BMW Luxury Touring Community banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Call me crazy, but I am seriously thinking about building a homebuilt "pop up" camper trailer from a Thule car top carrier - anyone done this?

Here's the plan:

1. Buy a 91" (7.5 ft)long Thule 21 cu.ft. carrier for about $450.00. Yeah, I know it is expensive but I need a shell long enough to sleep inside of, and I'm 6 feet. It also needs to be nice looking, rigid and VERY watertight.

2. Build a custom Nylon ripstop tent to fit (I own a motorcycle seat business, www.KonTourSeat.com) so this is not an issue. The roof/floor of the tent/trailer will be the two halves of the Thule.

3. Re-work the hinges: instead of a side opener it would open at the end - this would give you enough room to sit upright and get dressed or relax during inclement weather instead of being forced to lie down. I figure one end could be about 4 feet tall, and the other - of course - fixed to the hinges. Gas struts to open it, of course!

4. Use an inflatable air mattress and 12 V pump to maximize additional storage space inside instead of a foam mattress.

5. Instead of jacks to stabilize it I intend to leave it hooked up to my scoot when camping - might require some small "wedge steps" to get it level but what the heck...

6. Build/modify an HF trailer to accomodate it, although I am thinking about a simple aluminum "T" frame to minimize weight and high quality scooter wheels. The Thule is very rigid and strong compared to a Sears/inexpensive carrier and would not need to be supported at the corners.

7. Of major importance to the whole project would be to keep it ULTRA light - the target is 150 lbs. I've got an 800 lb. BMW K1200LT so it can handle weight but it would be WAY TOO EASY to build a 300 plus pound porky camper like all the commercial units. I could call it the "Coffin" :)

8. "French" in some LED's, license plate bracket, side market lights into the Thule and bada - bing: a roadable trailer - with an exceptionally low center of gravity.

Anyone done this or have any insight?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts! ;)

Best,

Ron
 

·
Slow Old Guy
Joined
·
2,012 Posts
Sounds like a neat project.

Might be good if you could figure out a way to make it self supporting. I know it is a bit more weight, but it would give you more options when setting up camp if you could place the trailer where you want it instead of always behind the bike. It's also nice to be able to take the bike to dinner or just for a ride around a new area without the trailer.

Have fun and take lots of pictures of the build.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,706 Posts
I was thinking along the same lines when I saw the long trailers at CCR.

Thinking out loud here... if you tilt up you'll need access to the "skinny" end. You KNOW that's where all the gear will slide! :p That being said a gear loft would work well in the lid of the skinny end. Actually could fashion a series of "lofts" up the lid.
If you enter the aft end you could fashion a hoop supported, stand up vestibule. If you enter from the front you keep weight on the tongue but risk banging shins on said tongue. Pad it? Make sure you have an adequete skirt on the tent so any rain doesn't make it into the bottom. Put drains in the bottom anyway. :D If you decide to "jack it" cheap adjustable painting poles might be a good "penney tech" solution.

Sleep well! :sleep:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,272 Posts
One of our former members, aka Pack Rat, originator of the Pack Rat under mirror driving light mounts, from back in the YAHOO days, built a rig along the same lines that your considering. However his approach was to fabricate the entire box out of aluminum diamond plate. He set the box on a home made lightweight chassis. The chassis included three lightweight adjustable jacks for stability and leveling when set up. The box opened as a clam shell, hinged at the front. Nylon sides and entry area with zippered openings and insect netting for ventilation. He used to pull a Kwik Kamp but when his wife stopped traveling with him he wanted to downsize and couldn't find what he was looking for and so built his own.

Just a suggestion, I would definitely consider some sort of vestibule at the entry. This will be especially useful during inclement weather. Since your sleeping area will be fairly confined it would be a real benefit to have a place to enter and remove wet or dirty clothing/riding boots/etc prior to crawling int the sack. Also gives you a place to hang wet stuff like clothing and towels to dry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,474 Posts
Yup, your about as mad as a bag of spanners, but having said that, sounds like a good idea.

