenette, dining space, bathroom with a shower and toilet, and storage space. It is furnished with a folding double bed with mattress, desk, shelves, and cabinets for the kitchenette and for storage, all of it made of lightweight honeycomb panels with wood veneer finish.

Solar panels on the roof of the Ecocapsule provide up to 600 watts of power and a wind turbine on a telescopic pole outside adds another 750 watts that charge up the installed battery. As long as the outside temperature remains between –25 and 40 degrees Celsius, the unit can produce its own power. It can, of course, be plugged into an external power point.

There are lights, electric sockets, switches, sensors, etc., in the Ecocapsule, and as well as optional mini-fridge and mini-washing machine. Floor heating and air-conditioning can be added. Smart home controls and climate sensors can be accessed via a tablet app.

The Ecapsule’s ergonomic design minimises heat loss and enables rainwater harvesting. Collected water is filtered and available on tap, and safe to drink. The approximately 500-litre storage tank can be filled from external sources as well. A flushable, waterless toilet is available, with an incineration toilet expected in the second-generation model. For transport ease, there are four small extendable wheels, and a trailer that can be attached to the back of a vehicle for towing.

Want to own this smart, dapper little pod? A limited edition of 50 Ecocapsules are available for preorder. They will be available by the end of 2017 and cost €79,900. The next lot of 50 pods, available in 2018, will cost less, but a figure isn’t available at the moment. Shipping is extra, so expect another few thousand added to the bill.

Payal Dhar