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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 9:50 pm 
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Location: TX by the water
Living on the gulf coast, I've always wanted a Bug Out Trailer that I could keep loaded with my camping supplies.
Having something to "Bug Out" in was always on my lists of wants, but everything I looked at was too expensive.

I decided to go ahead and build a small camper, a Teardrop specifically. By building it ourselves we not only could save several thousand dollars but we could design it the way we wanted.


Part 1-----
So in May of 2008, my husband saw a trailer frame sitting in a field and paid the owner $50 for it.

He had to modify it slightly, and it took a ton of sanding and a few coats of paint but before long it was looking pretty good!
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It's amazing how quickly it goes with just 3 pieces of 3/4" plywood!
The bottom of the floor was coated with roofing paint to help protect it from road conditions.
Some leftover porch and floor finished up the top.
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Some cabinet grade plywood is used to make the galley frame. We measured one side for a small fridge.
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Insulation.
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Framing the front and roof.
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Finishing the Insulation.
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:02 pm 
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Part 2--------------------

We then ran the wiring for the lights, vent fan and outlets.
1/4" plywood goes up to form the ceiling.
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Another sheet of 1/4" plywood is slowly bent over the top.
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looking good!
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Living in Texas, I did not want to even think about camping without a A/C. I designed a tongue box that would house a small window unit A/C. The holes in the front are for vents that will allow for intake and outtake of air flow.
A coat of Kilz goes over the front and top.
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The top, front and tongue box are painted orange to match my tow vehicle.
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:11 pm 
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Part 3--------------
The dreaded hatch!

I admit, the hatch scared me, I made the tongue box, so my husband got volunteered to build the hatch. He did a great job!
Here it is framed out.
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Then covered like the teardrop top.
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I went round and round on what to do the walls with, and settled on tongue and groove wall paneling.
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I stained and varnish all the interior paneling. Then added the A/C vents. My husband did the wiring and installed the lights and switches.
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I also commissioned him for the cabinets.
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:21 pm 
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Nice! Looks like a Benroy. Do you spend time at the tt&t Mikenchell forum? I have a frame and have wanted to build one for a while but my wife won't sleep in it...

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:22 pm 
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Part 4-----------------

At first I was going to just paint the outside, but after seeing another teardrop with wood sides, I decided to go with the "Woody" look.
2 pieces of 1/4 oak, had to go through a whole pile at Home Depot to find 2 pieces that looked good and similar in wood grain.

I used CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer) to cover the oak. The CPES brings out the wood color, I didn't add any stain to it. Then I coated it with about 4 coats of Helmsman polyurethane.
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Tons of glue and clamps and on it goes!
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I did the same with the doors and then attached them with piano hinges.
We put weather stripping around the door edges.
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Trim around the door seals the edges.
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:25 pm 
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Looking really nice there! Great inspiration for a project of my own down the line.

How are you powering it?

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:26 pm 
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Dawgboy wrote:
Nice! Looks like a Benroy. Do you spend time at the tt&t Mikenchell forum? I have a frame and have wanted to build one for a while but my wife won't sleep in it...


It is a Benroy. Yes I spent many hours on that website looking at teardrops, especially the interior cabinets and galleys. Got all the important information there also.
I LOVE sleeping in it! Can you say "COZY" :D
I used to sleep in the car! This is MUCH better!

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:32 pm 
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Auslander wrote:
Looking really nice there! Great inspiration for a project of my own down the line.

How are you powering it?


Powering with 110v. On one side of the galley cabinet is the 12v battery. There is a converter to take the 110V form the campsite to the teardrop and can also run just off the battery if we don't have electricity.
We can't run the fridge or the A/C off the battery, but we can run all the lights, the vent fan, TV, DVD player and stereo.

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:50 pm 
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Part 5------------------

During the months of July and August we had to take a few breaks, tarp up the teardrop for some near miss storms. This made us hastily throw on some lights and I ran got a trailer plate just in case we had to prematurely put it on the road.

