How to Build a DIY Micro Camper




Introduction: How to Build a DIY Micro Camper

I would like you to meet Bob! He’s our 40 sq. ft. Micro Camper.
While I designed him to be light weight he is also very rugged and well insulated. This model was built out of a reused 5×8 40-year-old cargo trailer that had seen better days.

I figure I could build one on a brand new trailer for only about $800 more. That being said, reusing what I could and even scoring some reclaimed T&G cedar for the back and the loft we only spent around $800 for the entire build which we completed in our spare time in about three weeks.

(updated interior pics on the last page)

Steel single axle trailer.

aluminum side walls.

2×3 framed construction.

real r-13 insulation everywhere.

birch bead board interior with 1in pine trim

3ft Ceder loft platform with inclosed sides to hold gear.

reclaimed RV door, I cut down to fit.

reclaimed RV crank out windows.

birch ply floors with enough room to squeeze a queen matress in there.

Corrugated tin roof and 1/2″ OSB to keep the weight down.

twin deep cycle 12V batteries to run 5 Led lights and a 110V AC outlet that can be run by an inverter in the front storage box.

Pluses of the unit.

It’s simple and easier than setting up a tent.

coast is very low compared to other trailer manufactures.

I can stand in it. unlike a teardrop. ( but I still love teardrops)

It’s unique, I get complements all the time.

easy to tow. I use a Nissan Xterra and just completed a trip with Bob, 2,400 miles from Colorado to Arizona and back.

It’s nice and warm and you can bet with that roof pitch it wont have water sitting up there! You can go camping and have a real mattress to lay on at the end of a long days hike! And come on, it looks like a Tiny House…. just smaller!

I’m offering micro campers and tiny houses, custom designed for people as well

Step 1: Find a Trailer. (such As This 40 Year Old Cargo Trailer)

Step one. find a cheap used trailer. it can be anything you want, a old
camper that's rotten, a jet ski trailer, cargo... anything really.

Step 2: Gut It! Take Apart! (remove to Stuff You Dont Want Leave the Stuff You Do)

I gutted the inside of the trailer and cut the back and roof off. making a hollow c shape to build a new structure in.

Step 3: Frame Up New Walls.

I used 2X3 studs to frame out the entire inside. then built a quick and dirty roof with enough space for me to stand up in.

Step 4: Add Windows and Sheet the Roof

I added reused RV windows from an old camper. sheeted all the openings that didn't have aluminum sides. and added a tin roof.

Step 5: Finish

I insulated the walls with r-13 added a reused RV door that i cut down to size, trimmed it out in reclaimed T&G ceder, added LED lights, a deep cell battery, a 110v power inverter. I now have full power hook ups. a folding outdoor camp kitchen, and a real mattress! The rest was just finish work and paint. and there you go in my spare time i built something even better than a camper and lighter to tow as well. in just three weeks.

Before and After Contest

Second Prize in the
Before and After Contest

Outside Contest

Third Prize in the
Outside Contest



    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest
    • Tiny Home Contest

      Tiny Home Contest
    • Fix It! Contest

      Fix It! Contest

    117 Discussions


    8 months ago

    This is the closest build I have seen, that I actually like. One suggestion or improvement, had you thought about installing weight supporting rails on the 3 of the walls, and raising the bed. It would increase storage, and keep you from being so low?

    This is the best camping shelter ...... cooool

    I'd rather have one of these than a traditional camper, there are so many more ways to personalize it! You did a great job on this :)

    Very awesome micro mini home/teardropish trailer! I'd love to find out about how to get your help with plans to build one myself

    This is such an interesting tutorial! You make it sound so easy! When I looked at the picture I was envisioning a little storage shed atop a wheelbarrow, but to see that it's really quite versatile and hardy at the end of the day is really a big bonus. Definitely something I could try in Summer next year when camping season starts!


    1 year ago

    this is so cool! love it!


    1 year ago

    Any thoughts on the weight of this camper? I really like it!!

    I would really love some detailed instructions on the electrical. I am rebuilding a 1966 camper and the whole system in it was shot. (i.e. whole new electrical system)
    is a battery and inverter all you need? how do you charge your battery?

    I have been considering such a thing. However, I believe that drag inherent in such a design is $$ down the drain, and that one could save so much on fuel expenses with a design that would have less wind resistance than this (but perhaps and Xterra driver doesn't care?) that alternate shapes should have been evaluated. A neighbor built one for his mother using sheet aluminum, possibly not too much more time (pop rivets, etc. plus incorporated a couple windows), and I have seen various v-nosed and tall tear drop shapes that, while not having so many cubic feet of volume per unit of deck space, should suit my needs much better than this sort of high-drag box. Having heaped that on the design, however, I'd suggest that the basic trailer could be modified to put a vee nose on this thing, with some utilities in that nose on the tongue of the trailer, for what that might be worth.


    11 replies

    Slamming someone who is providing ideas is rude and unnecessary. Perhaps, much like yourself..

    i agree with you fredellarby, not needed lets see your design Paul when you maybe make one and see if it get any critizimes hey buddy,..

    Yup, I accept the criticism, for I was most undiplomatic in my comment about the aerodynamics of the product...and perhaps that aspect is not of much concern to this enterprising builder, who has certainly crafted a visually attractive package. BTW, he is planning to make a V-nosed conversion, not necessarily as I suggested, but likely something he had considered from the outset. From what I read, the interior was designed to be very efficient with the space available, and that becomes somewhat more difficult as one approaches other geometries with curved surfaces and vee noses.

    Paul, your feedback seems a little harsh. Instead of criticizing, why not build something better and show us.

    I don't agree Jeff, Paul brings up valid points and makes suggestions on how to fix them. As I was looking at it and reading the description a lot of the same shortcomings came to my mind.

    Constructive critisism is always good, it's not like Paul just said "It's a piece of junk and a waste of time." Now that would be uncalled for.

    Yes, there are some valid points in his feedback but "$$ down the drain" and "but perhaps and Xterra driver doesn't care?" is out of line. I wasn't disagreeing with the feedback regarding the v-nose idea.

    Haven't been on here much for a while, as you can see. Agreed, some of it was too antagonistic. Glad to see everyone making nice now. ;-)

    Yup, Jeff; my comments were heavy on the keyboard; and that about mpg being important to an Xterra driver came from my gut reaction to the low mileage that the rugged Xterras deliver, a highway efficiency even lower than the abysmal mileage delivered by my Tacoma 4WD.

    @M2aestro No harm, no foul.

    I agree with both of you. The tone was immediately judgmental is the problem, with the comment about an Xterra driver. You could insert any model of vehicle and I think most of us would still infer negativity, given the statement. Rereading it without that makes for a much more constructive, positive response however.

    Paul, I do plan on building a V nose. but this shape was already part of this trailer in the form of the orginal sheet aluminum box from the cargo trailer i built it from. i was on a time crunch to get it done for a trip to arizona so i wasnt planing on modifing the shape to much.