New guy looking for guidance

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

New guy looking for guidance

Postby Agfadoc » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:41 pm

Hey everyone,

I have the bug to convert a cargo trailer over to a toyhauler/camping RV. I will be towing it with a Chevy Colorado 4x4 v6 with tow package. 7,000 lbs capable but as we all know comfortable is a different number. I would like to keep the unit around 3,500 lbs max of 4,000 loaded after some basics, bed, bath and kitchen. I am only putting mountain bikes and Kayaks in it so I don't really need a tandem axle but I know they tow better and if I ever wanted to put more in it, I can. I sold my 12' box popup and want a ready to go buddy trailer to get out of the house as fast as possible, setup and get outside.

I would like the best trailer I can afford as the base, I am enamored by the round top units, in particular I am looking at a couple different ones; the Neo NAVR 7x14, The Legend Deluxe 7x17DVNTA (14' box with 3' nose I assume) and the RnR Deluxe V-Nose 7x14VDC.

Neo doesn't offer a fold down bed (I may or may not want it, it's appealing but still not sure I want to deal with wet tent material ever again but the space it affords could get me into a 6 wide)
They have the best price, they have the coolest stabilizers but I am afraid they are too limited without the fine adjustment ability. I also like the single handle in the lift gate.

RnR is about the same price as the legend, just a bit less, but I can't see one to compare and has a square RV door, they have the longest list of options though.

I am really leaning towards the legend for a simple reason, the rounded RV door. and the ability to have a fold down bed. I know it's stupid, but eventually I'll put an awning on and don't want to deal with it scraping the edge.

I would like to go to a 6 wide to match my truck width with a fold out bed, but after pouring over designs, I just think I will want the space for another person without sleeping with them and dealing with tent material here in the unpredictable north. My wife doesn't share my passion for the outdoors, so it will be just me, or with my brother so I was thinking folding bunks, or single couch beds on each side.

Because I don't have tons of time, (home on Friday leave again on Tuesday) or welding skills, the plan is to order the unit with the windows installed, braced for AC (way down the road) a fan installed, and a 30A panel.

I will decide eventually, and just wanted to introduce myself to everyone. If anyone has any input on the gameplan, please feel free, it is always appreciated. I've learned one thing in my life, there is always something new to learn.

Have a great day!
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby hankaye » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:22 pm

Agfadoc, Howdy;

Thanks for stepping out of the shadows so we can give ya a WELCOME!!! :D

From what you've said, you've been doing your research. That's always a
good sumtin to be doin'.

Re. the assumption about the depth of the "V" nose, ask the folks so you're
not guessin', rather knowin'. Knowns are always better.
Some folks have taped off a section of their shop/garage to get a feel for the
dimensions and to see what would/could fit where.

Please keep us up to date with the build, we kinda like that ...

hank
Last edited by hankaye on Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby Agfadoc » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:06 pm

Thanks Hank,

Great idea on taping off the room. For over a month, I've been doing the computer layouts to the point of delusion.

I know I will want bigger, but I don't need bigger. I keep looking at some of these 6 x 12 builds, it's amazing what those guys have done. I am almost at the point of just buying a trailer and working with what I have, but I know I'll regret it.

I did see a living lite quicksilver VRV 6 x 15 layout that I would seriously love to have but not for the price.

Here I go with my painters tape.... Thanks
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby Padilen » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:01 pm

Hi,
I looked at a lot of Legend trailers. What I learned was they or at least their dealers. Use "rounded" up measurements. The V is included in measurement of length. Most others use a length + V.
As far as a square door and awning, just add the awning protection of a roller.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Carefree-901 ... lkEALw_wcB

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby NO David! » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:26 pm

Welcome!

