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Thread: New Modified Teardrop Concept, Max Storage with Slide-Out

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Port Charlotte, FL, USA

    Default New Modified Teardrop Concept, Max Storage with Slide-Out

    Hello everyone. I have been a quiet member for over a year. I am a Jeep enthusiast who just finished installing a Hemi in my 2007 Wrangler Rubicon and now I ready for the expo trailer. I bought a Canadian M101 last year to convert into a off-road expo, but I have since caught the teardrop bug. I am an average welder, decent mechanic, and handy with the plasma cutter and tubing bender.

    I plan on moving to Colorado in the next few months and I figure now is the time to build. The main thing keeping me away from traditional teardrops is the lack of storage outside of the sleeping compartment and the "wasted" space inside the sleeping compartment (I don't need 4-5' of headroom to lie down).

    I have set out to design the ultimate easy to use teardrop inspired (front enclosed sleeping, rear kitchen) with maximum storage and minimal wasted space. I have been heavily influenced by Skersfan's Shuttle Pod and Titanpat57's ROAM (thanks guys).

    My needs are as such... My wife and I (no kids) sleep lying down, so headroom can be minimized. Our two German Shepherds need a place inside to sleep. Setup needs to be quick and easy with no tent/awning stakes in the ground (I may like to setup in a parking lot or rest area). There must be enough room inside to comfortably change clothes, preferably standing up. The length must be kept to a minimum and the weight should be minimized as well using lightweight materials in non-structural areas. The off-road capability must be maximized.

    I believe I have met all of my needs with this new concept and I am submitting it to gather your ideas on improvements and building materials / equipment (everything is perfectly to scale and I have selected equipment based on my needs and space):

    The sleeping compartment is elevated, but there is room to move around on the ground floor. The nose hinges forward to provide standing room for changing (I may place a drain in the floor and use that area as a shower as well ???). The kitchen area is attached to a truck bed slide-out ( that stores under the sleeping compartment (the pictures all show the passenger fender cutaway exposing the kitchen storage area, but the driver's side is shown complete). The rear door hinges up to provide shade.

    To access the kitchen, the rear door is raised, the kitchen is slid out, and some items can be immediately accessed, while others may be under a lid, behind a door, or in a drawer. Almost the entire top can be used as a table/counter. On the passenger side we have the Edgestar 43QT fridge, large 18" wide drawers for food and pots/pans, a sink drained to a 16 gal grey tank, 12" wide drawers for utensils and/or clothes, and a 50" pass through for storing long items/rifles.

    On the driver's side, we have a 22" Partner stove (the lid is custom, the wings fold out from under the lid once it is raised, but the wings and lid fold flat over the stove when not in use), storage for a Honda 2000 (just in case), storage for two 20lb Propane tanks (might be in the woods for a few weeks at a time), two 16 gal water tanks, a 31 series deep cycle battery with room for the AC/DC equipment, and a storage bin for misc. items or dirty clothes. The side covering the propane and generator hinges and locks up for use as a sit down table. The rear door covering the generator allows quick access while the kitchen is stowed in the trailer.

    The heaviest equipment (water, propane, and battery) are all mounted over the axle when the kitchen is stowed. Also, all the weight is down very low. This thing is going to tow like a dream!!! There is easy access to fill or service the water tanks. The yellow tube in the center protects the wiring and keeps it neat.

    A 5 gal fuel tank will mount on each side, again close to the axle. A built-in ladder assists with cleaning and possible future solar installation. The tires are 33", but room is left for 35" to 37".

    Since the sleeping bed is above the tires/fenders and covers half of each tire, it will be close to 5'5" wide and 6'3" long (I'm 6'1"). I left 6" inside the rear door area for the foldable/storable awning concept. The arms are going to either fold out or slide out and the canvas will be in one piece and will snap/zip or otherwise attach to the arms and rear door providing excellent shade and decent rain protection. The front tent area will be permanently attached to the hinged lid and to the trailer and will simply tilt up from the inside and then secured with a bar/rod.

    Here is a cutaway of the sleeping compartment. Plenty of floor space for the dogs. During foul weather, the front lid can be closed and the only drawback is no standing room for anyone over 5'.

