How to Convert Enclosed Trailers for Camping

How to Convert Enclosed Trailers for Camping
Utility trailers such as those used for hauling gear and freight, make handy starts to a camper trailer. Convert these enclosed utility trailers into small and self-contained campers. The design and floor plan you choose is strictly up to your tastes and needs. Follow a basic outline for converting an enclosed trailer into a backcountry camper. Before heading out onto the highway with your newly converted camper, check on registration laws for your state and get the appropriate plates and certifications.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Graph paper and pencil
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Plywood sheets
  • Framing timbers - 1-by-2 and 2-by-4
  • Power drill
  • Power saw
  • Waterproof caulk and caulk gun
  • RV door kit
  • RV roof vent kit
  • RV window kits
  • Deep cycle batteries
Step 1
Measure the dimensions of the enclosed trailer. Take the width, length and height of the trailer. Convert these measurements to a small scale and graph them out on the graph paper.
Step 2
Design and sketch out your desired floor plan for the inside of the trailer. Plan for the beds and sleeping quarters to be toward the rear of the trailer as this allows you to place the door on the back of the trailer.
Step 3
Build the timber frame out of the 1-by-2 and 2-by-4 timbers. Once the frame and wall studs have been made, bolt them to the floor of the trailer using wood bolts, washers and nuts.
Step 4
Measure the distance on the side of the trailer where the windows will be mounted. Use a power jigsaw to cut out the window holes. Mount the RV windows according to the installation instructions in the kit. Seal the windows with the waterproof caulk to give them a watertight seal.
Step 5
Cut out the area where the RV door will be mounted. Follow the RV door installation instructions, and seal the housing with the waterproof caulk for a watertight seal. Cut out the roof vent and install accordingly. Seal the vent housing with the caulk.
Step 6
Wire the trailer's lights and other electric devices to a deep cycle marine battery or batteries. Build a small enclosure to house the batteries. Make the enclosure accessible as you may need to change wires or charge batteries in the future.

Tips & Warnings

Save money on the RV windows and door by going to an RV salvage yard and buying used equipment.

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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