Build Your Own Pop-Up Trailer





Introduction: Build Your Own Pop-Up Trailer

This is our Pop Up trailer We call it the Tortuga.

Step 1: 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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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

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    85 Discussions

    question I saw these tent campers sold for a few thousand but very sturdy. Do you use the hole for storage under the tent. Has anybody ever tryed to turn a popup to a hard side after there canvas dry rotted.

    1 reply

    Could not download the instructions even after I signed up for that Go Pro thing!!


    Could not download instructables steps even after I signed up.

    Very innovative. Your basic design is very sturdy and utilitarian with the ability to 'mod' the design for one's own needs. 'Happy campers' indeed!

    We really like your idea and are planning to build something very similar. I was wondering...what did your use for support under the beds?


    Looks great but have you thought of maybe using bungee cords to keep the sides down in windy conditions...would hate to be sleeping in there and have a storm come along and blow you all to Kansas...or the other side of the raindbow....just a thought because where I live we get bad storms in spring and fall.

    Sorry to bother you again, but can you explain a little more about the doors? Like, are they connected so if you were to open the trailer door, the tent door follows suit? or did you just add a zipper?

    I had too add a new door it all depends on the tent you buy.

    Alright, thanks. I was concerned about maybe if weight wasn't distributed evenly (a person on one side, nobody on the other) that it might tip.

    Very nice build I like the idea of wrapping it in aluminum. Also you alleviated any weight concerns I have had about that trailer, as I used it for something similar.

    Do you have instructions on your teardrop? Looks great!

    Sorry! I didn't document that project particularly well. However, I did base it on a set of plans I bought from Kuffel Creek ( which you can buy.
    Also, the best place on the internet to learn about teardrops is at the Teardrops and Tiny Travel Trailers forum ( Lots of photos and good build thread there!

    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.

    I know someone else mentioned this, but how is the side-to-side stability? Is there a reason you added vertical struts to one aide in addition to the angled ones?