Am I just being stupid or will this work?

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Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby DavidMcC » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:59 pm

I bought a 5x8 utility trailer. My plan is I make a collapsible camper my crazy :? idea is this: I can make walls using 5'10x8 ( 4x8 that would sit on top of a 1'10x8 sheet, held together with a 1x4 frame, that would run the perimeter of the wall as well as over the seam where the two pieces meet) out of 7/32 underlayment with a 1.5" insulation sheet sandwiched between them. I would make two of these and then I would do the same concept for the front and the back end of the "camper" but would fit it to the width of the trailer and ceiling will be done this way as well. They will tie together with wing nuts and washers at the four corners (20 total including the top down to the walls). This will snug them up tight to each other. I will make a couple of windows in the walls that will be able to open (haven't figured that one out yet right now its just a piece of polycarbonate) and then on the back where the door is I will have outlets which means I will run electric I don't want to do the battery thing I want to run off of campground electric. The trailer has a gate or ramp that I will drop and put on stands like a porch. All of this will collapse down so when I travel I take it down strap it into the trailer and go....an added plus is I can use the trailer for hauls or whatever during the rest of the year. I will only be camping in the summer months not during the rain.
What my Goals are
1. To be able to go camping with the wife in a camper we can both stand up in. (I am 5'6) she is a little shorter than a I am.
2. Has to be able to fit in the garage.
3. Has to be light, My tow vehicle is a 2017 Ford Escape se ecoboost. According to what I read in manual is capable of towing 3500lbs, don't want to be anywhere near that.
4. Not to difficult to set up. One person needs to be able to do it.
5. Needs to be fairly inexpensive.
This looks to work at meeting all of my needs but that's where you come in, will this work?
I hope so I already have the trailer LOL. Thanks
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby troubleScottie » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:57 pm

As has been stated before, collapsible is hard to do -- and you lose that ready when you arrive feature. 6 x 8 wall with insulation, etc is pretty heavy. A simple example -- lift a 4x8x1/2 dry wall sheet. Difficult to lift into place on cold, windy, rainy night. Also you may want to camp alone. You really need a method that works for 1 person.

Also wood changes shape making putting bolts in a bit tricky especially if there is change of humidity/woods water content/temperature/etc. These changes may mean some bolts will not line up. Again, every bolt hole is a potential leak. Also think about finding all the bolt and nuts and getting them in place in the dark and rain, after driving for hours.

In addition, there are issues with seams -- how to keep water out. Even assuming you are looking at worrying about highway speed, it still can be an issue.

Depending on the size of the door(s), that could also be an issue eg keeping them square and opening and closing properly.

Obviously you can do whatever you would like. Your time and money. You should work out a budget. Remember to include glues and paints/epoxy/fiberglass/etc for coating the panels. A lot of the cost is in the other things -- lighting, batteries, frigs, stoves, propane, chargers, solar systems, AC, generators, etc. Of course you need not include any of that.
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby OP827 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:06 pm

Folding walls caravans were around for many years now, google "gobur caravan" or esterel folding caravan.
Here is a homemade smaller version of folding caravan build - http://www.caravaning.in.ua/forum/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1017 that is being towed by 4 cyl Honda CRV.
If walls are hinged to the base then less nuts and bolts are needed and quick to assemble in almost any weather.
Cheers and good luck!
My foldable foam trailer build: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=61344
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby tony.latham » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:43 am

We camp for many reasons. One thing missing from that list is work.

When we pull into a campsite, it takes three minutes to throw a block or two out and level the 'drop, another three to set the camp chairs and table. And we're done. The kitchen is organized and ready for action. Our super-comfortable bed is made. All our night stuff is in position and ready for the evening.

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When it's time to go, it's the same. Five minutes and we're gone. We love to camp. The effortlessness is part of the reason.

Something to consider.

Tony
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby mallymal » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:54 pm

What is it you're trying to achieve my having it collapsible? Use the trailer for other stuff? The only way it fits in your garage?

Unless there's a strong reason, I reckon the cons outweigh the pros.

Another benefit of the standard rigid design is the inherent rigidity you get when everything is permanently fixed. Also the advantage of lighting & wiring all installed permanently.... I would see that side of things getting a bit tricky.

Sorry :NC not what you wanted to hear I guess....
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby DavidMcC » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:57 pm

thank you for the responses. To answer some of your questions. Yes, it has to fit in the garage I live in a condo with a garage and the HOA gets funny over trailers etc in the drive lol. I want to have the ability to stand and move around as does the wife. It has to be light weight as it will be towed with a Ford escape se 2.0 ecoboost. While it is rated out at 3500 lbs I don't want to be anywhere near that. I want to be up off the ground in a bed.
You have all raised some very good and valid points I think I may be changing gears a little....again. I purchased a 5x8 utility trailer last week, and just this afternoon I found a website that advertises what is basically a tent in a trailer. Its a set up and teardown but the construction process will be much easiear LOL Here is the website so you get an idea of what I'm talking about. http://www.flatbedtents.com/about.html
The one thing that I would like is if it had the electrical connection so I could hook up at the campsite, but even with that I have a couple of possibilities.
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby friz » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:04 am

It sounds like you are making a ton of compromises to be able to stand inside. How much of your vacation time do you plan on using to stand in a tiny space?