    With all the lids closed, the entire kitchen, minus the sink, is flat and it is all at the perfect height (no bending over). You can see the 6" deep area inside the rear door, before the sleeping compartment, that I left for the rear awning system to stow in.

    Here is the passenger side fender cutaway with the kitchen stowed. With the rear door locked, only the fuel tanks are left exposed to the weather or thieves.

    All closed up and ready to roll... or pull over, hop in, and go to sleep.

    The rear door will need some graphics and/or sprucing up.

    Ok, here's the great part. The kitchen is completely modular. With the exception of the bracing, every panel or compartment can be altered if equipment is changed. Everything is easily serviceable and the bed slide comes out 120%, so you can crawl into the storage area for repairs, or the dogs can nap in there while the kitchen is out.

    I have dual batteries in my Jeep and an under hood heat exchanger, so I've got the power covered should my trailer battery die and I've got the hot water covered. I will use a propane heater for the sleeping area. I have 37's on the Jeep and the bolt pattern will be the same on the trailer (5x5.5), so I can use the Jeep's spare in a pinch.

    Right now the trailer is 160" tip to tip, but a good deal of that is the front A-frame, 79" tall (will fit in my standard garage), and around 80" wide wheel to wheel (the same as the Jeep with the Dana 60s).

    Here's where I need your help...

    I believe I want to use steel for the frame for strength and steel for the structure like Skersfan. I will probably order the aluminum bed slide and I am thinking of making the entire kitchen out of aluminum for weight savings. I am not sure how I should do the walls and skin. I was thinking birch interior, but do I need plywood walls with the steel frame? What is wrong with using thin gauge steel for the skin welded to the steel supports (the skin would be painted)? Insulation would go between the steel skin and birch interior. Rust would be a long time coming if prepped and painted correctly. I'm just not sure I want to deal with the think heavy plywood and fiberglass type skins. Help me out!

    I may use a torsion bar axle for the ground clearance; unless anyone has a great off-road setup they could direct me too. I want to keep the weight under 2000lbs fully loaded and I hope the use of aluminum helps with that.

    Can anyone offer suggestions to keep the water tanks from freezing due to weeks in the cold mountain weather?

    Please feel free to offer any suggestions and ideas. I should start the build in a few weeks, but may start ordering things soon.
    Last edited by 86JP-CJ7; 10-17-2011 at 12:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Wow! Awesome design! Good luck with the build!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Hobart Australia

    I have sketchup'd a similar kind of concept; (though more of a squaredrop )

    XI. Opening roof with mattress jpeg by tassie tiger2010, on Flickr


    XIb. Single oztent off side by tassie tiger2010, on Flickr

    Toyed with the idea of a rear kitchen. Yours is a very clever idea. Is it patented????

    XI. Rear kitchen unit installed jpeg by tassie tiger2010, on Flickr

    Even started fabricating;

    IMG_0633 by tassie tiger2010, on Flickr

    Last edited by tassie tiger; 10-16-2011 at 10:00 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Cairns , Australia
    Excellent looking design .. I will like to watch this concept follow through .


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    SouthEastern Michigan
    Pardon me, as i am green on the subject, but how is condensation dealt with in the colder climates, in the sleeping area?
    JEEP The AR-15 of the automotive world

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Phx, Az
    I would add a Fantastic Fan with remote & rain sensor to the roof as it will make the inside very comfortable in warm temps.
    I really like your slide out kitchen/awning idea, slick!
    cigar smoking, wilderness first responding, ham talking night nurse who is overland certified and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.....
    now everyone say "so what where have you been lately?"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    cool kitchen
    curious what you plan to handle the weight sliding back from the kitchen ? if your trailer is not hooked up
    I had a idea for a heavy slide and have a flip down wheel setup ?

    also have you thought about water tanks that tuck up into the frame area under the trailer itself so the weight is not being pulled out also puts the weight down a bit lower and keeps it in one spot ? that is the one thing I love is the tank location on the conqueror setups
    my Snow Peak Reviews & Tweaks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Banning, California
    The steel frame is a must, and you need to get the water off the slide out. Will this be motorized as you are talking a tremendous amount of weight on sliders. You will need to use alluminum for the upper frame and the kitchen area and the lightest coverings you can find. I do not think the slide out with that much weight will work very well as you show it going to end of the trailer.

