Building your own pop up camper is a great idea not only because this way you will save a lot of money, but you will also have fun while doing it.
Having a camper is a cheap way of traveling, and you will be able to enjoy nature and fresh air more than those people who stay at hotels.
With these few steps you can build your own pop up camper in an easy way.
Building the base for the pop up camper
Building the framework for the pop up camper is the first thing to do. This will serve as the base of the vehicle, and here you will install the wiring and the lifting device that will raise the camper later.
To begin with you need a trailer and build a framework on it from steel. The trailer will be the base of the camper and will determine the size of the whole thing. You can start building the metal framework on the base by welding tubular steel components, thus creating a frame.
The framework of pop up campers is solid thanks to these steel bars. Drill holes in the trailer frame, and install metal siding to the height of the frame. Leave a low section for the door. Apply a layer of waterproof caulking to the corners, and attach a metal cap to seal the interior.
When this frame is done, you can paint it and partially wire it (these will be the wires for the kitchen utilities and so on). At this point you should also add the water storage tank. If you do not use a trailer but simply make a metal framework, this is the time to add the wheels. The wheels can be bolted into their place like that of a regular car. Now you have the frame with the wheels, the essential part of the pop up camper.
Making the hydraulic lift
Pop up campers are popular because of the pop up system that makes them easy to transport. For the raising of the pop up camper the so called crank and cable system is used.
To make this you need steel cables that you have to strengthen from the corner posts of the frame to a central bar. This will help raising the roof through the corner posts, with a hydraulic lift or a hand crank. Once the corner posts are connected with wires to the hand crank, you can cover the whole frame with a wooden floor or laminated flooring. It has to be secured with screws.
This is the moment to take a look at the wires that are already installed on the frame and connect them to a cluster of wires. These will be later used to run kitchen appliances, stereos and so on.
Making the front door is easy; you need plywood or laminated wood which will be secured with steel on the frame of the trailer. Leave some space for the fabric door that will be zipped up. After this you can start by installing the exterior panel.
Connect some more wires for the sidelights of the vehicle. The roadside panel is connected similarly. It has to be secured to the lift poles. The other roadside exterior panel has to be made in two pieces, so there is a space for the door. The assembly is completed and secured by corner molding.
Building the interior
When the framework is done, you can start working on the inside. Start by installing framework for bench seating, usually made of wood. You can also install lower cabinetry frames for the kitchenette, and join it with the upper cabinet. You can leave a small space in the lower cabinetry for a mini fridge. Add the frames of other cabinets that you need in the trailer. When building the interior you have more free choices, just make sure that you will have enough space inside the trailer to move around freely.
Making the pull out platform
The pulls out platforms are installed for the mattresses, which will later serve as your beds. The pull out platform is made of two pieces, one slides over the other one, in the channels made on the exterior walls. This is a simple sliding mechanism that you make by using tiny wheels and creating a channel into the wood. The mattress is then placed on this pull out platform.
How to build the Roof
The roof of the pop up camper is made by using various materials. Most of the times fiberglass is used because of its durability, strength and lightweight characteristics. You can also use industrial glue coated plywood, and foam isolation boards which you place on the fiberglass. You can add industrial glue coated wood to the sides, add metal plates for a strong roof.
If you use more layers to make the roof, such as plywood, foam isolation boards and fiberglass, these layers have to be compressed.
Make the necessary wholes on the roof for the wires, for the interior lights for instance. Add trim to the edges of the roof, along with a gasket to keep it watertight. Next you can fold the edges and secure them. The roof of the pop up camper at this point should resemble a big tray. The roof is ready to be raised so the tent can be installed.
Adding the fabric of the pop up camper
Since pop up campers are an upgrade of tents, choosing the fabric for the pop up part is essential. The material of the tent has to be made of a strong fabric which is water resistant. Use vinyl and screening material for the window areas. Stretch the canvas tightly when you are putting it on the frame, because later it will lose of its tightness.
When you make the pop up camper from the water resistant fabric, there are five sections that need to be made separately, and then zipped together.
The sections have to be secured to the trailer separately, one section at a time, this way the whole thing will last much longer and you won't have trouble raising the camper. There is the door section, the side sections, and the pull out platform sections. The size of these depend on the sizing of the pull out platforms and of the framework of the pop up camper.
