Off-road camping trailer on the cheap!

Exploring remote places is great, but being able to camp in these remote places with all the comforts of home is even better!   It seems that as I have moved from one vehicle to another over the years and had more and more space, I always seem to find more and more junk to fill all that space up!  It seems that my truck is filled with more and more off-road related gear and I have less and less room for camp gear.   

With this thought in mind, I started looking at off-road trailers.   It didn't take long to find some really great setups that had all the bells and whistles, but along with these fancy setups came a hefty price tag.  Frankly, I wouldn't mind having one of them, but I don't have the money.  

So after looking at trailers for a while I set out to make my own.


This trailer belongs to a guy I know.  He has spent quite a bit of time getting it set up just right, and a sweet trailer it is!

In this picture you can see the trailer with a tent topper and an awning.   The Engel freezer fridge slides out the back on a tray.  The fold down door on this side of the trailer has a built in cutting board and the cook top on a slide out tray can be seen.

From the other side you can see into the tent area.   The box on this side is used for storage.

You can see a small side view of the front of the trailer in the left of the picture.   He has a large water tank with a hand pump, 2 gas cans and a deep cycle battery up front.

A better view of the side cabinet.   One think I like about these is that the fold down door doubles as table space to work on things.
OK, so the trailer above is great but as I recall he has over 10K into it.  I just don't have anywhere that amount of money to spend on a trailer so I will have to do it on my own!

For the basic trailer I got a military 1/4 ton trailer.   These trailers have been around since WWII.   They are build on a solid heavy duty frame.  They have a solid axle that mounts with leaf springs and shocks and a parking brake that locks both wheels.

Up front is a pintle hitch which will work great for off road, it even has a spring shock absorber on the hitch.   A leg swings down for when the trailer is not attached to the tow vehicle.

I picked up this trailer as military surplus from the Canadian military and had it truck shipped to me in California.   These trailers were brand new and had no miles on them.  They were meant to be used with a small Jeep like vehicle that the Canadian military discontinued.

With the shipping charges I paid around $850 for the trailer.

Note: since I purchased my trailer the prices have gone up quite a bit, if I could do it over again I would have gotten two back then.

At first i was just using the trailer to haul all of the Coleman Camping gear, but now its time to get it all organized in a easy to use fashion.

The first step was to mount a propane tank to the trailer.   You can see that installationhere.


tank picture
Here is a shot of the trailer with the propane tank mounted.
The next step in organizing the gear was to build a kitchen box.  Cooking and food prep is one of the things that can take up quite a bit of room and seems to be one of the hardest things to organize.
I didn't take any pictures of the construction of the box.   Here Emma and Zack are painting it.   It got a few coats of good paint.

The box was made so that it fit into the trailer fairly tight.   I didn't want to have to bolt it down, and I didn't want it to move around.  

In the end, its in there and it will not be coming out without a fight!   I had to use a mallet to tap it down the last few inches into the trailer, the fit was so tight i had to cut out a bit for the small ribs that you can see on the trailer in this picture.

A side shot of the fit.
With the lids closed they are just the thickness of the lid higher than the trailer.
On the top of the box there is a divided up section with room for larger items below.
Another shot of the top storage.
I did the split lids because if you using the lid on the right for table space you can still open the other lid to access items in the box.
The lower section was designed so that the Coleman Oven would fit nicely in the bottom.
On the top side you can see that plates and cups fit nicely into their sections.    There is storage room for silverware and miscellaneous items with some room left over for future use.
The lower section still have quite a bit of room for pots and pans and whatever else that we may need.
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