My big spring project is going to be a tiny camping trailer.

I’ve wanted one for a long time. We were looking at campers made by a company here in Minnesota, but between the time we looked at them and when we were ready to put a down payment on one, the company changed their model design and nearly doubled the price… so I decided I can make one.

I’m going to use an Aluma utility trailer. I’ll either use the 54″ X 120″ trailer or the 54″ x 96″ trailer. Both have all aluminum beds which will protect the trailer body from road debris. If I use the 10′ long trailer, I’ll have a galley and a rear hatch at the back, along with an interior shelf with sliding doors. If it’s the 8′ one, it won’t have a galley. I won’t be keeping the ramp — so if anyone wants it let me know!

All the interior wood will be PureBond plywood. PureBond uses a formaldehyde free, soy-based adhesive when creating the plywood. This is really important to me since I have sensitivities to off-gassing of some chemicals. This is going to be a tiny space — only 180 cubic feet — and off-gassing is a major consideration. I don’t want to breathe formaldehyde all night while I sleep!

I’ll also be using PureBond for part of the exterior. They have this really cool product — Radius™ Bending Plywood — that you literally can bend into a circle. The front of the trailer will have a bit of aerodynamic shaping to it that will be so much easier with this bendable plywood. I won’t be bending it into a full circle, but it will have quite a bit of curvature to it.

I need to still do the research on low VOC finishes for the interior. I know there’s some great ones to be had.

The exterior of the trailer body will also be plywood. I’ll either stain it or do something decorative and then cover it all with fiberglass to protect and strengthen things.

For the walls, floor and ceiling (except for the curved parts) I’ll be making structural insulated panels (SIPs). SIPs are a standard construction material. They are lightweight, strong, and insulated for extreme weather. Since the ones used in home and commercial building projects are huge and thick, I’ll be making my own using 1″ pink construction insulation panels and 1/4″ paneling, laminating the insulation with the plywood on both sides. My SIPs will be 1 1/2″ inches thick and will accommodate the standard TearDrop trailer doors and windows I plan to use. For the curved parts of the ceiling I’ll have to make a frame and apply the interior plywood, then insulate it and apply the exterior plywood. I’ll use 3/4″ plywood and 1″ pine strips for the frame.

I won’t be starting this until late spring when it’s warm enough to stand out in an unheated garage, on a concrete floor for hours at a time. I’ll let you know when I get started