Introduction: Self-made Wooden Camper (Kleine Cabine)

Picture of Self-made Wooden Camper (Kleine Cabine)

Kleine Cabine, Dutch for Little Cabin.  You are looking at a one-of-a-kind Douglas fir camper, pop top with ALL solid wood.  Features are:  50 ft RV cable, 2-6 volt golf cart batteries, 50 Watt solar panel, upper cabinet space with storage under the bed, kitchenette in rear door with two door cabinet, counter top and drawer. There is a small 300 Watt inverter to give you AC for computer, lights, music, and phone charging. Length is 10 ft, width is 4 ft, height is 4.5 ft.  It weighs close to 1200 lbs. and was coated with Watson's out-door oil finish.  Since I did not know about Instructables at the time of creating this camper, I do not have any videos or pictures other than the finished product.  My hope is to make more of these "Little Cabins" (and sell them), and with those there will be steps and descriptions.  


mfalkner531 (author)2018-01-15

Did you ever make plans or videos about this or others you have built and if so where can I find them?

HellsBells1975 (author)2017-05-01

Looks fantastic! Really interested in how you get the popup to "go up" and then to remain there?

pvannoy (author)2017-03-15

I'm curious how you made the sides? Did you plane down the thickness? Are they glued and then clamped while drying, or did you counter sink screws from one board to the next? Generally dimensional lumber twists when it dries did you have any such issues?

matthewtweedie (author)2016-09-14

very nice camper van

BrendaD43 (author)2016-04-15

Nice camper! I don't know if you still reply to this feed but I noticed that you said that you used watson's outdoor oil finish in your decription and then later when you responded to a comment you said it was watco oil finish. I was wondering wich one you used? I looked them up and both exist. I have a 1974 18 1/2 ft motorhome that I need to rebuild the coach on and want to use wood for the exterior and have been wondering how to keep water from getting in the seems and what I can use to water proof it.

TeresaM7 (author)2015-10-30

Hoping to see future Instructables on this! The thing I don't like about many teardrops is that there's no room to stand up. This would fix that problem!

Dustman0042 (author)2015-07-01

I really like all the solid wood used in your build. and its just the right size

Bolo193 (author)2015-06-30

Very nice rig!!

cgriffith jackson (author)2015-03-31

How much would you sell an identical on for?

cliff.rininger (author)2015-03-09

So how did you attach it to the trailer?

Michael Hippenhammer (author)2015-01-27

I hoping to build another one this year. I have a single car garage with a full wood shop so space is a problem. Looking into a tent structure to build it in so I have room to work in my shop. I will fully document the next one.

quinault (author)2015-01-25

good idea for the roof

lazarus441 (author)2014-12-28

Very very very nice!

I am interested in the wood work on the outside.

Can you maybe add some more detailed pictures and the methods you used?

Jeff Repair It (author)2014-10-01


Be very proud.

campervanthings (author)2014-09-22

This is so cool! I was actually searching around for pictures of a teardrop with pop-top, and when I spotted this being towed by a cyber-green beetle like we have, I took it as a sign that I should build one like this :)

Petergottm (author)2014-09-06

Very cool!

Michael Hippenhammer (author)2014-07-29

Thanks again for all your compliments. It cost about $600. I built it this way because it kept the cost way down. Using 2x6's gave me length that plywood couldn't offer and I didn't have to do separate sheets of exterior and interior ply wood for paneling. The solid wood worked for both. I milled each piece to the same dimension and screwed them together with 3" screws and liquid nails. Next time I will use tongue and groove to make it easier. I just added trim to the outside to cover my board ends and it looks even nicer. The canvass is a painters cloth from Harbor freight on sale for $4.99. The same at a fabric store was $40. I had the solar equipment laying around from my work in the mobile solar business. It's not as heavy as you would think, about the same as a small pop up tent trailer. I'm turning a school bus into an RV right now and am taking pictures as I go along. I also did a Ford van camper conversion earlier this summer that turned out beautiful. I should post those pics also.

crank_girl (author)2014-06-28

Freakin' awesome. :-)

l8nite (author)2014-02-07

that is GORGEOUS !

spylock (author)2014-02-02

Thats one of the best jobs Ive seen on a homemade camper,very easy on the eyes also,top notch work.

tylerwhitworth (author)2014-01-17

So cool. I've had a similar idea, to make and sell small camp trailers, but the wood construction is a nice touch for sure. How does the oil finish hold up in the rain, and weather?

My advise from a local paint store told that Watco oils plastisizes the wood and will last a long time. I give it a coat every year and it is not losing its luster and not dis coloring. I was warned that a finish such as lacquer or shellac will peel off in about three years.

That makes sense. I think you put a similar coating on log cabins.

gpm85 (author)2014-01-14

looks great! where did you get the windows?

We have a local home junk yard and I found them there. They are RV windows.

Michael Hippenhammer (author)2014-01-27

Thanks for your interest in my camper, I hope to add a video tour soon. I am planning on building another one and I will have a tutorial for that one.

bennelson (author)2014-01-20

Bravo, well done!

For those interested, there's a GREAT web forum for DIY small camping trailers at:

Here's one I made.

jhawkins14 (author)2014-01-19

This is fantastic. Great job!

Dominic Bender (author)2014-01-15

A mobile log cabin, what is not to like about that. Being into wood I am always thrilled to see unexpected things made from it. I would also love to see a setp-by-step for all the sections and maybe some insight in how you made them.

ortho (author)2014-01-14

Sweet , I fell in love with mini campers a number of years ago . One day I will build mine. It's very nice great job.

Kiteman (author)2014-01-14

Oh, that is simply delightful!

Maybe you could write an instructable as a guided tour, showing what is in each section, and explaining how you did it?

HollyMann (author)Kiteman2014-01-14

I agree and hope he does! I would love to see more pictures!

HollyMann (author)2014-01-14

Wow. I LOVE it. How long did it take to make? And was it expensive? :) Someday ...I would love to have one of these.

downeysyndrome (author)2014-01-14

I would love to see a complete Instructable on how to make one of these!

jessyratfink (author)2014-01-14

Oh, I hope you document additional ones for us! That is an absolutely beautiful camper.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2014-01-14

This looks amazing! Great use of space :D

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