Building a Teardrop Camper #3 – The trailer

brianRegal Eagle Teardrop Build, Teardrop Camping2 Comments

The basis of all teardrop (as well as other styles), is obviously the trailer.  So, being that this is the foundation of the teardrop, or tiny camper, this is VERY important.

BUT!

Just because it is important, doesn’t mean it must be difficult or overly complicated.  There are many options here, and there  are a few things that you want to consider.

  • The final trailer weight

Many teardrop campers are LIGHT, and by light I mean WAY less than 1000 lbs.  More like in the 500-700 range.  By design, and this is a big part of what makes them desirable, is their light weight and ease of towing.

  • Obviously the size of the trailer.  Most teardrop will be 4 ft wide, or 5 ft wide.  But some may stretch to 6 ft or over.  As far as lenth, 8 ft is a standard, but 10 foot is also very popular becuase of the extra head and toe room it gives, as well as storage.

Having said that, I would be on the lookout for a 4×8 or 5×0 trailer. These are two very popular sizes, and are very easy to find.

Right now 2 of the most popular trailer to build a teardrop on are :

Harbor Freight 4×8 trailer

Go for the largest one if you can (1720lb capacity).  Then hubs are better, and the wheels are bigger, and you can more easily upgrade the wheels to something fancier if you want to at a later date.  This trailer is routinely on sale for around $370.00.

 

Northern Tool Ironton 5×8 trailer

This is also a very good trailer, and is a little wider if you want to build a 5×8 with the walls inside the wheels or a 5×8 with a little overhang (not a bid deal).  It is almost always on sale for 499.99.

 

 

 

The last thing you will want to look at is the trailer axle position

GENERALLY.  And I mean generally, you want to have a 40×60 rear to front of the weight of the trailer.  35×65 is also good.  Just remember, at the end of the day you want approximately 10% of your gross trailer weight on the tongue.  More is OK if it doesn’t exceed the capacity of your vehicle, but less and you will get swaying of the trailer.  On both of the above trailer, you can adjust the axle by drilling hole and moving the spring bracket.  Not a huge deal, but something that you might need to do.

 

What about building your own trailer

This would probably be my top choice if I, or someone close to me could weld.

Simply buy 2×2 x 1/8 tube steel and weld away.  Attach a torsion axle, a set of wheels, and a A frame and you are good to go.  Sounds complecated, but it’s really not.  If you can weld, this definitely something you should consider.

 

We decided to do a combination of the last point.  Because we were building a 6ft wide camper, we decided to buy a old boat trailer on craigslist for $150 bucks and have it modified to fit our need.  Cut a little off the back, bolted on a new Torflex axle, and some shiny wheels, and we were good to go.  In retrospect it would have been slightly cheaper and a lot easier to have our own welded.  But hey, you live, you learn.

Our Trailer Started as this:

 

Then we chopped it off a bit, added a new axle and it turned into this.

 

 

Eventually we would add the floor and it would look like this.  At this point we ALMOST had the floor complete.  Just needed to finish up the back, but you get the idea of the size and overall shape of the atypical floor that we would be building.

 

This all might sound really difficult, but once you try and decide what you want to build, this will come realitively easy.  A trailer is

  • Tongue
  • Frame
  • Axle
  • Wheels and tires

Of course, they all have to fit, and work together, but once you have a basic size, you can decide which direction you want to take.

More custom =  more $$$

Standard (store bought) trailer with plain wheels = less money

 

Up next, I’m going to look at floor construction methods, and the one that we used.  You would think this is pretty straight forward, but there are many different methods.  None of which are overly difficult, but nonetheless something that you have to plan for.

For the full list of article and links, see my page on How to Build a Teadrop .  If you have more questions, please contact me or see my Facebook Page.

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2 Comments on “Building a Teardrop Camper #3 – The trailer”

  1. Thank you for posting this! My husband and I are considering building a teardrop and my parents are trying to get rid of their 6’x12′ pop top camper (not a tent one, but the top lowers inside to drop height about 3′ while moving) that we might use for the base and the trailer. My husband is just worried that it will be way too big.

    1. Ours was 6 ft wide, and although on the “big” side, is definitely worth it for the extra space. If you thing it’s too long, you can always cut the length a bit and move the axle if you need to. A little bit of work, but not that difficult. Just really depends on $$ vs work and if you want to fiddle with it. Thanks for checking out my channel.
      Brian

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