a dumb question - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-13-2014, 07:25 PM   #1
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Name: Sally
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a dumb question

So, I'm very new here, so just bear with me. . . . I keep wondering why people who want to build their own trailers don't start with a horse trailer? If you get a fiberglass one that is solid with windows that have glass and screens (as opposed to a fence type open structure) it seems like it would work. Horses are heavy, so it would support a lot of weight. Of course a new one would not have to be cleaned so well to get the horsey smell out. If you want to get really fancy, and more expensive, some of those trailers have living quarters up front already. They can't weigh that much since they have nothing in them, and they would be tall enough for tall people.

So, would that work?

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Old 07-13-2014, 07:59 PM   #2
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People have converted cargo trailers in to campers.

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Old 07-13-2014, 08:40 PM   #3
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Not a dumb question at all Sallye - just something you don't know much aboutyet (me neither!). The logic sounds ok to me though.
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:53 PM   #4
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They are very heavy .

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Old 07-14-2014, 12:32 AM   #5
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Sally, there are a number of people that have converted mostly enclosed cargo trailers to a camper, some were pretty cool too. I remember two different fiberglass enclosed trailer makers but I don't think they are in bussiness anymore and never saw any of those converted.
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Old 07-14-2014, 06:56 AM   #6
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I was reading one of the horse trailer forums last night and there was a discussion about AL vs. FG horse trailers. One interesting point was that AL is such a good heat conductor, making FG better if you used in warm areas. They were also concerned about getting the horses out in the case of a rollover accident, and for that FG won. Anyway, without the horses, some of the trailers are 1700 or 1800 LB. Of course, that is totally empty, and by the time you added appliances, a bathroom, beds, etc., it would be a lot heavier.

But for you REALLY tall people, the inside is about 7'6" inside. The inside height is what is keeping us out of several FG campers, like the Casita. I'm still leaning towards an Eggcamper, but we have to sell our summer camp in NH first.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:33 AM   #7
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I was planning on building out a cargo trailer before I found my Scamp. By the time I finsh rehabbing the Scamp I will have about the same money in it as converting a newer cargo trailer but will have a lot nicer rig and one a lot easier to tow. But my plans for the cargo trailer would have allowed for pulling the beds out leaving a lot of room to use the trailer as a cargo trailer which would have been handy at times. I think a cargo trailer is a better starting point than a horse trailer.
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Old 07-14-2014, 09:47 AM   #8
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Our Oliver is 78" inside since you mentioned height. I can see several issues with converting a horse trailer. Having be around several but never owning one, I am working from memory. As best I can remember, most if not all, have the door in the rear for loading our equine passengers. Some may have another entrance up front. If not, without major modifications, you'd have to live with a rear entrance. There are those that like that arrangment (think Lil' Snoozy) and apparently it has some benefits as to floor plan. All electrical, plumbing and other systems would have to be incorporated. All this is possible. My greatest question is the overal cost vs just buying a TT already built. Now, if your passion is the personal construction of a truly custom trailer, this is an excellant opportunity to whet your appetite.

Whatever your descision, I wish you well, please post pictures along the way. I am always interested in seeing how things are designed, laid out and finished.

Good luck...
Steve and Tali - Dogs: Reacher and Lucy and our beloved Storm and Maggie (waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)
2008 Outlaw Oliver Legacy Elite & 2014 Outlaw Oliver Legacy Elite II
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:26 AM   #9
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A lot of horse trailers have at least one "escape" door. I guess that's in case you get caught between the inside of the trailer and your horse, and the horse is frightened by something and starts acting up. As for the back flap, that would be very useful for several options (1) a combo camper / toy hauler, (2) the construction phase, when you are loading in big pieces of material or appliances, (3) a tent extension, such as a screen tent - I'm thinking here of having small feet for the ramp to hold the ramp level and using it as an "off the ground" kind of floor for a screen tent. Plus, if you had a lot of kids (which I don't) you could probably get a triple high set of bunks inside of 7 plus feet of vertical space. Or a Murphy type bed maybe.

