I Love Green

The C3 Hotel Cube: Camping Green, Solar-Powered Trailer Style

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter August Outdoor Living Newsletter

We go camping because we love the great outdoors. Camping gives us a respite from the noise of the city and from our busy schedules. It allows us to be one with nature, even for just a short time, and perhaps gain a bit of understanding of our place in this great big world.

But going on a camping trip means cleaning up after ourselves. While we should all ideally practice leaving no trace of our presence behind us after we're done using the campsite, cleaning up a campsite and packing away our garbage can be a pain.

And then, there's also the discomfort of sleeping on the ground within the shelter of a tent without access to showers or toilets. Outdoor enthusiasts who can't bear this discomfort would rather bring an RV with them so they can have a bed to sleep on and a bathroom to do their business in. However, RVs are mechanical monsters that harm the environment, with their gas emissions and low miles per gallon.

Is there a compromise to this? Is there a way to enjoy the Great Outdoors and truly leave no trace behind us without having to rough it out or having to do a lot of cleanup after camping? The answer is "yes" - theoretically, at least. And that is by using a C3 Hotel Cube when we go on a camping road trip.

What Is the C3 Hotel Cube?

The C3 Hotel Cube is a concept trailer designed by Jianbo Huang and Ting Zhao from Jiangnan University. The trailer design is quite compact, stripping down the typical RV to its barebones essentials, namely the bed and the bathroom. It has transparent panels that give you the feeling of sleeping under the stars although you're safely ensconced inside the trailer. These panels are solar-powered and can change colors to protect you from the glare of the sun.

Aside from the transparent panels, the C3 Hotel Cube has an awning that you can pull out to give you shade when you want to hang out at your campsite and which you can easily roll up afterwards. It has a slide-out storage compartment underneath where you can stash away your folding chairs and outdoor grill. It also has an integrated refrigerator and cooker where you can store frozen food or heat it as necessary. And here's the clincher: The C3 Hotel Cube has a built-in garbage bin and sewage container where you can temporarily store your trash and waste.

So, when you go camping with a C3 Hotel Cube in tow, you can sleep in comfort without feeling too enclosed. You have a bathroom. You don't have to exert a lot of effort in cleaning up your campsite afterwards. And it's all solar-powered. You're comfy, you're green, and you're out in nature.

Renting a C3 Hotel Cube

If ever this C3 Hotel Cube concept comes to life, you'd rent it from a service center. You'd check in at the service center, just as you would in a hotel. The staff would assign you a freshly cleaned unit with its own keycard and packed with cleaning supplies like maybe soap, shampoo and toilet paper. Then you'd hitch the unit to your car or truck, and off you'd go.

Once you're done using the trailer, you'd haul it back to the service center. All you would need to do is to return the trailer and the keycard. You won't have to stop at a dump station to take care of your sewage. The staff would take care of cleaning the trailer. Your garbage would be recycled and your waste would be collected for fertilizer.

The only downside to this trailer is that it's good for short-distance travel only - the garbage and sewage receptacles can only hold their contents for a short time, and you can't take them to a dump station. So you won't be able to take the C3 Hotel Cube on long, cross-country trips.

Camping in a C3 Hotel Cube unit would be the best compromise between the not-so-green comforts of RVing and the oh-so-green but not-so-comfortable charms of tent camping. As long as you're camping and enjoying nature and leaving no trace behind you, you're all good.

Exterior of C3 Hotel Cube
Green camping with the C3 Hotel Cube.
The main features of C3 Hotel Cube
The C3 Hotel Cube has a bedroom, a bathroom, transparent panels and an integrated refrigerator/cooker.
Additional features of C3 Hotel Cube including pullout awning, solar panels and keycard activation
The C3 Hotel Cube has a pullout awning and is keycard-activated.
C3 Hotel Cube's transparent overhead panels
Sleeping under the stars in the comfort of an RV.

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