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Am I nuts?

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Am I nuts?

Post by dizzy on Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:27 am

As most of you know, I have horses. And, one thing that I really enjoy doing w/them is to go on camping trips w/them. Normally, I use a tent since I don't want to share sleeping space w/several other ladies-most of whom snore and at least 1 is a smoker.

Well, a couple of years ago, we had a thunderstorm blow up in the middle of the night. I quickly came to the conclusion that sleeping in a tent next to a steel stock trailer during a thunderstorm may not be the safest thing in the world to do, so I spent the rest of the night in a friend's motor home-and it was NOT comfortable. Since then, I've toyed w/the idea of buying a truck camper.

Well, I've looked for a used one-and they're expensive! Plus, I don't camp enough to justify spending that kind of money. So, I'm toying w/the idea of building my own. But, I've never made anything but a rabbit cage. So I'm wondering, am I nuts for even thinking of doing this? Or would it be something that I could do? I have an idea in my head of how I'd want it to be inside, but have no idea where to even start. And, I'd probably go w/wood instead of some type of metal or fiberglass since I'm thinking it would be easier to work with.

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by 12acrehome on Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:38 am

STOP RIGHT THERE!! Wood is too heavy!!

Look at this, for occasional use this might be a better option than building something.


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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by dizzy on Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:43 pm

Look at what?

When I was a kid, we had a home made trailer-it was made out of plywood. It was basically just a place to sleep so we were out of the weather. I'm not looking to have everything in it a regular camper would have.

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by Rohn on Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:04 pm

Dizzy,
I think it is very workable to build your own camper. The first thing you will have to do is find a trailer frame to build on.
You also might look for an old used trailer that needs a complete make over and not have to pay much for. That way you would have the trailer base and wheels anyway.
I read an article once (and probably have it here) about someone who took a cargo trailer and made it into a camper. The article impressed me enough that I thought I might try it some time.
Let us know what you decide to do. It should be an interesting project.
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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by 12acrehome on Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:27 am

LOL!! hmm I had a link...I'll find it again later. All wood construction would be very heavy...are you wanting something to be towed or something to fit the bed of a truck??

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by dizzy on Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:53 am

Bed of the truck. If I towed it, I wouldn't be able to have my horse w/me, and that would kind of defeat the purpose. Rolling Eyes There was a picture of one on the internet. The guy made it out of wood, and the shape and size was what I'm looking to do. But, he didn't show any pics of the inside, nor any real plans.

I've tried to find something online, but either I can find pics that show an outside that I like, or I can find plans that make a "complete" one and they want you to pay for them. I don't need one w/all the bells and whistles. I want room over the cab for sleeping. I'd need gray water storage since I want an area about 3x3 where I could have my port-a-pot and my battery operated shower. Next to that, I'd want an area for a "kitchen". Then for a table, I'd just use a TV tray and a fold up chair. This would get me out of the weather if it rains overnight (which normally happens every time I go camping, or if the group refuses to listen to me when I tell them we're not going to be able to ride because of the weather.

I wouldn't need propane since I wouldn't be putting in a heater, stove, etc. I'd want it wired for electric and I'd install an inverter and spare battery so I can have lights, etc. I wouldn't need AC since we don't go in the middle of the summer.

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by 12acrehome on Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:28 pm

Ok yes you probably are nuts, but we all have our issues and "SPECIAL" moments LOL. Something like this is what I had in mind until you said something about sleeping over the cab:
http://www.truckcandy.com/TC/CampRightTruckTent/CampRight-Truck-Tent.htm

you have something like this in mind:

http://www.six-pac.com/fits.htm

Have you looked here?:
http://www.ehow.com/how_5454436_turn-pickup-truck-weekend-camper.html

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by dizzy on Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:16 pm

I've seen those truck tents, and am not interested in them. Nor do I really want to put up a canopy. The idea is to get away from any type of tent since they're not much protection in a thunderstorm.

This looks like what I want to build-at least the outside. http://cheaprvliving.com/BuildYourOwnCamper.html


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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by 12acrehome on Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:02 pm

hmm...IMO if you frame it with wood, and cover it with wood, then put the trailer on the truck as well you will not have enough weight on the front axle to be safe. So what to do...

Let me think on this...thin wall square tubing, and wood skin or wood and fiberglass skin...


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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

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http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by Rohn on Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:43 pm

Wood weight varies with the kind of wood used and also the dryness of the wood. I have seen 2x4s of the same length, from the same stack that had a significant difference in the weight. You wouldn't have to use 2x4s. You could always cut them down or plane them down to make them lighter. If carefully selected I don't think you would weaken them to the point where they were not strong enough for the project even if you cut and planed them down to help with the weight.

