An Easy DIY Teardrop Camper Build With Steelhouse Fabrication’s Modular System
Many RVers are finding that teardrop campers are the right rig for them. They are a popular choice for those who like to camp in more remote locations or don’t want to get huge trucks to pull the said camper. For their small size, they can be pretty pricy. Some might feel like building their own teardrop from a small cargo trailer. But not everyone is an RV mechanic, nor knows where to start with a DIY teardrop camper.
Steelhouse Fabrication trailers have answered the call with an interesting system that allows you to turn any cargo trailer into a camper. In August, my wife Natalie and I found them at the 2021 Overland Expo in Loveland, Colorado. We were fascinated with their modular systems and interviewed them to see how they worked. It turns out, anyone can become a DIY teardrop camper builder or even create their own toy hauler with their easy-to-install system.
Steelhouse Fabrication Products
Steelhouse Fabrication makes a few different types of products to turn a cargo trailer into a functional camper.
The kitchen modules are the heart of the system. They bolt securely to the cargo trailer using an E-track system. They come in various sizes to fit any cargo trailer and house grey and freshwater tanks, a sink, propane range stove, a lithium battery, inverter, and a portable solar panel.
Steelhouse Fabrication makes two types of sleeping systems that attach to the trailer via E-track as well.
The DIY teardrop camper sofa sleeps two comfortably, and folds up against the wall for extra storage while traveling.
Build a DIY teardrop camper with Steelhouse Fabrication
Buy a cargo trailer
Here is where you have a little bit of room to play. You can get any size cargo trailer you want. Their smallest modular setup will fit a 5’ X 8’ trailer or even a sprinter van. If you want a more teardrop look, a V-nose trailer is recommended.
If you would like a little more room to take some toys with you, there is an option to go a little bigger and still have a lightweight camper.
Purchase a couple of E-track sections
All of Steelhouse Fabrication’s products bolt to your trailer with E-track. You can have the trailer dealer install the E-track for you or do it yourself.
Purchase your Steelhouse Fabrication Modules
Their system uses “a customizable modular system to give you the ability to create exactly what you want for an adventure.” Their product line includes everything from a comfy bed and workbenches to a fully functional kitchen. Each of the modules is easily removable with 2 bolts in under 10 minutes, to give you the most out of your cargo trailer!
That’s it! Your kitchen/power system and bed will arrive at your doorstep wrapped in plastic. All you have to do is set it in the trailer and attach it to the E-track with a wrench, and you have yourself a homemade teardrop trailer.
Add sleeping room with a rooftop tent mount
Steelhouse Fabrication also makes mounts for adding a rooftop tent to your trailer. This doubles the sleeping area as well. At the Overland Expo, their display model had the tent attached, and it looked pretty good.
Cost of building a DIY teardrop camper
Making a DIY teardrop camper is cool and all, but is it cost-effective? Well, the average teardrop seems to cost around $10,000. According to owner Tristen Warner, it breaks down as follows:
Kitchen module: $2,400
- Propane stove top
- 56Ah lithium battery
- 1500-watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter
- 2 AC outlets 3 USB plugs
- 5-gallon fresh and grey water capacity (Extra 5 gallon tanks can be purchased for a larger capacity.)
- Solar panel
Sofa sleeper: $569
Teardrop-sized V-nose cargo trailer: $3,000 (Purchase separately from any dealer in the US.)
So, for around $6,000, you can have a fully functioning DIY teardrop camper trailer for just over half the cost of an average teardrop camper. That’s not bad when you consider that you can remove everything in about 10 minutes, turning it into a usable cargo trailer when you aren’t camping.
To learn more about their module systems, visit their website at Steelhousefab.com.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.
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