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Utility Trailer Conversion for Camping - Is it Worth it?

By Edited Jul 22, 2016 0 0

A utility trailer conversion for camping is very possible, but in all honesty, it might not be worth the time and money you’ll sink into it.  There are many considerations you’ll need to make before you bull forward with such a project, which I would like to share with you.   While utility trailers-slash-campers are being produced which offer storage space for toys like four wheelers or cycles, they are a specialty item.  Making your own isn’t an easy task and probably won’t be worth it in the end.  Here is why this type of conversion probably doesn’t make sense to tackle.  I will even assume you have all the needed skills to complete the work on your own.   These are some of the costs you’ll have and some of the reasons it might not be worth the investment.

Very Limited Resale Market and Value

Even if you do a bang up and do all the work professionally, to the point of perfection, there will be a very limited group of people willing to even buy the converted utility trailer camper.  Those willing to make the purchase are likely only going to be willing to pay very little for it.  What would you buy, homemade by someone you don’t know or a camper made in a factory, by a company you’ve heard of?    You aren’t likely to have lots of people competing to buy your homemade travel trailer if the price isn’t much less than the real deal.

Converting a Trailer to Camper is a Major Project

This isn’t going to be something you can do in an afternoon.  This is going to be a very time consuming, labor intensive project, which will take a lot of your spare time.  With all the things which will need to be done to complete the task, your time will need to be a major consideration as you look into working on something like this.  If your time is valuable, don’t shortchange yourself into thinking it’s no big deal.

Expenses and Materials for Utility Trailer Conversion for Camping

These are just a few of the expenses you’ll end up having, even if you do all the work on your own.

Cabinetry:  While you won’t necessarily need anything super fancy, you certainly wouldn’t want to take your time to make your camper out of a trailer and not include any cabinets.  If you can find them used, you might be able to make them fit and work, regardless of size, which would save some money, since you can occasionally find them cheap at yard sales and secondhand stores.

Water System:  While not absolutely needed, it would be nice to at least have a working sink and faucet.  A toilet might not be needed, since many small popups don’t have them, but would be a nice touch, if space allowed it to be added.

Furniture, Beds:  You will need something to sleep on and eat on, since it will be raining on occasion when you’re out.  If you’re handy, a table which converts to a small bed isn’t that hard to make.  Add another bed, which could serve double duty as a place for a couple of people to sit, and you’ll have all you likely need to rough it.

Electrical Expenses:  Could you get by without any electrical?  I suppose you could, assuming you just ran an extension cord into the homemade camper made of a utility trailer.  That said, having the option to just plug in and have power would be very nice and is something included on even the cheapest of campers out there.

Additional Vehicles and Trailers For Camper Conversions

There are some that will work just fine, assuming you are looking at this as a project to give you something to do, since this is probably not financially sound.  The following are some of the trailers you can use.

Livestock Trailers:  These will work the same as almost any enclosed utility trailer for sale.  They are available in larger sizes and are generally built very well.

Flatbeds:  They will work, but you’ll have additional building expenses and materials because you’ll have to construct the walls.  People use these for ice fishing houses, which are essentially campers for the frozen lake.

Enclosed Trailers:  If you can buy them pretty cheap, they will be a very good option to complete this type of project.  Some are steel and some are made of aluminum

School Bus: Lots of people convert school buses to hunting shacks, especially up north.  It would be something to consider because you can find old school buses pretty cheap.

Cargo Van:  This might be a good option for your project, especially if you can find one that’s got a good running motor and priced pretty well.

Alternatives to Converting a Utility Trailer to a Camper

Once you look at the costs of all the materials you will need to complete your project and take your time into account, you might want to compare it to the prices of some of the other things you can buy.

Popup Camper:  You can buy a small, used popup camper for $1,500.  It will be an older model, but in that range, you can find them.  Of course, with popups, you’ll have extra time involved with setup each and every time you go out camping, but you’ll also have something which will hold its value to some extent and have a good market of potential buyers if you look to sell down the road.

Cheap Motorhome:  You can find and older, cheap motorhome for sale out there, especially if you’re willing to get something on the small side.  You can find them for a few thousand dollars.

Toy Hauler:  This is basically what you’re mimicking with converting a utility trailer to a camper.  They are designed to haul man toys, like motorcycles or ATV’s and still provide some room for sleeping.  These are relative new, so pricing will be higher than some of the other options.

With all the alternatives and all the expenses with utility trailer to camper conversions, it might not be the most financially sound idea.



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