Tandem Axle Reverse Teardrop Camper (Harbor Freight)

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Introduction: Tandem Axle Reverse Teardrop Camper (Harbor Freight)

About: Retired, jack of all trades - master of none

NOTE: Each picture has notes at bottom right corner.

I built this tandem axle reverse teardrop in this design for a number of reasons:

I needed more room inside than what I could get in a standard 4x8 single trailer design. I am 6' 5" tall and wanted to put in a queen bed, but also wanted an area for electronics, 32" TV, DVD, radio, speakers. Also I wanted ample storage room, closet, cubby holes, electrical closet, and hidden storage.

I also had seen at least one example online of what a reverse design looked like and it appealed to me. I guess I never quite understood the original design of the standard teardrop having the blunt flat side forward and the slope design in the back. I planned on doing several thousand miles of highway driving and wanted it to be more aerodynamic and with less wind drag. The taller design (83" ground to roof) also gave me more galley room area for the fridge, microwave, cooler, and storage.

I started with two of the 4x8 Harbor Freight reds with the 5 lug wheels and largest weight capacity option. I bolted them together and started building up the base from there. It was critical that I reinforced the two trailers with the perimeter of PT wood using carriage bolts in through the frame.

It took me about 2 weeks short of 1 year to complete the construction working about 3-4 hours each day.

I took this camper on a 14 week trip through 17 states and put about 12,000 miles on it. This camper pulls like a dream, no swaying or drift. I was very lucky because I had no idea how it was going to pull. I lucked out on the placement of the axles, it was just a best guess location. The finished camper is heavy due to lots of wood product. I replaced the original tires with 8 ply tires that are heavy duty and hold up to 100 lbs each. This was a good choice.

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    6 Discussions

    I only rough sketched a design of the profile I wanted and the areas and where they would be (storage, sleeping, galley, entertainment, etc.) No plans existed except the ones in my head. As far as I know this is a one-of-a-kind camper. Good luck with your project!

    You said, "I guess I never quite understood the original design of the standard teardrop having the blunt flat side forward and the slope design in the back. I planned on doing several thousand miles of highway driving and wanted it to be more aerodynamic and with less wind drag."

    This tells me that you didn't actually read up on aerodynamics. One of the most aerodynamic shapes is the raindrop. The rounded front with a tapered rear is very aerodynamic. With a blunt rear, you are pulling a vacuum behind your trailer and increasing the weight you are pulling by a significant amount.

    With that being said, this looks like it is really well built. I thought that it was a customized commercial trailer from the thumbnail. Well done!

    2 replies

    Thanks for the comment. I wasn't a physics major in school but did understand Bernoulli principles as it relates to airplane wing lift and other applications. All I can vouch for is that my profile and design helped my gas mileage tremendously and how it trailered extremely well, not sure if I lucked out or actually got something right . I do have to think that with the topper on the back of my truck, it had to make the air flow right over the top of the camper. This conversation also makes me wonder why bumper pull camper manufacturers never follow that teardrop design?? I don't know of anybody that does. Rockwood makes lots of campers that follow this profile, slope front and flat back, but they probably don't care about efficiency.

    Anywho, Like my personal profile says "jack of all trades, master of none", thanks for your kudos, I appreciate your message.

    As to your comment as to why trailer manufacturers don't follow that design: my guess is that it is because people want more usable space out of the square-footage that their trailer has. Boxes are much more efficient for space and materials than curves.

    This is fantastic!!

    You've got more than enough photos to really make this into a great starter guide for anyone looking to build something similar.

    If you feel inclined, I'd strongly recommend editing and putting photos into a handful of separate steps with a bit of written guidance to walk through readers through your basic process.

    I'm sure it would result in your Instructable getting featured, and probably even promoted in one of the site's large email newsletters. And if there are any relevant contests going currently, this could be a contender for a prize.

    If you make any edits, please let me know. I'd love to see more written detail on your process to complete the camper. It looks amazing :)