First Camper Trip Lesssons.

Submitted: Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 10:51
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Well after years of sleeping in the car we have had made a minalmist soft floor camper for those base camping trips.

The camper ticks about half the boxes I wanted it to and has got a tick (albiet small) from my wife.

My objective was to tow something that has as little an impact as possible on where the car could go and had an internal space of >5m square so 6 people could sit comfortably.


Most important was weight so we choose an 8X4 tent on a trailer type camper which came in at about 500kg fully loaded for a weeks plus camping , about 20% of vehicle mass (so no need for brakes).


My research showed no camper this light so we modified a commercial design.

Some things we did where ->

Designed or towball load of 25kg (seriously easy to move trailer by hand)

Had basic trailer made from 1.6mm sheet (manufacturer normally uses 2.1mm ).

Used a single drawbar (not an "A" frame)

Removed spare wheel and mountings ( can use cars spare wheel if needed)

Reduced trailer tub height to 400mm

Reduced axle to 40mm square.

Used simple slipper springs, and rely on tyres as significant part of suspension.
Tyres run at 9psi which sees a pressure rise of 2-3psi when hot.

Trailer has same track as car and uses larger load range "E" tyres (215/85/16) to lower rolling resistance.

Used ORAC coupling.


Its first trip was an easy 500km run to Exploroz Pyrennies trip 2 weeks ago


There are a few things I have learnt ,like wheel bearings were only finger tight and opening the tent into strong wind is almost not possible.
The tent door is wrong ,its hard to open and had no flyscreen.
It gets very hot inside the tent.


Despite some of the issues its looking good, some things like designing the bed height to be only 1m makes it easy to get into using a small step and no ladder, and creates a flat area you can cook on or place things.
In bad conditions it takes about 20min to setup .


I'd be interested in any things that owners of similar campers have found useful.


One simple thing I found is that there is an internal panel you can unzip and expose the trailers wheel allowing you to throw out waste water under the trailer without leaving the tent.





Robin Miller

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Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 12:18

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 12:18
Impressive.

A Pod Trailer wouldn't have fit the bill?

PS the bearings on my capable Aussie-made CT are also only finger tight. The only way they can be given the way the crown nut slots line up, but it works.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 14:26

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 14:26
Hi Sigmund.

Ok on your bearings - doesn't sound right to me though.
I was able to tension mine up a bit more than I liked to get the pin through
but wheels still turn freely (but I do carry a spare bearing just in case).


A POD type trailer didn't fit my requirements but they will probably last a lot longer than what I did.

In a way mines a bit of a test case ,I have designed it with certain principles in mind but as always I am backing up theory with a prototype.

This whole thing is less than $5k and if it fails in the bush and I leave it behind
I won't really regret it - provided I learn something useful for the next version.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 15:09

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 15:09
Doesn't sound right to me either - but it's done over 30 k kms, some of them hard ones, without failure and the roller wear mostly looks modest. Go figure.
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Reply By: Life Member TourBoy, Bundaberg - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 14:46

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 14:46
Hi Robin,

You might want to fit a stone deflector of some kind to prevent the loss of the rear windows on the pootroll and chips in the tailgate paint.
Cheers,
Dave
2010 Isuzu FTS800 Expedition camper
2015 Fortuner
Had 72 cruisers in my time

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 15:41

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 15:41
Yes that's certainly one of the things to think through and add Tourboy.

Its harder than you think , as one of the design goals was have the trailer be able to twist up to 80+ degrees. Hence the 1.5m single drawbar which allows the cars barn doors to open without interference , and need to use the low profile ORAC coupling.

So the regular deflector mounted on drawbar doesn't cut it.

While I'm still thinking thru that one I might end up with tight shade cloth mounted just a few cm in front of the trailer, such that a stone will hit it and won't fully stop but will not bounce back, some paint damage will occur but easily painted over.

Better mud flaps will assist to.

Friends use the mesh from back wheels of car to under trailer front and while these things work well they compromise quick access to rear of the car which is an important part of our setup.



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Follow Up By: Life Member TourBoy, Bundaberg - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 16:49

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 16:49
You wouldn't want the shade cloth to be tight as it will act like a trampoline it should be slightly loose to remove the inertia and angled so it deflects down at the angle of refraction to the stones being thrown. I normally put larger conveyor belt flaps on the car and this stops about 80%. I have also noticed mud tyre don't throw nearly anywhere as much gravel up as AT's do.
Cheers,
Dave
2010 Isuzu FTS800 Expedition camper
2015 Fortuner
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Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 15:55

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 15:55
Do 6 people really sit comfortably in it?
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 16:49

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 16:49
Surprisingly I think I got that one covered Bigfish.
It has a floor area of 2.3 X 2.1m in which you can stand up.
The opposition tent from Oztrail has a heavily sloped roof reducing its effectiveness.

When I first got it home I put our garden setting table and 6 chairs inside it and got neighbour to take a photo.

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Follow Up By: Member - Murray R (VIC) - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 21:18

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 21:18
Hi Robin
What a nice location for a chardy the sun is out and no wind.

Bigfish
Have sat in Robin's camper and as he's said there is plenty of room and it sure beat sitting outside in the gale force winds.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 21:30

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 at 21:30
Hi Murray

Hope you had an easy day going home after the gathering.

I have since figured out how to make door easier and get rid of the annoying
doorway pole - just need another gale to test it all out !
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Reply By: Member - Dennis B - Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 22:36

Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 22:36
Hi Robin did your wife get the oven that she has been expecting for the last five years
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 12:54

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 12:54
I showed her the new type oven that they have at supercheap , but I think she is now leaning towards no-cooking while on holidays.

Time will tell though !
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 23:27

Sunday, Nov 20, 2016 at 23:27
.
Robin, that is very similar to the first camper trailer that I built. Served well for some years until I got carried away with a fantasy to build a "better" one!

The only significant problem that arose was on its first use in winter in the Great Dividing Range. Condensation from our breath formed on the canvas roof and dripped upon us. ( It was our honeymoon so there may have been contributing factors ) I later solved the problem by fitting a vent at the roof apex.... a plastic "yachting" vent.

The issue with the castellated nut increments can be resolved by drilling a second hole in the axle at 90 degrees to the first which will provide a 30 degree increment for the split pin.

That 3psi pressure rise over 9psi is a 30% increase. I haven't done the calcs but have you checked the tyre temperature?
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 13:06

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 13:06
Hi suspect that condensation might be an issue Allan so I'll have to keep your suggestion in mind - happens in our oztent but never happened when sleeping in the car which is/was our main camping mode.

I told my wife that its colder in the camper tent and condensation will freeze quicker and it won't drip - not sure that was a smart move !

Haven't measured tyre temp , but its certainly not hot to touch.
It is bit of an experiment but I think in theory it should work, the sidewalls are strong "load range E" type , would never work at typical pressures and the way tyres are normally used they are closer to springs than shocks in action.

Either way I will keep a close eye on things as you imply.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 13:37

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 13:37
.
This is the sort of vent I used. Screwed to a plywood ring under the canvas. Worked a treat and never let water in.

Tyres being "not hot to touch" is as good a test as any.

The tyres on my trailer worked better than the springs but I did need to add some shock absorbers to eliminate side-to-side bouncing on the highway. I was running at higher pressure than you as I had yet to learn that pressure could be lower than manufacturer recommendation.
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Reply By: 9900Eagle - Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 20:59

Monday, Nov 21, 2016 at 20:59
It might pay to look at how to tension wheel bearings on trailers should be adjusted.

Just saying.
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