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Thread: Off-road Tent Trailer Build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Milton, WA

    Default Off-road Tent Trailer Build

    In case you missed it, Brandon (aka OlympiaFJ60) has a great post on his build of a off-road tent trailer.

    Read the article at Off-road Tent Trailer Build
    Toyota FJ80 Land Cruiser

    Pacific Northwest Backroad Adventures - Pacific Northwest Overland Adventure Forums.

    Steve G. Bisig Fine Art Photography - Fine Art Nature & Landscape Photography of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest

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    Thanks Steve, it has taken a while to get to this point. I am still finishing up the box and will have more info on the tent source in a month or two. That has been the hardest part with this project, but the trailer will be ready for ground tent camping by the end of this month (or I could use one of those cool Roof Top Tents).

    And to every one else, I am open to suggestions and critique of the project. If I can produce this reasonably enough, I would like to make more and offer them for sale. Something on par with Adventure Trailers but also offering a little less "Adventure" version.

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    Here are a few update shots. I'm nearly done with the trailer. We are taking it on a week long camping expedition (looking for "sheep camp" were my mom and her family spent their summers in the 40's and 50's) in the Owyhee Mountains in SW Idaho.

    I'll post some action shots when we get back rather than my poser shots here.

    The Front

    The back with kitchen closed

    The side showing utilities, RV water heater, water tank fill, power box, battery charger plug,

    A close up of the power box with 110v outlet (fed by a 400watt inverter) for charging batteries and lite electrical loads.

    Next two are the kitchen roled out. I am using a two burner camper stove and a bar sink (15"x15") from Home Depot.

    Rear door locked up. I'm not much of a carpenter though.

    I bent the fenders up to make small running boards. Also improved stability of the fenders.

    Planned location for Propane bottle. Just need to find/make a mount.
    Last edited by OlympiaFJ60; 09-12-2008 at 11:03 AM.

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    We made it on our trip and it worked great. I think I need to spring over the trailer though. Once loaded with water, camping gear, fuel and bikes I didn't have much room left in the fender or bump stops. I also need to make sure I clean my rusty spring plates a little better for the next shock mount. There is half a shock some place between Juniper Mountain road and Jordan Valley .

    Off topic, but you can read about our trip here Owyhee Sheep Camp Expedition, Part 1 | OlympiaFJ60

    Thanks to all the other trailer builders and idea people to help get me motivated to finish (or finish for now) this project.

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    Pictures of the interior of the trailer. I used AGM batteries for safety and reliablility (like optima just no spiral).

    When at a campground our at home, I use a trolling motor charger to keep the batteries topped off. When driving I charge through the vehicle using a hellroaring battery isolator I installed as part of my Dual battery setup into an 87 FJ60 | OlympiaFJ60

    The back of my power box. I used circuit breakers from the batteries to the power. One battery is for the water pump and lights. The second batter is for the inverter.

    For the inverter I just used a 400 watt inverter I had wired with a relay to switch on and off from the switch panel.

    Here is a shot of the water heater. You can see how much space this thing takes up. I think in my next trailer I will use the on demand type heater instead. The second picture is off the whole inside. The water tank is the other item I would change. It is too tall. I think a wider but more flat one would work better for storage space. Even with the limited space I am able to carry the camp table, chairs, tent and shower/toilet enclosure.

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    Very nice setup! I have a on-road tent trailer that I would love to exchange for a nice off-road version, but I don't think I could swing the wife to go with that...
    Decidion (Jeff)
    '08 Brick Red
    AFE, BudBuilt, IPF, SAW, BFG AT, Bandi, Midland, Moeller, BajaRack, Trail-Gear, LCNW Bumper, Titan Winch and others...
    I wanna be a cowboy...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Port Orchard, Wash.


    I'm very intrigued by that setup. No time now to ponder it, but I'll be back with some questions later!
    -- Tim Taylor
    Port Orchard, Wash.

  8. #8


    Very nicely done!

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    Picked up the tent. I set it up quickly or some pictures and get a first impression. Of course it was raining so I had to set it up in the shop. I was not able to open the annex and install the walls but the main tent fit (just barely) and I like what I see so far. Well made with heavy sippers and double seams. I have some questions on the travel cover but everything else looks pretty good. Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to mount it to the trailer. I think a bit of extra bracketry is required and will have to pack the tent back up and flip it over to get a better idea. I will get more pictures one I get it permanently mounted and can set it up outside.

    A few more pictures at Off-road tent trailer build, part 3 | OlympiaFJ60

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    Hopefully I will have these available by summer. Still waiting on ocean shipping rates. Also looking into the need for fire retardant fabric before I announce a price.

    The size of the tent closed is 90" (~7.5') long, 66" (5.5') wide and between 6"-12" tall. The width was selected because that is the width of my trailer outside fender to outside fender. I believe the M416 is roughly the same. The base is designed to sit 54" off the ground. Open, the tent is 17' wide and 15' long (7.5' each for main room and awning). The peak is 8'. The tent fabric is 10oz rip stop poly cotton canvas and the floor is 13oz PVC. Polls and ladder are steel. The base is 3/4" marine grade plywood with a metal frame under for added support. There are two hatch doors in the base for easy access to trailer storage once setup. There is a 3" foam mattress. The entire tent weighs roughly 350 lbs.

    I am still working on the mounting. I am thinking of offering a mounting frame at additional expense or having the customer provide their own mounting method. The frame would fit customers trailer and have hinges, latches and struts.

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