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Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 2:02 am
by Nodrog
You are definitely the man with a plan!! Everything looks really good, you are crossing things off the list every day! You have a lot of features packed into the design, I spose you'll use the heater when you camp around home- I remember one summer, I left the midwest one day, temp over 100, got up north of Chicago that night, headed for somewhere in Wisconsin, and the temp was in the teens! In July!
Anyhow,The camper will be a joy for your family, you'll have a lot of fun! Keep up the good work! Nodrog

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 6:58 pm
by Bruue1
Right on Nodrog! A few years ago we were down here by the TC MN it was suny, clear skies and 80 degrees. We went to the North Shore of Lake Superior for a week long camping trip. When we hit Duluth (2hrs N) the temp dropped to 40s and the fog was so thick driving was unsafe. When we got to Goosberry Falls State Park (1 hr N of Duluth on Lake Superior's N Shore) it was still 40s and the air was wet. It was drizzling off and on too. We had no winter gear, we were expecting sunshine. We got through one night and came right back home the next day. Duluth was the same as the day before. 20 min south of Duluth (no exaggeration) it was 70s, sunny and clear. We all could not stop laughing. We've seen plenty of good weather on The North Shore too, but you never know what you're gonna get. We just spent that vacation at home in the sun.


I do enjoy living in MN. I like the turn of the seasons as much as the seasons themselves and I enjoy every season too.

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 7:10 pm
by Bruue1
Today is 5/13. We leave on 5/23. 10 days. I still need to finish cabinet doors and drawers. I need to replace the stereo and power inverter. I need to make a dining table. Water supply, sink drain and water tank drain are all only half done. They really just need to be hooked up. I need to caulk around everything outside, I've already done the door and a couple windows. That is it. Then it is done. Things like interior window trim can wait until later.

I sealed the interior today with rubbing oil. I really like the contrast between the 3/4 birch plywood and whatever the 1/4 (3/16) tigerply is made out of. The pics I posted are very similar to the ones I posted yesterday but they show off the finished wood and the stove top and the sink are now mounted.

Mounting the sink was fun. There was no room underneath for the under mount hardware. I drilled holes through the lip of the stainless steel sink. Drilling holes through stainless steel with titanium bits and a hand drill is not as easy as it sounds, but we got there. I bought a big box of cheap tool shop bits, I broke at least fifteen I did not count) drilling eight holes. I even broke bigger bits while stepping the hole diameters up.




Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 6:05 am
by GPW
How many times have we worked furiously up till the last minute before leaving … Standard opreating procedure around here… I sympathize Bru , but you’re doing really Great !!! :thumbsup:

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 7:34 am
by Ottsville
Bruue1 wrote:
I don't know if I need any more lights higher or not in MN. I hope not. I don't want them as they always seem to need replacing on trailers I've had in the past.

I've always felt the same way, but LED lights are much better and rarely fail. Wiring ground wires is a big help also.

Your build is great - thanks for documenting and sharing it!

Don L. wrote:

Side ramble cont'd-
The Rv place also informed me that because my trailer has brakes (working or not) it has to be inspected annually. And Virginia laws say that it has to have running lights near the top, front and back.

My experience has been that brakes trip the annual inspection in several states I have lived in. I am planning on building my trailer first with out brakes and having that titled, then building on it to avoid any added hassle. Running lights are always good and more than the minimum. Make that beautiful piece of work easy to see when passing others at night.

I'm on the other side of Richmond from you Don - I'd love to come see your trailer and pick your mind about it if that is ok.

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 11:14 am
by Don L.

You are welcome to contact me and check out the camper. I thought there was a way to PM you on this board but it doesn't seem to work for me at the moment.
My website link has my email , just click on my username and the page will display it.

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 10:56 pm
by Bruue1
The new converter is installed and it doesn't make a sound. The new Pioneer car stereo deck is installed and it works beautifully. The heater is wired up and works off the thermostat. It is the most quiet forced air heater I have heard in a camper, Atwood Hyrdroflme 7900 series. The donor pop up really turned out. I had to replace the converter but the frame, axle, fridge, furnace were all great.

I did take it out of the shed, it is now in front of my garage/wood shop. I'm going to finish it there. I'm tired of walking back and forth. This camper is very light. I drove it around our neighborhood, which is hilly, I can't even tell it's behind my vehicle. You'll laugh when you see how tall it is, I'm sure I'll catch some wind with it on the highway but this thing is light. Its definitely not going in a 7 foot garage door. When I was hitching it to the Highlander I reached for the tongue to pull it over 2 inches, it just glides, I can move this all over by hand, no problem, super easy. I still don't have foam cushions in yet and I'm still adding some wood here and there. I am excited to get it weighed once it it has everything it is going to get.

