Sunday, February 20, 2011

4. Interior Layout

This is my proposed layout.  Definitely subject to change, but it's a good starting point.
The grey areas along the sides of the trailer and in the door are windows.  (2) 30"x15" in the rear of the trailer and smaller vertical windows in the door and front driver's side.

The cabinet in the front is 18" deep and counter height except for the nearly roof high closet on the passenger side closest to the side door.

Scale: 1 cube=12"x12"    * Click on image to enlarge.

Next Blog: Finding the Right Trailer

3. Rough Drawing

While looking for a builder for my 6'x12' cargo trailer, I took a few minutes to sketch out what I have envisioned.
Next Blog: Interior Layout

2. Size Matters

The first step in this process is to determine the perfect size for my mobile mansion.  Too large and I'll consume additional fuel towing the trailer and additional heating fuel heating the trailer.  Too small and lack of space issues arise.  So, I decided to reverse engineer the dimensions of my future trailer based on what I want to put into it. 

I'm 6' 2" tall and plan to install a twin size (approx) bed.   This bed needs to fold up against the wall so that a motorcycle can be loaded in and secured.  This will also aid in using the cargo trailer for non-camping purposes. Plastic storage boxes under the bed can be used for additional bedding, etc.

I know that I want a cabinet in the front to hold a small microwave and refrigerator.  The cabinet will also hold all cooking supplies and dry goods.  Next to that, I want a closet to hang clothes in.  I don't need much space.  Just a tall section for shirts and pants and a few drawers for the rest.  This brings up an important  question.  Am I alright with built-in cabinets or are removable cabinets the way to go?  After considering this subject for a while, I've come to the conclusion that being able to remove the front cabinet with the microwave and refrigerator for interior space is important to me.  The only truly built-in component will be the fold-up bed (sticking out less than 6 inches from the wall).

After researching the dimensions of the components listed above and knowing that I want at least 6 feet of headroom, I've come to the decision that a 6'x12' cargo trailer represents the best choice for my project.  That size is very popular with businesses, motorcycle riders and landscapers.  This popularity drives the competition among builders up and the overall price down.  There were other considerations.  6'x12' is generally the largest size made without tandem (2) axles and power brakes, both of which add cost and have no added value to my trailer as my weight rating requirements are quite low.  And then there are the added tires needed for a tandem axle. $$$$

So it's settled then.  I'll start my search for a 6'x12' cargo trailer.

Next Blog: Rough Drawing

1. The Planning Stage

I've always loved to camp, but as I get older, the idea of sleeping on the ground in a tent with all that comes with it, doesn't appeal to me.  I still want to get out and see America and stay in its beautiful campgrounds, so, what are my options? Motorhome, travel trailer, pop-up trailer, camper shell for my pickup?  Let's look at those options as I see them.

A motorhome is a great way to see the country and has all the comforts of home.  In fact, some folks live full-time in motorhomes crisscrossing the country.  As great as that sounds to me, I don't require that much room and certainly don't need the brutal gas expense.  And then you have repairs.  I'm a "keep it simple" kind of guy and need to be able to make my own repairs when needed.

A Travel Trailer certainly fits the bill from a comfort standpoint, but again, the weight of the trailer requires a truck with an engine larger than mine (V6,4.3L) and again a sizable gasoline budget.  If it costs too much, I won't go.

Pop-Up Trailers have always been popular and with the price of gasoline at current levels and forecast to rise, Pop-Ups are a very popular choice.  They are fairly light in weight and because of the low profile when closed, are a dream to tow. So why not get one? For me, the screen/canvas walls give no real security.  I know it's not a very rational reason.  Campgrounds are traditionally one of the safest places to be and most campers are there to enjoy life closer to nature.  Still, it's something that bothers me so I say "It's not you", Pop-Up trailers, "It's me".

A Camper Shell was another option.  The economy was certainly there.  Very little difference in gas mileage with the camper installed.  The space issue, on the other hand was indeed a concern.  I am, by nature, a minimalist, but a trip of several months requires a lot of supplies and those supplies take up a lot of room leaving no room for me to sleep.  Kind of the "this bed's too small" scenario.

So what's left?  How do I get the space I need without the weight and gas budget that I don't want?  The answer for me was a Cargo Trailer Conversion.  I love the idea of being able to customize it any way I want to and the size and weight will be a breeze behind my 2007 Chevy Silverado. 

This blog will follow the purchase and customization of my 2011 Cargo Camper.  Stay tuned.

Next Blog: Size Matters