There are times in life that you may be a little short of funds or time, and you'll need to make do with the materials you have on hand. If you have a camper that you usually mount on a pickup truck, but for some reason, you no longer have a pickup truck, there's a suitable alternative -- if you have a vehicle that can pull a flatbed trailer. Flatbed trailers are reasonably cheap, and they're utilitarian. If you have a flatbed trailer available, you're in luck. You can use the flatbed trailer to hold your camper, turning it into an impromptu travel trailer.
Park the flatbed trailer on a flat, level and strong surface. Block the trailer's wheels.
Lift the camper high enough to place it on the flatbed. If the camper is on the ground and you have few resources available to lift it, use a floor jack to elevate the bottom of the camper so it can slide onto the flatbed trailer. If necessary, use a winch to pull your camper over to the trailer's bed.
Center your camper, using the tape measure. Keep the width exactly the same on both sides, between the trailer's wheel wells. Try to distribute the camper's weight evenly between the trailer's front axle and the tongue-hitch.
Measure the overhang of the camper on three sides. The right and left side's overhang height from the trailer's floor will determine the length of the 2-by-2 inch steel tube's length. If there is a front overhang, measure the height from the trailer's floor as well.
Cut the steel tube with the metal cutting saw, using the overhang measurements. Cut an additional piece of steel tube to butt up to the bottom of the overhangs, creating a cradle for the camper. Two pieces on each side will be connected to one horizontal piece.
Weld the steel tubes in place on the trailer's floor. Make the necessary calculations to add a stabilizing component to the front overhang (if necessary).
Mount the camper to the trailer using the same mounting hardware used to mount the camper to a pickup truck bed. You may have to weld on tabs to keep the camper in place. Weld the 1-inch eye-hooks to the front, rear and sides of the trailer. You'll need the hooks to hold down the camper if you find you can't use the mounting brackets.
Run the steel cable through the eye-hooks and through the camper's mounting plates. Tighten the cable as much as possible before welding it in place.
Items you will need
- Flatbed trailer large enough to haul a camper
- Camper with tie-down hardware
- Four wheel blocks or bricks
- Heavy duty floor jack
- Power winch capable of pulling 1,000 lbs.
- Tape measure
- Arc welder with welding rods and welding mask
- Up to 30 feet of 2-by-2 inch steel tube
- Steel-cutting saw
- 8 steel eye-hooks 1 inch in diameter
- Up to 50 feet of ½-inch-thick steel cable
- Keeping this project simple is key. If the mounting hardware works on your trailer, you'll be able to skip the last two steps.
- Be sure your trailer and camper combo meet the legal requirements of your state.
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