I'm not sure if I'm understanding your description, so I've added a rather poor graphic to see if I've understood, and if correct offer another idea.

It sounds to me like your going to leave one end hinged as in the top graphic, but I'd like to suggest you hinge it up similar to other trailer tents to make it roomier inside? I think you will need to be adding some guy lines to guard against wind ( from inside and outside). hope your idea develops and look forward to seeing the finished article.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
294 Posts
myk_edwards said:
... about as mad as a bag of spanners,...
ROTFLOL

Myk, Must be a Brit thing. I found that so funny that I had to come back a few minutes later and comment that I found it so funny.

Can I use that as a .sig?


Still laughing......... :D


Jason.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,474 Posts
bmwjason said:
ROTFLOL

Myk, Must be a Brit thing. I
Can I use that as a .sig?

Jason.
Your most welcome to use it as a tag line,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
"Might be good if you could figure out a way to make it self supporting."

Good thought! I put a bicycle kickstand on my current trailer tongue to do just that.

I just don't want any ugly jacks hanging off the sides to spoil the lines...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
"Actually could fashion a series of "lofts" up the lid."

I LIKE it, they could be pouches with a drawstring and cord lock or elastic to keep things in place. Great idea. Heck, I could even attach them with industrial velcro so they would be removable: one could be a dop kit, one for dirty clothes, one with food...

Even a small drop down table supported by nylon straps from the roof when open - great for reading, eating, a laptop, whatever!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
The top thumbnail is correct, I stole the idea (what else is new) from this site:

http://www.autohomeus.com/

check out the Columbus model.

Spanners are what we call wrenches, correct? Tools to adjust your bonnet? ;)

Well then, I must have bees in my bonnet! MAD as an Englishman and busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest.

(I have a British pilot's license)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
"I would definitely consider some sort of vestibule at the entry."

Another great idea Lynn!

I'm kind of thinking about a very simple tarp and frame, enough to provide some shade, a place out of the rain, and a place to sit in a camp chair. My goal is to keep this absolutely as simple as possible, but still have great utility.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Hey Dave, did you know that Sulu (George Takei) just outed himself? Yup, sure would have been fun to have him on the bridge sassing off to Kirk...

Photon Torpedo sure does beat "The Coffin". All I would need are some metal Star Trek logos to put on the sides. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,525 Posts

.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,474 Posts
RonKMiller said:
The top thumbnail is correct, I stole the idea (what else is new) from this site:

http://www.autohomeus.com/

check out the Columbus model.
Not a bad idea, and easy to tow behind the bike, I prefer the Maggiolina, but thats just personal choice. Looks like they use those bendy tent poles to hold them up, and looking at them it wouldn't be to difficult to fashion one yourself given that you must have some experience with a sewing machine if your do bike seats, and looking at the price I'd be making my own if I wanted one too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
820 Posts
Classic Trailers in Australia make a trailer simialr to what you describe.
My father inlaw has one he tows behind his Goldwing.
His has an inflatable bed in it and both my mother/father-inlaw camp in it no problems. it has a canvas roof that opens up and turns in to like a big tent and has plenty of room for them to spread out and have a deck chair each. it is mounted to on top of their trailer and is only about 4 inches thick.under it is the usual 400 litre storage space under neath.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,492 Posts
RonKMiller said:
(I have a British pilot's license)
Mad - I (as a Brit) got my FAA ppl before my CAA ppl

- keep us posted on your little place in the country.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Woolly said:
Mad - I (as a Brit) got my FAA ppl before my CAA ppl

- keep us posted on your little place in the country.
I was amazed how difficult the CAA test was - although my examiner did let me take it as an "open book" test since I already had the FAA commercial ticket... I NEVER would have passed it without his assistance or at least a week of intense study/tutoring. Just don't tell anyone. ;)

Hmmm, maybe I could put a proper thatched roof on top of my cottage, plenty of queen palm fronds just laying around these parts. If I oriented them with the slipstream.... :)
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top