Monthly Archives: January 2012

Further Thoughts and Aspirations…

I still need firring strips for the trailer itself, and sub-flooring for the body of the trailer. Trailer bed will be made of leftover 1/4″ ply, the walls and roof will be sub-flooring, heavily painted and clear coated to weather proof it. I hope I can keep the cost of this under $400, and the weight, unloaded, at around 40-50lbs…that would be ideal…if it weighs 60lbs, eh, what can I do? It’ll still be the biggest folding camper I’ve seen with solid walls, a heat source, two different cooking sources, the ability to wash dishes, keep food cool, sleep one comfortably, two reasonably, have a toilet for #1 and #2, and a shower.

I’m doing my best to keep this light yet strong, and using common materials, to keep this as cheap as possible and easy to build. The set up of the camper will be slightly involved, like the old school tents I grew up with, but I think it’ll be feasible to set it up in 5 to 10 minutes.

The bicycle camper will fit into the trailer, that is, the sub-flooring roof and walls of the trailer will encompass the folded camper and floor and storage space. When deployed, the camper will rest on top of and be fastened to the trailer, around 2′ off the ground. I’m going to try to make it so that the trailer can be detached from the camper (still deployed) so that I can venture out for more wood or water or food. It works in theory.

Another benefit if this works is that I’ll have a dual purpose cargo trailer…when I have no intention of camping and need to get stuff/groceries around town, I can take the camper and floor out, and have a lot more storage space for goods/fire wood. It should have a little more space than my current cargo trailer, and, more importantly, weigh a HELL of alot less!!! >:D


Camper Progress 1/31/12

Woo hoo! Juggled some money and got the lumber for the floor today. 2 sheets of 1/4″ plywood, and 16 firring strips. The plywood was about $20 per sheet, because one side is sanded and smooth (no knot holes), but it was all I could get. The firring strips were only $0.98, that was a good price as they’re normal $1.25/pc. So far the total project cost is $280. I still need piano hinges, 20 feet of it, but I didn’t price that as time was an issue.

The lumber I have will keep me busy for a while. I have to cut 9 sections of plywood, some of them at angles, at different lengths and widths. Then cut the firring strips, and glue and screw them to the plywood panels. The bare minimum of strips I need is 10, but I planned on getting 13 so I could add some extra floor support. I’ve never worked with 1/4″ ply before, and noticed it’s flimsier than I expected, hence the additional 3 firring strips. It should work. If it doesn’t I’ll have no choice but to use 3/8″ plywood, and repurpose what I bought today for solar ovens. I do think the 1/4″ will work, supported properly with the firring strips, plus I’m too tall to stand in this thing and walk comfortably, so most of the time my weight should be spread out…but I’ll wager I could walk on this without any damage. We’ll see…

Can’t wait to finish this so I can post pics…some of this is hard to describe without ’em.


Camper Progress 1/30/12

This kind of vacuums! I (unexpectedly) have the day off and there isn’t much I can do with the camper! I could make the trailer models…but I’d much rather work on the real thing! I really wish I had the materials to start the floor 😦

I suppose I could cut out the windows. I planned on three of them being 6″x12″, and the other four being 6″x6″. After sitting in it yesterday I’m toying with the idea of making them all 6″x12″, or at least all but the two in the bathroom. I’m going to use plexiglass, and have it on the outside of the walls, overlapping the window holes, with weather stripping and velcro, to keep it shut. They’ll probably be hinged on the bottom so they open by folding out and down, and have some velcro to keep them from flapping in the wind. The inside will be screened, so as to keep the vampire bugs out and keep my Kitter in (when camping in the back yard…I’d love to take the bugger for real camping, but I’m afraid of him getting lost or eaten)

You see, my first real trip with this will be to a site on the Erie Canal, about 28 miles from home. I’ve camped at several sites out there, and spent a few nights very close to the fire with my substantially large hunting knives readily on hand. The first time that happened, I was cooking fish over the fire at night, as I had caught them late, when I kept hearing what sounded like a woman screaming, and rather close, prolly within a couple hundred feet. That was the only time I’ve heard that, but I know of two possibilities for the source. A bobcat or mountain lion. While I haven’t heard of bobcats attacking humans, if it was rabid, they’re large enough to mess a person up very badly. And while the D.E.C. claims there aren’t any mountain lions in this state, I know of several people who have seen them and of one person who caught one on his trail camera. Plus I read online a few months ago that somebody found suspected lion scat and had it dna tested, and it was positive.

