DIY Micro Camper

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Introduction: DIY Micro Camper

About: www.facebook.com/i.hate.karl.kilburn - I am 'that' Karl

I love camping, and I spend almost all my free time camping or building toys for camping. I am into all types of camping, but my favorite is getting back up in the mountains far from anything or anybody.

It is great to get back to nature... However as I continue to get older, I find I need a few things to be comfortable... The primary one being a comfortable place to sleep.

A couple of years ago I decided I needed a small trailer that would haul all my camping toys, it would also be nice if I could sleep in this trailer on a real mattress.

When I was thinking about what i would build, the primary rule was the trailer had to ride behind my vehicle and be no wider or taller than my vehicle so that it could go anywhere my SUV would go. So with that one simple idea in mind I built this trailer.

After I built the trailer, it turned out to be my favorite way to go camping!!!

Other people started noticing it in campgrounds and while I was out traveling. So I started building them for friends.

Several people have said they would like to build one. So without any further commentary, here is a overview of the last one i built.

Step 1: The Frame

This trailer is built on a 4 foot by 8 foot Harbor Freight trailer frame.

I assembled the frame right out of the box. I did not install the lights or fenders at this time because I did not want them in my way while I was building the box on the frame.

To make the trailer extremely sturdy I laid 3/4" inch plywood on the frame, then laid a 2x3 stud around the outside edge of the floor. I then drilled through the 2x3, plywood, and frame and bolted them all together. This really stiffens up the frame, and it also gives me a good anchor point for the walls to the frame.

Step 2: Camper Materials

The micro camper is built with 2x3 studded walls with 1/2 inch exterior plywood on the outside and 1/8 inch underlayment on the inside walls.

The roof system is 2x4 rafters with 1/2 inch OSB on the outside and 1/8 inch underlayment on the ceiling.

Step 3: Framing the Walls

I framed up the walls in the shop. The walls are framed 16 inches on center and laid out to have a window on each side and a door in the back.

Step 4: Installing the Walls

I installed the walls on the trailer. The walls are nailed to the 2x3 that is bolted to the frame. When I install the outside sheeting it will be fastened to the rafter system, the walls, and the 2x3 that is bolted to the frame, making it a very sturdy box. Notice the top plate that goes around the walls tying them all together.

Step 5: Installing the Roof

To install the roof I first laid a piece of 1/8 inch underlayment on top of the walls.

Then I framed the rafter system with 2x4 rafters 16 inches on center. I installed blocks in between the rafters to help tie everything together. The rafters are nailed into the top plate of the walls and into the blocks.

Finally I installed a 1/2 inch OSB piece to the top of the rafters. The camper is now framed up.

Step 6: Sheeting the Walls

Next up I installed the exterior sheeting. This is pretty straight forward. The walls are attached with 1.5 inch deck screws.

To cut out the windows and door I used a roto-zip. That makes the job go quickly and easily.

Step 7: Installing Aluminum Trim and Roof

After installing sheeting on the walls, the next step is to install aluminum trim and roofing. I used aluminum trim stock. It comes in a variety of sizes, and I used the 24 inch wide material. I installed aluminum on the corners to cover the exposed edges of the plywood sheeting. I also installed gutters over the windows and doors. Finally I installed aluminum sheeting on the roof with a double bend connection to make sure that it would be totally waterproof.

Step 8: Sheeting the Interior

Inside I ran some electrical wires for the interior light and outlets and then installed 1/8 inch underlayment on the walls.

Step 9: Door and Window Trim

Next I made the door by gluing and screwing 3 pieces of 1/2 inch exterior plywood together.

I cut out the interior trim for the windows and door.

Finally I gave everything a coat of primer.

Step 10: Painting the Trailer

Everything inside and out was given a coat of exterior primer paint.

Then I applied a coat of Semi-Gloss exterior paint.

Then I filled all the screw holes (all 4 million of them) with caulk and gave it another coat of paint.

That is 1 coat of primer, and 2 coats of paint for those of you keeping count....

Step 11: Electrical

Next I did all the final electrical work. I installed a 110 volt 15 amp inlet on the outside the powers an outlet and light on the inside.

