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TXST8tj 10-15-2013 01:32 PM

TXST8tj Camping Trailer build thread
This thread will document the build of my camping trailer. I have finally collected enough material to get started, but still have a couple key items to pick up to get this off the ground.

The use will be general weekend camping. I am not expecting to take it on any long offroad treks....not to say that I wouldn't like to, but I just don't have that kinda time right now. It will be towed behind one of two vehicles. I should note that I plan to casually image it after the Outlander Sherpa series of trailers. I like their design in that the RTT is functional independent of the storage boxes. I also like the segregated storage compartments; everything has its own place.

Outlander no longer makes trailers for the general public, but their trailers are still out there being run and imitated all the time. The owner would build the trailer to the customer's wants and needs. This is an example of a well rounded system they built that I will be taking some cues from.

One tow vehicle is my 2001 Jeep Wrangler TJ. It is being built more along the lines of a rock crawler vs an expedition rig; ie, no Gobi rack or over the top rear bumper with extra baskets, etc. I also have a full-time back seat for my 6 year old son. End of the story there room for camping stuff.

The other vehicle and truly better tow-rig, is my 2012 Ford F-250 FX4. A trailer this size will barely be felt being pulled with this big diesel.
With the truck, I don't see any reason that we would tow this with my wife's Tahoe.

Which vehicle we use will depend on the agenda, destination, and my passengers. If there is no wheeling involved, my wife is going, and just a dedicated camping trip, we'll likely take the truck. If there is offroading and camping involved and the destination is not too far, my wife probably won't be interested, so we might take the Jeep. If there is offroading, a long distance to travel, and/or my wife is coming, we might just throw the Jeep and trailer on a gooseneck and haul both with the truck
I think you get the point....I have options.

The F-250

The TJ

I am still finalizing the general dimensions, but I have been moving forward with material purchases since that needs to be done regardless.

The main frame will be made with 2.5", 1/8" wall square tubing. The tongue will be 2.5" square, 1/4" wall. The upper frame will be made with 2" 1/8" wall. That will be plenty strong to support a RTT should I ever get one.

In my first shopping trip, I grabbed a tongue jack and a wheel to swap in place of the flat foot. I could not find the right combo of the round weld-on jack mount, and wheel. It was either weld-on mount with flat base, or bolt-on with wheel. Oh well....I'll make my own arrangement.
I grabbed the main wiring harnesses for the trailer. I also got safety chains and the 2" ball coupler. I also picked up the main harness with 7-pin plug so that I can add electric brakes at some point.

In the next trip, I picked up the steel. I went with the 1/8" wall 2.5" for the main frame and 1/4" wall for the tongue.

24' of the 1/8" tube (2 x 12') and 12' of the 1/4" tube. It's a start....might need some more of the 1/8", but I am going to try to make it work. I don't really want to buy another 12' stick for a foot or two.

In my third parts trip, I hit up Northern Tool. They have a lot to offer in the way of trailer parts and the prices are pretty reasonable from what I can tell.

I grabbed the 3500# axle. I was surprised to find that they had one in stock that was the 60" width that I was looking for.....yea for not having to cut it down.

Got the hub kits for the axle. I do count on running brakes, but I am going to save that expense until I get a little more into this.

I picked up these fenders. I like them, but if they don't look right, I will make my own.

The last item I grabbed was a leaf spring kit. I considered going with some YJ springs, but for simplicity's sake I think this is the better route for me. I plan to add some shocks to the setup. I hope it will be a satisfactory ride. Worst case is I can swap the spring setup at a later time if this is awful.

I am planning on sticking with a 31" tire for the trailer. I run a 35" tire on the Jeep and the truck is about to get outfitted with a 3" lift and 35s. I think 35s would look cool, but I don't see the least not right now.
I plan to run the same Black Rock 909 that I have on the Jeep. I am not sure what I am going to do for the tire....thinking about the Goodyear Authority from Wal-Mart (of all places). It looks like the Duratrac, and is made the same way, but a less expensive tire. It's a doesn't really need MT/Rs does it? haha

I won't have a RTT for a while because I haven't even started to research them. I am not a small dude, and honestly, I have reservations about the abilities of some of the tents I see out there to support my weight (for the area not directly over the 2" steel frame). For the meantime, I look forward to having the trailer to store everything and something to expand on as we 'grow as campers.'

