Off-road Camper “Quarter Wide” Trailer Build Using Harbor Freight Frame

FunWagon

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I can totally relate to you... the SUPs, kayaks, out doors, big family, kids in water. Nice trailer. But how do you fit a family of five and a dog in the trailer and tent? Wow.
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Will

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I can totally relate to you... the SUPs, kayaks, out doors, big family, kids in water. Nice trailer. But how do you fit a family of five and a dog in the trailer and tent? Wow.
Oh the current setup is tight for sure when the whole family is along.
Our kids are young: 9, 8, & 6. At the moment they are fine with sleeping on top of each other. They have been camping that way since they were toddlers and they have always been 3-wide in a second row. The three of them fit fine in either the 3-man RTT or the trailer box.

For this previous trip we opted for a big ground tent so we ditched the RTT and used the trailer just for storage and carrying kayaks.
My wife prefers camping with the ground tent; it’s massive and fits 2 queens and 1 one twin air mattresses, two nights stands (storage boxes) with room to spare.

I’ve got room to add a second RTT on top
of the trailer so I’ve been working on my wife to try to get her to warm up to that setup because I like the idea of not dealing with ground tents/tarps after a rain. Our last 4 trips we have been rained on. 😀

I really like the idea of the Opus 4 trailer but those are a little too heavy for a Wrangler in my opinion, a little more engineering than I’m interested in trying to duplicate on my own, and way too expensive for me to try to purchase. We are still learning about what works for us and tweaking our setup, but so far I’ve been really happy with it. Even on a trip where we don’t sleep in it, it provides storage for gear that we would never bring with just the Wrangler alone.
 

FunWagon

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Oh the current setup is tight for sure when the whole family is along.
Our kids are young: 9, 8, & 6. At the moment they are fine with sleeping on top of each other. They have been camping that way since they were toddlers and they have always been 3-wide in a second row. The three of them fit fine in either the 3-man RTT or the trailer box.

For this previous trip we opted for a big ground tent so we ditched the RTT and used the trailer just for storage and carrying kayaks.
My wife prefers camping with the ground tent; it’s massive and fits 2 queens and 1 one twin air mattresses, two nights stands (storage boxes) with room to spare.

I’ve got room to add a second RTT on top
of the trailer so I’ve been working on my wife to try to get her to warm up to that setup because I like the idea of not dealing with ground tents/tarps after a rain. Our last 4 trips we have been rained on. 😀

I really like the idea of the Opus 4 trailer but those are a little too heavy for a Wrangler in my opinion, a little more engineering than I’m interested in trying to duplicate on my own, and way too expensive for me to try to purchase. We are still learning about what works for us and tweaking our setup, but so far I’ve been really happy with it. Even on a trip where we don’t sleep in it, it provides storage for gear that we would never bring with just the Wrangler alone.
That’s awesome. I am actually interested in large ground family tents. I looked around online, but never owned one or saw one in person. Which one do you have? … unless it’s too much trouble to find out then don’t worry.
 
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Will

Will

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This is the one that we have, @FunWagon

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https://www.amazon.com/CORE-Person-...core+camping+tent+large&qid=1631384977&sr=8-5


We like it, and I wouldn’t call it difficult, but man my friend brought a big instant tent (Ozark trail from Walmart) and I was blown away at how fast him and his wife were able to set it up. Those instant tents look like the way to go.

This looks like the same version as ours in an instant tent.
https://www.amazon.com/CORE-Person-...867&sr=8-9#video-immersive-view_1631384900102

Here is @thrasher ‘s tent.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-11-Person-Instant-Cabin-Tent-with-Private-Room/54644006
 

Jeepn’

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Dude this is awesome. I’m trading in my Tacoma for a wrangler and space will be at a premium in comparison. This is now on my list of interests.

