Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few questions

Anything to do with mechanical, construction etc

Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few questions

Postby sarahem » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:34 am

Ok I really really don't know what I am doing so if your responses could be in layman's terms that would really help!



We want to build a cross between a teardrop trailer and a mini camper. It will be for both travel and a potential bug-out vehicle if needed. My husband and I both work from home so it would be great if we could have a space to work so we can travel and work. I want the galley on the inside and I want the ceiling a little higher than most teardrops which is what makes it a bit like a mini camper trailer cross over. I also want to great an 8" drop storage in the floor. Storage is important with this! We drive a car so keeping this as lightweight as possible is also important. I have a few questions that I am having a hard time finding answers to.

What do you use as the base? Thick treated plywood?

For the floor storage there will be braces every 2', how thick does the plywood covering it needs to be to keep from bowing?

I noticed a lot of people use luan plywood for the top. Is there another layer underneath that besides the braces? What needs to be done to make sure that is sturdy? It seems like just laying some bendy plywood over the top isn't going to work well.

What is the minimum thickness the plywood for the walls should be? We want to cut the frame out of one piece so we thought about getting 4 pieces of 4x8 plywood and glueing two over the other two crossway - would this work?

I am going to post my renderings so far! I should have curved the roof but going back and doing that now would be a pain. Let me know if you see any obvious flaws or improvements!

Thanks in advance!
Attachments
Teardrop3.2.JPG
Teardrop3.2.JPG (89.13 KiB) Viewed 411 times
sarahem
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:49 am

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby halfdome, Danny » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:41 pm

sarahem wrote:Ok I really really don't know what I am doing so if your responses could be in layman's terms that would really help!



We want to build a cross between a teardrop trailer and a mini camper. It will be for both travel and a potential bug-out vehicle if needed. My husband and I both work from home so it would be great if we could have a space to work so we can travel and work. I want the galley on the inside and I want the ceiling a little higher than most teardrops which is what makes it a bit like a mini camper trailer cross over. I also want to great an 8" drop storage in the floor. Storage is important with this! We drive a car so keeping this as lightweight as possible is also important. I have a few questions that I am having a hard time finding answers to.

What do you use as the base? Thick treated plywood?

For the floor storage there will be braces every 2', how thick does the plywood covering it needs to be to keep from bowing?

I noticed a lot of people use luan plywood for the top. Is there another layer underneath that besides the braces? What needs to be done to make sure that is sturdy? It seems like just laying some bendy plywood over the top isn't going to work well.

What is the minimum thickness the plywood for the walls should be? We want to cut the frame out of one piece so we thought about getting 4 pieces of 4x8 plywood and glueing two over the other two crossway - would this work?

I am going to post my renderings so far! I should have curved the roof but going back and doing that now would be a pain. Let me know if you see any obvious flaws or improvements!

Thanks in advance!

Welcome to the forum,
From your drawing it looks like it will be a tight fit when it's in the bed mode.
You might consider suspending the lower cabinet (shorten it in height) about 18" from the floor so your feet can go under it comfortably.
You could also make the total length of the trailer a little longer by either splining extra plywood on to the total length or find sheets that are 10' long.

The base you speak of I'm assuming is the floor.
I use a good quality 3/4" plywood for the floor and walls, others may frame and insulate or cut out parts of the plywood and insulate which requires another thickness of like 1/8" or 1/4" plywood.
I use 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood for the roof and then another course of the same glued and stapled in the opposite direction to make a stress 1/4" roof.

Is the front of the trailer the 4' end ? :D Danny
ImageImage
"Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable do nothing". William Feather
Don't accept "It's Good Enough" build to the best of your abilities.
Image
Teardroppers Of Oregon & WashingtonImage
User avatar
halfdome, Danny
*Happy Camper
 
Posts: 5509
Images: 175
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 11:02 pm
Location: Washington , Pew-al-up

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby edgeau » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:47 pm

Also ply that seems very bendy and flimsy as a lone sheet gets surprisingly strong when everything is tied together. It is really easy to overdo it and get heavy.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
User avatar
edgeau
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 251
Images: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:21 am
Location: Gold Coast Australia
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby Pmullen503 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:35 pm