    It is a great concept, no question, just do not see how you will get it under 2000 pounds unless using alluminum. That will increase the cost of the materials considerably.

    Mine is weighing in at 2104 fully loaded with 28 gallons of water on board, 7 gallons of propane, spare tire, memory foam mattress.

    I took mine out this weekend. Temp at night was around 40, no condensation problems.

    They make a heating element that can be wrapped around the water tanks.

    Another problem with slide outs off road is the fact the frame normally twists some. Very easy to cause binding precluding it sliding in and easily. I do think it would have to be electric to work. I like the idea and will try to figure it out to see if I can do it. I was planning on making a slide in and bolt kitchen set up. But yours has a lot of space for storage, and that again adds weight.

    With everything you are trying to do, my guess is with steel, you are looking at 2600 to 2700, and as wide as you are talking you are building a base camp trailer. That is not too heavy for that by any means.

    Great idea, will follow your build and if I can be any help let me know.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    On the Road
    looks fantastic!

    cant wait to see it done!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Port Charlotte, FL, USA
    Holy crap, you guys are quick... Let me take these as they came.

    1. No my idea is not patented. I would never have thought of it without looking at everyone else's builds so I don't see why I should try to hold someone else back from using my ideas.

    2. I too am green on cold weather as I have always camped in hot weather.

    3. I knew I would have to install some type of fan, thanks for the Fantastic Fan recommendation.

    4. Although I did not draw it, I do plan to install support/leveling posts on the rear bumper to keep the trailer from tipping back when the kitchen is slid out.

    5. In regards to moving the water tanks, it cannot be done with this concept. Installing the tanks in the frame would raise the height well over the 78-80" inches it is currently at. Although there are three 16 gal tanks (2 fresh and 1 grey), only 32 gallons will be on board at a time. Whatever water is filling the grey tank has to be coming out of the fresh tanks. 32 gal of water only weighs 268lbs which is a little heavier than the average man, so it shouldn't be too bad.

    6. Here is the link to the bed slide specs . Some of them support 2500lbs and are as ridged as the trailer frame itself. Bolting the bed slide to the frame will only help to strengthen it off-road. A thin sheet of metal between the bed slide and frame will keep the dirt and water out. These slides are used in the construction vehicle industry and shouldn't be a problem with the lower amount of weight I will have on it (compared to those guys). Here are the wet weights that will be on the bed slide:

    76lbs of propane (38lbs for each full tank)
    268lbs of water (32 gal)
    60lbs of battery
    47lbs of generator
    50lbs of fridge
    TOTAL - 501lbs

    I do not have the weights on the sink and stove, but they should be minimal. Even if I end up adding 500lbs more for the box itself along with clothing and utensils, 1000lbs shouldn't be too bad. Remember, although the kitchen looks like a huge brick, it is really just a 1"x1" aluminum frame and cross members, with aluminum panels attached to some of the sides and most of the top. The bulk of the weight is kept low (no roof top tent).

    I know I must keep the weight down and if I must spend the extra for aluminum, I will still come in well under the cost of a used Chaser, Conqueror, Little Guy, or similar.

    7. I am unsure if I will use an electric or manual bed slide. I will talk with the manufacturer and see what they recommend. These things look stout, but I have no idea how easy they roll.

    8. A friend asked me why the front is sloped so much. If it was sloped less, there would not be room for a fold up "changing area". He also mentioned torsion bar axles don't have a great off-road reputation, and I should look into a trailing link setup. I have no experience with either, only leaf and coil spring setups, so I will be doing some more research.

    If Bob's is weighing in at 2104, then I guess I should be in the same neighborhood. Although I have the extra propane and large slider, I have no spare, 1 less generator, less wood, and hopefully an aluminum wall and roof frame in the trailer.

    I guess my biggest unknown is what to make the walls, roof, and skin out of. Why arenít more guys welding thinner gauge steel or aluminum all around the outside? This seems like it would be water tight at the seams. Are the big sheets too hard to work with?

    Thanks guys... Keep the suggestions and ideas comming.

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