Explore America's Campgrounds
Building a camper trailer for your bicycle takes skill. To make a camper trailer that can be pulled by a bicycle and by your own muscle power, you need to achieve a balance between a design that's lightweight but still functional and large enough to carry camping equipment. If you take a few tips from other "Do-It-Yourself" people, you'll be able to construct an easy-to-pull trailer. The simplest way to use your trailer as a lightweight camper is to attach a collapsible tent cot to the trailer bed.
Items you will need
2 lengths EMT pipe, 10 feet long
Bent steel plates
4 electrical box covers, 4 inches long
2 front bicycle wheels with axles
Thin plywood, 4 feet by 8 feet
Collapsible tent cot
Bend the EMT pipe into shape using the conduit bender. You want the frame to be at least 3 feet by 8 feet. Make one bend in one 10-foot pipe, and make bends to form the other three corners of the frame with a second length of pipe.
Join the pipes together. Slide a pipe connector onto the rear of the first length of pipe. Insert a wooden dowel for additional strength. If necessary, wrap electrical tape around the dowel to add thickness so it fits snugly. Drill a hold through the pipe and the dowel.
Join pipes together at the other end and seal with two bolts. Cut a length of pipe to attach to the hitch for the trailer.
Clamp each electrical box cover in a vice. Drill a 3/8-inch hole into each, 2.5 inches from one side. Saw a slot of the same width leading down to the drill hole. These box covers will be the axle plates for the trailer.
Fit the axle plates to the EMT tube. Clamp each plate to a scrap piece of EMT tube and bend the plate around the curve of the tube.
Cut two 8-foot lengths of EMT pipe. Flatten the ends with a hammer. Fit these tubes under the frame, and bolt into place. Hammer the ends so they follow the curve of the pipe. Mark the center point of the frame on each pipe to use as a reference when lining up the axle plates.
Slide the axle plates into place over the marks. Make sure each plate is aligned with the others. Drill two 1/4-inch holes in each plate so that the bolts go all the way through the plate.
Attach the trailer hitch per the manufacturer's instructions. Attach the front bike wheels to the axles on either side.
Lay down the plywood over the frame to serve as the bed for the trailer. Bolt in place to the frame.
Secure the collapsible tent cot to the trailer bed with the bungee cord.
Michelle Labbe has been writing online and for print since 2004. Her work has appeared in the online journals Reflection's Edge and Cabinet des Fées as well as in Harvard Book Store's anthology, "Michrochondria." She is pursuing a Master of Arts in publishing and writing at Emerson College.