I also applied another layer of paint inside and out (That's 3 coats of paint!!!)

Step 12: Finishing Up...

Next I Installed the windows and screens.

I installed the interior window and door trim.

I hung the door. It has bolts on the inside and outside (the outside can be locked open or closed to help prevent 'accidentally' getting locked inside).

Finally the fenders and outside lights were installed.

And... One last coat of paint just to say I did it... 4 coats of paint in all.

Step 13: Finished!!!!

The entire project takes about a week of working evenings to build.

The final cost for the trailer you see here was about $700 for everything.

I delivered this trailer to it's new owners and they have happily been camping in it ;)

I am starting another one soon...

Thanks for checking this out!!!

3 People Made This Project!

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323 Discussions

0
charityrgreen
charityrgreen

Question 11 days ago on Introduction

Your original pics show a trailer base with sides attached, what did you do differently on that build vs the harbor freight base build

0
allen0621
allen0621

Question 2 years ago on Step 2

Osb for roof? OSB is not waterproof do you coat it with something?

0
i.hate.karl.kilburn
i.hate.karl.kilburn

Answer 4 months ago

Entire camper is wrapped in aluminum

0
Popza
Popza

Answer 11 months ago

Read step #3

0
jeff68
jeff68

Reply 9 months ago

step 7

0
DavidG911
DavidG911

Answer 1 year ago

Menards metal

0
fisherclive9
fisherclive9

Question 9 months ago on Introduction

This looks awesome, but I have a couple questions...
About how much does this configuration weigh?
Can the trailer be taken on a freeway over 55MPH?

Thanks.

0
i.hate.karl.kilburn
i.hate.karl.kilburn

Answer 4 months ago

It's done thousands of miles work my cruise set at 75 mph. I should not admit it, but, it's seen speeds above 90...

0
julie1945
julie1945

Question 7 months ago

how much does it weigh

0
i.hate.karl.kilburn
i.hate.karl.kilburn

Answer 4 months ago

Trailer original weight plus a few hundred pounds worth of camper... I'd guess around 1000 pounds...

0
JohnsonJ12
JohnsonJ12

Answer 6 months ago

Hello everybody! there a few thing you can do to make the weight lighter. First of all you can use 2x2 instead of 2x3 and get the same results so on the floor and in the corner is the only place you really need 2x3 or 2x4 for added strength so when you tie it together 90 % of trailer sold at RV stores are made this way this wil make iy much lighter as you only useing have the size of material as far as highth goes you can make it as tall as you need it to be but beware that the more the the highth and width the more drag you will have for the inside use paneling for interior wall cover and depending on the look you want you can hang it on either side one one side you will be able to paint it and the other side you can not so chose your paneling wisely as far as insultion goes you can use shreaded paper to fill the walls up or buy or get some old insulation for recycling it all depend on what you want to do and how much you want to spend for the roofing it pretty much the same process as the walls and flooring before you put the paneling on make sure you run your electrical wiring first on the roof you can use what called snow coat which will seal the the roof but you may need to coat it once in awhile as for the seam and corners use chalking and flex seal then paint it all the door hinges can be tucked between the plywood and wall stud same for the windows the trim around the windows and door to conseal the door and window edges and give your new trailer a great look can also do the same for around the roofing and floor area which will give it added strength while giving it a great look i been building house apartments and commerial builds for 40 years

0
jayblueman1978
jayblueman1978

Question 5 months ago on Step 3

What is the height of the walls? Looks like maybe 4 ft

1
Deepblu505
Deepblu505

Question 1 year ago on Step 13

I would be towing with a Jeep Wrangler and was wondering how much does it weigh empty, and how is it on wind resistance on the high way?

0
Popza
Popza

Answer 11 months ago

"...ridge, 10gals water,stove & food I*** weigh in abt 1000#***" Last line of article

0
jeff68
jeff68

Reply 9 months ago

Last line: Thanks for checking this out!!!

0
DutchCamper
DutchCamper

Question 1 year ago on Step 13

What is needed to get this registered in order to get plates on it?

0
jwaters6
jwaters6

1 year ago

What kind of impact does this trailer have on your gas mileage?