photo by CasarsaGuru via iStock
Camper trailers can get expensive, and because of this, many people decide to build their own.
If you know your way around a welder and have knowledge of construction, then building a DIY off road camper trailer probably won’t present any real challenge.
However, for those with little to no experience with tools, this may be too big of a task to undertake.
Therefore, the most viable option for most of us is to ditch the DIY off road camper trailer plans and go for a ready-made product.
Table of Contents
- Why a DIY Off Road Camper Trailer is a Good Idea (for Some People)
- Why a DIY Off Road Camper Trailer May Not Be the Best Idea: Building Skills
- A Major Issue With a DIY Build: All That Time!
- The Lack of Testing and Engineering in a DIY Build is a Concern
- Construction is Only the Beginning
- Don’t DIY: There are Many Excellent Pre-Built Trailers!
- Outdoor Gear We Love
Why a DIY Off Road Camper Trailer is a Good Idea (for Some People)
photo by roxanabalint via iStock
There is nothing wrong with DIY off road camper trailers. In some cases, they can even be better than the readily bought ones because they are made by the user. Therefore, everything is located where you want it to be located. Furthermore, you have the freedom to make the build as capable and as big (or small) as you want.
Do you need something that is short so it can fit in the garage? Or do you need something extremely lightweight with a very capable suspension to be able to follow your Jeep on tough trails?
With a custom trailer, your imagination is the limit.
However, personalization isn’t the only benefit. Since you have built the trailer, if something goes wrong with it, you know exactly how to fix it.
Furthermore, you will increase your knowledge of fabricating along the way.
All that is great, but perhaps the biggest benefit is the price. Building a DIY off road camper trailer will cost you thousands of dollars less than going out and buying one.
You also get a sense of achievement as you have managed to solve a problem by using your knowledge to build something. It is a great choice. However, there are some caveats.
Why a DIY Off Road Camper Trailer May Not Be the Best Idea: Building Skills
photo by photoschmidt via iStock
For any DIY off road camper trailer to be successful and work nicely, the builder needs to know their way around tools, trailer design, and welding.
It is crucial to get the geometry correct, because if you don’t, you run the risk of building a trailer that is unstable on the motorway.
You also need to find a way to make the wooden floor structure (steel will be too heavy) watertight to prevent it from rotting out.
The above and many others are design considerations anyone who is building a DIY off road camper trailer must take into account. At the end of the day, you don’t want to spend all that time and effort to build something that might not perform well.
A Major Issue With a DIY Build: All That Time!
photo by photoschmidt via iStock
Building a DIY off road camper trailer correctly will take time. Multiple runs between shops for supplies will be needed, and many hours will be spent designing and building in the garage.
This may be something you enjoy doing. However, if you have a full-time job and a family, finishing the whole project may take months or even years. So, it may be a better idea to buy something that is readily made so you can begin exploring now, rather than investing all your time in preparing to explore later!
The Lack of Testing and Engineering in a DIY Build is a Concern
photo by kmatija via iStock
Unless you are someone who has worked for years in the automotive or engineering industry, chances are you will not have the resources to access proper R&D testing.
In most cases, a DIY off road camper trailer will not have small details that are derived from years of customer feedback ironed out. Therefore, the build may require changes after it is done.
Also, you won’t have a way to test its durability prior to putting it on the road and make changes accordingly.
Of course, if you are someone who has been using camper trailers for years, you will have a good idea of where things should go and how they must be built.
However, for someone who is looking for their first camper trailer, a DIY off road camper trailer build may lead to some design flaws.
Mistakes are how we learn; therefore, it is up to you to decide if you are willing to take the risk.
Editor’s note: Do you know what homologation means? If not, building a DIY off road camper trailer isn’t a good plan! In short, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does NOT mess around when it comes to safety requirements that vehicles must pass. Building a DIY camper is one thing. Ensuring it meets legal requirements is a whole different ballgame!
Construction is Only the Beginning
photo by Onfokus via iStock
Finally, building a camper trailer does not just require building a frame and making it roll down the road.
You will have to find a way to incorporate electricity, water, heating, cooling, and plumbing.
As the days progress and you get deeper into building your DIY off road camper trailer, you will likely realize that there are far more things that need to be done than you first thought.
Having an enormous punch list of things to do can be overwhelming and frustrating. And the longer you take to build your DIY off road camper trailer, the more likely you might be to lose interest in the process.
Now, this isn’t to say that no one can make a DIY off road camper trailer. As I mentioned earlier, if you have the requisite skills, it could be a great option for you to have the trailer of your dreams.
But, for most of us, we are far better off investing in a trailer built by people who know what they’re doing!
Don’t DIY: There are Many Excellent Pre-Built Trailers
So, clearly, there are pros and cons to building your own DIY off road camper trailer.
But if you have decided to go for a pre-built trailer, we have the perfect option for you – especially if you love visiting places that are a bit harder to get to.
The RKS Purpose trailer is a camper trailer made for the lover of nature, the people who love to visit remote areas but also like being comfortable while there.
At this size, the RKS features many more luxuries than one would expect. These include an indoor bathroom (where you can stand up straight!), an outdoor kitchen, sleeping for two, a TV, a heating system, and even a rooftop Skydeck where you can take in the views around you.
But for me, the best part about this trailer is its off-road abilities…
With 18 inches of ground clearance, steel fenders, and underside protection, this camper trailer will have no issues following any capable rig on a tough trail. That means you can really get off the beaten path, find a beautiful spot to enjoy nature, and do so without tons of other campers up in your space.
If you missed my “first look” article on this trailer, you should check it out. In it, I go into great detail about the build and design of this trailer, its many (many!) amenities, and its off-road capabilities. It truly is one of the most impressive overlanding and off-roading products that I’ve seen this year.
If you have any further questions regarding building a DIY off road camper trailer, head over to our forum to get some answers from other community members.
And if you’re interested in learning more about the RKS Off-Road Purpose Trailer, get all the information you want by visiting the RKS Off-Road website.
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