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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby Dan242 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:25 am

My inside headroom is just over 4 feet, I can sit and stretch and raise my arms. I have a big skylight and windows, so not claustrophobic at all, foam padding on floor so crawling a bit is no big deal.. I have a big door (48" by 40") on the back, so getting in and out is easy. I have an EZ up with walls on it that overlaps roof and goes back and can be enclosed. I figure the trailer is just for sleeping and light activities when weather sucks. I plan on spending 95% of my awake time outside. I have an awning on the side. I clear my garage with about 4" to spare and total weight is under 1k lbs.
Just have to figure out how much time you will really spend inside. Unless you really need to be inside a lot, the need for a standy is outweighed by all the other factors. To me the trailer is just a place to sleep in, cook out of, store supplies and provide power, Get one of those tents that just pop up and use it for headroom or whatever alongside the trailer.
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby IndyTom » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:16 pm

Wow David, that tent company is right here in my town, and I have never heard of them. Cool.

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My build thread:http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=36226

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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby Broncus » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:32 pm

I am looking at building an A-frame design myself, except I am working with a 4x6 utility trailer. I have been looking at the various A-frame pop-ups (e.g, ALiner and Rockwood) for ideas. The goal here is to pull it behind a Honda Fit or similar. My design is actually more like an offset a-frame. The peak is off to one side.

Best regards,
Fred
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby working on it » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:18 pm

  • If you're OK with a tent, and not a hard-sided plywood (or foam, or "tin", sides and top), then why not just buy a normal tent (i.e. Coleman, Kelty, or even Ozark Trails), and build a fold-up platform on a trailer base, and pitch the tent atop it. When I first contemplated using my old derelict trailer frame (50" x 60", of unknown capacity or purpose), it was as a platform for my wife's Coleman tent. She would go camping with her Bigfoot organization, and would return with the tent full of mud, and all her clothes wet and muddy. I proposed that she should use the trailer base as a raised platform, to keep her out of the muck and mire (she obviously hadn't learned to pitch her tent on the upside of a hill). She said she might use it, but not if it was hard to assemble on-site.
  • So, months later, our discussions trended towards my sketchy ideas of a "hardtop tent" (i.e., a "teardrop"-type of small enclosed trailer), as better and more comfortable camp quarters than a canvas or nylon tent. I had long planned to try camping again, after 30+ years of not doing any, so my ideas and needs soon overshadowed my initial plans, of building a simple folding base for a tent for her to use. I ended up with a "hardtop tent" alright, and it was too overgrown and overstuffed with my items, that she lost interest in it, and it became 100% mine. P.S. she also didn't like the confined feeling of the enclosure, made of 3/4" plywood with steel joinery, and preferred the "openness" of a leaky, drafty, insecure tent (Bigfoot might have trouble getting into my trailer, but not a tent). Her loss, my gain...she quit camping just before the trailer was finished anyway, so she probably wouldn't have used it under any conditions).
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring:
    • 3500 lb Dexter axle,
    • 27x8.5-14LT tires,
    • LED lighting,
    • A/C & heat,Optima AGM battery,
    • extended-run 2500w generator,
    • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby Broncus » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:25 pm

This is what I am contemplating. That is a twin bed. The black rail along the bottom is the utility trailer.

Best regards,
Fred
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby DavidMcC » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:41 am

Well project midlife crisis as my wife puts it or WTH am I doing project is nearing completion. Will this work yeah I think so. Its not a tear drop or a conversion, but a PVC contraption. I am utilizing a 5x8 utility trailer that I picked up from lowes. I wanted to keep it light as I am pulling it with our 2017 ford escape capable of towing 3500 pounds. I found some plans online for a pvc pipe paint booth that would be 7x7x7, so I modified them to 5x8 and just under 6 feet tall. The trailer has a tail gate that drops down and will serve as my porch. The walls will most likely be tarp material and the roof will either be a light plywood (2 piece with a hinge to keep them together) or tarp material. Not road worthy, I agree. For travel the top will be glued together which will be removed leaving me 7 poles for the walls and then the back section where the door is. There is also the base. The base will stay in place the seven poles will be marked for placement and then the back section that has the door will collapse down and lay ontop of the poles which will lay in the box. The two piece ply will then be mounted to the trailer covering the contents in the box. A little bit of work to set up and take down I agree but I'm ok with that for me it allows me to stand and move about with ease. Oh and the weight, I haven't checked as of yet but the trailer weighs approx. 375 lbs. so with everything I will be well under 1000 lbs. Cant wait to try it out. I know its not as cool as all of yours but its a budget trailer allowing me what I want. What do you think?? sorry about the quality of pics its night and in my garage. Yes I know the supports go over the garage door opener lol it all comes off. :?
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby S. Heisley » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:58 pm

The problem with a fold down where the entire wall folds down is that it becomes very difficult to get it water-tight, especially around the bottom. Why not build the first 4 feet solid and have just the last couple feet fold down? That's a lot easier to do and very possible. Look through these in this thread and you'll find lots of ideas that will and have worked well for people:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=50969

The other advantage of some of the above is that, if you get to the campground and it's really late or after dark and/or it's raining, you can still crawl into your bed to sleep and worry about the rest of the set-up in the morning. I've done exactly that on many an occasion!
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Re: Am I just being stupid or will this work?

Postby LMarsh » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:31 pm

I also wanted to be able to stand and get it in the garage so I did a dropped floor and a torsion axle set to the proper height. I have very little ground clearance but its more than some cars have. I even dished out a ton of money for a super low profile Fantastic Vent fan. Our old house had garage doors of only like 6'6". I got it in the garage by swapping to little tiny 8" trailer wheels then putting my polished 15" wheels on once it was in the driveway. My ground clearance with the 8 inchers was like maybe 2 inches :lol: .

Of course we have a newer house now with standard garage doors and it fits in the garage no problem, even with the larger tires and probably even a standard vent height.
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