The Tailored Traveler (2018)

The Tailored Traveler (2018)

Will Ryker

Sustainable Glamping

It is common knowledge that traveling opens the eyes and mind to new horizons, giving respite from daily chores and letting dreams become reality. While travelling to overseas places on an airplane has its own allure, travelling the country at one’s own doorstep is becoming more popular, as economic and environmental issues sway our decision making process. Especially when the country is New Zealand with its stunning range of landscapes and outdoor experiences. The ubiquitous camper van has had a long tradition of being used for family holidays, it is usually restricted to well-sealed roads. The more adventurous travelers tend to take their 4-wheel drives and tents to the countryside. And those tents are in need of re-consideration: not every terrain or weather is suitable, so something a bit more sturdy, weather-proof and maybe even more comfortable is more often than not desired.

Will Ryker’s thesis The Tailored Traveller explores options to this conundrum, researching the possibilities of 3D printing bespoke sleeping capsules for all-terrain vehicles. He explored how the digital design process and FDM 3d printing can be used to create a specifically tailored sleeping pod for any car, in any desired shape or size. For the purpose of his Master’s research the iterative design process was used to find the best design solution for one model, the Range Rover. But – in a broader context – this illustrates how easily a design can be modified to create something perfect for every individual car owner. This new way of accessorizing a car combines personalization with environmentally friendly production methods.

At the moment anything that gets attached to a car roof is manufactured from a generic mold, with the need of specific connectors for each individual car brand and model. Production and storage facilities not only take up a lot of space, but usually require the use of a lot of resources as well, as they need to manufacture continuously to be financially viable. Due to this, only a few factories exist worldwide and products need to be shipped to sellers, increasing the environmental footprint of these units.

The improvements in FDM 3D printing eliminate these: on-demand printing due to faster and larger printers, local printing sites require less space for the printer and storing of the filaments and eliminates overseas transport costs, the materials are easily recyclable and the end result potentially less hazardous through cohesive attachment design.

Modern car manufacturers have schematics and scans of their vehicles, and these already existing digital files can be easily used – by these car manufacturers themselves or a licensed external manufacturer – to make these capsules on demand with a perfect fit every time. And perfect fit includes the human who will be using the pod: as the exterior will be custom made to the shape of the car, the interior will be tailored to the individual size of the user and their personal needs for space. Whether using the car company’s scans or your own as modern phones with scanning apps will enable individuals to scan their car themselves: one will be able to create their tailored glamping experience. . And what happens when they have to get a new car? Recycle the old sleep pod and use that material for the next one!

Materials and Processes – close-up


Rhino, SolidWorks, and Blender. Autodesk Flow Design for wind tunnel testing

Slicing software – Simplify3D.


3D printers – UP BOX and the BigRep.

Project level

Master of Design Innovation Research Portfolio submission (MDI), supervisors Ross Stevens and Bernard Guy.

External Partners

The project was supported by NZ Product Accelerator and Land Rover UK for permission for using some of their media resources.