On another night I kept hearing something around the area, only to find fresh coyote tracks through my site in the morning. At my favorite spot, very secluded, where there’s no chance of me getting the bicycle camper to because of the steep terrain, I was having a fire late at night, when I heard something running directly toward me and the fire! Where I was was surrounded by high weeds and trees, so I drew my pointy and stood up with a flashlight. Guess what it was? It was a buck! He couldn’t see the fire but the glow from it, I don’t know why he would run toward that, but what am I, the buck whisperer?!? As soon as the flashlight was in his face he froze, then ran in a different direction. Have often wondered if he would’ve trampled me had I not stood up.

So no Kitter camping!

There will be small awnings over the windows, so when it rains on hot days I can keep dry and still get a breeze. After setting the camper up yesterday, I’ve decided to go with an idea I’ve been toying with for about a week now. 3′ long pvc pipes set into the floor on the inside of the camper, to make setting the walls up easier, especially in windy conditions. The walls will velcro to the poles. Another reason for this is for structural integrity.

All the wall panels are 18″ high and 36″ long. It consists of a bottom wall and a wall set on top of it. The top wall is very strong, because of the shape of the roof. The bottom wall is feeble, so the pvc poles will fix that. Also, I plan on having the walls and roof sections fixed together with the plastic clasps that you find on backpacks and those fruity fanny packs (remember that awful fad?).

Camper Progress 1/29/12

Got the camper set up earlier. I think this will have enough room so as not to make me claustrophobic. It’s cozy, and though the bathroom will take up some space, my lanky butt can lie down with room left over. I measured the inner dimensions, the walls and roof are 1″ thick, so I have to take that into account when making the floor.

Inner dimensions:

Length: 107″

Width: 63″

Height: 54″

So my estimates were pretty damn close, now I just have to permanently hinge the roof sections and add weatherization strips. Hopefully within a week or two I’ll have the money to buy 2 sheets of 1/4″ plywood and firring strips. Haven’t calculated how many firring strips I need yet, but that’ll only take a couple of minutes.

Camper Progress 1/28/12

Well, the roof is all done, save for the hinges. I’m using masking tape for temporary hinges, there are a few things I need to see before I make ’em for real. Tomorrow I’ll set the camper up…bloody anticipation!!!

The floor is the next step of the project, and I need to set it up because I don’t know the exact dimensions of the floor, as all my estimates have been made from scale models and graph paper. This is the most important step. The floor needs to be precise so that the walls can rest on it and it can be sufficiently weather proofed.

Progress, you may have noticed, is a little slow. That’s because I want to keep this fun, and while I think about the camper alot, I don’t want to work on it as much as I think of it. What I enjoy about this project is not the work, but all the thought that has to go into it.

This is more challenging than I originally thought…I love it!

Camper Progress 1/25/12

1/25/12 Ooooh! A bonus pre-work blog! I got five pieces of the roof sealed yesterday, was a little tired from work and didn’t really feel like working on it. I did however get the vegetable oil powered diesel engine generator designed. It will have either a hamster or ferret wheel generator backup. Just can’t stand the thought of camping without my electric trombone. I’ll work more on the camper after work.

7:00pm Ok, so I’ve been working on the roof pretty diligently, I have 5 more sections out of 16 to finish. I might do a couple more tonight. Tomorrow, should I not be too tired after work, I’ll start with the hinges. Hopefully that’ll all be done by Friday. Saturday or Sunday I’ll set it up and get the exact dimensions for the floor. It’s been suggested that I use 1/2″ plywood for the floor. How about no?! I want to keep the camper light! Of course, this advice came from my boss, an over-builder of a carpenter…he litterally built a 500lb dog house once!

When I first thought of making this thing 3 years ago, I thought I’d use 3/8″ plywood…but after making my cargo trailer last year, which weighs about 40lbs empty, scratch that! A 4×8″ sheet of that weighs about 32lbs, so I estimated that a sheet of 1/4″ plywood would weigh between 20 and 25lbs. A quick googleing confirmed that.

Square footage of the camper should be exactly approximately roughly 41.25 feet. So I’ll have to use a full sheet and about 10 square feet off a second sheet.

Camper Progress 1/23/12

1/23/12 I got all of the roof cut out, but no taping. I was starting to get burned out, and I want to keep this project fun. Tomorrow I’ll get at least most of the taping done. The trailer models will have to wait until all the taping and hingeing is finished. At least that way the camper can be folded and stacked, and the models can be made with certain accuracy.