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Burned Out Pop Up Trailer Base For This Aerodynamic Super-Light Camp Trailer

This post was updated on March 19th, 2024

Rob Lietman, from New River, Arizona, created an “aerodynamic superlight camp trailer” so he could travel the hills from Phoenix to Flagstaff in his Toyota Prius.

He said that wood frame campers suffer over time in the extreme temperatures of the Sonoran Desert. The resulting thermal expansion and contraction causes loosened joints, gaps in seams, and the dreaded nemesis: water damage.

This rolling frame was salvaged from a burned out pop up camper, and used as the base for Rob’s homemade trailer.

Burned out pop up camper frame
Rob Lietman

Rounded framework from a 9 foot satellite dish creates the domed walls.

Super light camper under construction
Rob Lietman

Salvaged aluminum and wooden furring strips support the panels.

Flooring in light camper
Rob Lietman

The insulated walls, floor, fenders and hammered elements are all used composite sign boards.

Super light camper side profile
Rob Lietman

You might be wondering how he keeps the water out. After all, even the coolest of DIY campers wouldn’t be so useful if it weren’t watertight.

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Every joint and seem is first sealed with a high grade polyurethane sealant then ether bolted or screwed together.

The Styrofoam insulation is cut to fit and sealed in place and each body panel is cut to fit and sealed all four sides than screwed in place.

We do not get that much rain, but when we do I like to be out playing in it. I road test every chance I get and so far all dry.

Some solar panels and beautiful scenery make for a fabulous boondocking spot.

Super light camper exterior
Rob Lietman
Rear of super light camper
Rob Lietman

The most difficult part of the project? This back door.

Rear of homemade camper
Rob Lietman

The most difficult part of the process, that is an easy one. The back door was tough every step of the way.

With it in place and functional, it was just to heavy for one person to lift and prop it open. I started experimenting to come up with a system to assist the lift and hold the door open.

I had to make the door easier to lift so I cut the lower 3rd off and turned it into a small ramp.

A guy that lives near me had a parted out Chevy Tahoe that is the donor of the side window.

I remembered the hood was gone but the lift springs remained. I fab’d some simple mounts and played with the placement, installed them and it worked.

These springs toggle up and hold open and toggle down to close and release. The door now can be opened with one hand.

Camper in the wild
Rob Lietman

We can make 70 to 80 mph on the big grades while averaging 44 mpg, with a comfortable bed some gear and a couple bikes inside.

Thanks Rob for sending in your cool DIY build!

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