This camper might be named Blue Wave or The Blue Wave. We plan to take it to oceans, lakes and rivers. Below are two pics of it hooked up to the Highlander. After I took the pics I put the battery box on and replaced that ratchet strap on the propane tank with the actual frame specific steel straps made for holding the propane tank. So now the tongue looks pro, where as in the pic it looks rigged. We tried to match the camper lightning stripe to the Highlander, we're close, I think with metal flake added to the paint we would have been closer. I like the way it looks the way it is. The Blue Wave! It's not confirmed yet, just the front runner. Blue Lightning and Lightning Sprite are still pretty cool too. Maybe Lightning Sprite is better, like we're pulling raw energy from the Earth! Oh who knows?



Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 11:33 pm
by Bruue1
I might be "done" in a few days. Then I'll probably post once or twice a year as I do little things to the camper. I'll be sure to post my final weight too.

:D :worship: :applause: :thumbsup: 8) :FNP

Thanks for the support, for the ideas, for stopping me from covering the camper in oil paint, for the positive vibes. Thanks for building things out of foam, so I could see the idea and use it as my own. I have a wooden interior but this camper is still a foam camper. Structural foam panels. Very strong. Very light. I am thinking about building some foam kayaks to strap to the top of the Highlander. Maybe next year.

To any thinking about building their own camper:
This build has been a manic ride. I cut calories in my diet at the beginning of this build and purposefully made every cut 120 feet away from the camper (shed to wood shop distance), I've lost over 30 pounds since beginning this project. I'm still fat but less so, I have about 20 lbs to go. I miss my family. For almost 3 months my wife has felt increasingly neglected as have my children. We are a good family and they are excited about the camper but they are also tired of me always working on the camper. We like to do lots of fun things together. We haven't done anything together since I began this build. I have literally taken one 2 day weekend off (the last snow in April, it was depressing) and we have had one bonfire night where I still put in a half day on the camper. Please understand I only work two twelve hour days a week, so I've been on this camper 4-5 days a week. With a few exceptions this build was solo. There was sacrifice in this build. I am going to be done less than 7 days before we leave for our first trip with it, so I really had no choice if this plan was going to work. This was a hell of a lot of work (and I'm someone who knows work). It took twice as long and twice as much money as I predicted. Once you're into it you have to finish, otherwise it is all for naught. Out of pocket I'm into it 4500-5000 (that is counting the profit on the purchase of the donor camper by selling parts I wasn't going to use), I thought 2500 would be the max possible I would spend, I was way off the mark. Windows, doors, paint, butyl tape, canvas, screws, cushion fabric, glue, etc.... it all adds up. I didn't plan anything out, just dove in and went for it. I'm really glad it worked out as well as it did. I had an idea for the bunks but I really never even drew a picture of this, I usually at least draw a picture. I do love this camper now though, it is way better than anything in its class we could have purchased anywhere, really, I don't think there is anything like it, it is in a class of it own with 4 bunks, a kitchen and a table, I think under 2000lbs but I don't know for sure yet. We are going to have it for decades and will make many memories in it. I feel this was worth it, I would do it again, I'm sure I'll feel even more so the same a year from now when the memory of this build has faded and the camper remains. The only thing I would do different would be to allow myself a much longer and relaxed build timeline. Really this was crazy, I'm glad it will be "done" in a few days.

LOL Just last week on craigslist I saw a 900lb 13ft scamp on craigslist, reasonable condition, early 90s, $4990. I could have just paid that and had a lighter camper in a day. BUT... The beds are tiny, the couch/bunks are very small, adults cannot sleep on them and the dinette bed is so short that at 5'11" my head would touch one wall when my feet touched the other and it is not as wide as a real full size bed, so two people sharing it are going to be bugging each other, at home my wife and I sleep in different rooms, and it is also your table, so you are constantly setting it up and taking it down, especially if you are a family of four. It also has much less storage than the camper I built. Still.... It wouldn't have taken three months of all my spare time to build. And it would be about half the weight. And shorter and aerodynamic. LOL Who knows whats better? have your fun and go your own way, otherwise its not worth it. If you don't try, you never know, and it never happens.

Thanks again. I'm calling this entire experience a success.

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 4:32 am
by GPW
You really need to weigh it before you compare it … It could be Lighter than you estimate … or Heavier … :o
Sure Looks Good !!! :thumbsup:

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 12:36 pm
by equant
Great build, and great thread. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and have fun!

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 11:42 am
by KCStudly
All good. :applause: :thumbsup:

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 8:32 pm
by OP827
I have sold my fiberglass trailer called Boler. It is a father of all Scamp traielrs, nice cute trailer, BUT it does not have insulation that foamie has and if given a choice I would pick your trailer over Scamp. Fiberglass trailers not as light as one might think. The shell has to be built quite thick to maintain shape. You built a one of a kind trailer that will serve your family better than any other trailer on the market. Congratulations on substantially completing this project! I wish your family lots of joy while camping in it!

