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Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - Printable Version

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Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - XERTYX - 07-30-2019

So I scour and scour thru craigslist looking for cheap popups. This being the summer season they're fetching a higher price but occasionally I can find them for a couple hundred bucks that needs new canvas etc.

I've been dreaming of building one out for years and the time is upon me now.

I'm open to suggestions of makes and models that have low resale values as I wont be using it as a popup but installing walls. 

I saw one once where they did exactly this but they only had one slideout left in the build and I want to do the same thing. The only difference is the slideout for mine wouldn't be a sleeping platform. It would simply be dry storage for clothes etc. So I wouldnt need to reinforce it as much as the other builder did. He designed his for the weight of 2 adults if I remember correctly and I'd never be carrying that much weight on the platform.

My idea is this. Buy a crap popup and strip it. Remove the front slideout. Box in the rear slideout and reinforce it. Put in the 4 walls. And build out the inside.

Looking at a camper that's been for sale on CL for a while I realized I had no idea of the inner dimensions so rather than plan after I finally get my hands on one I decided to look for its floor plan online. 

I found a different year models floorplan online and it listed specs about length width etc but looking at the drawing and adding the values together I found it was shorter than their listing. So I assumed those were outer dimensions from the tongue to the bumper.

So I added the bed slideouts dimensions together and did some measuring of my mattress. 

In the attached pic you will see the rear bed slideout is 77"X48" the front is 77"X70" the slideouts arent quite as wide as the interior of the camper.

My mattress is 78"X58" so a perfect fit crossways. So I started drawing up a floorplan of what i want to have and brainstorming where things should go for even weight distribution and access thru the side such as for a freshwater connection and venting of the battery compartment. 

Then I made a rough sketch of my floorplan. Dont laugh at it. I made it on a cell phone so it's not perfect. And I'm no artist. Things aren't quite to scale as I dont have a CAD program just a rough estimation. There would obviously be tweaks to be made here and there and this is just a rough draft plan.

The picture doesnt list where I'd have the refrigerator, water tank, or batteries located but I have those on paper and I'll try and use the picture as a template and make another image of those plans. 



RE: Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - B and C - 07-30-2019

Just as a reminder seeing how far this extends past the back; you want 60% of your weight in front of the wheels. That looks tail heavy.

RE: Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - XERTYX - 07-30-2019

Hmm. Ok good to know. The water tank and grey/black water tanks would be to the front but I had planned the batteries under the bed. I'll have to look at where I can relocate them. And the slideout would be pulled in when traveling and have very little weight stored within.

RE: Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - Doubleone - 07-30-2019

Build it super light...  The frame, axle, and tires were intended for basically a tent with some thin aluminum sides.  Most of the folks converting tent trailers into hard sides are doing "foamies", a composite of thin wood and foam walls covered with glue saturated fabric.  It's an interesting and efficient build process.  Lots of good info over at

RE: Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - bullfrog - 07-30-2019

One of the most common complaints I have heard from owners of older pop up tent trailers was short life of the small tires especially if the trailer was loaded. I would look at some of their forums for ways to improve the situation before making it heavier.

RE: Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - XERTYX - 07-30-2019

All good ideas. I do plan on keeping the build lightweight. I was thinking of covering the outside in some sort of vinyl panels or similar. I'd want to keep the roof and bottom intact. Strip the inside mostly add insulation to the walls and use a very thin paneling of some sort. Mobile home interior paneling is fairly lightweight.

I just cant wrap my mind around some idiot being able to punch a hole thru my house and steal my stuff. I dont think I'll build it out of foam. I'm thinking of trimming down everything I can for weight and building the cabinets bed frame and drawers from the lightest materials I can find.

I'm still in the idea stage ATM and I welcome all input.

As far as tires I stumbled across a video where a similar trailer was being converted to a travel trailer and tractor supply had some robust tires with bigger rims that were the same pattern and replaced. But his next video after the tire install was of where it sat when he went to sleep and where it wasnt when he woke up. Some idiot stole it in the night.

RE: Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - XERTYX - 07-30-2019

This is how I'd imagine the slideout in the back. Obviously this sketch doesnt show the structure just how I plan to insulate it.

You'll notice a lip at top of the rear end of the slideout. That would be to prevent rain from entering the trailer during travel. It would fit under an overhang on the roof and I'd have to design some sort of silicone gasket for both the rear in the out position and the front in the in position. 

In addition to the rollers for the slideout base the top where it enters the trailer I'd put rollers on a track on either side for structural integrity and ease of opening.

The storage box would be built inside of the outer box and insulated on all 5 sides of the cube leaving an open front into the interior cabin. I'm not sure yet if I'd want a door covering it or simple cargo net.

My first thought was a wide hinged ultra thin particle board door clad with cushioning. That way since the bed is 58" and the slideout is 48" even when the slideout was in you could sit on the mattress and have a cushioned wall to lean against. But a cargo net would certainly be easier and more lightweight. 

In this simple pic the pink is household insulation and the yellow is expanding foam insulation to fill the dead space in the angled roof. The outside would be the same material as the exterior of the trailer walls. Likely vinyl panels.


RE: Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - highdesertranger - 07-30-2019

you need to be at the right place at the right time. I had a tent trailer in the 90's that I modified. I paid 300 bucks for it. it was in real good shape.

I left the original canvas because there was nothing wrong with it. I remodeled the interior. I also built a whole frame with a 3,500 pound axle and springs. I used 33 inch tall tires. then I took the tent trailer and removed the axle and spring perches, I set the tent trailer frame right on the one I built. that was one bad ass tent trailer. it went everywhere including Alaska and back. eventually I scrapped the tent trailer part but to this day I still use the frame. I built it into a utility trailer it's the smaller of the 2 trailers I take to the RTR.


RE: Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - XERTYX - 07-30-2019

NICE! I have been cooking up this scheme for years but it's now or never. I'd like to be able to make the next RTR. If I can get something together soon I hope to head west. Then when I get close to Gilbert I'll go to santan and outfit with some more solar. I'm looking for a tow vehicle right now and have some $ set aside for it. The next step will be the trailer. It wont be anything fancy most likely. Unless I can get my rich uncle out of the poor house. XD

RE: Popup Camper to enclosed travel trailer concept. - wayne49 - 07-30-2019

"I made it on a cell phone "

Impressive it is. You have good phone skillz.

I do not know if my Moto Z has the capability to basic CAD.

On the PC, I use screenshot to crop and resize images. Anything else is too complex.

I was "you're going to build out a pop up?" Then I saw the mention of hard walls.