Simple Teardrop Camper

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About: I am a licensed electrician in central Arkansas and am an avid hobbyist. I spend a lot of time outdoors camping, hunting, fishing and floating on the river! I have weekend projects going all the time and pl...

Intro: Simple Teardrop Camper

Here’s my teardrop camper build. Enjoy!

Step 1: Finding a Trailer!

First off, deciding to build a camper is a relatively easy project If you have patience, a little bit of money, and a lot of extra time.

I decided to go with a trailer from harbor freight that is roughly 4’x8’, and has a 1200 pound load capacity. If I remember correctly I paid about 250$ for the trailer brand new.

The trailer comes in a box and you have to assemble it yourself.

An electric impact and socket set will save a lot of time here!

Step 2: Installing Floor on Trailer.

Although I did not get photo evidence of the underside of the plywood, I bought a regular sheet of 3/4” plywood and some 2”x2” boards and raises it off of the trailer so I could install cheap insulation board underneath. I also had some “roll on” tar left over from another project and gave it a good coat to prevent water damage.

Step 3: Building Walls

Okay so for this part I used 4’x8’ sheets of plywood for both side walls of the camper. I tried to design the build using nominal sized lumber to help cut cost.

Also I found on Craigslist a local guy selling used RV parts and found two windows for 40$ together.
I based my “rough in” window dimensions off of the windows I already purchased (so not to run into issues later).

Then cut the 2”x2” boards to sort of frame in the camper so I can insulate and run electrical wires.

Your local hardware store should also sell shallow electrical boxes that will fit perfectly in the thin walls.

Step 4: Insulation and Interior Wall Coverings

Next I bought foam insulation board and cut it to fit in between studs.

Also bought 1/8” brown plywood for the interior wall coverings. The thickness will cut down on weight and if I remember right the paneling was super cheap.( about 8$ per sheet)

I decided to build my own door and cut dimensions for door and used the windows purchased as a reference to cut out the holes. One in door and one on passenger side.

I roughed in electrical for an exterior light and one interior light, as well as several receptacles for convenience and for window unit and TV.

** on a side note I did not want to wire this camper up for a 12volt system. I already had a generator and planned on using this camper for deer camp. So everything I wired is 120volt and bought wire for a standard 30amp camper receptacle.

We can camp at any regular camp ground!

Step 5: Closing Her in

So I finished enclosing the roof of the trailer by cutting small slivers of plywood to form the radius, then used more of the 1/8” plywood to fold over it to make a smooth finish.

The exterior of the side walls are thin gauge metal used for metal trim on houses.

I trimmed the exterior edges with 1”x4” pieces of board then painted and sealed everything with good exterior paintable caulk.

I found some “roll on rubber” at Home Depot and it’s advertised for camper roof repair. It worked as advertised even on a new installation.

Finally I installed the rain guards above the door, window, and A/C unit. I also installed all of the door lock hardware and handles. It’s been roughly 8 months since completion and it still has had no issues with leaking!!

As for sleeping, I purchased an air mattress that fit perfectly in the cab.

Road ready!

I am already building another camper, just much larger! I will be taking many more photos to better explain my process.

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    16 Discussions

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    zumchikara

    5 weeks ago

    That's awesome! How many can it sleep? I bought one of those Harbor Freight trailers for hauling our stuff on vacation and for mulch and rock. My only thing doing this is I lose my ability to do the other things I just listed. Harbor Freight isn't selling those anymore because of some incident where someone put a non DOT tire on it and got into a wreck.

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    The Oak

    6 weeks ago on Introduction

    Question:
    Curious how you came up with the height for your outfit?
    Also would it be possible to put the AC unit up higher than it is?
    I really love this build. Great job!
    Thanks
    The OAK

    2 replies
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    Zaspencer576The Oak

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    I decided to only us a 4’x8’ piece of plywood for the two side walls to save money on materials. And it’s plenty of room to sit up inside the camper.

    Also the A/C unit could maybe have gone up only a few inches before entering the radius on the roof.

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    The OakZaspencer576

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thanks for your quick reply. You detailed your build perfectly. Great job thanks again.
    The OAK

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    nearboston

    6 weeks ago

    That is one great build. Do you have any interior pictures?

    2 replies
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    Zaspencer576nearboston

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    The fire stick and cell phone as a mobile hot spot is just a bonus!

    The light around window unit is sealed with clear silicon. Not open to the outside lol.

    The floor under the air mattress is just the plain plywood.

    3EE92CAA-4DB4-4F5F-BEC7-2CB773912568.jpeg05B02EB1-49AF-4FAF-B24B-00043F2DFEC3.jpeg87A931F5-20C6-411C-9F1C-A5E98B3E8E6B.jpeg
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    Zaspencer576nearboston

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thank you very much. And like I said in the post I just wanted something simple for when we go mud riding and to deer camp to have A/C and Heat.

    I searched around for some type of foam or padding for bed but it’s so much cheaper to just wedge in an air mattress.

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    david.roseman

    6 weeks ago

    Just want to point out, that those hubs and wheels have a max rating of 55mph. If you want to go normal highway speeds, you need to upgrade to a larger wheel, and most likely 5 lug hub.

    Now, the question is.....55mph max speed at max LOAD, or any load?

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    Zaspencer576david.roseman

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    I understand they have max load capacity of 50 mph. I have taken this camper multiple trips 3 hours plus on interstate and have had no issues. The only things that we load into camper are our clothes. I don’t load anything in it because it’s where we have a nice clean place to sleep.

    The speed rating is probably a good thing to follow but as long as I keep the tires fresh and aired with correct PSI I doubt there will be any problems.

    I have another old trailer with same set up and it used to haul my four wheeler out of state with no issues on several occasions.

    Maybe I will eventually upgrade to larger set up but for right now it spends more time sitting than hauling.

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    Zaspencer576Justme5155

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Haven’t put it on a scale but I am certain it has not met the max load capacity of trailer.

    Trailer weighs around 1400lbs and the capacity of trailer is close to 1200lbs.

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    scooters2

    6 weeks ago on Step 5

    Very nice have fun. I need to get a better door on the one i built with a window like you have.

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    philbertmeister

    Question 7 weeks ago on Step 5

    I have been thinking about doing this and admire how you did it. The building a door is kind of daunting to me though...I was thinking about making the entire rear wall a swing up door. Piano hinge at the top and then swing up with poles that could hold it up in place...sort of like a patio. And then get that magnetic latch screen door for when the door is up...Your thoughts on that?

    1 more answer
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    Zaspencer576philbertmeister

    Answer 7 weeks ago

    The door was indeed the least favorite part of the build. If I ever do another teardrop I would like to buy a pre-made door assembly.. save a lot of time and effort!

    And the idea of the swing up door would be awesome! Would make getting in the camper easier. And make for nice views at the lake
    The screen I wouldn’t think would be difficult either.

    When I started to plan this build I was going to do the rear hatch like so many others but it would have taken me far to much time to complete. I only wanted a trailer to sleep for deer camp and a place to crash when I go mud riding. The A/C is truly a luxury.

    Add some images of your ideas you have me interested.

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    tomatoskins

    7 weeks ago

    That's a great looking trailer! How long did it take to make?

    1 reply
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    Zaspencer576tomatoskins

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Close to 8 months from start to finish. I did it in my spare time with no rush and paid for it with overtime money from work.