Reaver's DIY adventure box!

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reaver

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

1,674
Caldwell, ID, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
Member #

23711

Ham Callsign
GMRS WRMV941
A little back story...

For the last few years, my family of three (myself, wife, and 4yo daughter) have been camping using my 2003 Nissan Xterra adventure rig.

Getting everything we need for a 4 day trip into the X is a challenge, to say the least.

Tent, fridge, water, dog, sleeping gear, tools, recovery gear, toiletries, etc.

I've done the best I can to organize the rig, and find gear that packs down pretty compact, but it's still a bit like playing jenga to get everything in there.

Seeing as how we'd like to start doing some longer trips starting next year, I've decided to build an adventure trailer.

I decided something that was about 4ft X 6ft would be perfect. Large enough to carry what we need, but small enough to still be relatively light.

The trailer will need to have on board power for the fridge, on board water, slide out kitchen space, the usual adventure trailer suspects.

With that in mind, today I brought home the bones of my trailer!

IMG_20210619_113820.jpg

The trailer started life as a heavy duty tow behind reader board sign. The trailer has a heavy duty frame, decent tires, and what I think is a 3500lb trailer axle.

First task is to strip all the wood off the trailer, and get a really good look at the axle and frame.

I'm currently working out the overall design using my 3d modeling program, and will post images once I finish the initial basic design.

This should make it much easier to head out!
 

Trail_pilot

Rank III

Enthusiast III

830
First Name
James
Last Name
Girard
Looks like an awesome project. Looking at doing the same soon as there isn't a while lot of room in tj for the family.
 

M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
Benefactor
Member

Explorer I

5,171
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
KJ7MFV
Service Branch
US ARMY Retired
I've got zero experience building a trailer, so I'm going to be doing a TON of research in the process.

I'll make sure to post the info that I learn here as well.
Time to get yourself a welder buddy.
 

reaver

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

1,674
Caldwell, ID, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
Member #

23711

Ham Callsign
GMRS WRMV941
Time to get yourself a welder buddy.
I probably will at some point. It's hard to say.

I'm very likely to build the box out of wood though. When properly prepped, sealed, and painted, it'll last a very long time.
 

Escape_The_Insanity

Rank III
Member

Member III

703
Vancouver, WA, USA
First Name
Chad
Last Name
Thomas
Member #

24702

A little back story...

For the last few years, my family of three (myself, wife, and 4yo daughter) have been camping using my 2003 Nissan Xterra adventure rig.

Sounds like it's going to be a great adventure.

Getting everything we need for a 4 day trip into the X is a challenge, to say the least.

Tent, fridge, water, dog, sleeping gear, tools, recovery gear, toiletries, etc.

I've done the best I can to organize the rig, and find gear that packs down pretty compact, but it's still a bit like playing jenga to get everything in there.

Seeing as how we'd like to start doing some longer trips starting next year, I've decided to build an adventure trailer.

I decided something that was about 4ft X 6ft would be perfect. Large enough to carry what we need, but small enough to still be relatively light.

The trailer will need to have on board power for the fridge, on board water, slide out kitchen space, the usual adventure trailer suspects.

With that in mind, today I brought home the bones of my trailer!

View attachment 201969

The trailer started life as a heavy duty tow behind reader board sign. The trailer has a heavy duty frame, decent tires, and what I think is a 3500lb trailer axle.

First task is to strip all the wood off the trailer, and get a really good look at the axle and frame.

I'm currently working out the overall design using my 3d modeling program, and will post images once I finish the initial basic design.

This should make it much easier to head out!
 

reaver

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

1,674
Caldwell, ID, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
Member #

23711

Ham Callsign
GMRS WRMV941
That's the idea! The goal is to always have the trailer loaded. Then it's just a matter of filling the water tank, and loading up with food. Then we can just hook up and go!
 

reaver

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

1,674
Caldwell, ID, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
Member #

23711

Ham Callsign
GMRS WRMV941
I spent a few hours trying to work out the layout for the interior of the trailer. I think I came up with a rather ingenious solution for the kitchen layout.

