My wife and I want to do more camping and we are getting a little tired of setting up a tent everywhere. She wants a teardrop camper, but I find them to be a little pricey, so I figured I could build one for around $3000 (new trailer included). I am certainly an amateur, so this was a bit of a leap of faith as far as my skills are concerned, but I think it worked out pretty well. If you see any egregious errors, feel free to tear me apart in the comments!
Obligitory finished shot from the inside. Pretty cozy! Keep scrolling for the build…
I got a good deal on this 2016 Carry-on 5×8 cargo trailer.
No frills, but its a good start.
We got it home, and now it's time to build.
I started out by taking the plywood inner walls out. I saved them to be used later.
Like I said, no frills.
First nerve-wracking moment: cutting a hole in a new trailer. I made the frame from pressure treated lumber and had to attach it to the steel tubing frame.
Luckily, the cheap-o vent I bought fit perfectly.
It attached with self-tapping screws with a bead of silicone to prevent water from coming in. I also got a vent cover, that goes over this and allows the vent to be open during rain. I didn't get a clear picture, but you can see it in other shots.
This was the most nerve wracking part: cutting the hole for the door. I had to cut through the steel side support for it to fit.
Test fit. Success. I found the door and window at teardropcamperparts.com
On the inside, I put a frame around the door and added insulation to the walls. This also helped stiffen up the sides. Eventually, there would be insulation on all sides, including the roof.
The plywood I took off in the beginning is back. It'll make it easy to attach the paneling.
Same deal for the window. Cut out…
…and frame it up
Not too bad! I added a drip cap to keep rain out, plus more silicone.
I put 2'x2' Dricore Subfloor panels down and covered them with Trafficmaster Allure vinyl plank flooring. It looks like wood but can get wet without getting destroyed.
Detail of the floor.
We're making progress!
I got the faux-wood paneling in on one side. The idea was to have it go up, curve around the top, and come down the other side (like a tunnel). I couldn't get it to bend enough, so we had to make some quick audibles, which led us to….
…strapping on the roof. I could now cut the panels lengthwise and have something to attach them to.
And here they are, all installed.
The far end was curved, and I would never make the curve look clean, so I framed up a wall to square off the end.
More insulation. You can also see the door trim installed.
And more paneling. Trim to come. (PS – the Ryobi Airstrike cordless nail gun is your best friend. No gas or compressors).
Now to add the wall separating the sleeping area from the galley.
I had to make sure I have enough room. I am 6' tall and I think the sleeping area is 6'1".
I skipped a few pictures, but I got the wall built, insulated and got some plywood up to attach galley parts to.
Rain couldn't slow me down. Here I hung 18"x18" adhesive vinyl floor tile. They didn't want to stay, so I had to tack them up with the nail gun.
I skipped a bunch of pictures again. I added a counter top (which I got from my parents, who recently replaced theirs), a sink and some shelves.
Here it is with the other shelf added. The blue jug will hold water that you can use like a faucet. It will drain through the floor into a greywater container.
I added a drip cap to the door, but I got it WAY too long. I had to cut it to get the right fit. I will plasti-dip it like the other one to try to hide the seam.
We found this love seat/mattress on Amazon. It folds up like this so you can sit on it like a little couch.
And it also folds into a mattress. It's pretty comfortable. It's also the same dimensions as the floor space. There's no room to spare.
POV from inside # 1…
…#2 (trimmed up the vent and added a touch light)….
…and #3. You can also see the trim I used to hide the shoddy paneling. Measuring is hard.
I placti-dipped the sink and pipe in Anthracite Gray to make it a little more appealing.
This trunk found on Amazon will hold the wheel chocks, jack stands, and the bungees for the tarp. It will be ratchet-strapped to the tongue. This will be towed by a Scion XB. I estimate that its around 1200 lbs, so there shouldn't be any problem.
Finished shot again.
The dogs were so happy I was done, they threw me a pizza party.
Thanks for looking!