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Family camping box on Carry On trailer

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Erasmus B. Dragon


Posts: 1
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Joined: Apr 2019
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Hey all, I've been lurking for months now studying your builds while I gathered equipment and funds to make my dream a reality.  In about 7 years I'll be an empty-nester and will want a good off-roading battle tank for some good boondocking.  Until then, I'm a single working mom of 2 with a dog and a boyfriend, so I need to go more practical right now and have something I can build quickly and only on weekends.  I live in a major metropolitan area with high storage costs and one car meant for fuel efficiency in some of the worst traffic in the nation.  My Forester has a 1500# max towing ability so weight is my biggest issue, followed by the trailer fitting into BF's garage.  I estimate we carry about 150-200# of stuff when all 4 of us go, so keeping the trailer at no more than 500 pounds itself is key.  I'm building a slide out kitchen mimicking a Drifta setup.  For now, that's it for fancy building.  Other modifications will come as needed, doors, interior shelves, wood box up front, etc.  I'm going to use exterior latex primer and paint.

What I have right now is a pile of 9mm okoume and a sheet of 4 mm as well.  Shout out to Chesapeake Light Craft in Annapolis for their excellent service and fully stocked back room, and beautiful wood kayaks and canoe on display in the front.  I have the saw cuts all mapped out with wiggle room for mistakes.  I have no-weld trailer brackets. I have a request in to order some aluminum tubing sticks and I'm waiting to hear back from the supplier.  My BF's father is giving me a 4 x 6 utility trailer he's had in his shed for a year or two.  I haven't seen it yet but from the description I'm picturing a Carry On utility trailer with the low mesh walls and floor.  I'll bolt on a rack to both add stability and increase carrying options above level, and in the future put on a RTT.

The enclosed storage box will be approximately 4 x 6 x 3 or 3.5, with the racks about 6 inches above that.  I won't know exact size until I see the trailer and get the racks bolted on, and know how much useable room there is inside.  That will be plenty of storage space for our cooler, bins, chairs, awning, tent, etc.  Right now there's going to be just one door in the back, hinged on top to lift up and tie to the rack to hold up.  The pull out kitchen will come out the lower left side of the door, 17" tall and 20" wide, going the full 6' length of the trailer.  The rest will remain open, meaning we have to go crawling in for now.

This last part had me wondering if a removable "box lid" sort of top would be possible, or even advisable?  It would be a full 4 x 8 sheet of the 9 mm okoume, with 3" strips around the outside overlapping the sides, weatherstripping running around the inside, and latches on all sides holding it down tight.  I can't do a tilt top because of the racks, and it seems like a huge expanse for a soft tonneau cover, so the lid could come off and be slid to the front or back if needed to reach in for something quickly without having to remove stuff from the back.  But I'm not an engineer, and I have minor woodworking skills, so I don't know if that's just a ridiculous idea.  I figured if it didn't work then I'd just dismantle the lid and screw it onto the box permanently and think more about doors. 

So anyway, that's my intro.  I hope that I can begin building in the next few weeks once I get the trailer, and I'll document.  I would appreciate any and all advice you seasoned builders can share.  After tackling this, I'm going to want to slowly work on the REAL camping trailer I have in mind and get it done right.


Super Moderator

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Joined: Jul 2012
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Welcome aboard, look forward to seeing your project. Nice getting a free trailer to start with. A box with a fixed top will definitely be easier to build
Scott Chaney - Owner of Compact Camping Concepts
Home of the DIY Explorer Box and Dinoot trailers, also Tent Topped camping

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