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  #1  
Old 01-05-2013, 01:03 AM
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Default DIY camper?

I decided to build a small camper similar to a teardrop design. So far the design seems to be doable with my skills and tools. All based on 4x8 sheets of plywood and set on a Harbor Freight utility trailer. The CAD program says it weights about 650 lbs. as it is.
What do you think? Any ideas or suggestions?
Thanks

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  #2  
Old 01-06-2013, 12:17 AM
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Default Home built tear drop

I would watch the tire ratings and figure a minimum weight of 1,000 lbs (you need to weigh the finished rig loaded ready to use, don't guess). I think I would want at least 13 inch wheels as 13 inch tires are easy to get and should be pretty cheap. I also think you should wire both for 110 and 12 volts with perhaps two circuits each. Are you going to cook with propane if so are you going to use through away cylinders or standard size bottles? You don't really give an idea of how much time you plan on spending on each outing to go into much detail on how to equip. Figure on where you want to mount a spare and how you want to utilize the tongue area for max efficiency. With so small an area you will need to do a lot of planning based on its use and even then my guess is you will wind up making changes over time. On another note, a trailer that short will take some getting used to backing and parking as it will turn very quickly so a bit longer tongue will help, also a longer tongue will help make it less likely to whip side to side. It looks like an interesting project let us know how you come out.
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2013, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry View Post
I would watch the tire ratings and figure a minimum weight of 1,000 lbs (you need to weigh the finished rig loaded ready to use, don't guess). I think I would want at least 13 inch wheels as 13 inch tires are easy to get and should be pretty cheap. I also think you should wire both for 110 and 12 volts with perhaps two circuits each. Are you going to cook with propane if so are you going to use through away cylinders or standard size bottles? You don't really give an idea of how much time you plan on spending on each outing to go into much detail on how to equip. Figure on where you want to mount a spare and how you want to utilize the tongue area for max efficiency. With so small an area you will need to do a lot of planning based on its use and even then my guess is you will wind up making changes over time. On another note, a trailer that short will take some getting used to backing and parking as it will turn very quickly so a bit longer tongue will help, also a longer tongue will help make it less likely to whip side to side. It looks like an interesting project let us know how you come out.
Thanks for then advise. I totally understand about the total weight. Although the CAD model will be very accurate, it is impossible to make it complete with the supplies, equipment, etc. I will definitely have to weight the whole thing. I wonder how I can do that?

The trailer comes with 12" tires. I thought that I definitely would upgrade them to 4 ply or better. However, I don't want to spend much money buying more wheels and tires to fit the trailer... Thanks for the advise on the tricky handling. I definitely will need to learn to pull it and maneuver it.

I hope that I get the basic trailer dimensions right. I don't want to have to make changes to the overall size after I finish it. My previous experience was with tent camping, so this is going to be like a pre-setup tent with a bit more protection from the elements . No setup and take down will make my overnight stops a lot less hassle. I will use propane bottles for cooking and heating if needed. An extra 12V battery will be really nice for lights and small ventilation fans, etc. I will rely on some tarps for extra protection against rain and sun. It will be nothing like a conventional camper as far as room or actual convenience. I will still rely on the campground facilities for sanitation.

Please do offer suggestions or topics that I might not think about. I rather find out stuff ahead of time.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:11 AM
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I suggested the 110 volt would be handy when you park somewhere with power. Actually I have been fond of tear drop trailers since I was a boy in the fifties but know that I'm 66 and weigh about 270 they wouldn't work anymore but I still think they're neat for those more agile than I. They would have an appeal for smaller crossover type vehicles. At the risk of running the cost up unless you are going to pull it with a Takoma, Ranger or like truck I would suggest electric brakes for smaller vehicles. My girlfriend and I spent a month in Great Britain and we were amazed to see many 18-24ft travel trailers being pulled by Rav4s, and similar crossovers. They must be built lighter than ours (the trailers) and they don't have mountains like us , but still Wow! Another thought is if you use 12 volt for lights you will need to have a converter to recharge the battery(s) or you can use a little automatic charger like a Battery Tender. You may also get a small, quiet generator. I have a feeling with time you will think of more creature comforts but maybe not. Some people are minimalists (not me haha).
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:10 PM
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Where does the AC unit go? cant camp in the south with out air
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjr View Post
Where does the AC unit go? cant camp in the south with out air
Yes, camping in the parts of the South in the summer required AC or at least a fan of some sort... If I decide to camp during hot weather in those types of places, I will definitely have to reconsider my plans

For now, my plans only include camping in the mountains (East or West). For now my plans to build the camper are on hold as I need a place to do it, and my garage is full
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  #7  
Old 03-27-2013, 03:07 PM
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I have actualy looked into building my own ultra light camper
After i get done fixing up the prowler i will build a caned ham style on an old boat trailer

If you use pink or blue board foam sheets for the structure you can get the weigt down to about 400 lbs to inckude the trailer

The key is wraping the foam in canvas after you are done
The folks over on tear drops and tiny trailers can be a great gel they have a big section about building with foam
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