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 12:21 am
by Bruue1
Thanks guys. Don't get me wrong I am super stoked to have this camper. I just got done making reservations for our West Coast trip. We leave in a few days. I might even buy some gummie bears while I'm in Washington, I'll be sure not to let the kids get at em. It will be an Epic trip. My son will probably shoot a bunch of video for our YouTube channel and its 20 subscribers. LOL

OP827 I would choose this camper over a Boler or a Scamp too, any day. I'm sure those are fun little campers but we needed more sleeping space, storage space. Comfortable beds should be paramount, not an afterthought.

WARNING! Something like a RAMBLING RANT (skip unless you are bored):
I do love little fiberglass trailers. I always thought a Scamp fifth wheel could be really cool, especially for two people. I don't go so much for the Bigfoots, they are too big and don't really use the space well. The Hunters look too small to me. I really like the Trilliums, the front bunks are substantially bigger than the Scamps but they still have the dinette/bed in back, which is also a little bigger. Trilliums are a little bigger than other comparable fiberglass trailers. Especially the 5500? series (the bigger one that is 15') in 3 years I've only seen one for sale within 200 miles of myself, it had a big hole in it and was selling for $900. Somebody beat me to it by one day. That would have been a cool camper. The Burro 17' Widebody is a big camper at or just under 2000lbs, they were all homebuilt kits (to my limited understanding) any in the 5-6 grand range are going to have hidden if not obvious rot in the floor and/or fiberglass itself, causing sagging doors etc... Aside from the inevitable set up and tear down in the rain my favorite campers are pop ups. Tent sleeping but off the ground and warm. They tow easy and are huge when set up. Setting up in the sun is fun and goes quick. Setting up and tearing down in the rain was the deal breaker for me on those though, I would prefer my Foamie over a pop up too. If it is raining we can just hook it up and leave. We can pack it in the driveway, we never have to set it up to dry it. I don't really like the newer egg offerings like the Happy Camper, too much versatility can decrease actual camping function. Trimming out an aluminum enlcosed trailer could work too. Have you seen the fiberglass camper that floats? Has a mount for a 5 hp gas outboard on the back. I forget what it is called. That could be cool on a river or big lake. I'm sure we could build a foamie camper that would float too and had a motor mount and was reasonably navigable. THERE IS A GOOD IDEA! I JUST HAD IT RIGHT NOW. FOAMIE CAMPER BOAT. I like the new all aluminum campers too from Camplite, at least I think I do, I've never seen one in person. I've spent way too much time in the last 5 years looking for, dreaming about and designing new floorplans for all these different campers I might be able to come across used. I've got a very simple idea for a 16' Scamp layout #3 that would end up sleeping one adult and two kids in the front without even having to use the table bed. There is never anything wrong with just picking up any 60s or 70s metal sided single axle 14' camper and using that either. I see those around selling right now for 1-3k )about double what they were 5 years ago). Not just Shastas but Scottys, Mallards, Yellowstones, Avions, etc... The real old Apache Tent Trailers, the small light ones that are just an aluminum box with an A frame canvas tent that folds out of it. Those are sweet and only a few hundred pounds.

Of all these different campers I would take my Foamie! For sure. I built it, it rocks, its tailored to our needs. I didn't mean to imply different. This camper is very well laid out, I appreciate it more each time I'm in it. Now that the cabinets and seating are in it seems bigger, not smaller and the benches are deep and comfortable. I think I might finish it tomorrow if I can tear myself away from this rambling post and go to sleep.

Building one isn't the only viable choice for the price tag. Not all purchased campers suck. It is possible to have fun with and make something cool out of almost anything. I have a buddy who has been checking in here once in a while to see my build, he has two kids and a wife. They camp in a tent right now. He works full time and hasn't had as much experience with tools, he'd probably prefer to just buy a budget friendly camper. Plenty of cool affordable campers in the world to choose from if you re buying old and used off of craigslist. Stay away from the dealers, at all costs.

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 8:03 pm
by Don L.
What should we search for on youtube to find your channel? No rush, just looking forward to hearing about it.
Have a great trip!

Re: A Tiny Travel Trailer for a Family of Four

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 10:32 pm
by Bruue1
Thanks Don. Below is a link to a video posted on our You Tube channel "The Bruce Vlogs". This video is a slideshow of the camper build part 1: deconstruction. Its really just stripping the old pop up camper and prepping the frame. Its not much. You guys have seen most of that one but it will get you to our you tube channel. If you're feeling charitable please subscribe, we'd love it.

Most of the videos are of the kids trying to be you tube stars, I have a table build and a 2x4 butcherblock work bench top build on there. A few other builds. A few other random things. When we get back there will be multiple videos from the trip and I am going to put together Camper Build Part 2: Construction. Which will take it from the prepped frame to completion. I'm hoping it will be a successful video and people will like it.