(Something that I do is buy 2x8s or 2x10s at least 12 feet long and cut them down because I get better straighter lumber than I do buying 2x4s.)
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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by dizzy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:01 am

How hard is it to cut them lengthwise that way? And, do you need a table saw, or would a circular saw work?

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by Evie1 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:50 am

dizzy, I don't think your nuts. quite the contrary. I love making things myself. but doing a camper shell out of wood. would be very heavy. and the wood would expand. and shrink. ask me how I know this. also lifting it on and off the truck would be a hardship. the one thing I would suggest is. make your horse trailer your home. after the horses are out, you have all that room to sleep in. and it is setting on tires. and if you put a hitch lefter on the front. it would be on a rubber tire as well. yes there would be horse poop. but you could clean that out easily. personally, I don't mind the smell. If you have a tack room in your horse tailor. you could also sleep there. if you wont your sleeping quarters, separate then the horse trailer. then there is tons of camper shells out there. free. even campers. free. if you build your own, you would still have to have jacks to left it off and on. and store it at home. and wood needs to be sealed constantly. every where you put a screw or nail. the wood will swell and shrink. and if you put a window in. it would have to be thick glass like safty glass, or plexie glass. you would probably have to drill holes in your truck sides to hold it. and again wood would be so heavy. putting it together would still consist of nails, screws and angle iron.
my husband made us a camper shell out of 2x6 tong and grove and shape it to are like. used dowels., to hold it all together. put some small windows in the sides and back door, and front . sealed it big time. it held up for about 4 years. then the sun and cold expanded the wood. no matter what we did. it still warped. and moved. we only made it to fit the back of the bed in are truck. and was so heavy. and to get in. because the door was also wood. it never held the door. the screws that held the gismo up. just would slam shut. we went back to are little tents. Now we have a horse tailor with a tack room and sleep there. we made a table that attaches to the wheel wells. that hold are cook stove and other goodies. the bed of the truck can still hold are camp fire wood, and other goodies. even are atvs. we were free to go lookie loo all over the place with are truck. sorry to pop your bubbale. but building your own, is something you really have to think about . is it worth all the work and hardship. or just get a free camper shell. or a so cool tent. you can even make your own tent. to attach to your horse trailer. just wondering, where does your horses sleep. are they tied to the trailer? a rope. how safe are they.
I also would remind you to check the weight your truck can carry, camper and gear, also how much can it pull. horses, gear etc.
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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by Rohn on Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:31 am

Good post Evie. Glad to hear from someone who has tried a wooden camper.
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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by dizzy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:33 am

Sorry, Evie, but I can't agree. My parents were missionaries on the West Coast. They came off the mission field B4 I was born and my Dad made a trailer to haul their goods back home (South Jersey). I don't know what year that was (I was born in 1961), but we used that as a trailer all the time I was growing up and had no leaks, warping, or any other problems. And, we traveled quite a bit while I was a kid, even going to Canada a couple of times. It wasn't until I was a teenager that we got a truck camper. By that time, it was just my sister, my parents and myself. But, my parents continued to use the trailer for storage for years after that w/no problems.

As for sleeping in my horse trailer, that won't work. Normally I take my 16' stock trailer, so it's open on the sides. There's no tack room. It would be too much work to fit it for sleeping in after I unload horses-mine and at least 1 or 2 other horses.

I have looked for a free camper w/no luck. I've even wondered about just getting a cap-but they're not high enough to stand in. I have problems w/my knees, so I need to be able to stand upright.

And, I'm not wanting to be in a tent during a severe storm. This happened just a few miles from me. http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/18922076/deadly-storm-kills-2-boys-at-state-park And while we normally park in an open field, a tent is still not a good place to be during a thunderstorm.

Added to that is a privacy issue. Sometimes we have 30 or more riders on these camping trips. Other times, we have just a few. The more riders there are, the less I feel like being in a tent.

As for where my horse sleeps, I made a portable corral w/a battery operated fence charger. And, while I know I could tie her to the trailer all night w/out a problem (I did have to do it once), I prefer to leave her loose this way. Even if I forget to turn on the charger, she normally won't test the electric. She was a rescue and they used 3 strands of electric tape to keep the horses in their field. I've seen pictures of the field-it was all bare dirt and just on the other side of the wire was green grass.

This is something I've been thinking about more and more. We've had trips when it's gotten below freezing at night. We have times when it's started to rain just when we start to eat dinner. We've had times when we never got to ride because they change the forecast after we've left and it does nothing but rain the whole weekend. On all of these trips I was less than comfortable in my tent.

