Planning to build an Offroad camper trailer

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 17, 2004 at 22:19
ThreadID: 9827 Views:7536 Replies:10 FollowUps:6
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I am planning to put together a trailer for us to get away in as we cannot afford to purchase one
(we being my wife and I plus two/sometimes three children). I like the Tvan in particular and I am planning to build something similar, at least using the box design with a rear packed canvas tent. I would also like to be able to carry a small boat on top. I will be doing this on a serious budget over the next twelve months and I will document my progress on a web site somewhere _ I'll let ya's know if it all takes off.
Im looking for links to sites with lot's of tips, plans would be fantastic - for an Off road box trailer at least that I can change to suit.
Has anyone had any experience building Offroad Camper Trailers? any tips for a novice?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Saturday, Jan 17, 2004 at 22:31

Saturday, Jan 17, 2004 at 22:31
Just talking to a mate on ICQ, he hired a few trailers, Took them home, measured them up, then took them out for the night, used them with the family, then picked the good parts out of them and making his own, 1 for his boss and one for boss' brother now!!

Good luck.. $1400 gets you a southern cross tent and annex!
AnswerID: 43387

Reply By: Brett - Saturday, Jan 17, 2004 at 23:07

Saturday, Jan 17, 2004 at 23:07
If you want a good boat rack which allows you to tilt the boat up and lock into place while still being able to deploy the tent, talk to Clarkes Campers in Medowie near Newcastle. He built one for me for $600 a couple if yrars ago.

Don't forget to keep everything simple.
AnswerID: 43391

Follow Up By: Rokkitt - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 00:51

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 00:51

Have the plan's for this part in my noggin (head) already, just need to get the trailer together under it.
QUESTION: should I put the boat on the car or trailer, which would be better?

FollowupID: 305845

Follow Up By: Brett - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 23:00

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 23:00
There are a couple of pics here

Trailer and fishy pics
FollowupID: 305991

Follow Up By: Brett - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 23:02

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 23:02
Trailer and fishy pics

See if this works
FollowupID: 305992

Reply By: Member - Foxer - Sunday, Jan 18, 2004 at 10:28

Sunday, Jan 18, 2004 at 10:28
Hi Rod
been here in the last couple of years.
I ended up getting a second hand 4x4 trailer out of the trading post for $900.00. Closest I could get making it myself was $2500.00 plus depending on what I put on it ie. electric brakes, water tanks ect. ect. ect.
Good luck with it if you want any info on it I have quite a bit of material and there is quite a lot on the subject on the forum

AnswerID: 43413

Follow Up By: Rokkitt - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 00:25

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 00:25

Been looking for a while, and to be honest I haven't seen much in that price range. Wish I could! What did you manage to find? how long were you looking?
I could probably get away with that kind of money (2,500), we went to see a Kimberley Kamper arter a recent outback trip and the guy quoted 40 grand for a fully decked unit - with boat, the important thing is the missus thought it looked a lot comfier than our campbeds - point is that 2,500 would be a fair deal, how much was that, just the trailer or was that including canvas/kitchen etc?

FollowupID: 305842

Reply By: Member - Jeffrey - Sunday, Jan 18, 2004 at 11:04

Sunday, Jan 18, 2004 at 11:04
Hi Rokkit,
I do not mean to put you down,but you say you are a novice! is that all the way round?can you weld,I don't mean pidgeon poop.if you want your trailer to be structually sound which it will need to be, you need to be able to weld at the least resonalby well,if not get help from a friend who can.I would be talking to everyone who has a camper find out their likes and dislikes about there trailer,ask questions about everything about what sort of steel is used what grade find out the best electrode grade to used,I take it for granted that you have a stick welder, me I would use ferrocraft 21 a bit harder to run but strong as buggery and flexable which you will need for the HWY and the dirt.You can get the standards for trailers from the RTA their usually helpful.I would be looking with my camera in hand and tape write down everything you like the rest is up to you not meaning to blastheme but you are the creator you can make this poject as simple as you want to,or as complicated .be a perfectionist you will feel better and drive more relaxed knowing that everything is spot on.A good souce of tech info is at your local Tech College in the welding fabrication section theres usally a keen teacher to be found my experience you generally dont save that much on one offs but you can usally make the best most expensive for the cost of a standard one.Hope this does help you in the long run.
All The Best In Health And Wealth
AnswerID: 43420

Follow Up By: Rokkitt - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 00:37

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 00:37

Thanks for yor comments, I have a little experience having done a good chunk of a diesel fitters apprenticeship some years ago at a tool hire shop - most of it involved either hacksawing or ARC welding. Although I am looking at a MIG welder this time, hopefully a couple of home projects and I'll be back on track. Do you think an ARC (is that a stick welder?) is neccessary? - two questions in one how's that....
I have a good idea of what I want - a comfortable bed, dry bed thats quick to get into, somewhere to store two kids. One question that I do have is: do the campers with canvas folding onto the bed suffer with damp beds, I have read conflicting reports both on this Forum and others.
I will try the local College - I looked at short courses to brush up my skills, both in design and fabrication but those short courses are expensive. Maybe I'll find an understanding teacher with time on his/her hands.

