Pull behind camper

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Apr 11, 2021
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I’m working on a pull behind camper, I hate setting up tents and taking down wet tents. I also wanted a frame for protection if a storm comes up while camping. The frame can be anchored to the ground if it gets windy. I have a couple of pictures in the Builders Gallery. The floor is not shown but it’s already finished in 1/2” plywood. The base frame is 3/4” electrical conduit and the tops and sides are 1/2” electrical conduit. I used emt hand metal benders to make the bends.
I’m stuck at the fiberglass stage for the exterior walls and roof and dread jumping into it. I’ll have to do it outside because I don’t have a garage.
What do you think of a quad/rv combo? That may be my next project.
 
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Something strong enough to take a persons weight yet light enough to pull is a tall order. Even a fair sized motor is going to strain on a hill. What about a design that hinges open out to the floor so that the floor takes the weight of the person? Would be long at 6.5 feet or thereabouts but low profile so not subject to side winds blowing it over whilst being towed. Sides and roof from nylon tent material, fibreglass poles, and the trailer structure from Thermhex or similar. Whilst the roof becomes the floor and is supported by the ground it'd still need enough strength to cope with an uneven floor. The floor of the trailer would need to be strong enough to carry all your gear and no more. Still more tent than caravan but it would take seconds to put up or take down.




If you absolutely want a caravan like camper but don't want to fibreglass then try the Thermhex stuff for the sides and roof. It's light, strong and waterproof. Anthing light enough to pull will need to take sidewinds into account though. Perhaps a triangular Thermhex structure on a flat wooden bed, door at the rear sort of thing.



One of the major issues with keeping the thing on it's wheels is stabilising it whilst in use. Caravan type corner jacks are heavy. You can make lighter versions but you'll certainly need something.
 
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I hot my plans gor a bicycle caravan from Paul Elkins. I am hoi g yo build that.
I understand what you mean and that is why I want to build that.
I found several on YouTube.
In Germany there are several people building them fo behind a bike.
 
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I hot my plans gor a bicycle caravan from Paul Elkins. I am hoi g yo build that.
I understand what you mean and that is why I want to build that.
I found several on YouTube.
In Germany there are several people building them fo behind a bike.
I saw Paul Elkins design but was worried about safety. I figured the small amount of steel in the upper frame would give a stronger cabin in a storm. The next version will be an aluminum square tube frame. This will make floor installation and fiberglassing easier. Good luck on your build.
 
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It is strong, but I follow also a German that build his own.
Now someone else used his design and it looks good.
Here a video.
It has way more comfort than the version of Paul, but it is also heavier. But with e-assist not a real problem.
 
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I've given thought to such a thing but I have to admit that plywood, steel tubing and fiberglass for towing behind a bike sounds quite heavy. Have you looked into corrugated plastic?


That is Paul Elkins. I bought his design.
It is strong and light, but for me it has one problem for building. It is very hard to get that size coraplast out here.
 
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Here is an other one.
It is heavy, but great as you not only sleep in it.

I still prefer the design from Paul Elkins.
For me, it replaces my tiny tent. So it is an upgrade to what I have.

There are versions, that look more like the caravans that you have behind your car.
They look good, but are heavy.
 
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There is another way to make a bicycle camper. Think of a shoebox.. There is a fellow in British Columbia who made a trailer in that style. It is long enough for him to stretch out in and wide enough to lay on his back. Basically the width of normal handlebars plus an inch or 2. It's made of coroplast, when it's in travelling mode it's fairly low which means less wind resistance. It has folding upright's that hold the roof up when he sleeps and if memory serves has some type of tent fabric for the sides and ends using velcro. He also put a flexible solar panel on the trailer roof to charge his devices
 
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I have seen that one.
A folding version has advantages in the wind, but I am lazy, so I prefer one where you just jump in and doesn't have to build up first.

An other folding one.

It seems that it is popular in Germany ad the moment.
 
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I've given thought to such a thing but I have to admit that plywood, steel tubing and fiberglass for towing behind a bike sounds quite heavy. Have you looked into corrugated plastic?


I thought about the corrugated plastic but many of the parks around here are full of old trees that occasionally drop branches during storms. So I thought the steel frame with a fiberglass cover might provide a bit more protection. Also grounding the steel tubing could provide protection in a lightning strike. I remember a few years back a group of scouts had their tents on a ridge and were killed by lightning. Ease of use and safety were my primary design motivators for the first version. The next one I will work in weight reduction.
 
