Family Basecamp Utility Trailer (sprint build thread)


Some decent progress, although our camping trip is in jeopardy this weekend due to bad weather...

Earlier this week I positioned the axle sub-weldment in place and installed the axles. This allowed me to completely weld the remainder of the frame.

There were no instructions on installing the Flexiride axles, but I think this is a decent solution:


Fully welded with the sheet metal plate on centerline (the floor panel will be thru bolted here as well).



I successfully towed the trailer home from work on Wednesday night. I was VERY close to driving off with only two lug nuts hand tightened on each wheel, but I actually remembered this before pulling out of the parking lot.

Once home, I installed the floor and side panels I had cut a few weeks ago. These are 1/2" marine fiberglass panels with a polypropylene honeycomb core. I had found these on FB Marketplace about a year ago and got them for a very good deal. They are light and strong, with a bright white gelcoat finish on one side.

The floor and side panels are all through bolted to the laser cut steel corner pieces with 5/16-18 SS hardware. On the floor, they also go through the four lengths of unistrut. The Unistrut will (hopefully) serve as rails for the pull-out sink/galley drawer. It also gives a lot of flexibility for installing future hardware.


It was getting late, but I had to install the bike rack to see how it looked! Pretty happy with it.


Anyways, our camping trip was postponed due to a LOT of rain in the forecast, so the pressure is off a bit to get this finished.

Next step is to figure out the lid hinge design and get that installed.



Progress has slowed a bit, but I'm having fun figuring out the galley and organization details. Cooler will just be mounted in the trailer for now (as shown below), but the galley module with a full double basin sink will be on one side with a heavy duty Bed Slide drawer system. This will pull out about 36" once complete.

The weather has finally gotten nice in Michigan, allowing my oldest (4 y/o) to get out his own tools and "help". It's a fun project to work on together!



I plateau'd a bit on this project, but had a chance to get through some details in the past week.

First, I removed the wood cabinet assemblies and put a couple coats of poly-acrylic on these. Very happy with how it brought out the color in the birch plywood. The two narrow ones are installed on the swing out tail gates (front and rear) to provide storage for smaller items, while the sink cabinet will be mounted on a drawer slide and provide storage for pots and pans.


(small "camping sinks" are really annoying to me. I wanted a full size, double basin sink for washing and drying dishes!)

Next, I installed the uni-strut roof rails on the 1/2" honeycomb roof panel. The rails are spaced 2" off the panel with black anodized aluminum blocks I pulled out of our scrap bin at work. The hinge is a continuous length aluminum hinge I pulled off an industrial door that was being scrapped out. Seemed like a decent solution for this trailer!


The rails are through bolted with SS 5/16-18 bolts, threading into inserts in wood stringers on the back side of the panel. I'm hoping to use these wood stringers as a mounting point for a bungee net. Some leftover ipe seemed like a classy way to do these stringers...

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New camping deadline is 6/24 for a trip with my son and nephews. The pressure is back on!




First coat of primer is on... and I'm reminded how much I dislike finish/paint work. But it sure is a lot cheaper than powder coating!

I wire brushed all metal, then wiped it thoroughly with a degreaser. After that, applied Rustoleum metal primer. Hopefully this will prove to be plenty durable.



Two coats of paint and starting to reassemble!


Under a time crunch to pull this together for a father/son camping trip this weekend!



The trailer is nowhere near dialed in, but we enjoyed a great night of camping as a family. I think it will prove to be a capable platform as I continue to improve it.


The front tailgate storage bin worked well for all that random camping stuff:


Next priority is getting the galley figured out and adding pressurized water.



From the start, I wanted a trailer that could do multiple things and wasn't purely dedicated to camping. Last weekend proved this with a family canoeing adventure and a trip to our local yard waste dump.


Just as important, I successfully got the trailer registered and plated, so I no longer have to tow it without a license plate. As part of this process, I had to get it weighed. The trailer came in at 650 lbs dry weight. This was actually a bit heavier than I expected, but is still pretty reasonable and leaves plenty of capacity on the 2000 lb Flexiride axles.



Summer has been busy, but we've managed to pull off a few camping trips. Starting to dial things in a bit more, although it takes time. A couple of highlights:

- Installed matching hard plastic cases on either side of the trailer. One is dedicated for gear storage and the other is for trash and recycling. We don't venture much in bear territory, but the trash pandas are notoriously bad around here...

- Welded a mounting bracket for a 5G Scepter water can. Really happy with how this turned out.


Headed to northern MI next weekend for another camping trip...



It's been a long winter, but it has also been a great chance to think about a few major changes to the trailer.

A few things I hope to address or improve:
  • Eliminate the front swing out bumper. This was just more trouble than it was worth
  • Improve the rear swing out bumper latch system. Destaco or similar instead of pins.
  • Weld a permanent front cross beam to support the lid structure and hinge assembly
  • Weld a beefier rack/lid solution to could support mounting a roof top tent
  • Add side access hatches on the front left/right sides of the trailer. I'd like to easily put a heavy cooler, firewood, water, etc. in the front to increase tongue weight, but not have to pull it out from the back of the trailer
  • Build two new galley boxes, each 2' W x 2' H x 4' L. One will contain the stove and assorted storage. The other will include the sink. Still working on the sliding method to pull these out from the rear of the trailer, but I think I have a cost effective solution using my unistrut floor rails.
In preparation, I bought some new tools and built a Paulk work bench. Google it if interested. Pretty cool concept, and it was fun to build.





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the convenience these trailers give is so underrated. hook up, throw the ice chest in, fill the water jugs and leave. plus, clears out a shelf or two of camping gear in the garage for other hobbies. Nice work dude.


Making some decent design progress in SolidWorks, but no screenshots of that right now.

I did get most of my first galley box built and am pretty happy with it. The 3/4" plywood is way overkill, but I had it left over from my work bench build. I'll probably end up adding cut outs in the side and bottom panels for some weight savings.

Still finalizing the details of how these will slide in the unistrut, but it will involve a pair of skateboard wheels on the back end, a welded T nut to prevent it from tipping over when cantilevered off the back of the trailer, and two guide rails to keep it aligned in the tracks.




My design is finalized, now it's just time to get to the shop and do some welding! Two major changes I'm hoping to accomplish in the coming weeks:

1) Redesigned lid/rack assembly. I will wanted a unistrut rail along each side, but it is attached to a welded frame. Also, added lifting struts.
2) A side access box/hatch. This will add a lot of storage, as well as provide access to the front 2.5' of the trailer.



@nfloyd77, thanks for asking.

I had completed most of the work outlined in the earlier posts and spent all summer using it with my family! We pulled off 14-16 nights with the trailer and it reaffirmed what a great solution it is for my family.

Added a Dometic 12V USB faucet that pulls from the 5 gallon jerry can. Really nice solution when paired with a big sink.

And this is a typical use for use... Two full size bikes and a canoe:

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