Joe Mooney, who runs the YouTube channel Homesteadonomics, is not new to building. He not only built his family’s Arizona home but also the rainwater harvesting system connected to the house.
He has also tackled projects such as a chicken coop, an underground greenhouse, and even a shipping container workshop. In fact, his popular video channel documents dozens of projects he has done around his home and property.
His latest project is a small camping trailer. The trailer idea came about when he was gifted an axle by his brother-in-law. Joe then sketched out a few ideas on paper and got to work creating a teardrop-shaped camping trailer that can sleep him, his wife, and their young daughter.
The final size of the trailer is just over 17 feet long and the body is just over 13 feet high. The interior height is a roomy 6 foot 4 inches. While his family loves to camp in the local mountain ranges, this will be their first camping trailer.
The trailer was designed from a set of basic drawings based around a single axle.
“I have never owned a teardrop or standy trailer before. I did however, start a teardrop build around 10 years ago right before building my house which was terrible timing on my part. I started that project about 7 months before building my home. And since I was acting as the owner/builder I literally just didn’t have time to do both and decided to give the frame away to a family member who made it into a treehouse for his boys. Then he gave it to another friend who actually finished it into a teardrop. So it finally did become one!”
Joe welded the supports and the floor to the axle.
Joe’s father-in-law helped to bend the curved roof over an old water pressure tank.
Most of the metal came from a local Industrial Metal Supply.
From the design to the metal and wood framing as well as the windows and door (a score on eBay), Joe built just about everything from scratch with some welding help from his father-in-law.
The curved ceiling of the trailer was actually shaped with a torch over the top of an old water pressure tank. Joe found the upgraded tires on Craigslist for only $225. Most of the metal supplies for the project came from Industrial Metal Supply.
Joe is even tackling the wiring portion of the trailer.
The trailer’s exterior is skinned with white aluminum siding panels and attached to the frame with VHB (very high bond) tape. VHB tape is used in the automotive industry as a replacement for metal fasteners and can be used on irregular surfaces.
The front of the trailer near the tongue is covered with an aluminum diamond plate to protect from road debris. Joe also did all the trailer wiring for the lights as well as the electrical and water connections. He also waterproofed the exterior edges and corners with waterproof sealant tape and shiny aluminum trim.
Wooden framing holds the window and door openings…
…and rigid foam insulation was used for the interior.
The interior is still in progress, but Joe did install insulation panels made by Rmax followed by spray sealant. The curved pieces of insulation panel for the ceiling were made more flexible by running them through a table saw.
The interior walls are covered with sheets of lauan plywood. Joe plans to build out the interior to include a convertible sofa bed, a dinette, storage cabinets, a small kitchen with cupboards, and even a tiny shower/bathroom.
“I really enjoy figuring things out and problem solving, but I guess the biggest challenge with this project would have to be just the research that goes into each phase. Figuring what material, application method, and technique is correct to accomplish each part. I only drew up some general sketches before I started, so I don’t have any real plans to speak of. Basically I just started the project off the top of my head. This is probably not the best way, but it works for me and allows me to adjust during the process pretty easily. However, it also has accounted for material shortages and overages during the various build portions. Some things I over ordered and some I under bought causing yet another run to the hardware store.”
Joe also has videos on other home projects such as chicken coops and rainwater harvesting.