I recommend you build a mock up of your kitchen and see how usable it is. Elbow room might be an issue. Carrying food outside to eat might be an problem with a typical teardrop door. There's a reason most galleys are outside.
Pmullen503
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 430
Images: 58
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:33 pm
Location: Fond du Lac, WI
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby troubleScottie » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:03 pm

To point out a few things:
There is no door ? or windows ?
There is no ventilation -- fans, etc. Generally one installs a through the roof fan. There are other options.
You have no placement of any electrical components - DC or AC. You could do without both, but most people want one or both. This is needed for lighting and fan and working while traveling (?). And they take up space. This will determine if you can work when boondocking. Reserving a site with electricity does not mean you will get electricity at your site.
There is no obvious feed prep/cooking supplies/food storage area unless the cabinet in the front is this. Again, you could do without it and use outdoor tables and store everything in the tow vehicle. However, this increases the packing time as more supplies need to be packed before the trip.
Water storage might be needed. Some travel with very little -- as little as 5 gal. And it can be stored in the tow vehicle.

Your floor thickness depends to some extent if you are sleeping on it or crawling on it or walking on it. The weight per square inch changes. For just sleeping, 1/2" would definitely work. And you can go thinner.

Roofs are often a sandwich design ie a layer of plywood (1/8" or 1/4"), joists (1 1/2 - 2" thick with insulation) running across, and outer layer of plywood (1/8" or 1/4"). Although it may not be strong enough to climb on, it is pretty strong.

Under floor storage is doable. A big issue is how to get to the items. Lifting floors inside the trailer is often difficult. Reaching in from the outside can be equally difficult. This is compounded by items like a mattress or any items stored on the floor inside the trailer.

Cooking inside such a small volume is not the best plan. The smells will linger. Messes are impacting your sleeping area. Unless you are very short and thin, that space is extremely small. For example, our original kitchen had less then 5' between the peninsula and the sink and was difficult to have 2 people there. The remodeled one has 9' which is much better. And the peninsula and sink are not vertical walls.

Wall thickness depends on how much insulation you want. Two sheets of plywood offer almost no insulation. It is often cold in the morning even in summer. And it can get very hot if the trailer is in direct sunlight. So another thing to consider.

Besides weight, the cross section area of the trailer affects your towing. Especially if the trailer is taller or wider than the tow vehicle. The trailer is in your case, the 5 1/2' plus the floor/storage plus the height of the trailer frame and suspension. So it will most likely be taller than your car.

Remember these trailer, especially smaller ones are often treated as hard tents. Most of your activities are outside. Obviously rain days can be difficult.
Michael Krolewski
Scottish Terrier Fancier
troubleScottie
Donating Member
 
Posts: 228
Images: 11
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Seattle, WA
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby KTM_Guy » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:46 pm

I think your scale from what you vision in your head and real life might be off. Take some masking tape and tape an outline on a wall and see if you can live and work in that space. I think it will be much tighter that you think.

But if it is the right size consider doors on both sides. It makes it easier at night for a potty run that you don't have to climb over your mate. Consider adding 2' and moving the galley to the outside. Do you really want to cook bacon in such a small space? And what's camping without bacon?

Any kind of treated wood has no place in a camper.

Todd
User avatar
KTM_Guy
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 487
Images: 193
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:50 am
Location: Mesa, AZ near Usery
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby sarahem » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:46 am

KTM_Guy wrote:I think your scale from what you vision in your head and real life might be off. Take some masking tape and tape an outline on a wall and see if you can live and work in that space. I think it will be much tighter that you think.

But if it is the right size consider doors on both sides. It makes it easier at night for a potty run that you don't have to climb over your mate. Consider adding 2' and moving the galley to the outside. Do you really want to cook bacon in such a small space? And what's camping without bacon?

Any kind of treated wood has no place in a camper.

Todd
Thanks I'll try that!

As for the gallery it's more of a workspace and maybe some simple food prep, almost all cooking will be done outside. No cooking bacon in there. :)

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
sarahem
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:49 am
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby sarahem » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:47 am

KTM_Guy wrote:I think your scale from what you vision in your head and real life might be off. Take some masking tape and tape an outline on a wall and see if you can live and work in that space. I think it will be much tighter that you think.

