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In the summer of 2017, a Marine Corp buddy of mine got deployed and had to sell his house and gave me this old rotten camper that had been sitting on his property for a decade. I decided to restore it. Unfortunately the entire camper was rotten and filled with termites. So I built a new camper out of the bones of the old one. I hope you enjoy!

Step 1: Plan You Attack!:

This is the hardest part of any project, getting over the excitement of what your doing and getting realistic with your design. It's important to know your limitations and how far you can push yourself before you break. I didn't. I rushed in head strong and came up short several times.

Find yourself a donor or at least a solid trailer to work with. I recommend buying a new aluminum trailer if you can afford it since it takes days of laying on your back with a wire wheel to restore an old steel trailer. But budget is everything.

Layout your design and gather your materials. What you need will change dramatically depending on the type of camper you build. Here is what I used:

- 1 donor camper

- 6 sheets 4'x8' of 1/2 plywood to build the cabin

- 4 sheets 4'x10' of 3/4" plywood treated for the bottom decking

- 20 2x4x8' studs

- 4 sheets of 4x10' painted aluminum sheeting from Mobile Home supply

- 6 sheets of 4x8' painted aluminum sheeting from Mobile Home supply

- edge trim x 4 pieces

- wood and metal screws

erinshober122 days ago
How big is the trailer used here?
Chuck Priest (author)  erinshober115 days ago
16' including hitch, Cab length is 9'
PaulChau2 months ago
Tiny living has become an increasingly popular lifestyle ever since property prices have skyrocketed with the seemingly depleting land space. DIY gurus have been sharing their skills for other potential homeowners to try get their hands on having their own space for less.
Chuck Priest (author)  PaulChau1 month ago
I could build these all day, but there isn't anywhere to really park one and live in it long term. but its awesome for camping!
rstewart31 month ago
Awesome build. I would only suggest one thing. The door is hinged on the wrong side. If there is a lock failure the door will fly open when being towed. Other than that, you did a great job!
Chuck Priest (author)  rstewart31 month ago
you called it, I thought a suicide door would look cool but my first lock wasn't up to par and that exact thing happened. My new door isn't as cool as my old one but its facing the right direction now lol.
j-did1 month ago
This is fantastic, great job!
Chuck Priest (author)  j-did1 month ago
thanks J!
Veewee1111 month ago
Good job! Step three could use a couple of personal spell checks though.
Chuck Priest (author)  Veewee1111 month ago
right on man thank you, I threw this together super quick to get into the woodworking contest. I will swing round and finish this video off one of these days, good looking out :)
Barkfin1 month ago
You know what, I saw some guys had dumped a worn-out trailer in an industrial area (loaded to the brim with garbage), except they had left their license plate on it. So I called parking control and the next day the owners came & retrieved their abandoned trailer, hopefully they disposed of it properly but I somehow doubt it.
Now I see your project and I'm thinking, darn it! I could have hauled that away myself, disposed of the garbage and shell of it properly, and rebuilt it like you had.
Grr, unrecognized opportunity.
Chuck Priest (author)  Barkfin1 month ago
happens to the best of us, thanks for the comment :)
n4mwd1 month ago
The reality is that when campers have any signs of rot, they are usually rotten to the core. Stripping them to the frame and rebuilding them is the only proper way to go unless you want to use it for a chicken coop like I did.
Chuck Priest (author)  n4mwd1 month ago
lol yeah, that was a hard realization!
Looks like a lot of weight on the small tires!
Chuck Priest (author)  Daveallnight1 month ago
its an optical illusion, the camper weights 1500lbs :)
seldomsmith1 month ago
Excellent!
Chuck Priest (author)  seldomsmith1 month ago
ty!
harthoppy2 months ago
Absolutely awesome! I might try doing this this summer ! do you have a total estimate of cost ? I understand the trailer was used and the A/c will run different prices.. just curious on the rest .
Chuck Priest (author)  harthoppy2 months ago
I spent roughly $3000 not including tool costs. I'm sorry the materials list is not complete; We got hit by Hurricane Irma halfway threw the build and it took a toll on my record keeping. I used a bunch of scrap wood for the interior since I was mostly out of money at that point so please consider that in your cost calculations. looking back, I wish I would have gone an extra two feet longer so I could have a composting toilet. I also wish I had spent a little more money on the windows, mine are just shed windows so they fog up bad when the AC is on and its hot out. good luck!
Mimikry3 months ago
amazing how it looks bigger on the inside than from outside ...
great project!
Chuck Priest (author)  Mimikry3 months ago
thanks, I learned it from harry potter lol, no I have a friend who is a very talented photographer :) thanks
seamster4 months ago
Impressive work, and great looking results!!

I'm building a tiny camper/cargo hauler thing at the moment, so this was fun to see. Although I'm welding the frame from the ground up, and I've been questioning myself repeatedly whether I should have been more patient trying to find a good donor . .

Congrats on your completed camper! : )

Chuck Priest (author)  seamster4 months ago
thanks man, I really wasn't ready for the project but the donor fell into my lap, how could I not!? anyway thanks for the comment, good luck on your build, tag me when you post it please :)