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by 12acrehome on Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:35 pm

Ok, I get why you want wood...how are you going / planning to move this in and out of the truck bed? or will this be a permanent install? If permanent add "helper springs" to the trucks spring pack. If not permanent make it modular. Frame it from 2x2 boards, and cover it with 1/4 or 3/8 inch thick plywood. Cover inside and outside of the frame work with the plywood. Add a propane cook stove that mounts to the tailgate and you're in business. For the over cab sleeping area floor it with 1/2 inch thick ply wood. Seal the wood with a high quality paint (on all sides and edges) before final assembly. This will mean building the unit at least twice, a dry fit (no paint, no glue, no caulking). More later...

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by dizzy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:54 pm

Won't be permanent. I'd probably have to get some type of jacks. Right now, I'm just in the thinking about it stage. The weather's too iffy to even think about building anything and I don't have the money. I'm just in the thinking about it stages and trying to figure out what will and won't work.

I'd love to be able to find one that was wrecked, and use parts off of it. There had been one during the summer, but I was working and just didn't have the time to go and look at it, plus I think they wanted more than I'd be willing to spend. If I do decide to do this, and can't find one for parts, there are 3 trailer stores close to here where I could get things like the windows, etc.

I've seen some pictures of various trailers and campers that people have made. The wooden ones you can tell are homemade. The others? You'd never know.

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by Evie1 on Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:29 am

well my hat is off to you. I get your points now. some of the fun is in the planing of a project. your Dad must have been something. sounds a lot like my Dad. He could do anything. and I so admired that. and I wonted to be just like him. you can do anything you wont to do. I say where there is a will there is a way ... for sure... I would love to know your plans, there is tons of products out there that you could use. when I wont to create something, I do tons of resurrect, sounds like you do also. what tools to use, to get you where you wish to go. I think you can do this, and your on the right track to ask others opinions. I know I come on to strong sometimes. sorry for that. just try to help where I can with the knowledge,
I have learned along the way. if this is something you really wish to do. I am sure you will fined all the things you need to do it. heck just the other day I found 2 free trailers. tore down. just come get the stuff they had in them. craigs list is awesome.
just for listing stuff. you can use door skin, aluminum siding, fiber glass, plywood, 1/4" 3/8th" 1/2" 3/4" If you wish the bed to go over the cab. you wont it to be light but not blow off. you can use 2x2 wood frames ,or even aluminum square tubing. your truck sets on rubber tires, so I wouldn't worry about lightning.
these are just ideas. the fun is in the planning. looks like you know what you wont. and I am only trying to suggest stuff. not down your dream. its great to build stuff out of nothing, and resical for sure. I do it all the time.
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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by dizzy on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:28 am

Well, this project is on hold. I got an old horse trailer on CL for $70! I'm going to be learning how to weld, and this is my big project. After I'm done w/it, then I might think about making one. And, since I'll know how to weld, I won't be limited to wood!

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by 12acrehome on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:37 am

welding, you will find, is an essential art form (skill) that makes do it yourself activities much easier.

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by dizzy on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:58 am

There are things I've wanted hubby to do for years that he never has time for. And, I've gotten tired of waiting, so it will make my life so much easier if I know how to do the welding myself.

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by 12acrehome on Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:05 am

These seem accurate enough and easy to understand, hope this helps... before working on something you intend to use or keep, practice on scrap metal pieces

http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/arc-tutorial.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf8ZTNBOidk

http://www.wikihow.com/Arc-Weld

http://www.thefabricator.com/article/arcwelding/stick-welding-fundamentals


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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by Farmfresh on Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:55 am

It won't let me post links yet Dizzy, but Google "tear drop camper" and look at images. You could build one and put it into the truck bed.

They built a lot of these out of plywood back in the hippie days.

Personally though I would just keep my eye out for a shell. We got one camper shell free (remember pics of my chicken trailer?) and only paid about $300 for our second one. We screw indoor outdoor carpet into the truck bed, throw in the mattress to the futon and camp in high comfort and style. I even got fancy and made some curtains for more occupied campgrounds.
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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by Sonshine on Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:51 pm

Those teardrop campers are pretty awesome, although I'm a bit claustraphobic, so they wouldn't work for me Sad

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Re: Am I nuts?

Post by dizzy on Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:21 pm

Right now, I'm not looking for anything-no money to do anything with. But, I'm hoping to find something by October. We'll be going for a weekend trip then.

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Re: Am I nuts?

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