You'd have extra wind resistance and other drawbacks too of course. I'm thinking of a rig like this: Brenderup Baron w/ Instatack 2 Horse Straight Load Trailer
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:17 PM   #10
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A horse trailer when used as a camper is going to ride poorly going down the highway. I am assuming that the horse trailer has a 3000 lb or more carrying capacity. To add that much weight in camping supplies is allot in a small place so you will be carrying at less than 1/2 the weight bouncing all the way down the highway instead of riding on the suspension. A trailer capable of carrying 3,000 lbs will probably weigh close to 2000 lbs so your going to be heavy and slow to tow with wind resistance and now the who's gonna want to buy your investment when your done. There is probably a niche market for a small camping trailer that can carry 2 Quads and can transform into a camper when the quads are unloaded. With a horse trailer you have enough height to make drop down bunks and maybe rail mounted kitchen and cabinets that drop down too. Horse trailers seem to have centrally mounted axles and you would have to study if that will work in your thoughts of the ultimate camper design for you. I like people who challenge the box and go for it rather than accepting what someone else says you should have.
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:29 PM   #11
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Conversion of cargo trailers into small travel trailers has its own sub-forum over at the Teardrops and Tiny Travel Trailers forum:
Cargo Trailer Conversions
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:47 PM   #12
Name: RogerDat
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The toy hauler trailer market is a niche market but it does exist so if one wanted a camper that worked with your toys it might make some sense. It is a huge project to plan and design a full featured camper. Building it can be another challenge.

I went this route with a 38 ft. school bus I purchased from a local church. It worked because even at it's most basic level of completion it beat having three kids in the back seat and we were willing to treat it as a portable tent full of camping equipment with a table and curtain for a changing room for awhile.

Planning and the purchase of parts was a challenge, my basic plan did not change but I'll tell you the implementation ran into some instances of my plan won't work the way it did on my design because reality intruded. I was also lucky in that weight did not matter much and space was pretty big. I could adjust appliances, water tanks etc. to what I could find and not have to worry so much about finding a tank or fridge that would fit in exactly this size of location.

I ended up buying an old camper and unscrewing an entire aluminum side, peeling it off and moving most of the appliances into the bus, complete kitchen intact. Fixtures, doors and even the shower pan all were moved and plan adjusted to fit them because I had the space.

Whole thing took about 3 years to complete but was usable during that time. I could do the work myself but it was not easy, fast or inexpensive to do it. I liked the results but I doubt it is worth a fraction of the cost/effort it took. And of course at todays gas prices going anyplace in it is not cheap. So a Scamping we go while I try to bring myself to sell the bus to some hunter or race fan.
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:57 PM   #13
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The other problem, of course, is that Hubby is totally not in favor of this idea - actually that is an understatement! I often have wild ideas, and as long as I can implement them by myself, I'm good to go. When we renovated this house, I built it hidden compartments in most rooms - just because I could. There is nothing in them. . . And I built a 32 shaft computer operated weaving loom recently. But this idea probably won't go anywhere because I can't to it myself.

Oh well, I can dream!
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Old 07-14-2014, 01:36 PM   #14
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
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Originally Posted by Sallye View Post

Oh well, I can dream!
You could also be on the lookout for one of those gutted project FGRV's and make a totally custom camper out of it. If you have the space, can get it cheap enough, and are in no hurry you can work your way through the renovation learning and customizing as you go.

Secret compartments? Hmmm good to know I'm not the only one that thinks a hidden spot is sort of nice to have.
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Old 07-14-2014, 03:37 PM   #15
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What do you do when you get where you want to go camping? Fishing, ATVing, hiking, boating? What you like to do has a big influence on what you need for space.

I like the idea of converting a cargo or horse trailer.

Aluminum is very strong and would be harder to break into.

If insulated properly either one could be far better than a typical camper for winter camping.

Headroom is another factor as you mentioned.

I chose a truck camper and planned to refit an old aluminum one but later found a nice 4 season truck camper. It would have been a lot of money to refit the other. I would still like to do that at some point.

There is a lot of satisfaction derived from modifying one or building one from scratch. And also a big time commitment.

Ultimately we all chose what suits us best.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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