How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

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How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby cr500taco » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:56 pm

I am new to the forum. I am going to be doing my first build and so I registered with the forum, so I can learn how to do it right. I will be building a sleeper box on a 5X8 utility trailer. It will just be used for sleeping in and hauling gear. I won't be building a galley in it I have seen some ideas on here on how to build. I am looking for advice on how to make it strong enough for an RTT. It will, also, have a couple of awnings. One with an enclosed room and one with a screened room. I do plan on insulating it.

Also, how thick do the walls need to be for the windows and doors?
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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby cr500taco » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:46 pm

cr500taco wrote:I am new to the forum. I am going to be doing my first build and so I registered with the forum, so I can learn how to do it right. I will be building a sleeper box on a 5X8 utility trailer. It will just be used for sleeping in and hauling gear. I won't be building a galley in it I have seen some ideas on here on how to build. I am looking for advice on how to make it strong enough for an RTT. It will, also, have a couple of awnings. One with an enclosed room and one with a screened room. I do plan on insulating it.

Also, how thick do the walls need to be for the windows and doors?
Anybody?

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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby tony.latham » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:51 pm

I'll chip in.

You'll obviously need strong walls.

If it were me, I'd use sandwiched walls made from 3/4" AC plywood for the skeleton––sheath them inside and out with 1/4" subfloor plywood. All of the skeleton voids would be filled with hard foam and the sheathing would also be bonded to this surface. The skeleton would have structural members––under the roof rack attachment points––that went vertically to the floor. I'd use T-nuts inside the wall to bolt the rack to.

I'd use Steve Fredrick's method of forming a lip on top of the walls to add the ceiling and roof spars. (check out his Teardrop Builder's Shop Manual online)

And a few other details... but that's the way I'd do it.

Capish? :beer:

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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby QueticoBill » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:29 pm

Are you building thr RTT? If you can arrange tis support so the laod is on the walls, it should be easy to plan solid framing to trailer frame and transfer the load.
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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby bdosborn » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:55 pm

I'd start looking here for ideas:

Expedition Trailer Pics

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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby cr500taco » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:27 am

QueticoBill wrote:Are you building thr RTT? If you can arrange tis support so the laod is on the walls, it should be easy to plan solid framing to trailer frame and transfer the load.
sorry, not sure if I understood your question. But, the RTT will be purchased.

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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby cr500taco » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:29 am

bdosborn wrote:I'd start looking here for ideas:

Expedition Trailer Pics

Bruce
I've been going through the trailer builds there, but mostly seen metal framed trailers with RTT. I don't have a welder and I don't have the money to have one framed for me.

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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby cr500taco » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:30 am

tony.latham wrote:I'll chip in.

You'll obviously need strong walls.

If it were me, I'd use sandwiched walls made from 3/4" AC plywood for the skeleton––sheath them inside and out with 1/4" subfloor plywood. All of the skeleton voids would be filled with hard foam and the sheathing would also be bonded to this surface. The skeleton would have structural members––under the roof rack attachment points––that went vertically to the floor. I'd use T-nuts inside the wall to bolt the rack to.

I'd use Steve Fredrick's method of forming a lip on top of the walls to add the ceiling and roof spars. (check out his Teardrop Builder's Shop Manual online)

And a few other details... but that's the way I'd do it.

Capish?

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Tony
What exactly is a skeleton wall?

Actually, now that I think of it, is it plywood with voids in the middle? I've seen pics of that in builds and wondered the purpose of it.

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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby greygoos » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:17 am

Try compact camping concepts. They have no weld trailer racks made for that purpose.
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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby tony.latham » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:31 am

What exactly is a skeleton wall?

Actually, now that I think of it, is it plywood with voids in the middle? I've seen pics of that in builds and wondered the purpose of it.


Here's the skeleton inside the last 10' long teardrop I built.

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It makes for a strong, stiff and insulated wall. There are other advantages such as being able to build the ceiling from the inside out. I suggest you might want to get a copy of Steve Fredrick's Teardrop Builders Shop Manual. He suggests using 1x4s for the structure. I'm convinced that 3/4" ply is quicker.

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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby cr500taco » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:31 pm

tony.latham wrote:
What exactly is a skeleton wall?

Actually, now that I think of it, is it plywood with voids in the middle? I've seen pics of that in builds and wondered the purpose of it.


Here's the skeleton inside the last 10' long teardrop I built.

Image

It makes for a strong, stiff and insulated wall. There are other advantages such as being able to build the ceiling from the inside out. I suggest you might want to get a copy of Steve Fredrick's Teardrop Builders Shop Manual. He suggests using 1x4s for the structure. I'm convinced that 3/4" ply is quicker.

Tony
Thanks Tony,

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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby cr500taco » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:32 pm

greygoos wrote:Try compact camping concepts. They have no weld trailer racks made for that purpose.
thank you, I was just looking for racks.

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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby lacofdfireman » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:04 pm

My trailer was all framed with wood and wood walls, roof etc. I also put a RTT on top. Worked Amazing.

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I way overbuilt mine though.


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Re: How do I build my trailer to support a roof top tent

Postby noseoil » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:02 am

Depending on the actual shape of the box itself, I would also encourage the use of a "skeletonized" wall system as Tony has suggested in his post. The main thing to remember here is that the roof load must be transferred down to the trailer frame, creating a "load path" which extends from the mounting feet of the roof rack, down into the roof joists, down the side wall framing & finally into the trailer frame itself. Ideally, it will then be distributed around the metal trailer frame & absorbed by the structure of the frame. You will have a wind load when towing, then a down-force load when the tent is up & you're sleeping int it. There may also be some lateral loads as well with the tent deployed, but this is a family site so I won't go into that type of loading & the forces involved...

I would start with a simple line drawing showing the rack's feet & its location on the roof, the mounting points (hard points & fasteners on the roof), the frame members to distribute the down-forces & load path, finally the attachment to the trailer frame on the bottom where it will sit.

You could build with 2x6 walls & roof rafters, heavy plywood construction to make it very strong, or make a much lighter structure with framing members (the skeletonized plywood approach), thin skins & some blocking for the hard points where things attach. Most people tend to overbuild in terms of strength & weight (myself included) but often it isn't really necessary & adds nothing to the overall strength.

If you don't use a skeletonized plywood wall (3/4" plywood with 1/8" skins would be plenty strong enough for a 4' wall height if the skins & framing are fastened & glued in place), I would use 1x2 framing for the walls with 1/8" plywood skins (either plywood or softwood for the vertical members). That way you could use a rigid 1 1/2" foam insulation, 2" hardwood roof joists for the attachment points & softwood the same size for the rest of the framing. 2" foam roof insulation would be a good amount of insulation & provide support for the 1/8" plywood skin. A rabbet joint for the roof at the edges would be the best way to attach the roof system to the walls for strength, weight & durability.

You have a lot of pondering to do here. Best way is to draw it up with simple sketches & continue to refine the simplicity, weight & strength until you have a system which looks good & works for your needs.
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