I can Mig weld aluminum, which got me thinking. I wonder if it would be possible to build an aluminum skeleton with an aluminum sheet on the outside riveted to the skeleton. Then using foam board insulation and covering the inside with a thin sheet of plywood. I wonder what the strength/weight would be in comparison to doing a wooden version such as yours. The idea being to build something extremely lightweight but for 2 people to sleep inside of.
 

FLjeeper

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This is the one that we have, @FunWagon

1631385188674.jpeg



https://www.amazon.com/CORE-Person-...core+camping+tent+large&qid=1631384977&sr=8-5


We like it, and I wouldn’t call it difficult, but man my friend brought a big instant tent (Ozark trail from Walmart) and I was blown away at how fast him and his wife were able to set it up. Those instant tents look like the way to go.

This looks like the same version as ours in an instant tent.
https://www.amazon.com/CORE-Person-...867&sr=8-9#video-immersive-view_1631384900102

Here is @thrasher ‘s tent.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-11-Person-Instant-Cabin-Tent-with-Private-Room/54644006
tent1.jpg
tent2.jpg


I can't afford all these beautiful trailers, (I sure can follow the crap out of these threads though), but I love my core tent. Super easy to setup and the built in light is a nice feature.
 
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Will

Will

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Dude this is awesome. I’m trading in my Tacoma for a wrangler and space will be at a premium in comparison. This is now on my list of interests.

I can Mig weld aluminum, which got me thinking. I wonder if it would be possible to build an aluminum skeleton with an aluminum sheet on the outside riveted to the skeleton. Then using foam board insulation and covering the inside with a thin sheet of plywood. I wonder what the strength/weight would be in comparison to doing a wooden version such as yours. The idea being to build something extremely lightweight but for 2 people to sleep inside of.
Definitely doable. You would have to use thick-gauge aluminum if you wanted to do a frame with it. I would suggest using steel angle or tube for the frame for rigidity and a lot of cost savings over aluminum. Aluminum skins are the way to go for corrosion resistance and good looks. I found pre-painted aluminum panels for the exterior of this trailer.
There are plenty of examples out there and that’s how most off-road trailers like these are built: steel frames and boxes with aluminum skins.

I almost went that route but I’m happy that I ended up doing the 2x3 wood frame, wrapped with 3/4” plywood and then an aluminum skin to wrap it. I have limitless opportunities to mount anchors/accessories to the roof/sides with the 3/4” plywood and wood studs to anchor to. I’ve got some plans for other accessories to mount to the outside.

It’s definitely possible to get one a little lighter than I have done, but this thing is so small, you’re not saving a ton of weight simply by swapping materials. I think where most people get in trouble with these small off-road trailers is all the gear and accessories they pile on there.
 
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Will

Will

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Front/above spare tire storage shelf.

I salvaged a decent amount of 3” wide aluminum trim, both flats and angles, from our office. We were tossing some old cubicles and I thought there would be something I could use it for on the trailer. I saved a few pieces to be used for a fold out shower enclosure frame. Might also use it for an awning frame. More on that later.

However, the rail/rib system on these pieces was making attachment points awkward. So I started messing around and decided to make a shelf above the spare tire. At the moment it’s being utilized for firewood bundles or water-proof duffles to be strapped to. I might end up making a bracket for a propane tank once I get a shower set up and have needs for more LP capacity. Who knows? We got options though.

I don’t have access to a TIG rig or other means to weld aluminum (which I would have preferred) so I picked up a bunch of stainless steel fasteners and a couple of 500 LB shelf brackets and went to work. Here’s what it turned into. I’m happy with it for less than $50 of hardware. I was planning to paint it back, but I’m kind of digging the silver finish that was already on there. I’ll leave it this way for awhile and wait to paint until it gets more abuse.

The RTT still sits higher than the LP bottle so I think I may make that it’s home. I was looking into one of the smaller ones that most of these trailers seem to use, but figured why not use one of these that I already have laying around? They are cheap and easy to exchange.

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