But if it is the right size consider doors on both sides. It makes it easier at night for a potty run that you don't have to climb over your mate. Consider adding 2' and moving the galley to the outside. Do you really want to cook bacon in such a small space? And what's camping without bacon?

Any kind of treated wood has no place in a camper.

Todd
What do you mean by treated wood has no play in a camper?

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
sarahem
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:49 am
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby sarahem » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:53 am

troubleScottie wrote:To point out a few things:
There is no door ? or windows ?
There is no ventilation -- fans, etc. Generally one installs a through the roof fan. There are other options.
You have no placement of any electrical components - DC or AC. You could do without both, but most people want one or both. This is needed for lighting and fan and working while traveling (?). And they take up space. This will determine if you can work when boondocking. Reserving a site with electricity does not mean you will get electricity at your site.
There is no obvious feed prep/cooking supplies/food storage area unless the cabinet in the front is this. Again, you could do without it and use outdoor tables and store everything in the tow vehicle. However, this increases the packing time as more supplies need to be packed before the trip.
Water storage might be needed. Some travel with very little -- as little as 5 gal. And it can be stored in the tow vehicle.

Your floor thickness depends to some extent if you are sleeping on it or crawling on it or walking on it. The weight per square inch changes. For just sleeping, 1/2" would definitely work. And you can go thinner.

Roofs are often a sandwich design ie a layer of plywood (1/8" or 1/4"), joists (1 1/2 - 2" thick with insulation) running across, and outer layer of plywood (1/8" or 1/4"). Although it may not be strong enough to climb on, it is pretty strong.

Under floor storage is doable. A big issue is how to get to the items. Lifting floors inside the trailer is often difficult. Reaching in from the outside can be equally difficult. This is compounded by items like a mattress or any items stored on the floor inside the trailer.

Cooking inside such a small volume is not the best plan. The smells will linger. Messes are impacting your sleeping area. Unless you are very short and thin, that space is extremely small. For example, our original kitchen had less then 5' between the peninsula and the sink and was difficult to have 2 people there. The remodeled one has 9' which is much better. And the peninsula and sink are not vertical walls.

Wall thickness depends on how much insulation you want. Two sheets of plywood offer almost no insulation. It is often cold in the morning even in summer. And it can get very hot if the trailer is in direct sunlight. So another thing to consider.

Besides weight, the cross section area of the trailer affects your towing. Especially if the trailer is taller or wider than the tow vehicle. The trailer is in your case, the 5 1/2' plus the floor/storage plus the height of the trailer frame and suspension. So it will most likely be taller than your car.

Remember these trailer, especially smaller ones are often treated as hard tents. Most of your activities are outside. Obviously rain days can be difficult.
Hi! Thanks for the feedback. There is a door, it's just on the hidden wall in the rendering. There's a window in there too!

As for power we are still looking into it. We want to go solar but determining what we would need is a challenge since it's like learning a whole new language.

Are there pre-built vents we can buy and install? How would you recommend doing this?

Most cooking will be done outside. The indoor space is more for working and minimal food prep on bad weather days.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
sarahem
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:49 am
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby sarahem » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:56 am

halfdome, Danny wrote:
sarahem wrote:Ok I really really don't know what I am doing so if your responses could be in layman's terms that would really help!



We want to build a cross between a teardrop trailer and a mini camper. It will be for both travel and a potential bug-out vehicle if needed. My husband and I both work from home so it would be great if we could have a space to work so we can travel and work. I want the galley on the inside and I want the ceiling a little higher than most teardrops which is what makes it a bit like a mini camper trailer cross over. I also want to great an 8" drop storage in the floor. Storage is important with this! We drive a car so keeping this as lightweight as possible is also important. I have a few questions that I am having a hard time finding answers to.

What do you use as the base? Thick treated plywood?

For the floor storage there will be braces every 2', how thick does the plywood covering it needs to be to keep from bowing?

I noticed a lot of people use luan plywood for the top. Is there another layer underneath that besides the braces? What needs to be done to make sure that is sturdy? It seems like just laying some bendy plywood over the top isn't going to work well.