The kitchen and fridge pull out on a set of 48" slides.

Image04.png

The kitchen then folds out in three sections.

I'm thinking of putting a drawer in the first section that doesn't unfold. Then maybe a sink in the second section, and the stove in the last one.

Image01.png

I've incorporated a longer "attic" that can be accessed from the rear of the trailer. This will allow us to store the tent for now, and for sure my wife's ridiculously long camp rocking chair.

Image03.png

Image02.png

Still working out what will go on the other side, so no images there yet.
 

freak4life

US Southwest Member Rep, Arizona
Member
Supporter

Member II

1,262
Phoenix, AZ, USA
First Name
rich
Last Name
anderssohn
I've got zero experience building a trailer, so I'm going to be doing a TON of research in the process.

I'll make sure to post the info that I learn here as well.
Go stay at a holiday inn, I am sure that will help. :) I am looking forward to watching the process.
 

freak4life

US Southwest Member Rep, Arizona
Member
Supporter

Member II

1,262
Phoenix, AZ, USA
First Name
rich
Last Name
anderssohn
I am at the same crossroads, considering buying a welder. Unfortunately I have zero experience using one!
Most of the welding supply shops here in Phoenix have classes to learn at, that also gives them future customers. Try contacting some in your area and see if they also have classes.
 
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M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
Benefactor
Member

Explorer I

5,171
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
KJ7MFV
Service Branch
US ARMY Retired
I am at the same crossroads, considering buying a welder. Unfortunately I have zero experience using one!
I love my Lincoln MP140 pro. It’s a 110 volt 140 amp welder that does MIG, TIG, and ARC. It also has an aluminum spool gun attachment To weld aluminum… and it’s a very easy to use welder for someone without any experience… I had very little knowledge about welding before hand, and with a little help from YouTube, I am OK doing MIG now… next I’m going to try my hand with ARC.
 

Phillysteak

Rank III
Member
Adventure

Member III

759
Arizona
First Name
Philip
Last Name
Haasnoot
Member #

24385

I'm at that point as well.
MIG is really quick to pick up and versatile, you'll pick it up quickly. You can get by with a cheap MIG and flux core wire, a bit of cleanup because of the flux but you can achieve some nice welds. Using solid core with C25 gas will give you good welds and limit your cleanup. My Lincoln 140A I got at Lowes has held up for 8 years of abuse.

My TIG is a primeweld brand machine and I'm honestly impressed with the quality, they have a very inexpensive MIG setup that runs around $350.
 

reaver

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

1,674
Caldwell, ID, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
Member #

23711

Ham Callsign
GMRS WRMV941
Due to the cost of plywood (which I hadn't looked at prior to the initial design), I've decided to simplify the design.

I'm planning on having 3 doors. One on each side of the front, and a large rear access door.

Think similar to the smittybilt trailer.

Still planning on having a shower setup, rack, and some sort of kitchen setup.

Were planning on taking the trailer next weekend as a gear hauler, so we'll see how it goes.
 
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M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
Benefactor
Member

Explorer I

5,171
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
KJ7MFV
Service Branch
US ARMY Retired
Sorry to be a bearer of bad news, metal is cheaper than wood right now. Even with the added expense of a quality welder.
 

reaver

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

1,674
Caldwell, ID, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
Member #

23711

Ham Callsign
GMRS WRMV941
That's probably true, and definitely something I should consider....

That being said, I know how to work with wood, and already have the tools to do so. Steel, not so much.
 

reaver

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

1,674
Caldwell, ID, USA
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
Member #

23711

Ham Callsign
GMRS WRMV941
Just got back from a two day test run with the trailer. Towed it behind my 2013 Frontier Pro-4x.

The combo towed beautifully. The trailer tracks perfectly behind the truck. I discovered that the tires are almost exactly as wide as the Frontier.

Without much weight in there, it's very bouncy. My wife nicknamed it Michael Flatley, which if you know who that is, you'll understand why. I may need to look into shocks if it continues to be a problem after the box is built.

All told, ID say that was a successful test of the trailer.
 
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