Explore America's Campgrounds
Pop-up tent trailers include the rigid frame of camper trailer combined with a soft-top portion that is similar to a tent. When at a campsite, the tent portion is erected to create the living and sleeping space inside; on the road, the tent portion is folded down into the rigid frame, making the trailer more aerodynamic than a full camper trailer. While you can purchase these campers, you can also build one at home by fusing a utility trailer and tent.
Items you will need
Two sheets of 4x7-foot plywood
Make a list of the different floor sizes of tents that are available on your budget. You should consider how many people will be sleeping inside the tent, and what other items need to be contained inside that you would need inside a camper trailer, such as a bed platform and bench seating.
Purchase a four-sided open-top utility trailer with similar length and width dimensions to the tent you've purchased. This will be the base portion of your pop-up tent trailer. Lay sheets of plywood down to create a floor; after securing it in place with screws, install vinyl flooring to the camper. This flooring will allow for easy cleaning. Screw wood paneling to the side walls of your utility trailer to give it a finished look.
Build a raised bed frame using plywood and the 2x4 lumber for support. Place this frame at one end of the base of the camper; then, use the space under the bed frame for storage. Use small L-brackets to secure the frame to the floor of the camper. You can add doors to the front of the storage space, or leave it open for easy access. Purchase a foam mattress and cover it with fabric, then place this on the bed frame.
Build second bed frame for the other side of the camper and attach it to the floor the same way you did with the bed. Cut one sheet of plywood into two equal widths. Once the cut is completed you will have two equal lengths of plywood, one will be used as a seat back and the other piece will be used as seat bench. Secure the two plywood halves together with hinges. Use the plywood in its folded position during the day to create bench seat to sit on, at night fold it out and place three two by four pieces of lumber cut to the correct length under the portion of the plywood that hangs over the frame. This is secondary bed that can be used for children.
Open the tent you purchased and remove the flooring, leaving a 2-inch lip around. Stitch long strands of heavy duty Velcro into the lip that was left from the floor, then peel back the protective strip on the adhesive portion of second half of the Velcro strip, and place this on the top rail of the utility trailer. Attach the tent to the trailer by securing the adhesive. Install the flexible poles into the tent to give it support, and your home-made trailer is ready for use.
Since 2002 Mark Spowart has been working as a freelance writer and photographer in London, Canada. He has publication credits for writing and/or photography in Canada, The United States, Europe and Norway, with such titles as "The Globe & Mail," "The National Post," Canada News Wire, Sun Media and "Business Edge" magazine.