Build your own Pop-Up Trailer

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This is our Pop Up trailer We call it the Tortuga.
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Step 1: The frame

Picture of The frame
We used a harbour frieght utility trailer frame.  We just followed the instructions and built the frame like it suggested the only difference was that we did not put in the folding option,

Step 2:

Picture of
We built the frame of the trailer out of a mixture of materials and wood products.  The trailer bed is exactly 4' x8'  and we used a full sheet of 3/4 pressure treated plywood and then painted the underside with black penetrating paint.  we built the side with 2x2 spruce for the railing and the corners are made from 2x6 pressure treated spruce.  the beefer corners is to help with it lasting over time and to give the corner less flex. 

At the rear of the trailer this is where the door was added.  It is an actual popup trailer door i purchase in indiana at a salvage dealer but you can find them online on ebay.

Step 3:

Picture of
The side walls are made from 1/2 plywood pressure treated.  The height of the side walls are 2' tall to match the popup door.

the holes for all lighting was added now so to hide all the wires in the walls. 

Step 4:

Picture of
We added sheet aluminum that we bought at home depot.  This is any easy way to cover the unit and it looks great when it is finished. 

Step 5:

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This photo shows the folding of the bed unit.  The hinges are a long aluminum hinge that is like a piano hinge.

the bed fold out to rest on an A frame metal bracket that attaches to the trailer on the side at the top and bottom of the trailer bed.


Step 6:

Picture of
I added car scissor jacks to the front and rear for stability. Now the tent is just a normal 8 x 12 tent that i purchase at walmart and removed the floor.

also needed to put in a new zipper for the door.

Step 7:

here is the trailer going up
jchase122 months ago

Awesome build.. Do you have pictures of the side rails could show how they attach at the trailer and down rigors? As well what and where got the materials to make the rail system?

And any cut dimensions for the flooring, framing, walls etc..

Thanks alot its very cool build

vpalma6 months ago
nice very nice
I compliment you on a practical and frugel build. I have a 20+ year old Eureka Timberland tent that I have been interested in converting to a tent camper.

My major concern was adding a new door zipper to allow for egress. I believe you may have given me my answer.
0Troy7 months ago
Very cool! Can't wait to see this with more additions!
camping crazy11 months ago
Very nice job!! Ive wanted too do this for years but with a bicycle thanks for the ideas!!
I'd like to see how you added it to it.
What do you think about adding a small window unit ac. I live in Mississippi where summers are hot even at night.
popotus (author)  paracordbylane1 year ago
That was actually going to be my next addition to the trailer!!!!!lol
ddw_az1 year ago
perfect example of "necessity is the mother of invention". excellent job!

could use an ez-up, or First-up, over the entrance for a breeze-way
use the Strait-leg version. then the bug screen that is made for it.

Here in AZ we put 3 or 4 of the 10x10 next to each other. then "weave", or role, the canopies where the sides touch to form rain gutters, sorry no photos.

DO NOT GET THE 10X20, the wind will destroy the 20 foot side. i have had trouble with the 12x12 as well.
popotus (author) 1 year ago
i will take more pictures and explain more later
darnott1 year ago
how did you attach the A-frame to the trailer and the (outrigger?) can you get them at harbor freight as well
dpaxton1 year ago
great project! how did you get the fold-out floors to fold-in level? wondering if you had to cut one of the walls of the trailer like 1/2 inch shorter than the other side? im thinking about trying this but leaving the trailer in the tilting configuration and adding ramps, so I could haul a go-cart or 4 wheeler on top... any suggestions?
popotus (author)  dpaxton1 year ago
yes one side is higher. You could build it so you could put the 4 wheeler on top when closed.
This is a great idea. I would like to see how you have everything stored on the inside. Thinking about something like this for my small family. How much storage room do you have.
popotus (author)  paracordbylane1 year ago
I fit everything in we need for camping except for bedding and food
Sparkfist1 year ago
About how much did the project cost to build?
popotus (author)  Sparkfist1 year ago
Around 500
Woof! Ok how much would you charge to make me one? :D
popotus (author)  mayagayam1 year ago
Well i am thinking of building another and would sell this one...LOL
Pervie1 year ago
What size Utility trailer did you use?? They have 5 different ones. Thanx
popotus (author)  Pervie1 year ago
4X8 900 lbs capacity
harthoppy1 year ago
I would LOVE to see the inside of it !!!
Fantastic instruct. Now all you need you to do for me is to build something that pulls the Trailer and we are set to go!
popotus (author) 1 year ago
Any one interested in making a campfire grill That is a tripod and a pot hanger
popotus (author)  popotus1 year ago
here is the grill
What's the investment? And how long did it take from start to finish.
popotus (author)  javajoecool1 year ago
Its about

It took me 3 weekends to build
bennelson1 year ago
You should e-mail this to Harbor Freight. They were thrilled when they saw I built a Solar-Powered Power Wheels with their solar panels!

I built a camping trailer a while back, based on the same Harbor Freight trailer frame. Mine was a tear-drop.

Great job on your pop-up!
popotus (author)  bennelson1 year ago
Nice teardrop .... My plan for the trailer was a teardrop but then my mind started twirling and i ended up with this!!!! How did you send your project to harbour frieght.
boviac1 year ago
Love this build. I would love any addition detail you can provide.
And specifically like what you used for the side bed supports and how you attached them/store them?
Any other ideas of what you would do differently for model 2.0?
Anything special you use for your outriggers when the neighboring area may not be flat and level?
popotus (author)  boviac1 year ago
outriggers are all adjustable
maewert1 year ago
Very cool project!
Do the tent poles attach to the wood where they would 'normally' be fed through the tent floor loops and touch the ground? If the poles are connected by the tent fabric then I might think it could rip over time but could be solved by attaching the poles to the wood. Also I missed a part... I assume you cut the floor of the tent... did you leave the floor so the floor still covers the wood extensions and is only open in the middle for a walkway?
Thanks for the nice 'ible!
popotus (author)  maewert1 year ago
The floor is cut out all the way and is folded under the wood beds
What a fantastic build! I can't wait to see future pictures (and commentary) regarding its use. It'd be awesome if you could also show how you use the interior space of the trailer when its all set up.

How long does it take to set up with all of the side supports? How many can comfortably sleep in it? Does removing the tent floor allow more bugs to get in? If I were to build one it'd be used in WI, more specifically along the shores of Lake Michigan, mosquito capital of the world (or so it seems at times), so I'd like to know how well it keeps the bug out.

Thanks and great job!!
popotus (author)  gecko_girl31 year ago
this the inside but i need more pics i will add later after i put it up in a couple of weeks
popotus (author)  gecko_girl31 year ago
I also have Two cabinets on the inside and a small fridge. It will sleep 4 people. Both beds are 50 in wide
popotus (author)  gecko_girl31 year ago
It takes about 20 mins to set up. When the velcro is all attached no bugs get in. I live in ontario and had it camping in northern ontario lots of bug but no hassle.

The biggest trick is to find a tent the right size!
Lost Moai1 year ago
Just to clarify... is that the floor of the tent you've repurposed as the trailer cover? If so, very nice. How do you secure the tent to the trailer once it's pitched? It looks like the remaining floor folds under the platform, but I can't see how it stays put. It seems like bugs could get in easily too around the door area. This is a great instructable and is something I've been tossing around in my head as well. Thanks for the inspiration.
popotus (author)  Lost Moai1 year ago
The trailer cover is another tarp
popotus (author)  Lost Moai1 year ago
The bottom of the floor is attached with velcro. when is all attached no bugs get in..

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