When you are done with all of these steps, you can close the pop up camper. Make sure you close it properly before you leave for a journey, because it might pop up while driving if you don't.
Friend's Story 1
Ours is a big, extended family.
Our grandfather had eight kids and my father was the fifth in the line. So we have a lot of uncles and aunts and cousins that run into a long list.
The good thing about this is that when it is holiday season, we simply have a riot.
We get together and plan some really great outings that are really enjoyable for everyone in the family.
Right from our old grandpa to the newest additions in the family, every single person has a great time during these outings.
One problem we faced was traveling and staying together as this huge team. We had to have at least three or four cars to accommodate everyone. And finding a place to stay wherever we went was another issue. That is when I hit upon the idea of building a camper from a huge bus. I knew nothing but a bus can accommodate this huge gang.
So I started searching for a nice book on the topic. Then I spotted “How to Build Low Cost Motorhomes 2004 Edition” by Louis C McClure. It is a wonderful book and it had everything I needed to get the job done.
Using the book, I learned which type of bus would be ideal for converting into a luxury motor home. Once I decided on the bus type, I started learning more things as I simultaneously started hunting for a bus. By the time I got the bus, I had enough information from the book to start the conversion work. The book also had detailed floor plans, which were extremely useful for planning the project.
even outlined the tools I would need to do the conversion work. With
the help of this book alone, I was able completely to convert the bus
into a cozy motor home for our next holiday trip. The 136 pages of this
paperback edition are packed with about 150 photographs, drawings,
schematics and tables that helped me finish my project with complete
Patrick Hillman, TX
Friend's Story 2...
Build Yourself a Camper
How to Build Yourself a Camper
Back in the years of 1989 and 1990 people started converting buses into campers. Today the plans have allowed the country to build yourself a camper and enjoy the rewards of owning such a enjoyable camping unit.
The camper plans tell you step by step how to build any type of camper you may want to travel the countryside. Whether you choose to build a truck bed pop up camper or RV motor home you can find the plans that fit your budget and need.
If you want plans to build a great camper for the bed of your pick up truck, you can find that most plans are affordable and the cost is relatively cheap.
Some plans offer directions to build a camper with a length of 156 inches, a width of 84 inches and 80 inches in height. In most cases, you can build a truck camper for about $1200. Some plans allow for a removable kitchen sink and stove for outdoor use. If this plan fits your needs, you can build yourself a camper for traveling to Minnesota and Mississippi or anywhere you wish.
You can build a teardrop camper for two and buy the plans from many different companies that supply the plans. These campers are relatively easy to construct and affordable. You can build a teardrop camper in any period of time you have. Some people have even installed solar panels on their campers to cut down on heating costs during damp and cooler weather.
If you find a trailer or camper that someone wants to get rid of, just take it and keep only the trailer and start your project with a camper trailer and build up until you have the perfect camper for your family to enjoy the outdoors.
Friend's Story 3
Build Your Own Camper Trailer
I have always loved traveling since my childhood.
Even after getting married and having kids, I have not abandoned my passion.
In fact now that we are six of us – me, my wife, my two daughters and two sons – I enjoy traveling even more than ever before.
All of us like to explore new territories and go off the beaten path. That is why we always drive to places rather than taking a plane, bus or train to our destination.
Initially when the family was small and the kids were tiny, we could stuff ourselves into our station wagon. But as the children grew, I knew I had to find a more lasting solution with regards to better accommodation while traveling. So I decided to make my own camper trailer. I started searching for DIY manuals for this project.
I fortunately came across this book, “How to Build Low Cost Motorhomes 2004 Edition” by Louis C McClure. The book is about how you can take a bus and convert it into a luxurious motor home. Although it was not about camper trailers per se, I knew I could use the information found in the book and use it to build my camper trailer.
The book had almost 150 photos, which really brought the content to life. The book also had tables, drawings and schematics that helped me get a clear idea of what the author was talking about. Once I understood the concepts, I tweaked the designs a little bit to suit the camper trailer I had in mind. The book also had a detailed list of tools that I needed for the project.
I was immediately headed for the hardware store to get all the
tools mentioned in the book. The 136 pages of this paperback edition
were filled with excellent information with which I could completely
finish my camper trailer, which we use till this day!
Kevin Harris, OK