Because each converted camper is a one-of-a-kind, one-of-a-kind creation, costs might vary greatly. A freight trailer converted into a camper is likely to cost between $5,000 and $15,000.
The trailer itself, if purchased new, might cost between $4,000 and $5,000. A lightly used cargo trailer or enclosed equipment trailer, on the other hand, could be found for $1,000 to $2,500.
If you see one for less than $1,000, you should be suspicious that it has a significant flaw.
Is it possible to convert a utility trailer into a camper?
It’s becoming increasingly fashionable to convert any vehicle with four wheels into a camper, and an enclosed utility trailer is ideal for this. You have a blank canvas on which to design your own personalized RV, including walls, a ceiling, and vacant floor space.
Insulating a Cargo Trailer
Insulation should be the first step in any cargo trailer renovation. Begin with the floor, insulating the corners where the floor meets the walls and ensuring that the floor is waterproof. You may even lay down a flexible subfloor to serve as a basis for hardwood or vinyl flooring. This will help insulate the floor of your utility trailer camper.
Apply styrofoam sheets with caulking or spray foam to the joints of the trailer’s roof with spray adhesive once you’ve finished the floor. After the insulation has set, choose your ceiling material and screw it to the styrofoam.
Finally, secure styrofoam insulation sheets to the trailer’s walls. If they plan to spend any time in a chilly climate, some people utilize wool as a blanket material.
Build a floor with a skeleton of a 1×2 glued directly to the floor and a proper floor on top of the skeleton once the enclosed trailer has been insulated. Alternatively, if you’re putting hardwood or vinyl, do it on the subfloor you’ve made.
Adding Shore Power to an Enclosed Cargo Trailer
Decide where to put electrical outlets, power supply, and 12 volt and USB outlets before cutting windows or installing finished wall materials. Then, when necessary, run your electrical cables along the outer walls. Plan for an external outlet to be plugged into shore power if you’re wiring your cargo trailer with shore power. However, unless you’re directly wiring the solar generator to solar panels on the roof, you won’t need an outside cut if you’re utilizing an all-in-one power generator like a Jackery solar generator.
You have complete freedom to create the inside arrangement of your utility trailer camper once the power is turned on. Cover the insulating sheets on the walls with wall material such as tough board, beadboard, or even drywall. If you’re dividing the room, start with stud walls and then finish them with your preferred wall material.
Pro Tip: Are you looking for a one-of-a-kind camper conversion? Find out if ambulance conversions are suitable for camping.
Adding Plumbing to an Enclosed Cargo Trailer
A closed water system is one of the most straightforward ways to install plumbing to your RV. Carry fresh water in a 5-gallon jug and gray water in a separate container. Use tubing and a USB rechargeable pump to connect each to a sink, which pulls fresh water through a tap above the sink. Gray water from the sink will fall into the gray water tank beneath it due to gravity.
If you decide to build a full water system in your cargo trailer camper, you’ll have to sacrifice valuable storage space for enclosed water tanks. This entails plumbing from and to sinks, showers, and toilets. You’ll also need a black tank if you don’t have a composting toilet. Most cargo trailers lack the space to place water tanks, which require interior and external access for dumping and replenishing. This necessitates the installation of all tanks within the trailer, which takes up valuable living space.
Is it possible to construct your own camper?
This is when things start to get interesting. The design choices for a DIY camper are unlimited! You could paint it bright colors, cover it with aluminum to make it sleek and modern, or cover it in fiberglass for a clean, long-lasting aesthetic. Every handcrafted camper can be tailored to meet a specific aesthetic. They decided for a natural aesthetic with this camper, spray painting it in camouflage and stenciling a bark design around the box.
What’s the best way to keep a cargo trailer cool?
It’s difficult to keep an enclosed work trailer cool in the summer heat. A hot trailer is not only unpleasant, but it can also be hazardous.
If your staff are required to work in the trailer for even a short period of time, a heated trailer can cause them to overheat. Things like fumes from gas cans, automatic combustion from chemical-soaked rags or towels, the risk of equipment overheating and catching fire, and carbon monoxide poisoning from running engines can all provide a fire hazard.
Here are some suggestions for keeping your covered trailers cooler and safer at any time of year, but particularly during the summer.