Thanks again for your comments Jeff.

I am planning a trip to the sales yard with my camera and tape measure - thats a good idea.
FollowupID: 305843

Reply By: geoff - Monday, Jan 19, 2004 at 20:22

Monday, Jan 19, 2004 at 20:22
Rokkitt I have just finished about a month ago send me your e-mail address and I'll send you some photo's and info.

Regards Geoff
AnswerID: 43547

Follow Up By: Rokkitt - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 00:49

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 00:49
> I was reading through posts on ExploreOz when I came across one > you had
> posted lasted year regarding a camper trailer you were building. I was
> hoping to get some information from you as I am planning to build an
> off-road trailer presently.
> Have you finished the trailer?

Hi Rod, yes I have finished the trailer about a month ago.I will try to send
you some photo's.
Put your questions together and I will try to answer them.

Thanks very much for taking the time to do this, the trailer looks fantastic - how long did it take you? who done the kitchen? What materials did you use to clad it? what is that on the front corners to finish?
I could keep going like this all night, I have so many question's.
I will follow up with many more but do you have any plan's you used for the trailer frame, how did you work it out - what steel to use considering the trailer's weight and what you would be expecting it to do?
FollowupID: 305844

Reply By: Member - Foxer - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 09:41

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 09:41
The price to build the trailer was for the trailer only, 7x4 on 6 stud rims with eye to eye supension, electic brakes. We would have done the extras ie jerry can holders water tank front tool box ect. ect.
Found the 4x4 trailer in the trading post all set up ready to put a tent on. Depends how long youve got to look around, what extras you want ect
The factory campers are really nice but boy you sure pay!! We will finish ours at a fraction of the price and I will set it up just as I want it, if we have to cut and shut it a few times it wont really matter.
AnswerID: 43635

Reply By: Member - Jeffrey - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 17:24

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 17:24
Hi Rod,
Just a quick annswer to the ques you put to me stick verses mig. Stick generally if it looks good it usally is whereas mig can look beutiful but be a poor weld. Stick on the the other hand is more ductile,,,it will flex more and resist breaking better...Mig is a strong weld but more prone to crack..both have thier merits and uses ,operator experience usually dictates which one to use, and how long the weld lasts. Hope this helps.
All The Best In Health And Wealth

Keep in contact as I interested in how you go,goodluck
AnswerID: 43700

Reply By: Brian - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 14:06

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 14:06
G'day Rod ,
i reckon the layout of your bed in a camper trailer is important . Mine and most you see have the canvas coming off the side of the trailer . One i saw in Perth had the canvas coming off the back of the trailer and the foot of the bed was facing that same end , so if nature calls in the 'wee" hours of the morning you are not climbing over your partner to get out.
Happy travels ,
AnswerID: 44273

Reply By: Member - Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 18:18

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 18:18
Hi Rokkitt,

If you're able to find a good second hand one, it can be well worth the time spent in the searching process as we just helped Jim [Diamond, Jemima Puddleduck etc etc] find a great one. As we have just rebuilt/restored a caravan all the little things can add up to be very expensive and blow the project cost out if you try and do it in a very short period of time.

Mig Welding will be fine and is a lot easier to use than ARC [stick] welding, but with all welds a visual inspection every once and a while wouldn't hurt.

AL-KO have a nice indpendent offroad axel on the market that would be quite easy to put onto any trailer. The Caravan & Motorhome Magazine is a good source of info not directly related to campers but gives you a lot of retailers and Camec have everything that you would need, and catalogues are available at any caravan spare parts place.

Agree with Truckster that hiring a couple of campers to get size and likes and dislikes before you start the building process is a good idea.

If you need any further can contact us via on our pic and you'll find the addy..


AlLife - Live it , Love it !

AnswerID: 44283

Reply By: Member - Jeffrey - Sunday, Feb 01, 2004 at 23:57

Sunday, Feb 01, 2004 at 23:57
Hi Rokkit,
Just found a camper trailer for 650 dollars hd canvas sets up to the rear of the camper about 20foot been susin out all the cost to get it to 4WD drive quality and I guestamate with reseach that it should hit the dirt between 1200 to 1500 dollars I will keep you posted and I will send you pictures if you the way thats with all the bells and whistles.
All The Best In Health And Wealth
AnswerID: 45124

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