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Discussion Starter #1
I have been thinking about getting one of those Harbor Freight flatbed trailers and building a camping trailer that will also haul my TW. I want to ride in some nice areas in West Virginia but I don't want to ride my TW all the way there. All I am looking for is something I can pull into a campground,roll the bike out,inflate the air bed and know that I have a dry,comfortable place to sleep. At this point what I am seeing in my mind is something with a door in the rear and a bench or box along one side that I can push the bike against and secure the bike to. This way the weight of the bike would be centered. When the bike is out the bench converts into a platform for the air bed. I like teardrop campers but I am thinking that a simple rectangular shape would allow me to put small stake sides on the top for firewood or anything else that I don't want in the trailer. My main design criteria would be light weight and minimalist. I was hoping to tow it with a Toyota RAV4. Any feedback would be appreciated. I'm wondering it that Harbor Freight trailer is up to the task and I am debating what material to use but I am thinking1/4" ply with one layer of fiberglass set in epoxy. So any advice would be appreciated. If I do this I can post the progress in case any one else wants to build one.
 

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I want to build myself something like that as well ,and can only suggest you spend some time on the teardrop trailer sites to see the various methods of building it .I would think that a squared off teardrop is pretty much what you want ,without the rear kitchen and with a rear loading door .The 1/4" ply would be fine ,but you really want some insulation or you will either cook or freeze to death ,some cross ventilation ,and anything else you might desire .The epoxy is nice ,but expensive ,normal polyester resin will work just fine ,paint it so the uv doesn't kill it .I would think your bike weighs close to 300 lbs wet ,5 sheets of plywood probably another 100 lbs ,so realistically your trailer might end up under 1000 lbs. packed and ready to go so your harbour freight trailer should work just fine .
I have considered fibreglass ,but think I will try to find somebody scrapping a camper trailer and use the aluminum skin off of that .
 

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BTW, to answer a couple of your questions, I built mine on a 990 lb capacity HF trailer, it was more than adequate, and should be for yours too. Doesn't have to be teardrop shaped, just a box more or less, maybe a little slope on the front end for aesthetics and will also help mpg if you're pulling with small car or 4-banger. Wood construction will allow mods later if you choose, such as carpeted walls and ceiling because they do have a tendency to fog up esp in humid conditions, so insulation is good. Can also run simple wiring with an outlet or two for 20 amp "shore power" at any campground.
 

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See my Avatar, then I'll try to post some larger and more detailed pics.

I started with a 4 x 8 trailer with partial 16" high side rails, then built a 4' high shell which is removable. Inside I have storage lockers on both sides at the front and a swing out chuck box at the rear. With the TW removed a sleeping platform rests on the lockers and a rail. The shell was made from 5/8" plywood and skinned with FRP (Fiberglass reinforced plastic) from Home Depot. The roof spars are 3/4" EMT.

The TW is loaded with a ramp thru the rear barn doors. It is secured with a self locking chock for the front wheel and ratchet straps at the rear. It is a tight fit and the low overhead prevents walking it in all the way so I added a pair of guide rails on the floor. It can be loaded/unloaded by grabbing the cycle-rack until it clears the barn doors.

Once loaded there is additional room for gear on either side on top of the lockers and the floor. I also have a tongue rack for fuel and water. I removed the stock mirrors for clearance and usually just use a bike mirror which attaches to the left hand guard with Velcro. As you can see the saddlebags remain on. The two sliding windows on either side came from an old pick-up topper.

There are not many suitable riding areas where I live in North Texas so usually trailer the TW then camp out for several days.

I was already using the 4 x 8 trailer with just side-rails, then for a while added a clam-shell tear-drop roof but left the sides open. The roof supported a tarp for shade and rain and there were boxes along each side for storage and chuck.
 

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Sounds like a great build, please give us the details of the build report. You might look at InTech RV trailers. They are very pricey but would give you some ideas for a toyhauler / cargo build. Good luck!
 

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The last pic is from the first mod, the addition of wood side rails on what was originally a flat trailer w/ fenders.

The shell w/ storage lockers, chuck box, and sleeping platform is light enough for me to remove by myself.

The base trailer is quite stout: 2 x 2 angle frame, 3/4" plywood deck, 3 x 3 box tongue, 2" ball, 15 inch wheels, 3500# axle/springs.

The 1720# capacity Harbor Freight 4 x 8 trailer would be adequate. It comes with 5 lug x 4.5" hubs so you could easily upgrade the 12 inch wheels. The light HF trailers had 4 lug hubs.