- Add a second back door or a few pairs of small windows or vents that can be opened for cross ventilation if your trailer only has one.
- Install exhaust vents to the exterior from all equipment.
- Install at least one roof vent, preferably with a temperature-controlled fan.
- Consider painting or purchasing a trailer with a white roof to reflect the sun if your trailer is a dark color.
- Gas cans should be kept in a locked cage on the outside of the trailer.
- Keep any gas or chemical rags in a fire-resistant container that you can empty frequently to be washed or discarded.
- Install a tiny ac unit to keep you cool when you’re stationary and using your equipment.
- Install a smoke and carbon monoxide detector in the trailer’s deepest area.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy to put out a small fire before it gets out of hand.
Please strive to incorporate as many of these as possible to keep your enclosed work trailer cooler and safer.
Is it worthwhile to insulate a cargo trailer?
One of the first tasks in any DIY project is trailer insulation, and it’s also one of the most misunderstood. Many individuals have misconceptions regarding trailer insulation, resulting in them squandering money and effort on ineffective methods and goods.
We had a lot of questions about insulation when we were building our trailer: What’s the best material to use? How do we set it up? Is a vapor barrier required? What questions am I unable to ask because I lack the necessary knowledge?
So, how should a DIY horse trailer be insulated? We’ll go over how heat is transferred and how to block it, as well as what you need to know about insulation and how to use some of the many items available.
Heat that can be transported through the air or a vacuum is known as radiation.
On a sunny day, imagine the warm sunlight streaming in through your windows. In the winter, it’s beautiful, but in the summer, it’s unbearable. Radiation enters a trailer primarily through the windows. If you park your trailer in bright sunshine with huge windows, the inside will quickly heat up. This is due to the fact that radiant heat quickly passes through glass. Parking in the shade or extending your awning will help you beat the heat from the sun.
Heat is transferred through convection when liquids and gases move naturally. Because liquids and gases have different densities and temperatures, this is the case. In a nutshell, because hot air is less dense than cold air, it rises, which is why the gooseneck trailer’s nose becomes so hot in the afternoon. Add a ventilation fan to suck away the warm air near the ceiling while drawing in cooler air from a cracked window to combat convection.
Heat is transported via a solid medium by conduction. Your trailer walls’ metal skin and structure are great heat conductors. A trailer that sits directly in the sun heats up quickly if there is no insulation. Because heat is carried very efficiently via the outside walls, the inner metal can be too hot to touch. Conduction can be avoided by insulating the inside of your trailer to keep the sun’s heat out during the summer and minimize heat loss by conduction during the winter.
Insulation for trailers:
Insulation reduces the flow of heat into and out of your trailer, making it easier to maintain the desired temperature. It’s easier to heat and cool a properly insulated trailer. In the summer, it won’t heat up as rapidly, and in the winter, it will stay warmer.
The R-value of any insulation material is a measurement of the substance’s resistance to heat transmission. The stronger the ability to resist heat transmission by conduction, the higher the R-value.
Conduction values vary depending on the material. Because air is a poor conductor, the more porous a substance is, the less heat it conducts.
For example, if you hold a metal bucket full of ice in your hands, the heat will swiftly escape. The heat will stay in your hands if you hold a foam bucket full of ice.
NOTE: A vacuum resists conduction better than anything else, which is why vacuum insulated mugs are so effective.
A thermal bridge is a region with higher thermal conductivity than the materials surrounding it, allowing heat to travel over.
The frame becomes a thermal bridge when insulation is placed between the ribs of your trailer’s frame but nothing is done to the ribs themselves. Heat can easily conduct through the exposed frame of the trailer rather than via the insulated portions. Because heat and cold can easily pass through it, this thermal bridge diminishes the total efficacy of your insulation.
Thermal bridging can be reduced by insulating the tops of your trailer’s hollow frame ribs.
Thermal breaks are non-conductive materials (i.e. insulation) that are placed in the path of a thermal bridge to prevent heat flow. NOTE: HVAC tape isn’t the same as insulation.
Let’s look at some of the insulating materials we can employ to slow down heat transfer now that we know how fundamental heat transfer works.
While there are numerous solutions available, not all are suitable for insulating your trailer. The following characteristics must be present in good trailer insulation:
- R-value per inch is high. Inside a trailer, space is limited, so you want to insulate with materials that will provide the most insulation for the least amount of area.
