How to Build a Motorcycle Camper Trailer

How to Build a Motorcycle Camper Trailer
You don't have to let the four-wheeled folks have all the camping fun. You can make a custom, made motorcycle camping trailer towable behind your two wheeled rig. A motorcycle camper trailer is a small and specialized camper. You will need to read your motorcycle's specifications and weight limitations to make sure you build the proper size camping trailer for your motorcycle's safe towing guidelines. You should allow one to two months to complete the project.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Wood steamer
  • Tear drop trailer plans
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Power saw, sander, drill
  • Wood steamer
  • Bench vise
  • C-clamps
  • Wood glue
  • Epoxy
  • Gel coat resin
  • Silicone caulk and caulk gun
  • Wood screws
  • Bolts, nuts and washers
  • Axle kit with wheel mounts
  • Tires
  • Paint and brushes
  • Clear resin gel-coat and brushes
  • Motorcycle trailer hitch, male and female ends
  • Jack
  • Tire iron
Step 1
Prepare the frame materials of the camping trailer first; follow the instructions on the pattern you've downloaded from a site such as Use 2-by-4s and 1-by-4s for the main frame. Tear drop style campers are best suited for motorcycle camping and towing and will require a steamer to bend the wood.
Step 2
Place the timbers to be bent in the bench vise after they have been steamed to the point you can bend them without any cracking, breaking or snapping. Bend them into position using your hands. Wear gloves to prevent splinters or injury. Use C-clamps to hold the bend while the wood dries and sets. Set the C-clamps off the work bench with the timber in its bent position. Turn the handle of the C-clamp to the right to tighten.
Step 3
Assemble the frame once you have the bends in the stud timbers. Screw the frame together using the power drill with screwdriver bits. The frame will use the support timbers set up in upright and cross-cut pieces. Measure out your wall paneling pieces and steam and bend them the same way as the frame timbers.
Step 4
Fasten the paneling pieces to the frame with both wood glue and screws. Be sure to place the wall panels with the smoothed side of the wood facing in toward the interior of the camper. Use wood screws to fasten to the frame. Sand the walls down so they are very smooth and the surface is even on the exterior of the wall panels.
Step 5
Assemble the floor decking onto the axle kit. Follow the axle kit's instructions of how to mount the floor and then the camper shell. Typically, you need to set the flooring on the axle platform and set them with bolts, nuts and washers. Before placing the camper shell onto the axle and floor, sand down the floor so it is smooth and even, then varnish and let dry. Before varnishing, add one dollop of epoxy over each screw head to give the floor a watertight seal.
Step 6
Measure and cut out the areas where you will hang the camper door and windows. Use the power saw to cut the holes where you will hang the various portals. Draw the area of the cut with the pencil or marker and follow the drawn pattern with the saw.
Step 7
Find an area where you will place the vent and cut that out. Your vent should be a minimum of 12 inches by 12 inches. Hang the windows, door and vents according to the kit assembly procedures. Caulk the edges of the windows, door and vents to give the camper watertight seals. Let the caulk dry then go around and check the caulking seal to ensure you have made watertight seals.
Step 8
Paint the trailer in your chosen color or design. Mix the resin after you have finished the painting and apply three coats of the clear resin gel coat. You can use any style of paint as you will be coating the paint with the clear gel coat. Apply the gel coat with a sponge brush and try to go in the same direction with every stroke to give continuity in the texture of the coating.
Step 9
Attach the towing bar and trailer tongue to the front of the trailer. Follow the motorcycle trailer hitch instructions but be sure to keep the male end on the trailer and the female end on the motorcycle. There are a series of set screws that align with the trailer arm. Set the trailer tongue so these holes on it align with the holes on the trailer arm. Screw it into position by turning the kit's screws to the right in these holes until tight. Once attached, add the towing bar through the threaded holes on the tongue.
Step 10
Jack the trailer up and add the tires to the wheel mounts. Tighten the tires' lug nuts with the tire iron, turning them to the right until firmly in place. You are adding the tires to the trailer in the same process you would add or change a tire on a car. Make sure the lug nuts are firm and tightened as tight as you can with the tire iron.

Tips & Warnings

Read the travel trailer instructions thoroughly before you start. The more you read before beginning the construction the better idea you have of how the procedure will go. Gather all the needed wood and materials the design instructions call for.
You can make a wood steamer out of a discarded barrel and a smaller metal barrel inside. You construct a large double boiler and you will place the wood on top to collect the steam.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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