Building your own off road trailer
This video will take you through steps on how I built this off road camping trailer for a fraction of what it costs to build one outright.
Camping and Jeeps seem to go hand in hand, and my enjoyment of going off road in my Jeeps led to me building this trailer, but it all started with a kayak.
A few years back, I purchased a folding trailer to haul my kayaks and paddle board. I built a little platform on it to double my space, and the trailer did well for me. I enjoyed family time at the lake camping and being out on the water, and being the Boy Scout that I am, tent camped most of the time.
But as we know Mother Nature has a mind Of her own and all too often this, turned into this with unexpected storms, and that made tent camping rough for my little ones especially. I looked into a small camping trailer to pull with my Jeep, and was surprised at how expensive many of the options were, with some costing anywhere from $10k to $30K dollars.
So I decided I could build something to meet my needs, and that’s just what I did. Starting with the folding trailer, I attached 1/2” plywood tonthe floor with high grade bolts, waterproofed the underside, and framed the walls with 2 x 3’s (as you would a house with 2×4’s) every 16”. I used vinyl hopper windows, wired the trailer for lights and power with the help of my neighbor, and installed double garage door foam insulation and wood paneling on the interior walls and ceiling. Once the plywood was attached to the exterior into the 2×3’s, I sealed every joint and screw hole with waterproof caulk and used aluminum to trim the corners.
I painted the entire exterior with a high quality exterior primer and topcoat. The axles on this little trailer weren’t sufficient, so I had a 3500 lb. axle custom made to fit a 5 on 5 bolt pattern to run stock 32” Jeep Wrangler wheels and tires.
Standard plug-in 120v power was run in the front of the trailer, and as an alternate source to campground hookup and to give myself the ability to be off the grid, I built a removable locking quiet box for my generator also out of plywood, aluminum, and the same primer and paint. Exhaust is on one side and the intake on the other.
I used Jeep Wrangler TJ fenders and trimmed the exterior with a second accent color.
The floor was finished with vinyl tile for easy cleanup, and everything trimmed out in white. I installed a removable 5000 btu AC unit, which was inexpensive and easily replaceable should any issues arise. Three power outlets and dimmable LED ceiling lighting wire installed in the interior, and I purchased a memory foam mattress that doubled as a chair. The door was made out of three gorilla glued layers of plywood, trimmed airtight with weatherstripping, and finished with a locking exterior door handle.
To finish off the trailer I purchased the Smittybilt Overlander XL Roof top tent, and attached it to the steel roof rack I made out of super strut, which was primed, painted, and screwed into the 2×3’s in the roof. I used a trimmed stock JK Wrangler tire carrier for the spare, and the trailer was ready to put to the test!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I found a new place to haul a few kayaks….
Overall the trailer worked great, offering sleeping for five between the camper itself and the tent. At less than 1200 pounds and a narrow profile, it pulled very easily with my Jeep and provided lots of cargo space for long trips. It took us on a few adventures and was a fun and rewarding project that all in cost less than $2000.
The trailer eventually found a new home to make room in the garage for other projects, but I plan to start another one in the future.
With time, planning, and determination, you can build one too.
Thank you for watching, and see you on the trails!