How to Build My Own Camping Trailer

by Michael Firth
Camping trailers can be built at home to save money

Camping trailers can be built at home to save money

Building your own camping trailer is a great way to save money and expand your travel options. Trailers provide a weather-protected option to cook, sleep and enjoy road and camping trips of all kinds. People have been building trailers from scratch for decades, and there are many options and plans for you to choose from. Your plan will be determined by the amount of weight that your vehicle can support.

Define your needs, considering what the trailer will be used for. Make sure that you have thought about how you will be transporting the trailer, and that your truck or car is in good condition to support your transportation needs.

Check the vehicle restrictions for the vehicle that will be towing the trailer. Trailers are easily transported in truck beds, but you need to make sure that your tires, shocks, struts, axle and towing capacity can support over 5,000 pounds. Consult your owner's manual, which will have specifications for this.

Research and choose a trailer model that meets your size and features needs. Camping trailers are typically 5' -- 8' wide and can range from 10' -- 20' long. Review the specifications before you order your plan to make sure that your vehicle can support the requirements of the trailer.

Order your building plan online with a major credit card from a camping or building website such as www.glen-l.com. Plans are in the $50-$100 range. Get feedback from others by reading forum posts about their experience working with the plans.

Develop a budget for your project. If your plan does not include a cost estimate, then contact your local supplier and tell them what your list of materials is and ask for an estimate. Your plan will have options for components such as a toilet or small stove.

Purchase your materials from your local building supplier or home improvement store, or order them online. Consider used or recycled materials.

For truck trailers, measure the length of your truck bed to determine the length of your trailer walls. Measure from the floor of your bed to the top of your cab to determine the height. Make sure your diagrams or plans can be supported by the dimensions of your trucks.

Build the cab first. Take your time to make sure that the measurements of your wood cuts and materials are exact.

Apply the trim and any parts that need to be fixed before the cab is lowered into the frame.

Build the frame. Lower the finished cab in the truck bed. Secure all components.

Items you will need

  • Wood
  • Plywood
  • Adhesives and epoxies
  • Aluminum and fiberglass siding
  • Axles and running gear
  • Doors and windows
  • Electronics, lighting and 12-volt power
  • Fenders
  • Molding
  • Hinges
  • 2-by-4 or 2-by-2 studs

Tips

  • Bring your vehicle and trailer to a local mechanic. Make sure she has a look at all features and components and can recommend it as safe.
  • Seriously consider purchasing professional plans rather than making your own. Even with a proven plan, this is a significant project.

About the Author

Michael Firth has been writing professionally since 2000. He served as Ask the Expert blogger on CollegeRecruiter.com and self-published "The JobFind & Professional Profile Guide." Firth holds Bachelor of Education and Master of Arts in leisure and sports management from the University of British Columbia. He also holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Trent University.

Photo Credits

  • camping,trailer image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com