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Thread: Cargo OR Horse trailer into camper conversion

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    May 2016

    Cargo OR Horse trailer into camper conversion

    Afternoon, This topic is not related to casting or reloading, but I figured that we all may have some similar interest. Im thinking of converting a Cargo OR Horse trailer into a weekend camper.....12v and 120....7x14 or 7x16 ..shower...toilet...airconditioning… nerator.....etc I wanted to post this idea on the forum in hopes of getting some others views, opinions, thoughts or maybe someone has done this before...Regards, Think of it as a range vehicle with amenities.....

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    plains of colorado
    you might look into a already built rv, sometimes it costs more to do it yourself. if you just have to build your own, check the junk yards, sometimes they have wrecked ones that you could get needed stuff from.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    NC Arkansas

    A forum devoted to that type of conversion.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Central Virginia
    I agree with rancher1913 that it may turn out to be more expensive to convert one than to buy one.

    All of the strength in a cargo trailer is in the floor, the walls are just there to keep the weather out. If you start adding interior partitions, shelves, windows, some plumbing and insulation, you're likely to end up rebuilding the entire thing. Most of the structure above the floor is pretty thin.
    I know a guy that raced dirt bikes and had a very primitive camper built into a cargo trailer that was better than a tent, but nothing special.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy

    WebMonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    missouri ozarks
    +1 on a "store-bought".
    i like to see the home builts by people with money for materials and tools.

    our only attempt at a refurbish convinced us we weren't capable of turning out a decent product.

    we bought a new bumper pull ultralight, then a year later traded for a used class a.

    never looked back.

    good luck though.
    i know it can be done, just not by me.
    says the guy that does his own electrical, plumbing, hvac ducting, interior finishing, even a re-roof.
    Retired 19D
    Psalm 91:9
    Honda 919

  6. #6
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Fargo ND
    I have a friend who took a basic cheap trailer frame, built one of those aluminum covered teardrop trailers.

    No bath, kitchen in the rear with a hatch type door that swung up.

    Sold it 2 weeks later for double what he had into into it, and built a second.

    By the same token we are in the process of buying a Forest River R-pod 189.
    Queen sized bed in the back, Bath with shower, vanity, vent fan, Kitchen is on a slide out for extra room.

    Instead of the normal fixed dinnete U shaped afair it has a sofa, 2 person that could convert to a bed for one. And a moveable table. Sofa faces the entertainment center and is right by the door.

    2 burner propane stove, Fridge is 3 way, 110 volt AC, Propane, 12v DC, Convection Microwave oven.

    Under 18k, Aluminum studs welded, solid core foam between the aluminum. Outer skin is 3 pieces of fiberglass panel. Inner is plywood.

    Has 30 gallon black tank, 30 gallon gray tank, 30 gallon water tank and 6 gallon water heater, also propane or electric. Ac in the roof with vent to the bedroom. Entertainment center with flat screen TV on flex mount, AM/FM Stereo with inside, outside speakers and switch to choose in, out or both.

    Pretty slick outfit.

    Depends on how nice you want it, how comfortable, and how important looks are.

    Whats the cost of a good new horse trailer? Plus conversion? Plus plumbing?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    My brothers and I bought a 30 year old dual axle camper trailer for $900. It had 2 60 lb propane tanks and was designed to sleep 6. Since we are all well over 6 ft tall it actually slept 3 comfortably.
    It had both propane and electric lighting. It was also air conditioned but we never bought or needed a generator except during football games.

    It weighed 3300 lbs and the tongue weight exceeded the load limit of the bumper hitch.
    My truck was an 8 ft bed Ford F-150 with a 400 engine and it hauled the trailer just fine.

    It was left on a hunting lease 6 years and we got half of our money back when we sold it.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    A lot of the newer horse trailers have a tac room and a sleeping area in them already, same with some of the car haulers.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Michigan Lansing Area
    Might want to look into molded fiberglass RV. Several manufactures exist. Scamp in Minn. Casita in Texas. One is down in Carolina I think. Escape campers makes some nicer high end models. I think there is another manufacturer on the west coast someplace. Plus the HC1 which is modular design. Floor sort of like lego around the edges and you pick and choose the modules you want. Modules can be carried out to use outside too. In addition to a regular side door it opens at back with a lift door so it makes a good toy hauler, or with add on you connect a tent/screen tent to the back.

    Molded fiberglass doesn't rot, the campers are light weight. Sizes range from 13 to about 19 foot. Many come in under or near 2000 lbs. with larger ones running 2,500 to 3,000 lbs. That HC1 (Happier Camper 1) can be towed by a mini cooper but would sleep 2 adults easily. Toilet yes, not sure of the shower facilities in the HC1. In the others several different bathroom and shower arrangements exist.

    I would google Scamp or Casita. Only thing is the production is fairly low and they don't rot so in good shape the used ones go fast and hold value (great if you decide to sell but not so great if you are buying) Not uncommon for them to be sold in a day or to the first person that checks it out. Also some older rough do-it-yourself ones are out there.

    Pictures worth 1k words.
    Last edited by RogerDat; 07-11-2018 at 05:42 PM.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page I do trade a bit from time to time.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    May 2016
    I looked at a scamp , great idea

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    A horse trailer is far more heavy duty than needed for a camper. My 3 horse slant w/tack room is rated for 4000 lbs. of cargo Unless you are camping w/Rosie & Moore you don't need it. No shortage of pull behind minty campers for 1/2 the price of an equal condition horse trailer.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy Gtrubicon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Northern ca
    I helped a friend convert a 22’ enclosed cargo trailer into a hunting trailer, got windows, water tanks and ac unit from an rv junkyard. We built fold up bunks, 4 to be exact that allowed plenty of room to sleep in and also get our quads into when folded up. All in all it was a fun project, mind you that we have every welder type, carpentry tool, experience, know how etc. I’d probably do it again if asked, but, the thing was so heavy it was a problem to tow. There is a reason rv’s are so light. They are built out of light weight ****. Save the time and money. Unless you drive a big rig!

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Massachusetts, South Shore
    There's another maker of the fiberglass clam-shells called "Happier Camper". Don't much about them but they look cool. Here's a video:

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