I would like to run an on-board water system, it will have a secure spot for a propane tank for a grille, and secure gas/diesel can storage. Otherwise, the usual camp-type stuff storage

TXST8tj 10-15-2013 01:33 PM

Well, that gets me where I am at today. We close on our new house in a couple of days, so I will be tied up with moving and getting settled in for a while, but I hope to get started on the frame soon.
I would like to pick up some CHEAP roller wheels and tires just to get the frame off the ground, and invest in the actual wheels and tires as it gets closer to being ready to run. This build is not going to happen over night, so there is no sense in letting new tires sit there and rot.

For the storage boxes, I plan to make them myself. I priced out some actual truck boxes (RKI, Tractor Supply, etc), but between the crazy weight and stupid prices, I quickly axed that idea.

The main frames of the boxes will be 1" square tube with 3/4" tube for the door frames. I will skin everything with 14 gauge sheet.

I have lots of ideas for running water, folding table storage, spare tire carrier, and all sorts of other stuff.
I plan to have 12v power onboard. I anticipate a deep cycle battery connected to a solar panel (with charge regulator of course). Power on the trailer will supply juice to lights, running water, and even a phone charging station :)

LakesideTJ 10-17-2013 09:41 AM

I am also building a trailer to camp off of. Can't wait to see your creation. Personally I am rebuilding my 6x8 Moto trailer into an ultimate excursion tote.

Good luck my friend

mowillie 10-21-2013 07:57 PM

What is the reason you want to add brakes. Jeeps cant pull more than 3500# safely according to the owners manual, so I dont think you reach that much weight camping. The brakes just ad more weight. I put a 3500# on all trailers that I build and I know its over-kill.

nicholasburr 10-21-2013 08:05 PM

cool idea

TXST8tj 10-22-2013 07:43 AM


Originally Posted by mowillie (Post 17035746)
What is the reason you want to add brakes. Jeeps cant pull more than 3500# safely according to the owners manual, so I dont think you reach that much weight camping. The brakes just ad more weight. I put a 3500# on all trailers that I build and I know its over-kill.

Well, if I actually add them, we'll call it piece of mind when towing behind the Jeep; not really concerned about it behind the truck. I pray that this trailer does not come anywhere close to 3500# :laugh:. The 3500# axle and spring setup is just to be overkill since it doesn't cost any more to do it that way.

JeeperDon 04-01-2014 06:49 AM


TXST8tj 04-03-2014 02:50 PM

The parts and pieces have not moved from the storage unit since I finished collecting everything. It is not a forgotten project, just a down the road project.
I have a pile of parts to install on my TJ, which I have just really started to get working on. I have a few things left to wrap up work on my F-250. And the next thing to get worked on is building the golf cart. After all of that stuff is done, I will make way for the trailer build.

Unlimited04 04-07-2014 11:55 AM


TXST8tj 04-08-2014 06:56 PM


Originally Posted by Unlimited04 (Post 21940089)

Hey now....make sure you brought enough for everyone. :)

TXST8tj 04-08-2014 07:08 PM

Ok ok. How bout a different kind of trailer for the time being....?

Quick pic of the new Jeep hauler.....

20', dual 7000# axles with brakes. We had them add a winch plate. As soon as I get the Warn installed on the Jeep, the RC winch will go on the trailer.

koolaid5 04-13-2014 07:04 PM

NICE!!! I am insanely jealous. I'd love to turn mine into a trailer queen. No trailer or tow rig kind of squashes that though.

TXST8tj 04-13-2014 08:39 PM

.....tow rig

mike_bfdr 04-15-2014 08:43 AM

very nice combo.............. i was going to build a off-road trailer with an roof top tent from a Scrambler that i got super cheap, to tow behind my scrambler lol................... but then my buddy told me about the fleetwood cobalt trailer so that quickly went out the window lol..............

What brand of RTT you going with?????

Unlimited04 04-15-2014 02:35 PM


Originally Posted by TXST8tj (Post 21980729)
Hey now....make sure you brought enough for everyone. :)

you need some inspiration to get started?

here's what I built...:thumbsup:

The time now is 10:50 PM.

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