Good thing we did because unfortunately we DID have to put it on the road.
I took this picture as I was loading it up for it's first Bug Out run...........Hurricane Ike was making a bee-line straight for us! :cry:
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Attached the tongue box.
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We pulled the teardrop to Rockport, I was amazed! It didn't fall apart! :D

Just as I had dreamed, it was a perfect Bug Out vehicle. Luckily my dad had a big garage and we camped out inside his garage awaiting for Ike to move in.
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The news was bad. Hurricane Ike did hit my town and hit it hard. We decided to go ahead and leave the teardrop at my dads, not knowing if we could get it back into our town. We decided if we got back in and the house was gone, we would just go back and get it.
It was a good decision.
we couldn't be more grateful that our house survived, because like the teardrop, we built this house ourselves.
This is the morning after, at the height of the storm the water was 7' feet in the yard and 6' feet in the bottom floor.
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This put a dead stop to our teardrop build. The weeks and months ahead were spent gutting the downstairs and turning it into a garage. We lost all our tools in the flood, so it was slow going trying to build back up our tool inventory.

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:59 pm 
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Part 6-----------------

We went back to my dads at Thanksgiving and picked up the teardrop. There was now was a garage to store it in.
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Exterior trim.
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A friend of mine sent me some underglo lights.....This TD can party!
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Finally starting on the galley cabinets!
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 11:06 pm 
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Part 8------------------
Here is one cabinet which houses the fuse box, battery, converter, underglo controls and plug for the campground hookup.
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Decided to go ahead and beef up the axle and wheels.
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My husband idea...home made wooden fenders.
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Just some cheapo wheel covers from wally-world.
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My idea......this TD needs a bar!
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 11:17 pm 
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Part 9--------
For the most part the teardrop is complete.
I may want to dabble in a solar panel to throw up on the roof later on.
In just a year and half we pulled it over 8,000 miles.
Last summer we took a 10 state trip and camped in 8 campgrounds. Several other weekend camps after that.
Next month we'll be driving it across Texas to Palo Dura.

I cannot be happier with the results, it's everything I hoped it would be and more. I keep it packed with bedding, food, first aid, toiletries and clothes. We really just have to hitch it up and go.
The A/C keeps it SO cold!, and it is so well insulated and small in the cabin that you really cannot use a heater or you will get too hot. I do put the heater on in the morning for really cold mornings and it stays real toasty. :)
The A/C also comes out of the tongue box and provides extra storage for non summer trips.

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On long stays we hook up a tent, shorter stays just the teardrop is fine.
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 11:26 pm 
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verry niiiize!

beautiful workmanship.

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 11:30 pm 
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Looking good. I was wondering how you are planning to power that AC unit, Got to admit, that its looking good so far.

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 11:43 pm 
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Opps you added to it, when I left the window open and went to eat. LOL saw the part about the batt's and genny,

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 11:50 pm 
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Once again, that thing is beautiful.


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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 6:39 am 
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that is pretty awesome!

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 6:47 am 
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Sweet! I have always wanted to build a tear-drop trailer. Everytime people post up pics it makes me kick myself into working on one.

Looks awesoem and very well built. Any chance for a pic of the mural on the back?

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 7:19 am 
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That is a beautiful camper and sounds like it made an excellent addition to your BOV.

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 9:20 am 
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The mural
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I decided to disguise the hatch underside with paint instead of skinning it with more wood.
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Here is the interior bedding.
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Entertainment---Drop down DVD, TV and stereo.
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Here is where the extension cord pulls through to hook up to an external power supply.
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 9:34 am 
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Wow. That thing is awesome.


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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 9:38 am 
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amazing! i way try to build my own utilizing the back half of a pickup truck frame...

this really is an amazing build. how off road capable is your current suspension and frame?

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 9:45 am 
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What a wonderful build! My hats off to you both!

I love that you're pulling it with an Element as well! My fiance picked up a 2010 Scion xB with intentions of putting a hitch on it. I should send her this thread to look through! :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 9:47 am 
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That's too awesome.

That looks like a real winner, to me, for a bug out situation. My short term plan involves a camper shell for my truck, and something softer to lay on, in the back :lol:

I loves that trailer, you guys have a great eye and are definitely really good with your hands. That's great work, and so well done.

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