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I think that I found a ligther and better option for you.

It has a strong roof and it is lighter than as you build it from steel.

I still don't know what I want.
Paul Elkins design is light, what is a very big plus.
But the one I posted earlier is a bit bigger, so you get more confored.
But I am also looking ad something like this.

I think that this one, has a bit more confored than that from Paul Elkins, because you can place the door where you want. Easier to ad storage space and easier to ad solar panels. I think that it is also a bit more durable than the wooden base frame.
But it is also more expensive to build with aluminum.

I can't find coraplast in the sizes I need for the Paul Elkins version. The roof will be about 20cm lower, and then I can't sit in it.
But I love the design. Maybe I need to combine the 2 designs.

But first I need to finish my trike.
 
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I think that I found a ligther and better option for you.

It has a strong roof and it is lighter than as you build it from steel.

I still don't know what I want.
Paul Elkins design is light, what is a very big plus.
But the one I posted earlier is a bit bigger, so you get more confored.
But I am also looking ad something like this.

I think that this one, has a bit more confored than that from Paul Elkins, because you can place the door where you want. Easier to ad storage space and easier to ad solar panels. I think that it is also a bit more durable than the wooden base frame.
But it is also more expensive to build with aluminum.

I can't find coraplast in the sizes I need for the Paul Elkins version. The roof will be about 20cm lower, and then I can't sit in it.
But I love the design. Maybe I need to combine the 2 designs.

But first I need to finish my trike.
I laid on my bed and did some measuring to find what I needed to sit up and what I needed for sleeping. I came up with 3’ wide, 3’ tall and 7 1/2’ long. I can lay my sleeping pad or air mattresses down place my sleeping bag on top of that and have enough room for my gear. My next one after this will be with aluminum but that’s later.
 
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I go also gor an rectangular box shape. Also so I can sit straight on the bed. So about 1m heigh without the wheels.
2m long. That is also the length of the coraplast.
Aluminium frame.
A bit narrower with the wheels in the body.
Door on the side.
Foil to isolate it on the inside.
Some windows that also need to be able to open, or ad least 1 of them.

For electricity I will get solar panels. I want yo be able to charge my bike battery. That way I can use one and charge the other one.
Then also a solar panel for a 12v battery that powers the everything in the camper.
A tiny traffel cooler that works on 12v, the lights, charge my phone and power a tablet.
Also a 12fan for ventilation.

I will also put in 220v connection. This for as I am ad a place where I can connect my camper to the net. Than can I use my other charger and use that power in the camper while the rest charges.

I am getting a mattresses and I will not use my inflatable. Also something to put ad my back as I sit in the camper. I will take a sleeping bag with me, but mainly use my blankets from home.
Some small storage spaces on the sides of the walls for my clothes and other stuff.
Small table and chair. That is something I already have.

I go for a combination of light weight, low and comfort.
The height is heig enough to sit on the mattresses.

I already looked ad what I need. I will check if I can get the aluminum somewhere else to get it cheap.
Some things I will 3d print, to also safe some money.
The coraplast will come from 2 places ad the moment. I need thicker ad the bottom and I will use thinner one the walls and roof. Safe weight and money.

But I start with it, as soon as my trike is ready. So it will take some time.
 
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I assume the Dream Box is a converted car roof box which is quite a good place to start from IMO if building your own. It would be hard to make anything as big any lighter or as waterproof and the side material ought to be easy enough to make plus the added bonus of not being overly affected by wind whist towing. I'm unsure why the lower part of the roof box looks to be something he's made rather than use the lower part that comes with the box as std.
 
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I’ve checked into boat solar vent fans to help keep the trailer cooler on the road. A small closet battery push light should be plenty for my needs. I’m putting a 110 volt receptacle at the front of the trailer for a small flat screen. I figure a lot of parks have large gazebos with 110 outlets so you can plug in overnight if you need juice. They do make flexible solar panels that would fit on top, I figure only one would fit. I also have a fold up one that I take on trips to charge batteries.
 
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I do it with a 10 inch tablet.
For fans I will use pc fans with a solar panel.
Making a 12v battery that also powers them ad night and charges my tablet, phone and lights.
Not much needed, so a 50w 12v is enough.
For charging the bike battery, I will use as least a 100w panel.
I ad a 220v for as I am ad a spot where I can connect it to the web.

Popshot, the dream box version is a great design.
I looked ad it, but it didn't make my final 3 on my list. This because I want to have a bit more luxery and able to kook inside.
Mainly because of the weather out here.
 
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