Phase I was the original build completed a few years ago and can be seen here:
This is what I am starting with:
Phase II will consist of the following:
- Replace gas struts on lid
- Extend lid platform
- Extend tongue to allow jeep tailgate & Spare to open with trailer attached.
- Add hard sided folding camper top for family of 4
- switch tires and wheels to match jeep bolt pattern to share spare
Phase III next winter or if I get extra time before camping season this winter:
- Add kitchen side box
- mount propane tank to outside of trailer. plumb hose connection to stove in kitchen.
- Add water tank under trailer
- Add awning off side of camper
- add awing side walls & wood stove
I pulled the trailer into the shop and disassembled it.
- removed spare and carrier
- removed tongue dry box
- removed AT jerry can holders from tongue
- cut off luggage rack
- removed all accessories (hi-lift, shovels, extinguisher, bike racks, etc)
I cut the tongue off last night, and fabricated an extension with internal tube sleeve. I also tested my new mattress. Its going to consist of three layers that total 2.5" thick.
- 1/2" thick EPE foam (very flexible, very tough, very dense)
- 1" memory foam topper (from amazon.com)
- 1" high density urethane foam (from upholstery shop)
I tested it, you cannot feel the floor with your hips. We can always add our air camping mats (like thermarests) inside on top of the permanent bedding if necessary. But I don't think we'll need it, it was pretty comfortable and my wife and I prefer firm mattresses anyway.
Here are a look at some of my plans:
The new camper top will be a welded steel frame with an outer skin of PVC sheet. Inside will be 1/8" baltic birch plywood. XPS insulation in the walls. Top of the camper will have a huge hatch that can be opened, so we can sleep under the starts (under a screen to keep bugs out). The camper will work like this:
I pondered a cable operated system but its too complicated. I also considered pneumatic cylinders in each corner, but I only saw one person who did it successfully, and it was slow and jerky. This is going to be a very lightweight camper top I hope, so opening shouldn't be too tough, especially with gas spring assist.
I want hardsided camper so we can use it on roadtrips in parking lots, or up in Alaska in parks where they don't allow tents etc. I also hope that it will be quicker to setup than a rooftop tent, and no pvc rainjacket to put on and off. Also, being insulated, I hope it will extend our camping season by a few months. Here in CO at high altitude, its pretty chilly. I know the camper top will make my trailer even more top heavy, but some of this will be offset by underbelly water tank. Also, we don't do any extreme trails with the trailer on. We generally make camp, then take the jeep out for more fun. But, its nice to have a 4x4 camper to get to some better camping spots. Anyway, stay tuned.... more to come.