Since you said kayaks and mountain bikes...well, I'm going to link my build (yes again, since it's hard to search our forum successfully), so regular viewers can skip this part. Here's an older discussion, which includes other relevant ideas for your stated needs.
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=65926

As far as trailer size, I really like the 7 wide. I even tow it now with my Mitsubishi Montero SUV. Here's a write-up from the Expedition Portal to save re-typing. Your Colorado certainly would have more torque and horsepower, so I'd encourage you to consider the larger trailer. I picked tandem, for the ride, spare tire, better handling on the bumpy roads, knowing I'd never load it that heavy.
https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/towing-with-a-gen-3-nm-3-5l-montero.198636/

Here's another kayaker build:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=56252
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby Agfadoc » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:57 am

No David,

Ahhh.. the old Expedition Portal and your build... very nice, I think I spent about an hour a few weeks ago, following links, looking for racks like in your build. A perfect fit to accommodate the Kayaks. Sweet. I like the windows high and offset from each side like you've done as well.

Those bunks reminded me of being transported in an LST back in the 80's when I spent my time assaulting beach heads. The sailors would put us Marine Antrackkers in the smallest spaces, on a ship that that had a flat bottom to make it up on the beach. Man, what a ride... Those racks you have are almost the same configuration. Minus the seatbelts to keep us from falling out. (and I guarantee the food is much better).

My previous Popup was a heavy one, I spent more time making it gadget land than I did actually getting out. Solar, power lifts, lighting... it was topping 3600 lbs ready to rock 7.5 wide x 19' log overall. I feverishly towed it with a minivan at first, (by the way, a minivan although nerdy, and it depleted the testosterone by the mile, was the most "practical' vehicle ever made IMO) and stressed about a blowout with a single axle the entire time...It eventually gave up the ghost, and we upgraded to an Enclave. The problem was the effort it took to get bikes and kayaks anywhere, they didn't fit in the Enclave like the minivan, so on the roof they went. The lack of security when you stop somewhere, then the setup when you got there, then the packing back up, then the unpacking when you got back. it seemed to take an entire day of a three day weekend just to manage the loading and unloading, which is why I unloaded it.

After I sold it I spent time back on the ground tenting and hammocking it. The same issues as above apply,. The enclosed trailer will give me piece of mind when I stop at a diner that my stuff will more likely be there when I get back, that I don't HAVE to unload right away when I get home. The tandem and outer wheel base would remove the stress of a blowout much more. A blow out on a single axle popup is a disaster.

I was hesitant to go 7 x 16 but you may have changed my mind. I took Hanks advice last night and laid out a 7 x 14 v nose on the floor in my basement with tape. It can be deceiving, but it just seemed too small for what I want. I am an older dude, I want a bathroom with shower. I need a sink and 2 burner stove, I would like AC when I want it... (yamaha 2400 generator) I've roughed it plenty in my life, now it's time to enjoy it a bit more, and I want somewhere with some space to get out of the crap weather and not be boxed into a small space waiting for it to pass.

Thanks for the links man, some great info. There are so many great ideas here, it's easy to get lost and redirected from where you initially wanted to go.... ahhh you kids with your fancy internets... :lol: Just kidding I'm the biggest gadget freak.

I am waiting for a response from both Legend and RnR about 7 x 16 pricing, but I'll be pulling the trigger shortly. If I don't need the flip out popup bed, then the Neo might make the cut.

Thanks everyone!
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby NO David! » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:22 am

Clearly then, you've "been there and done that". I used to load my 15' canoe onto my roof racks on the E-150 van, then lean/stack the kayaks against it, lashing each with a pair of NRS straps. What a rig that was. It worked but it was quite a chore. I have previously posted that I was worried about hauling the trailer for a kayaking day trip, thinking it was overkill. Now, I can't imagine going without the trailer for several of the reasons you mentioned. Secure parking, private changing room when you get back, lunch? (check), turn of the weather shelter? (check), easy load/unload from the trailer at the put in/take out? (check), insert your idea here, (check).

Did someone mention the 2' rule yet? Always order the trailer 2' longer than you think you will need. You will use the space. In your case consider standard leaf axles to gain ground clearance. The trailer floor is now 4" higher, so you'll need a side step at the door, and probably some sort of single portable step at the rear to assist in loading/unloading, but the clearance will be worth it when you go off the beaten path. Another sage piece of advice was to dry run camp your new trailer before settling on the final layout, as you will find different needs and uses once you get away from the house. Example: I never envisioned storing our boats in the two upper bunks, it just worked out as I was putting things together. Now, I can't imagine doing it any other way. The two on the bottom are NRS strapped against the wall, but also hang from a ring, clipped into the E-track. It keeps the floor space open, but they ride great. The bike rack plans are modified from Utah mtn. biking site. Parking them in the rack, offset directions, and with the e-track, I take 2 x 12 NRS straps, thread from bike to bike, seat stem, handlebar stem, making an equidistant loop around each, etc. then thread both ends through rings in the e-track, tension the loop against itself, and presto!, the bikes become one solid mass, and it does not move.

Also, go ahead and upgrade to a 36" wide RV door with screen and window installed from the factory. It is so worth it later, for so many reasons. I have never regretted the few dollars extra, but now can't imagine going without.

One of the beauties of the cargo conversion, especially with the ugly vertical e-track, is you can upgrade or change it to suit you as you go. Example, now the kids are older, and will meet us from time to time camping. So our needs have changed a bit. We just added a porta potti. Next would be a small sink, water tank, pump, grey water tank, for dishes, face/shave etc. This could simply be mounted in a removable cabinet, clipped into the e-track, keeping things modular if I needed to use the trailer for something else. BTW, the cots are much more comfortable than the click clack sofa, my wife often desires to go camping as much as I do. Even the basic build I did, offers secure, weatherproof shelter, a base camp for our adventures, and a place for everything, and everything in it's place. Our kitchen supplies for example, stay in Rubbermaid totes, lids labeled with contents. When we get back from a trip, the totes are re-stocked and stored in the trailer. All we take is the cooler and clothing for the trip. It is awesome in terms of convenience.

Check out Intech trailer and Aluminum Trailer Corporation in Nappanee, Indiana for options as well.

Good luck!
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby Agfadoc » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:38 am

No David,

How do you like the barn doors and is there ever a time where you wish you went with a ramp? This is one of my other back and forth areas.. I assume that barn doors are easier to manage heat/cool/bugs at least half as bad as a ramp, but I did find the rollup screen that the quicksilver uses that I may go with:

https://www.stoett.com/sportscreen/
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby NO David! » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:01 am

Don't miss the ramp at all. I'd do barn doors again. My Air conditioning "closet" is removable, and it spans exactly the width of one door. I can close up the passenger side door, sealing against the closet, and even lock it at night. This leaves the driver's side door latched open a bit to exhaust/exchange air conditioner. I can also load/unload bikes and boats easily (remember 7' wide), through the passenger door. Also, if I need to get out, or get something from the back, it is so easy to open just the one door. On hot days, the cooler stays in the trailer. Easy to access from the back barn door, without letting all the heat in, or cold out. Nice weather, open doors gives that majestic view that everyone wants the big window in the back on their RV. Taking a hike? I quickly lock the passenger side door and the RV door, and leave the other door latched open so the A/C can run while we're gone, and we're off!

Another thought, with barn doors, I can get into a tighter campsite, and I have more space behind the trailer. I've also used the one door braced at 180 degrees open, as a windbreak for my kitchen canopy. In cooler weather, I used to remove the A/C closet, which is bolted into e-track braces, and screwed to the floor/ceiling at the door center. Now, I've gotten lazy, and just leave it in place, unless I need the trailer to move something bigger. I have ramp boards to load/unload the lawn mowers when it's our turn to mow the grass at church. When I picked up the dog kennel fence kit at Tractor Supply, we were able to feed it in easily with the forklift, a ramp door would have been in the way.

When loading bikes, this Rubbermaid step stool happens to be the perfect middle height between the ground and the trailer floor. I simply roll the first bike tire onto the step, then up into the trailer, rear tire follows to the step, rinse/lather/repeat. Unload is reverse. With a kayak in hand, and the handy step, two people, it's a walk in the park. I had at one time envisioned an outdoor shower supported by the doors open at 90 degrees angle, for washdown. Nothing against ramp doors, as they are ideal and necessary for some applications. They also make a great "back porch" with a pair of jack stands and an enclosed screen room extension. With my standard axle height, I think the ramp would always be in the way.
https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?sku=5754&msclkid=97c5df8e56f61f2820eb83877503691c&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=SHB%20%7C%20All%20Products&utm_term=4580221844135631&utm_content=All%20Products

Besides: my "bumper stickers" of the places we've been, mounted on the inside of the barn door, would get dirty on the ramp door, and nobody could see them when we had the ramp open... :thumbsup:
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby onehoser » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:50 am

Agfadoc wrote:No David,

How do you like the barn doors and is there ever a time where you wish you went with a ramp? This is one of my other back and forth areas.. I assume that barn doors are easier to manage heat/cool/bugs at least half as bad as a ramp, but I did find the rollup screen that the quicksilver uses that I may go with:

https://www.stoett.com/sportscreen/



i went with the single barn door rather than the ramp because you have to open the ramp all the way to get in or out while you can open the barn door as much as you need to get in and out. in hindsight i should have gone with the double doors, easier to swing and helps keep heat in and bugs out better. it's the only door on my 5x8 and i have an rv latch for the barn door that i have yet to install
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby fishboat » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:50 am

Some thoughts..

OP..we're walking down a similar path.. in Wisconsin, of a certain age, bikes, kayaks, 12 foot box popup previously(and still..for the time being)

We acquired a used 6w x 12l x 7h Wells Cargo trailer a few months back. It has a ramp rear door. There's a good case to be made for either type of rear door (ramp or barn). Unless you're loading some sort of motorized vehicle, either will work fine. We have a ramp as that's what was on the trailer. I like it so far.

RE: bike and kayak storage/transport..that was one of the main attractions to a cargo type trailer. I ride high-end steel or titanium mtn/road bikes and cringe when traveling in a driving rainstorm with the bikes on an outdoor rack. Driving water, and in the winter salt water, into every nook and cranny of a bike & components..I hate it. While bikes can easily be locked onto a bike rack, offering some security..though not a lot, kayaks on a roof rack are harder to secure. If we're traveling and stay in a hotel overnight we can now lock everything in the trailer. Bikes always ride in the trailer. The wildcard though is you still need to transport bikes or kayaks once you set up camp if you plan on biking or kayaking somewhere distant from camp. Something to consider. I still have kayak racks on top of the tow vehicle and a bike rack plugged into a front of truck hitch for those occasions.

RE: trailer interior setup.. fwiw...see what we're doing below. (trailer not built out yet..it's a work in progress).

Our trailer came with E-tracks, so we're taking advantage of them. Very nice option. If I were to start from ordering a new trailer, I'd consider having tracks installed on the walls near the ceiling, mid or low-of-mid wall(allows bed platform mounting with fold-down-bed platform-hinged legs), and near the floor. They offer lots of versatility without taking any room if you don't need a lock-in accessory.

trailer:
Image

Fold-down bed platforms as designed(hinged off the e-tracks):
Image

As built:
Image

Image

Image

We've used the bed platform and is brick-solid stable. Folds up and down in minutes and takes up very little room when down. We use a queen air mattress on the platform. Very comfortable (use reflector sheet on top of mattress) and folds small when not needed.

With regard to bike and kayak storage. Initially we planned on loading the kayaks on the (setup) bed platforms and securing them, but this made bike transport more difficult and eliminated the option (pretty much) of carrying 4 bikes (two road, two off-road). After some thought and experimentation we came up with the following. It allows easy kayak loading, takes up very little space, and allows us to carry 4 well-secured bikes. Both kayaks fit under one side of the bed when setup. The bottom kayak sits on foam blocks. The top kayak will sit in a rope or strap cradle just above the bottom one.

The original front cabinet design (drawers on left), changed to allow kayaks below bed platform (drawers removed and made into an open storage cabinet):
Image

Image

Bikes are secured with fork mounts. 2x4s are secured with e-track mounted cradles via quick-nuts and knobs:
Image

Image

Image

Image

With respect to trailer size..you have a small-mid sized truck. You'll appreciate the easiest towing you can get. Ours is 6 x 12+v-nose x 7. Standing up is a BIG plus..I'd go with a 6'6" minimum inside. Six feet wide..same width as my truck (Sequoia)..it's nice to see easily with the mirrors. Single axle is easy to back up, tandems turn harder (been there) but they tow nice.

Regarding interior build.. given the preferred small size of the trailer, we're going with a fairly minimal setup. We don't see any hardship in cooking outside, under a nylon tarp or screen shelter, if needed. We'll have a one-burner propane stove inside(tucked in a drawer when not needed) to make coffee occasionally. We won't have any sinks, toilets, showers..all that is outside, again, without hardship on our part..at least it never has been. All that stuff takes interior room and maintenance(been there too). Showers..if you've ever taken a shower in a small bathroom you know how much humidity is developed. Some folks here have had mold issues inside..we don't want that much moisture in the unit. Parks have reasonable showers or we take sponge-baths. In larger trailers, it may be different...good venting is needed for sure.

Everyone has different needs or desires..you net out where you need to be.
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby hankaye » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:16 am

Agfadoc, Howdy;

You appear to be getting some excellent feedback to your questions, which is leading you to ask
more questions, kinda cyclic ain't it. :lol:

I have the barn doors on mine, portable ramps should I need them work every bit as well as a ramp.
Being able to open just 1 door to access stuff should you find yourself on the shoulder needing to
fix a flat is great, especially if there isn't much room to work on the Driver's side.(BTDT :frightened: )
it may never happen to you, but ...... :thinking:

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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby Agfadoc » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:47 pm

Wow, great info everyone. Thank you all. I've got some reading to do, you guys rock!
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby fishboat » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:04 am

..should have mentioned..trailer weight (per CAT scale)

The 6wx12x7h Wells Cargo, as shown above, including beds, and no other contents has a curb weight of 2360 lbs and a tongue weight of 210 lbs. Built-out with cabinets (as shown) and loaded with gear (batteries, batt charger, 12V chest-fridge, food, camping gear, kayaks and or bikes...) I should come in around 2900-ish lbs and a tongue weight around 325 lbs. The trailer has brakes, not required in WI, but brakes on trailers are a good for safety sake.

I'm sure you know this, but researching potential, built-out and loaded for traveling trailer & tongue weight is time well spent.
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Re: New guy looking for guidance

Postby Agfadoc » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:44 pm

I just got home and will be spending the weekend investigating 6 vs 7' wide. It's a tough call. The tape on the floor doesn't lie.. I am 5'11 and it will be pushing it if I wanted two twin beds. I am looking at manual lift setups, maybe bunks..

The Legend dealer says, oh yeah we insulate with bubble foil and it's good enough... meh.. . If these guys did the real 1"insulation on walls and at least 1 3/4 on roof, I would pay it just due to lack of time, but then I'd likely be up in the 20k range and beyond my realm of approval from the accountant.

I think it will be that I buy the one I need, throw my current gear in it, maybe get the insulation done this coming season... Maybe take vacation.. who knows, but I do know one thing. I am not spending another weekend in the house once spring hits.

Thanks everyone for the details. Very helpful.
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