What is the minimum thickness the plywood for the walls should be? We want to cut the frame out of one piece so we thought about getting 4 pieces of 4x8 plywood and glueing two over the other two crossway - would this work?

I am going to post my renderings so far! I should have curved the roof but going back and doing that now would be a pain. Let me know if you see any obvious flaws or improvements!

Thanks in advance!

Welcome to the forum,
From your drawing it looks like it will be a tight fit when it's in the bed mode.
You might consider suspending the lower cabinet (shorten it in height) about 18" from the floor so your feet can go under it comfortably.
You could also make the total length of the trailer a little longer by either splining extra plywood on to the total length or find sheets that are 10' long.

The base you speak of I'm assuming is the floor.
I use a good quality 3/4" plywood for the floor and walls, others may frame and insulate or cut out parts of the plywood and insulate which requires another thickness of like 1/8" or 1/4" plywood.
I use 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood for the roof and then another course of the same glued and stapled in the opposite direction to make a stress 1/4" roof.

Is the front of the trailer the 4' end ? :D Danny
Hi Danny!

Thank you that's all very helpful! I wasn't sure if the camper could overhang on the trailer a little bit since the trailer is 4'x8'? Would hanging over a foot or two be OK?

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
sarahem
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:49 am
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby edgeau » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:18 am

Yes there are pre made vents with fans etc that you can drop in.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
User avatar
edgeau
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 251
Images: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:21 am
Location: Gold Coast Australia
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby sarahem » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:01 am

edgeau wrote:Yes there are pre made vents with fans etc that you can drop in.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
So they would need to be powered right? What if we decided to go without power. What do people do then?

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
sarahem
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:49 am
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby tony.latham » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:34 am

So they would need to be powered right? What if we decided to go without power. What do people do then?


Two people in a teardrop need lots of ventilation. Two screened side windows with a top-vent fan are my minimums. I had a teardrop without a roof fan and it was a problem. When I got a tour of a teardrop with a fan, I was building within three weeks.

And speaking of which, If you are going to work in that space, you'll need lights. A 12-volt system is simple to install while building. It'll also give you a way to charge your computers and phones.

The other thing that jumps out at me is the one-door concept that Todd caught. That would drive my wife and me nuts at night (and during bed-making time). Teardrops need two doors.

:thinking:

Tony
User avatar
tony.latham
Gold Donating Member
 
Posts: 3611
Images: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Middle of Idaho on the edge of nowhere
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby sarahem » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:29 am

tony.latham wrote:
So they would need to be powered right? What if we decided to go without power. What do people do then?


Two people in a teardrop need lots of ventilation. Two screened side windows with a top-vent fan are my minimums. I had a teardrop without a roof fan and it was a problem. When I got a tour of a teardrop with a fan, I was building within three weeks.

And speaking of which, If you are going to work in that space, you'll need lights. A 12-volt system is simple to install while building. It'll also give you a way to charge your computers and phones.

The other thing that jumps out at me is the one-door concept that Todd caught. That would drive my wife and me nuts at night (and during bed-making time). Teardrops need two doors.

:thinking:

Tony
Thanks Tony! That helps! :)

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
sarahem
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:49 am
Top

Re: Designing a semi-teardrop trailer and I have a few quest

Postby halfdome, Danny » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:18 am

Thank you that's all very helpful! I wasn't sure if the camper could overhang on the trailer a little bit since the trailer is 4'x8'? Would hanging over a foot or two be OK?

My chassis is custom welded and the tongue is in the same plain as the rest of the chassis which allows a 6" overhang in the rear and the front overhangs 18" from the first cross member.
The front overhang still has attachment points (see tabs in picture) along the "Y" of the tongue.
This is why the bike rack receiver looks so long in the rear.
When completed the bike rack receiver protrudes only 1 3/4".
Image
:D Danny
ImageImage
"Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable do nothing". William Feather
Don't accept "It's Good Enough" build to the best of your abilities.
Image
Teardroppers Of Oregon & WashingtonImage
User avatar
halfdome, Danny
*Happy Camper
 
Posts: 5509
Images: 175
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 11:02 pm
Location: Washington , Pew-al-up
Top

Next

Return to Teardrop Construction Tips & Techniques

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests