Camping in the Florida Keys??? UPDATED with pics of our trip

Anything to do with camping, fundamentals, secrets, etc...

Postby Endo » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:21 am

It was a great trip.

This was the first trip with the tent on top.
I am very pleased with the ease of set-up and take-down.
The frame is only 5'x7' yet the teardrop sleeps 4 people.
:) We love it!
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Postby mikeschn » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:48 am

Looks like a nice trip...

Mike...
The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten, so build your teardrop with the best materials...
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Postby tears4mama » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:40 pm

Where did you get your rooftop tent and how much was it? Did you need to plan extra support on your roof?
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Postby ERV » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:23 pm

Brad
Nice lookin family! Looks like you all had fun too. Did the boys say anything about the tent getting to hot? I camped in a small tent down that way when I was young, it got hot and I could not sleep out side because of the bugs, ha.
Good memories tho!!
Erv :thumbsup:
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Postby Endo » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:41 pm

Tears4mama it is not actually a rooftop tent.
It's my "budget" version of a rooftop tent :)
It is a tent cot.
I took the legs off the tent cot.
I welded up a roof rack and secured it to the custom rack.
The tent cot came with a cover that I also modified to fit with the rack.

An actual rooftop tent is VERY expensive ($1000-2000).
I bought the tent cot on Amazon for $250.
The rack bolts to the roof along the edge of the teardrop and at the front. The walls take most of the load.
The top edge of the wall I framed in 1x3 oak. The rack is bolted through solid wood blocking as well.
The front edge of the roof was framed with three 1x2's glued together.
The roof rack took some fabrication and welding but I love that stuff. It was fun to build.
I also have 2 awnings that mount to the roof rack but I don't have any pictures of the awnings yet.

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Brad
Nice lookin family! Looks like you all had fun too. Did the boys say anything about the tent getting to hot?
I camped in a small tent down that way when I was young, it got hot and I could not sleep out side because of the bugs, ha.
Good memories tho!!
Erv

Thanks Erv.
The boys never complained. The weather was perfect.
All 4 sides open up for ventilation, with the tent on top of the camper it also catches the breezes easier.
Now when it rains it may be a different story.
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Postby TheDuke » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:17 pm

Brad:

That is really a nice looking trailer. I think I missed it somewhere along the line, but what did you cover it with? That looks too good for paint, and it doesn't seem to be aluminum either. ??

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Postby Endo » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:00 am

Hi Duke,

Thanks for the compliment. I never started a build journal for this camper. Maybe I still should even if it is nearly complete.

The sides are brushed aluminum.
The top/front/rear is covered with marine vinyl flooring. A product called Nautolex Decko Dot.
http://www.yourautotrim.com/nadedotfl.html
Designed for outdoor use, Nautolex Decko Dot Marine Flooring can be used on boat decks, floors, patios, walkways, etc..
Decko Dot is manufactured with a non-slip "Raised Dots" surface, ensuring a great grip for any surface. Designed for a "glue down" installations.
Marine Flooring is manufactured to resist U.V. Rays, Mildew, Salt Water, and other harsh outdoor elements
.

I knew my roof would see some "foot traffic" so I liked the non-slip surface.

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I am pleased with it so far.
It handled the 3000 mile trip without a problem at 65-70 MPH.
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Postby TERRY IN MIAMI » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:07 pm

i've camped there at key largo kampground before and its great. a few minutes from john pennekamp, where you can take a short boat ride to the coral reefs for the best snorkeling in the keys. another great thing about that campground its really close to a publix grocery and kmart... in case you need any last minute camping stuff... other things to do is kayaking. bayoutfitters rents kayaks and will deliver it to your camp. that is kayaking heaven surrounded by all the mangroves... it is a hidden paradise...

i used a tent during memorial day weekend and the camp got packed and was a little noisy but after the holiday rush left it was really quiet and peaceful....
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Postby TheDuke » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:24 pm

I looked at the specs for the Nautex material, and I like what I see, so I think tentatively I'll plan on putting it at least where you did, front, back and top. But you've actually installed it and camped with it, so let me ask you: would it be practical to put it on the sides, as well? It eliminates a lot of finishing work, but would it get cut up too much during use?

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Postby TheDuke » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:10 pm

Endo
I've just been lurking on another thread discussing leakage, dry rot, delamination. Even Mike S. has a couple of units with probs. So I wonder, with your Nauga/Alum skin, are you gonna have leakage that'll hide in there until it falls apart? I don't know how you handled your alum side walls, but with the top, I wonder if it could be put down just like a sheet vinyl floor, with lots of goo. Would that put off the evil day? Of course, there's always the corners. What do you think?

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Postby Endo » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:47 am

I looked at the specs for the Nautex material, and I like what I see, so I think tentatively I'll plan on putting it at least where you did, front, back and top. But you've actually installed it and camped with it, so let me ask you: would it be practical to put it on the sides, as well? It eliminates a lot of finishing work, but would it get cut up too much during use?

TheDuke


I suppose you could use the Nautolex on the side walls as well? It will definitely give the teardrop a very different look!
The "look" is not for everyone. Far from traditional.

It didn't really eliminate any finish work. At least not the way I did it.

I did my best to weather proof this one!

The camper was sealed with epoxy, and then primed with paint.
The Nautolex is one continuous sheet from front to back.
The Nautolex was glued in place with vinyl adhesive.
The Aluminum was also attached with adhesive to the side wall.
The corner trim was formed and test fit. I pre-drilled each screw hole.
The trim was removed.
Sealant was placed under the trim.
Sealant was place in each screw hole.

I don't think there is much more I could do????

One BIG plus is I can store this camper in my garage.

I feel storing it indoors is a huge factor in the extending the life the camper.
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Postby TheDuke » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:47 am

The finished trailer shows the obvious care you took in the construction. Attention to detail, and talent, shows up in a superior looking unit. Congratulations.

I'm disappointed the installation wasn't as simple as I first thought, but I really like the look of that stuff as compared to simple paint or epoxy. I hope that, down the road, your construction method can avoid the leaks and delamination that Mike and others experienced, because I will probably build mine the same way. But, from what you said, I think you've got it covered (!)

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Postby YuGun » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:30 am

Very nice trailer.
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Postby Endo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:09 am

Thanks for the compliments Duke and Yugun.
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