Looking at converting a new or used cargo trailer to a simple camping trailer and looking for some feedback and ideas.
The reasons I have for converting a cargo trailer instead of purchasing a new camper trailer are:
1) Cost: A new 7' x 14' cargo trailer starts at about $4800.00. A new 14' camper trailer up here starts around $14,000.00 depending on features.
2) Customization: When buying a new camper trailer, there are very few options that can be ordered and any customization is done at the factory and the costs can be prohibitive. With a cargo trailer conversion, the customization is endless to our needs and specs...more on this below.
3) Durability: Over the last 2 months, I have researched extensively and also looked first hand at so many new and used camper trailers and to quite frank, most are junk construction from the frame up to the shell and materials in the trailer itself and I cannot see these trailers lasting off-road based on my last experience with a regular camper trailer. Then again, maybe I am being too fussy...
As for the cargo trailers, there are a few local manufacturers and had the chance to visit 2 of them where I was invited into their shop to see trailers under construction. I was impressed with both the quality and workmanship on each visit. Even though the quality is much better, I know that even a cargo type trailer has it's limits but in my thinking will outlast a normal camper trailer regardless.
Based on the 3 above reasons, I have come to the tentative conclusion that for our requirements, a conversion is the way to proceed.
If we go ahead and order a cargo trailer it would be built with the following which adds roughly $700.00 to the base cost above: $700.00 + 4800.000 = $5500.00.
Customizations from the trailer manufacturer:
- Window in side access door
- 2 windows on each side of the trailer wall (depends on final interior plans but at least one wall will have a window.)
- Extra ceiling vent above side access door
- Dual propane tank mount on front bumper
- Canoe/Kayak rack on trailer roof (final cost has not been determined yet.)
Interior plans for the trailer has a $3000.00 to 4000.00 budget to start with for this year.
The idea of the trailer is to be used as a base for on and off-road traveling/camping/hiking/fishing (8 weeks vacation starting next year + weekends, stat holidays etc). We are not the type of people who like creature comforts so the interior does not need to be grandeur, rather simplistic and workable without us being fearful of anything being damaged.
- The trailer would be delivered stripped on the inside. Wiring for 12 volt lights would be installed along with any plumbing once we have a final idea of what the layout will be. The interior of the trailer will then be insulated with spray foam insulation (the same type as used in houses). After the foam insulation, fiberglass reinforced paneling instead of plywood will be in installed.
We have a few ideas that we have been kicking around for interior plans and I am looking for some feedback. Note that I have visited many trailer websites already to get some ideas but still have not come to a conclusion on much yet.
I plan to do as much work of the work myself(previous background in construction, mechanical, electrical.) However I am not adverse to farming work out to pros if means getting the work done correctly and right the first time.
Working with the confines of this budget, what ideas could you come up with for this trailer. Remember no grandeur (no TV, air conditioning etc,) rather functional and simple works best but this does not mean ugly unpainted wood, shoddy workmanship etc. That said, it does not preclude small propane fridge, potable propane stove (think bigger Coleman style), 12 volt wiring / lighting etc as mentioned above.
This short YouTube video
gives you an idea of what we are thinking of. One note on this particular trailer, there is a lot of wasted space.7'x14' trailer interior.
Dimensions: 6'9 wide x 14'5 long x 6'8 high. 7'x14' trailer exterior