Preliminary ideas for "tent" trailer

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Preliminary ideas for "tent" trailer

Postby jstrubberg » Wed Dec 09, 2015 5:09 pm

I'm considering doing a refreshed design of the old tent trailers. I don't mean a pop up, I am talking about the old Kozy Kamp campers, two fold out bunks and canvas across the top.

My idea is to use more modern materials to get something that is more water and wind tight, as well as more maintainable. I'm thinking a double bunk on each side with a vardo-esque dome of canvas for the top. Four poles with sockets along the bunk edges and velco in between to seal the sides. A fold-down door in the back with 1" Velcro up the sides to attach it to the walls.

I think there are some advantages to such a design. Weight should be laughable. I think I can pull the whole thing off at around 300-350 pounds. You should be able to tow the result with any decent sized motorcycle. I also have an idea to integrate a carry rack into the top of one folding bunk so you can haul kayaks, a canoe, whatever on top of the trailer when folded up. Heat is easy with a small electric heater, and I think Suncatcher's hacked AC unit would do a great job of cooling the space. Room to sleep four and stand up changing space. Cooking and the porta potty would of course be outside the trailer.

A few things I am still struggling with;

1. Windows- gotta ventilate this thing somehow. Who wants a trailer that relies on conditioned air all of the time?
2. Parts, parts, parts!- My wife and I travel, we don't really camp. We set up and tear down every day, so keeping the process as quick and easy as possible is a definite plus. I need to work out exactly what is involved in getting campable and putting everything back away before I break out the tools.
3. Body materials- Needs to be stout enough to support the bunks, but waterproof would be a big advantage. I would love to end up with a camper we could hose out when we got home to remove mud and such.
4. I'm toying with the idea of using Tyvek for the "canvas". Anyone have any experience?
5. SketchUp!- I make my living on a computer, but I am telling you this program is just about beyond me. It's going to take me as long to figure out how to use this tool as it is to build the camper.

The more stuff I take along, the more time I spend taking care of my stuff!
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Re: Preliminary ideas for "tent" trailer

Postby troubleScottie » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:39 pm

I too found SketchUp a bit confusing at start. The best plan is to find one or more YouTube tutorials. You can learn a lot from them, etc.

Also if you google Sketchup items, you can find many items pre-done eg wheels/tire, trailer frame. So less up front work.

The other bit of advice is think incremental. Build-save then save as to build the next iteration to continue. You can move items from one drawing onto another, so one could build each piece then form a composite of all the components. This is particularly useful for cabinets/galley which has a lot of parts.

Although I have not done much construction, but Tyvek is most likely not a good choice. It is designed for generating a water proofing barrier. It is on the outside of buildings after the sheathing is on. It does not appear to be particularly strong especially spanning strength.

Breaking Strength ASTM D882 (lbs/in) 30/30
Tear Resistance (Trapezoid) ASTM D1117 (lbs) 8/6
Surface Burning Characteristics ASTM E84 15 Flame Spread Index Class A Smoke 15
Developed Index Class A Ultra Violet Light Exposure (UV) 120 days (4 months)

I am not sure it would hold up to repeated folding.
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