Shewhomustbeobeyed wants a camper built!

Design & Construction of anything that's not a teardrop e.g. Grasshoppers or Sunspots

Shewhomustbeobeyed wants a camper built!

Postby loaderman » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:46 am

Her and I need a very lite little camper. Preferably under 300 lbs. Thought about just a little trailer and a tent, then thought....heck why not put a tent on the trailer. The trailer would be 3.5feet wide and 7 feet long. It would have 2 klids which open to form wings, on these wings we would set up a 9foot by 7 foot tent. This would give us a center walk way and 2 single beds, one on each side.

Would a pico lite trailer design with a torsion box floor work? Is there a better way? It would have to hold people walking in the center.
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Re: Shewhomustbeobeyed wants a camper built!

Postby troubleScottie » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:24 am

I have doubts on 300 lbs.

3 sheets of 1/2 plywood is 135 lbs. Tires, trailer frame and box to get your 2 wings over the wheels and you are most likely over 300. To add a 3 ft extension that can support 200 lbs, you will have to add some serious structural additions.

There is something like your design idea in steel(?) which weighs 800 lbs without mattresses. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Folding-Camper-Tent-Utility-ATV-Trailer-Motorcycle-Camp-Camping-Popup-Pop-Up-/132235746674 And this is very spartan -- no real storage, as everything is exposed.
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Re: Shewhomustbeobeyed wants a camper built!

Postby tony.latham » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:18 am

There is something like your design idea in steel(?)


I'm not sure what advantage that eBay trailer has over a tent pitched on the ground.

I concur with the weight goal being unrealistic. When I was building my chassis, I moved my torsion axle around by myself but it wasn't fun. And that was before the wheels and tires were bolted on. That alone is probably pushing 200 pounds.

:NC

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Re: Shewhomustbeobeyed wants a camper built!

Postby working on it » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:33 pm

* I first thought of building a platform for a tent, on top of a small, derelict frame I had sitting in my yard for many years, but changed my mind. It wouldn't have offered the advantages of a "hardtop tent" (as I sometimes described it to the wife, as I proposed an upgrade from her Coleman tent she would use), and though it could be easily towed, and used as a light utility trailer (very light load capacity), it just wasn't in the cards. from another, earlier thread
working on it wrote:
  • If you're OK with a tent, and not a hard-sided plywood (or foam, or "tin", sides and top), then why not just buy a normal tent (i.e. Coleman, Kelty, or even Ozark Trails), and build a fold-up platform on a trailer base, and pitch the tent atop it. When I first contemplated using my old derelict trailer frame (50" x 60", of unknown capacity or purpose), it was as a platform for my wife's Coleman tent. She would go camping with her Bigfoot organization, and would return with the tent full of mud, and all her clothes wet and muddy. I proposed that she should use the trailer base as a raised platform, to keep her out of the muck and mire (she obviously hadn't learned to pitch her tent on the upside of a hill). She said she might use it, but not if it was hard to assemble on-site.
  • So, months later, our discussions trended towards my sketchy ideas of a "hardtop tent" (i.e., a "teardrop"-type of small enclosed trailer), as better and more comfortable camp quarters than a canvas or nylon tent. I had long planned to try camping again, after 30+ years of not doing any, so my ideas and needs soon overshadowed my initial plans, of building a simple folding base for a tent for her to use. I ended up with a "hardtop tent" alright, and it was too overgrown and overstuffed with my items, that she lost interest in it, and it became 100% mine. P.S. she also didn't like the confined feeling of the enclosure, made of 3/4" plywood with steel joinery, and preferred the "openness" of a leaky, drafty, insecure tent (Bigfoot might have trouble getting into my trailer, but not a tent). Her loss, my gain...she quit camping just before the trailer was finished anyway, so she probably wouldn't have used it under any conditions).


* The base trailer frame I was using needed various improvements to meet my minimal standards anyway, such as a lengthening it to 8' (you want 9'), with a lot of tubular steel (not needed for a simple 9'x 3.5' platform, though some extended perimeter framing would stiffen it greatly), and going from 8" tires (which I wouldn't have trusted at highway speeds), I increased their size to 14" (with commensurately larger fenders), and installed a longer/stronger/heavier tongue to replace the bent/broken original. After that, I added a 3/4" 4'x8' deck. It still weighed 400 lbs, far beyond your weight goal.
enlarging the basic trailer.JPG
enlarging the basic trailer.JPG (96.97 KiB) Viewed 910 times


* Still, if I had opted to change it over to my previously-planned tent platform (10' x 8', with a separate fold-in half 6'x 8' side extension, with a separate "X-frame" steel underside support - 8' x 8'-) at that point, it might've ended up weighing another 120 lbs for the platform extension, and about 60 lbs for the 1.5' x 2.5" tubing I was using, for the "X-frame" support. The extension would be locked to the base frame side, then folded-out and over the free-standing "X-frame", already assembled, on the ground. Both assembles would be strapped to the trailer for transport to camp, making the total trailer weight somewhere around 580-600 lbs, plus or minus. But, it would've been sturdy, and definitely within my initial goal of 1000 lbs. As it turned out, I commenced with the "hardtop tent" alternative, and today, nearly eight years later, it weighs 2150 lbs travel weight.

* Here's a line drawing of a possible platform for you, though to meet your 300 lb goal, the basic 3.5' x 7' trailer would have to have a folding 9' long (x 3.5' wide folded) piece secured to the top, and either use it centered over the base trailer for support (pinned to it, of course), or use a separate support structure (or just separate legs placed under the extended perimeter). I think you might keep it under 500 lbs, easily, but if you use smaller tires, thinner plywood, no extra steel, unlike me, maybe 300-400 lbs is do-able.
folding tent base trailer.jpg
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Re: Shewhomustbeobeyed wants a camper built!

Postby halfdome, Danny » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:54 pm

If you happen to change your mind and go manufactured we saw 2 of these MeerKat's in Yosemite, nice little trailers :thumbsup: .
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvSa3hi8xaY
I was told they weigh 600 pounds and are made in San Diego, CA by Little Guy.
Sorry have no advice for Shewhomustbeobeyed :o
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Re: Shewhomustbeobeyed wants a camper built!

Postby loaderman » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:01 am

I would do a 5 foot.by 8 foot tear drop but that is too close for my wife. 9 by 7 tent suits her better.
The tent on a trailer gives us standing room in the middle, and comfy beds.

[quote="working on it"]*

* Here's a line drawing of a possible platform for you, though to meet your 300 lb goal, the basic 3.5' x 7' trailer would have to have a folding 9' long (x 3.5' wide folded) piece secured to the top, and either use it centered over the base trailer for support (pinned to it, of course), or use a separate support structure (or just separate legs placed under the extended perimeter). I think you might keep it under 500 lbs, easily, but if you use smaller tires, thinner plywood, no extra steel, unlike me,"

I am thinking a pico lite trailer frame with a torsion box floor made of 1/4 inch ply both sides, styrofoam, and 1 by 2 framework. The 14 inch walls would be 3/8 ply with a 1by2 around the top and in the corners and 1 stud at the3.5foot mark on both sides.
The one 1/2 inch plywood wing would only go out 2 feet with 1 foot inside, then the wall would be supporting a lot of the weight, there would be round braces to the ground. This bed would be for me. We could store stuff under the 1 foot overhang inside the trailer.
Then there would be a 2 foot walkway. The door at the rear of the trailer would be off center.
The other 1/2 inch plywood wing would go out 3.5 feet. It too would have a leg to the ground. The leg would attach at about 2.5 feet. The legs would also have a tube the would run along under the bed.
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Re: Shewhomustbeobeyed wants a camper built!

Postby loaderman » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:10 pm

Slight design change. Both wing beds will be about 1 foot inside the trailer and about 2 feet outside the trailer. The support rod will be about 1 foot in from the outside edge. The mattresses will be about 3 feet wide leaving a 6 inch space to the outside tent wall.
The 1 foot inside would be fixed. Adding to the rigidity.
The less overhang means that the trailer sides are supporting the weight of the beds.
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Re: Shewhomustbeobeyed wants a camper built!

Postby WizardOfOdds » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:55 pm

Slight design change. Both wing beds will be about 1 foot inside the trailer and about 2 feet outside the trailer. The support rod will be about 1 foot in from the outside edge. The mattresses will be about 3 feet wide leaving a 6 inch space to the outside tent wall.
The 1 foot inside would be fixed. Adding to the rigidity.
The less overhang means that the trailer sides are supporting the weight of the beds.


I think that is a very wise change. Not only is it more stable and easier to fold/unfold/flip the smaller bed, the fixed bed segments add great rigidity to the base and mitigates a major challenge with very light construction: keeping the wings & main body acting like one piece (rather than rotating/flexing at the bed hinges) with weight shifts and wind gusts. My old Apache tent trailer had a really effective bed support system: two tubular supports per bed that rested directly on the ground. It worked a bit like those folding picnic tables with a pair of U shaped folding legs. These legs were more V shaped with one half having a telescoping height adjustment. It worked really well, much better than the design with diagonal tubes from the floor of the base, and far more resistant to lateral sway than a straight table leg. Like the picnic tables, they were permanently attached and rotated into position. They were steel, looked like common EMT, but they must have had special sizes because they telescoped with perfect fit.

I am not sure what your exact needs/goals are, but I would consider making the base the common 4 ft width, not just for sake of interior room, but it would allow the two bed lids to meet in the middle rather than having to deal with overlap. Also, is 14 in box height tall enough? The two mattress, sleeping bags, pillows and tent will almost certainly use up a lot of the space. Also, we like a bed height a higher than that.
I would do a 5 foot.by 8 foot tear drop but that is too close for my wife. 9 by 7 tent suits her better.
The tent on a trailer gives us standing room in the middle, and comfy beds.

I agree with your wife, the bigger tent wins over the smaller tear drop. Maybe when I was many years younger, wearing a teardrop would have been OK, but at my age I rather step into a tall tent. (Ref: one of the Mercury astronauts said you don't get into the Mercury capsule, you wear it like a glove).
Keep us all posted. :thumbsup:
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Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Shewhomustbeobeyed wants a camper built!

Postby loaderman » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:54 pm

WizardOfOdds wrote:
Slight design change. Both wing beds will be about 1 foot inside the trailer and about 2 feet outside the trailer. The support rod will be about 1 foot in from the outside edge. The mattresses will be about 3 feet wide leaving a 6 inch space to the outside tent wall.
The 1 foot inside would be fixed. Adding to the rigidity.
The less overhang means that the trailer sides are supporting the weight of the beds.


I think that is a very wise change. Not only is it more stable and easier to fold/unfold/flip the smaller bed, the fixed bed segments add great rigidity to the base and mitigates a major challenge with very light construction: keeping the wings & main body acting like one piece (rather than rotating/flexing at the bed hinges) with weight shifts and wind gusts. My old Apache tent trailer had a really effective bed support system: two tubular supports per bed that rested directly on the ground. It worked a bit like those folding picnic tables with a pair of U shaped folding legs. These legs were more V shaped with one half having a telescoping height adjustment. It worked really well, much better than the design with diagonal tubes from the floor of the base, and far more resistant to lateral sway than a straight table leg. Like the picnic tables, they were permanently attached and rotated into position. They were steel, looked like common EMT, but they must have had special sizes because they telescoped with perfect fit.

I am not sure what your exact needs/goals are, but I would consider making the base the common 4 ft width, not just for sake of interior room, but it would allow the two bed lids to meet in the middle rather than having to deal with overlap. Also, is 14 in box height tall enough? The two mattress, sleeping bags, pillows and tent will almost certainly use up a lot of the space. Also, we like a bed height a higher than that.
I would do a 5 foot.by 8 foot tear drop but that is too close for my wife. 9 by 7 tent suits her better.
The tent on a trailer gives us standing room in the middle, and comfy beds.

I agree with your wife, the bigger tent wins over the smaller tear drop. Maybe when I was many years younger, wearing a teardrop would have been OK, but at my age I rather step into a tall tent. (Ref: one of the Mercury astronauts said you don't get into the Mercury capsule, you wear it like a glove).
Keep us all posted. :thumbsup:


I was going 35 wide to reduce the frontal area and keep weight down. Hmmm I do see a 4 foot wide trailer being easier for the wings, giving more storage, and wide walkway.
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