Douglas fir is a type of evergreen tree that grows in western North America. Some Douglas fir trees grow to over 300 feet tall!
Did you know that Douglas fir trees yield more timber than any other tree in North America? The wood is used for railroad ties, as framing for houses, and apparently, in building one-of-a-kind campers.
This man designed and built a custom pop-top camper he calls the Kleine Cabine, Dutch for “little cabin”.
It’s made entirely of Douglas fir, and features an upper cabinet space for storing your camping supplies, a kitchen hidden in the rear door, and a comfortable pull-out bed.
For electrical power, he’s got a 50 watt solar panel, two 6 V golf cart batteries, and a 300 watt inverter to run the A/C, a computer, lights, and other small electrical devices.
The camper is only ten feet long, four feet wide, and weighs around 1,200 lbs.
You might think that with all the wood and hardware for the pop-top the trailer might have cost a fortune. But he said the total cost ran to only $600.
I built it this way because it kept the cost way down. Using 2×6’s gave me length that plywood couldn’t offer and I didn’t have to do separate sheets of exterior and interior ply wood for paneling. The solid wood worked for both. I milled each piece to the same dimension and screwed them together with 3″ screws and liquid nails. Next time I will use tongue and groove to make it easier. I just added trim to the outside to cover my board ends and it looks even nicer. The canvass is a painters cloth from Harbor freight on sale for $4.99. The same at a fabric store was $40. I had the solar equipment laying around from my work in the mobile solar business. It’s not as heavy as you would think, about the same as a small pop up tent trailer.
Outer shell of the Douglas fir camper.
The slats in the middle support the bed, with storage above and below the sleeping area.
Here’s what the interior looks like with the bed in place.
The bed folds away to create a bit more floor space.
Although the camper is only 4 1/2 feet tall, the top pops up so you can stand comfortably inside. The wood is coated with Watco Exterior Wood Finish for long-lasting protection from the elements. He reapplies it each year.
You can even tow it with a Volkswagen Beetle!
Although he didn’t take many photos during the build, he’s working on creating some plans so you can make your own Douglas fir camper.