Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stealth Camper Conversion

This is what I started with. 

Today I pulled out the big double bed platform and rebuilt the bed. It is 23.5 inches wide, and I am currently formulating a plan for storage on the other side. 
Here is today's progress. 

So far I have only used recycled materials. Reused stuff that I pulled out earlier.

Spent part of the day measuring and working up a materials list.  It's going to run about $300.

I also removed the TV antenna and marked where I want to cut the aluminum tubing to bring it down to roof level. I have decided to leave that whole setup there in case I can use it for something later, but don't want it obvious and above the roof line.

I have an idea of what I want, just not completely sure how I am going to do it yet. I am not a carpenter.

I have changed directions once again. I brought home some lumber on Saturday, and will be returning it today or tomorrow. My carpentry skills are pretty much at hack level, so I was very hesitant to get started yesterday. This morning I ordered black wire shelving and storage containers and will be going in that direction instead. Which is actually the very first option that I considered. It will also be lighter and much easier to configure. I have also ordered the insulation for the floor and ceiling and will get that done before I put in the shelving. All this at pretty much the same amount of money my lumber would have cost.

My mattress is at the post office, and today is a holiday so it will have to wait until tomorrow. I did haul the memory foam mattress topper, the mattress cover and a big pillow out of the closet yesterday and they are in the trailer awaiting the finishing of the bed.

I do need to sit down and figure out how much money I have spent so I can see what I have left and still keep it under budget. It all adds up pretty fast.

Collecting the bits and pieces I will need to assemble the interior. I have received the shelving and some of the wire baskets plus the vent cover. Still waiting on the insulation for the floor and ceiling. I can't do anything until I get the floor insulated and a new layer of plywood down. I will have to undo some of the work I did on the bed to accomplish that, but that shouldn't be too difficult. Once that is done, I can unroll the mattress and let that expand, then assemble and configure the shelving. Hoping to be able to do some of that this weekend. Good thing I am not in a hurry. 

Another week has passed and I gathered a few more parts and pieces. Got the wire crates and baskets and have been stashing everything in the trailer. I will have to clean all of that out before I can do the floor. 

The insulation for the floor finally arrived late yesterday, so today I tackled that. It took a bit longer than I had expected. After clearing the trailer out, I had to remove the floor brackets for the table. Naturally, Glen had used washers and lock nuts, so I actually had to crawl under the trailer to remove the nuts on the bracket that was closer to the middle. That took some time and some creativity because I couldn't be in the trailer holding the screws while I was removing the nuts from underneath. But I got it!

Patch the holes then lay down the insulation and the plywood. I had to cut pieces for the edges and reused some of the plywood from the original bed. Again, took longer than I had hoped, but I got it done. Put the bed back together, unrolled the mattress and then cut the foam topper to fit. 

Wasn't quite sure what to do about the rug. The one I had wanted to use wasn't as large as I had remembered, and since I am trying to keep cost down and don't want to waste any more time on the floor, I decided to use the mat that I bought last week. Could have been a bit larger, but will do nicely. Once the shelves are in, the edges won't be visible. 

Then I got to clean up my mess. I decided to save the shelving for next weekend when I can start fresh. I did measure the batteries and ordered the tongue box for them. The price went down about $40 since I put it on my wish list. Yay. I topped off that order with a 12 volt hot pot. A girl needs her coffee...

I shouldn't have to unload everything again when I do the shelving, and I feel like I have made significant progress this weekend. Looks a lot better than it did this morning. I did loose some head room tho. Good thing I am not tall.


Shelving is in. It still needs to be secured somehow, but it is starting to come together. 


Had company last week so I didn't get anything done on the trailer. I did get the permanent spare tire cover and need to get that installed. Today I got the shelving secured to the walls. It took longer than I had thought it would, so by the time I got that done, I was done for the day. 

I took a strip of 1x2, spray painted it and attached it to the wall into the ribs of the trailer with self tapping screws. Had problems getting the screws in where it was a new spot. Finally smartened up and predrilled. Then I used metal pipe clips to secure the posts to the 1x2. L brackets on the floor. I will probably have to drill and screw the shelves to the posts, but I want to make sure the shelves are where I want them before I do that. Used hose clamps on the corners in the back to secure the side and back shelves to each other. That makes the back shelves quite sturdy even without the right front post. Should be more than strong enough for clothing and small items. I still have the cheap china hammocks that I used as cargo nets in Ody, and will see if those will work in the trailer.