001 spars.jpg
002 side window.jpg
003 Guide.jpg
004 loaded.jpg
ZION DB 1984.jpg
 

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This was the second modification. I built a tear drop frame from 3/4" EMT and covered the roof with a treated canvas tarp. The frame rested on the wood side rails and was hinged at the front to open like a clamshell. 2 watertight boxes for gear and food were added to each side - the rear ones tilted out to load / unload the TW.

A sleeping platform was attached to the side and a small tent pitched on top. A large plastic tarp, supported by the open tear drop roof, covered the tent and access to the side boxes.

I had planned for a full canvas cover but the cost would have been more than the plywood / FRB shell I am using now.


Loaded 3532.jpg

Loading 3529.jpg

Tent 3554.jpg

01 bed 0043 Platt.jpg
 

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The 1720# capacity Harbor Freight 4 x 8 trailer would be adequate. It comes with 5 lug x 4.5" hubs so you could easily upgrade the 12 inch wheels. The light HF trailers had 4 lug hubs.
Yes, I do seem to recall replacing my 990 lb axle with a heavier dexter; at extra cost.

Careful not to make it too eye-catching or unusual! That is, unless you enjoy having folks chat you up every time you stop for gas or any other reason. Seems to happen more when you're in a hurry. :rolleyes:
 

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That's what I am talking about!
A functional camper / hauler can be as simple or as elaborate as your needs and budget dictate. I concur with the recommendations for browsing the Tear Drops and Tiny Travel Trailers forum for ideas and techniques. Expedition Portal is another good source.

The other recommendations for purchasing an enclosed utility trailer are quite popular. You get an instant transporter then can equip and/or modify while using it.

For a ground-up DIY build the Harbor Freight and Northern Tool trailer kits are fairly reasonable and functional for lightweight use, but if your future plans include off road use and high speed highway travel you might consider starting with something more sturdy with larger wheels and better suspension. I don't know where you live but used small boat, watercraft and/or snowmobile trailers are often cheaper than a designated utility trailer and easily modified to suit your purpose.

My builds have been quick and cheap, figuring things out during the process. The most recent was influenced by the fact I already had the base trailer and did not want to make permanent modifications. The outside size was determined by readily available material. My next build will be larger and I will use another trailer I already have for the base.

As you may have seen in the photos I also carry my kayak on a roof rack and my bicycle on the tongue or a hitch mount. The current model has only some battery stick-on lights, a single burner butane stove, and an ice chest. Some may prefer more amenities.

I do have a larger trailer that is fully self contained with onboard generator, battery bank, toilet, shower, hot water heater, propane oven and stovetop, refrigerator, air conditioner, heater, a full size double Murphy Bed with foam mattress, and 12V DC and 110V AC lighting systems. It serves as my base camp for longer trips and when the wife comes along we take both trailers or I carry in the TW in my pickup bed while pulling the Log Cabin. It was built on used boat trailer frame which allowed a lower center floor and shorter overall height to clear my workshop doors. The cabin exterior is 8' x 14' and overall length is about 18 feet.


log rear.jpg X-Mas Lloyd Park.jpg

Next month the wife is going alone to a family reunion in Vegas and I plan on taking the 4 x 8 trailer and TW on an extended recon and riding trip in Oklahoma and Arkansas to better plan for fall and winter outings ranging from Black Mesa to the Ozarks.

Good luck with your project and send pictures of your progress. It will definitely extend your range of riding opportunities and allow extended outings.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
There are some great ideas here. Thanks a lot. I am going to do some research on the teardrop sites. I think I'll look at the tractor supply trailers before I make a decision on a base trailer. As I said light weight is my main criteria so I really will try to keep it simple. I design kitchens and build cabinets for a living and build ultralight boats for fun so I am sure that I can come up with something pretty cool. I just have to keep minding myself not to complicate a simple thing. I am not in that big of a hurry,if I have something ready by spring I will be satisfied. My wife has been waiting patiently for me to remodel our bathroom so I really need to pacify her too. I have built four boats since we decided to do the bathroom and she didn't complain so I guess I have a keeper! Once the bathroom and the trailer are complete I'll have an excuse to build another ultralight canoe so we can each have one to take on trips with the trailer.
 

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MCToyer, excellent work but you will have me out in the driveway building something! :)
OP, if you use wood or plywood, you probably know about Rot Doctor two part perpetrating epoxy. It's very thin and sucks into the wood. I rebuilt a small travel trailer from the frame up and used two to three coats on it. Depending on the design you may also glue a piece of epdm rubber roof on top.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Epoxy isn't cheap but it is very versatile. It can be used as an adhesive,as a coating or when mixed with a thickener as a filler or a structural filet. If I build this trailer it will most likely be 1/4" ply sides with a layer of light weight fiberglass set in epoxy.with the right structural support I think it will allow a light weight and strong structure. Boats are built all the time from 1/4" and thinner plywood.
 
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