- You get a lot of bang for your cash. Investing hundreds of dollars on insulating your trailer is unnecessary. Some materials may perform well, but they are more expensive than the trailer you purchased. The greatest insulating materials execute their function well while still being cost-effective.
- Having the ability to endure vibration. You’re probably lugging your trailer all over the place unless it’s on blocks. Traveling generates a lot of vibrations inside your trailer, and your insulation must be able to withstand them without failing.
- Moisture, mold, and mildew resistance. Either the substance is moisture resistant (such as hard foam board or spray foam) or it has moisture control qualities and natural mold resistance.
- Non-toxic. You don’t want dangerous gases or small particles to fill your home. If the trailer insulation is made in an environmentally sustainable manner, you will receive bonus points.
In our trailer, we used the following: Extruded polystyrene (XPS) is a commonly accessible rigid foam board insulation. It’s the enormous pink or blue foam sheets at the hardware store that you’ll recognize. XPS has a high R-value per inch of R-5 and is moisture resistant. Another advantage is that it has a high compressive strength, which makes it ideal for floor insulation.
Polyisocyanurate is another rigid foam board insulation that we should have used for trailer insulation. It’s usually foil-faced on one side, which acts as a vapor barrier and, if installed with an air gap, also acts as a radiant heat barrier. Polyiso is substantially more environmentally friendly than XPS foam board and has a little higher R-value per inch. It’s a touch more expensive than XPS, and it wasn’t available at my local hardware store.
Another form of foam board insulation that you should avoid is expanded polystyrene (EPS). It’s almost identical to the contents of your Styrofoam cooler. EPS is both inexpensive and effective as an insulator. However, it has air spaces that enable moisture to seep in, causing the material to deteriorate over time. It also doesn’t withstand vibration as well as polyiso or XPS and isn’t as long-lasting.
Steps for Insulating a Trailer by Numbers:
3Use thermal break to cover all exposed metal ribs.
Insulation was 1/4 inch fanfold sheathing.
5Attach 13 wooden furring strips to the ribs to form a stable foundation for the 1/4″ plywood sheet walls and electrical wiring channels.
You’re now prepared to travel to Alaska in December or to Arizona in August. Maybe not, though. It’s a good idea to follow the weather you desire, no matter how well-insulated your rig is. While trailer insulation makes the inside of your trailer more comfortable, horse camping is about getting out and experiencing the world on your horse, not staying in your trailer!
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What can I use for trailer walls that are enclosed?
Moving along the interior of the trailer, the next item on our list of changes is the walls themselves. When moving valuable items around town or across the nation, beefing up your enclosed trailer walls will make the overall trailer sturdier and more secure.
As you explore renovating your trailer walls, consider the following options:
- 3/4″ Plywood Walls: The extra thickness of your trailer’s walls makes it better equipped to withstand the elements while you pull it. Rain, snow, sun, and other weather conditions can all have a negative impact on sensitive goods. This improvement provides more weather protection as well as a more robust trailer overall.
- Consider adding a metal wall liner to your trailer for a sleek design that also gives protection to the walls. These affordable panels are well worth the investment in order to protect walls from knocks and scuffs.
- White Vinyl Walls: Using white vinyl to cover the inside walls of your enclosed trailer is a cost-effective solution to produce a clean appearance and increased protection from dents and dings.
- ATP-Covered Wheel Wells: By covering your wheel wells with ATP, you’ll significantly improve the level of protection and provide a slip-resistant surface to stand on while moving around within the trailer. Inside a confined trailer, ATP also looks fantastic.
- ATP Runners 24, 18, and 15: these runners on the lower portion of the inside walls have a built-in scuff protector and are perfect for loading and unloading equipment on a regular basis.
- Partition Walls: Adding additional walls to your trailer in the shape of partitions is a simple solution to keep goods separated.
- Insulated Walls: Extreme temperatures outside don’t have to entail extreme temperatures inside your trailer. Your trailer will catch some rays in the summer and lose heat in the winter if it has metal skin on the outside. Insulation is a simple and quick approach to aid with this.
Adding extra safeguards to your enclosed trailer walls is a sensible way to extend the life of your trailer’s internal components while also making life easier for you in and out of the trailer.