I also got the hanging bar over the bed secured. I can hang towels, baskets, whatever.

The battery box for the front is finally on the way and I will be able to get the solar power setup and figure out where to put the inverter. Maybe next week I will get that accomplished. I still have a lot I want to do, but other than the power, the big stuff is done. Today I am planning on moving my camping gear from the shed to the trailer. The finish work can be done any time, and I want to test it out and see where things need to go, and fine tune the finishing touches. I still have some sewing to do too. 


Camping gear moved from the shed, sorted and in the trailer with plenty of room to spare! I still need to get a few things, but the majority of stuff is in. Not as much stuff as I thought there was, but pretty much everything I should need. I will organize as I use the stuff.

Battery box should arrive today, so it looks like the power will be the next big project.


I have been sick, very sick. I didn't work on the trailer last weekend like I had planned, but the yard sale is still scheduled for this Friday and I wanted the tool box changed before then so I could put the old one in the sale. I really wasn't up for it, but I got the old box removed, and of course, nothing is every easy. It wasn't a simple remove and install the new one, I had to recycle some stuff and make a brace for the new one since it didn't quite fit on the tongue.


Since it is so much smaller than the other box I was worried the batteries wouldn't fit, but they do. I need to put together some sort of container for the batteries and get the solar wired back up. Maybe next weekend.


The trailer is finally registered and legal! Even if I don't get any other work done on it this weekend, I will still have made progress.


I got my early start yesterday morning and got the solar hooked back up and working. I had to run the wire from the solar panel inside so I could hook it up to the digital controller. That required drilling and feeding the wire thru the outside. I’m glad I bought wire, I used all that I had bought plus some of the original wire with very little left over.

After running the wire from the solar panel inside, I then had to run wire back out thru another hole, drill holes in the box and get the panel hooked up to the battery and the wiring for the lights and 12v outlets that feed directly from the batteries hooked back up. Putting together a wood base in the bottom and figuring out how to secure the batteries took up most of the time. I didn’t end up being what I had wanted or expected, but it serves the purpose of reinforcing the bottom of the box and keeping the batteries off the metal bottom. Not that it probably matters all that much. It also keeps the batteries from moving around inside the box. Got all the wires hooked back up, the holes sealed and everything tested out.

Looks like a lot of wires. Now that I have actually hooked things up myself, I understand what goes where and what purpose they serve. Useful information.

This is the new digital controller that keeps the batteries from overcharging and allows me to monitor what is going on. 

And this shows where I drilled and ran the wires out to the batteries. You can see them between the side of the trailer and the box.

I guess I didn’t get a picture of the inverter and it’s location. It is over the window on the shelving side of the trailer. That is the section where I have the cutting board and will be my kitchen and work area inside the trailer. Not sure if it will stay there, but was a good spot for it for now.  I tried to use the shop vac on the inverter, but it uses too much power. I do have a 1500 W inverter, but it is only as good as the power that feeds it. I had to get out an extension cord so I could get the trailer vacuumed. There were metal bits, sawdust and tiny wire pieces that needed to be cleaned up. I guess I need to get a rechargeable vac for the trailer. The inverter should be able to handle that.

I still have work to do on the trailer, but it is all small, detail stuff. I need to get the vent cover installed on the roof, insulate the ceiling, get the D-rings up on the outside corners for the shade cloth, and figure out what I am going to do about the door. I really would like to have a smaller door or a wall inside so I can leave the big door open for air flow, etc. I might have to cough up a few bucks and have someone install a door within the door. That is beyond my experience and skill level. The least expensive route would be to build the wall and put a door on that. That will probably be the option that I will do. Still need to do some research since I am not a carpenter. I also need to keep the cost down as much as possible. Then I get to pretty it up. Make curtains, bed skirt, etc.


  1. looking good. i hope you keep posting pics of the camper project