My homemade off-road camper build thread

Discussion in 'The Great Outdoors' started by dearchristopher, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. dearchristopher

    dearchristopher Senior Member

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    Heya folks. I've been back and forth on whether i should make a thread over this, so i figured I'd dump it here and see if you're interested. If this is the wrong area to put this, i apologize.


    So basically around June of 2017, i decided i wanted to build an offroad micro camper to tow behind my (at the time) jeep wrangler. to summarize quickly, hurricane harvey came, life got in the way, and i ended up selling the wrangler and parking the trailer (shortly after it sat in about 6 foot of water) for about a year. was pretty upsetting, but i ended up picking the project back up around february of 2018.

    The trailer is intended to be sleep inside only, enjoy outside. this was on purpose, my lady won't camp in a tent anymore and i just don't like spending all my time inside a camper when im trying to be outdoors. the design holds a queen size mattress, and is insulated to keep noise out and the AC in. i fully intended on the exterior being very rugged and full of utility, while the interior is plush and fancy. some might think it's a little weird, but it ALWAYS surprises people when they look inside.

    going in a general progress fashion, so strap in!

    Here's the trailer the day i swapped the tags out of my dad's name and into mine. it's a handmade trailer, small but a perfect donor for this project.

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    I spent some time pulling the old wood decking, grinding the old paint and surface rust down, and generally cleaning the trailer up. I had probably 50-60 hours just in grind and cleanup time on this thing, and it was really hard to see the forest for the trees so early on.

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    while i had it all apart, i decided to flip the axle while i had no weight on the trailer. This decision ended up being reversed very recently, i just didn't like how it rode. as a regular utility trailer, it was fine, but once i had the top built out it just didn't feel right.

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    here's a pic of it painted and lifted behind my old wrangler

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    next i picked up some tires and wheels for it, to get the sizing better. paid $150 or something like that. gotta love jeep communities.

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    another buddy gave me 4 steelies for free, and i knew i eventually wanted to go to that design. i love steelies.

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    here it is with the wheels painted black, and new treated decking in the trailer.

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    i also took the time to clean up the steelies i got.

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    here's where it'll get interesting. there's a LOT of updates in between all of this, but im paraphrasing a lot of the progess to save you guys some sanity. i have a mega album on facebook if anyone is just THAT interested, you can shoot me a friend request.

    i decided that i wanted the design to be on top of the trailer (this is why i ended up lowering later) and use the bottom for storage. I probably wouldn't build it this way now, but i do appreciate the design for what it's worth.

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    we ended up decking right on top of that, and we were able to gain more square footage that way.

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    after this point we got to start framing and running electrical. it was much more exciting at this point, seeing it was coming together.

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    went with 2x2 to frame, and hung 3/4 treated on the exterior. we weren't sure at this point how to coat the exterior, but we knew this would be sufficient to coat over.
     
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  2. dearchristopher

    dearchristopher Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    we ended up doubling up on r-matte for the interior insulation, and this stuff DEFINITELY does the trick. 98* outside with the sun beating on it, and the air conditioner can still maintain 68* interior temp while cycling. it's impressive.

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    we also found some sweet little windows for the sides, they open inward in a convenient way. no weather inside, but it lets a breeze through.

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    we got the insulation done on the inside, and got the bottom storage area enclosed. the pic below is how the trailer was when i parked it for harvey. i evacuated for work to get the overtime, as well as the free room and per diem. didn't know we'd end up getting 50" of rain...

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    so i left it for about 8 months. right after harvey my work announced we were being laid off, and i decided to move to dallas. i sold the jeep, bought my ram, and took another jobi n my company. then they decided to lay off THAT team as well, so i lost my job twice in 4 months. cue us moving back to beaumont.

    I had free time again with the severance and exit-strategy, so i decided to pick the trailer back up in my free time. I went from a wranger to a lowered express, so a new route would need to be taken with the trailer.

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    it had no door, and the insulation all needed to be replaced. a good bit of it floated away.

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    we had framed out a door to be made with plywood, but it just wasn't totally what i wanted. i ended up finding a place in central texas that made doors for deer blinds, with rv style latch and dead bolt. for $180 shipped, i jumped on it. it makes the trailer in my opinion. i also began laying flooring down in this pic, and hanging interior trim out.

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    we also decided to toss a skylight in the ceiling for those texas nights. this is my favorite feature.

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    the roof is 3/4 treated plywood, covered in flex seal, then truck undercoating, a layer of roofing tape (peel and seal, if you're familiar) and then more undercoating on top of that. i plan on finishing it out with the rubberized roofing that you can put on travel trailers, just to make sure this thing holds.

    i always knew i wanted to do a faux-wainscoting on the interior. i decided to do balsa wood on top, and beadboard on bottom with an MDF chair rail on the middle to keep weight down. we chose a pretty nice soft blue for the upper, and the interior is just crazy nice. people are always surprised when they see it.

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  3. dearchristopher

    dearchristopher Senior Member

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    here are the most recent set of pics, from the last couple of weeks. we decided to flip the axle back to spring under, and go to a smaller wheel and tire. i love the look we decided to go with. i also added some stabilizers (made for a fifth wheel trailer...super sturdy) to help with the leveling. this thing hangs tire from these...so awesome.

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    here it is, lowered again on temporary wheels and tires, behind my dad's rebel. the profile is much nicer. [​IMG]

    also got a tailgate installed!

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    today, we got the wiring finished up inside, a drip pipe for the AC unit, and added the wheels and tires that we are going to leave on. i also added 110 outlets with USB ports, as well as a GFCI outside in a weather box for outdoor use. we basically wired the trailer 110 15amp, and the AC is only a 5,000 BTU so this is a more than sufficient setup. we are going to use ipads, bluetooth speakers, and smaller things for entertainment to keep the energy draw down. a small generator should do the trick.

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    hope you guys enjoy! very open to suggestions and ideas for the build, we are at the finish line! Just got to finalize a color and get this thing coated, and next i'll get to do the fun stuff like adding tools, tables, and organizing the exterior stuff. planning on a canopy and an area for outdoor kitchen stuff. also toying with the idea of an outdoor shower.

    anyway, if you made it this far, i appreciate you reading! here's a link to more pics if you want to see anything specific in detail. i'll also post whatever you'd like in here if i didn't cover it enough.

    https://chrisroachphotography.smugmug.com/Other/Micro-Camper/
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
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  4. 4eyedconekiller

    4eyedconekiller Senior Member

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    This is pretty rad, I must say. Got me thinking! Subbing to see more progress!
     
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  5. dearchristopher

    dearchristopher Senior Member

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    thanks! i'd love to do another in a different way. i just can't wait to camp in the damn thing haha
     
  6. ecoramtester

    ecoramtester Junior Member

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    Nice work man. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  7. CoHam

    CoHam Junior Member

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    That is pretty cool, your own hand built “teardrop” type camper. I’m sure you’ll have a blast using it. I lack the skills and imagination that it takes to accomplish something like that, but I have a “bed on wheels” made by Little Guy and really like it.
    I’m looking forward to seeing more posts as you close on the final steps in your process.
     
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  8. Darth

    Darth Member Military Member

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    Impressive.
     
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  9. 17Delmonico

    17Delmonico Member

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    Very impressive! Looking forward to seeing it all decked out and in the field.
     
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  10. dearchristopher

    dearchristopher Senior Member

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    thanks everyone!

    i’m going to look these up. i’d love to see yours. I always appreciated the teardrop campers but I wanted something more rugged behind the jeep. now that my truck is lifted, it still fits the look, so i’m just leaning into it lol


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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