Trailer Build Six- the Skin!

IMG_2706The exterior of the trailer was probably the hardest part for me only because it exposed my mistakes.  I previously stated that I had built the trailer sides to be connected to the trailer’s wooden frame.  My thinking at the time was that it would give me a slightly bigger interior and I didn’t know at the time, that decision would come back and bite me.   I wrongly assumed that sheet metal could be bought at pretty any length and width.  Of course it can if you have thousands to spend.  The size of sheet metal (finished) is usually 4 x 8 feet or you can find some specialty sheet metal that is 5 feet wide up to 10 feet long.  Because the wood frame set outside the 5 x 8 trailer frame, I needed 5 foot 2 inch wide sheet metal.  Needless to say, I could not find it at a decent price and was lucky to find even the 5 foot wide metal close by.  I did have to travel about 75 miles to pick it up.  If this becomes your situation, be careful, make sure you have it tied down on a pallet and strapped to the vehicle.   Not that it will blow off (it will) but because you don’t want to have any creases or bends in it.

Once I got the metal home, it was easy to set a few nails in between the metal trailer frame and wood frame.  This is what I set the metal sheet on and aligned it with the trailer side.   Once I had the skin set, I screwed the end piece to the wooden trailer side and slowly worked my way down the side.  Along the way I would put a screw in the top and bottom at the same intervals.  Since the door and window openings were already cut out, I also put a screw at each corner of the door and window openings.  After getting the entire sheet attached, I used electric sheet metal scissors ($20 at Harbor Freight) and cut the excess off.  It was actually pretty easy.   I used no glue and figured that with that many screws there was no way it would come off or ripple.  It also allows the metal to expand in the heat.

By this time I had already put luan on the top and created a good base to apply the top sheet metal.  Since the top was probably where any water would have its best chance at getting into the trailer I took some spare house wrap and placed it on the sides and rear deck points and also included the cutout for the fan.  So in reality, my top had only the fan cutout that water could get in.   Again, I started in the rear and slowly laid the metal over the top with it going from back to front.  My 10 ft in length metal only made it to the halfway point of the front but I didn’t mind because that was also going to be covered in sturdier material to keep the metal from being damaged from rocks and debris while travel.

I did have some help with this part because it was difficult to work the metal over the top.   I also needed help with the slight bend in the metal that corresponded with the cuts on the sides.  Again I used screws to ensure the top was square and could be attached properly as I worked my way down to the front of the trailer.  After a few minutes, it was done.   Take your time and you will have a pretty good finished product.

 

 

Trailer Build-Finishing up.

Still with me?  After you get the skin on, you now will need to put in the windows and doors, finish up interior items and install finishing touches.  Your windows and doors are pretty important so make sure you purchase quality ones which you can get online through ebay, amazon, etc.

I sealed my doors and windows with special RV caulk which is better than plain silicone.   It too can be purchased online.  At this point, you should be itching to try your new trailer out.  I waited until my mattress arrived and purchased my bedding.  I installed a dual power television and mounted it inside.  I also purchase a small computer stick which can be plugged into the television to give me the ability to get online when there was WiFi.  It works great and if no WiFi, use the antenna and see if you can get over the air tv.IMG_2739

My door for the kitchen was an idea from a friend.  I was going to put in two doors that would swing open.  After thinking about possible water intrusion, I opted to build a swing up door which can also double as a rain cover while cooking at times.IMG_2746

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Finishing Thoughts at end of build……

Trailer Build- Final Thoughts

I have now used my camper to visit dozens of parks.  I has exceeded my expectations.  No leaks, no issues with power, no problem sleeping and getting a good nights rest.  It is easy to tow, coming in at less than 900 pounds, easy to set up, easy to keep clean.  Combined with my truck, I can carry all my gear and still haul my own wood for fires and my kayak.  I have changed out some of my gear, put in different storage combinations, taken out things that I haven’t or don’t plan to use and basically just enjoyed the simplicity the trailer has made of camping.IMG_2663.JPG

Some things to ponder:  without a bathroom, make sure you  have access.  Knowing that my better half won’t lock me out at a campsite because she has good clean bathrooms and shower facilities is pretty important.  Make sure you work through any problems that might arise with storms, uneven campsites, wind, etc.   I actually carry an extra two man tent, poles, tarps, etc.  for emergencies.   You need flashlights.  Get a dozen.  Carry one on you at all times.  Have a double walled 20 oz or more container, (Walmart-$7.00).

You need some good camp chairs.  Cheap ones hurt your butt after a few minutes.  Camping is about relaxing, not cramps and back pain.  Get a good stick, maybe a broken shovel handle like mine, to move your wood in the firepit.

If you want to really enjoy your trips, go where others don’t go.  If you must stay at busy campgrounds, be courteous to others.  Keep your radio low, turn off all those extra lights.  Shut the generator down as soon as possible and keep noise down after dark.  Take good coffee, creamer and a good book.  Don’t stress over no having phone service.  Play with your kids if they go.  Walk.  Swim.  Sink your toes in the river.  Enjoy.

I suspect that I will be building another trailer soon.  It was a joy and I can give this one to my sisters so they can come camping too.

Dale

Watch your six.

 

Sunset at Baden Lake

At the beginning of the camping season, it is hard to get good pictures.  The foliage isn’t out yet, the landscape can look dull.  This past weekend, my friend Jeff and I decided to take a chance on the weather and hit the trails at the Uwharrie National Forest.  After a great day on the trail, it was time for hotdogs and hamburgers off the grill.  A full stomach later, a roaring fire and the seasons first awesome sunset.   Come on folks, time is wasting, get out there.

Watch your six,

Dale