6 Easy Steps To Make A Camper Out Of A Cargo Trailer (2023)

6 Easy Steps To Make A Camper Out Of A Cargo Trailer (2018)
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For those of you into camping, will know by now that camping is not only about lighting a campfire and living inside a tent. There are several ways to camp, like using an RV or trailer, which helps you live safe and secure, from insects and other wild animals.

Not to mention, it enables you to set up things faster, so that you can enjoy camping activities rather than having to spend all your time in setting up your tents and then assembling them back.

Initially, I was wondering whether camping is all about unpacking and packing. Sounds monotonous, right! However, with the help of my very own camper cargo, I can get things done quickly.

It comes as no surprise that people are taking it upon themselves and designing their very own campers from a cargo trailer. All you will need is a cargo trailer to design an alternate living area, which your family would love to reside in a while camping.

If you love to go on camping outdoors, then you will probably love to learn how to design your camper cargo trailer. It is nice sometimes, to do things on your own. Though it might seem difficult initially, you will pick it up towards the end.

We will be looking at the following pointers briefly, in this article.

Once you finish reading them, you will learn how to make your camper cargo trailer.

It is not as difficult as it seems to trust me.

  • What is a cargo trailer and how to choose one for camping?
  • Why create a camper out of a cargo trailer?
  • How to install the electrical system in the cargo trailer?
  • How can you add the ventilation inside the cargo trailer?
  • How can you install the flooring in the cargo trailer?
  • How to design a bed or cot that is makeshift?
  • Why have other facilities?
  • Conclusion

What is a cargo trailer and how to choose one for camping? 

Making a Camper Out of a Cargo Trailer How To 2

Before we move on to make a camper trailer, we need first to understand what one is. That way, your camper building exercise will not go futile. To make it simple, they are similar to the ones, you can see behind large trucks.

They are used to carry food items, perishable and non-perishable items. These trailers are used to carry products to different counties across the country. Design and shape are usually the same in many countries.

Probably, the only difference being the size. Depending on your requirements, you can decide on the size of the camper cargo trailer. Once, it is designed, it can be hooked onto the back of your pickup truck, SUV, or sedan.

Preferably, you can join it with the help of a ball joint. You can find several kinds of home depots in the market. However, not all of them are ideal for converting to a cargo trailer.

Some factors, which are given below have to be considered before designing them.

  • The durability and strength of the cargo trailer should be seen first. You will need to make sure that it comes with sides, which are straight, and corners, which are square.
  • They need to be designed such that, they can withstand different forms and damage and weather.
  • It should not be too large or too small — the ideal size for your requirements, which can be placed behind causing no obstruction.
  • The need to get a trailer, which comes with fasteners that are consistent and ventilation, where insulation is not required.
  • The safety lock features should also be verified like reliable locking mechanisms and other lighting features.

Why create a camper out of a cargo trailer?

Making a Camper Out of a Cargo Trailer How To 4

You are probably thinking to yourself why build a camper cargo trailer when all you need to do is buy one. Well, it is a good idea, but you might change your mind, once you read the given below benefits of designing one yourself.

You save money designing one yourself

RV trailers are expensive to buy. Even if you can afford to buy one, why not consider designing one. It could be a fun weekend activity or DIY. If you are not the DIY kind of person, then you might consider taking the help of a professional.

He/she not only help you in design one but offer tips when using them. It does not mean that designing a cargo trailer is going to be cheap, but the initial cost is less.

It is fully-customizable

When you do the design part yourself, you can design it according to your preferences. Perhaps, you want it to look like something you dreamt as a kid. Maybe, you want a particular color or size.

It could be anything. The freedom of choosing what you want becomes immensely easier when you design it yourself. The choices of customization are plenty. Of course, you do have decent second-hand campers, but a DIY cargo trailer comes with everything new.

The makeshift bed, toilet system, and kitchen can be newly installed. You get to choose what goes where. That is not possible when you purchase a new one or second-hand trailer. You have to be content with what you get.

You can plan the layout yourself

Like said before, the choices of customization are immense. Which means, you get to do the selection part. Hence, choose everything after intense research and planning. Start by choosing the cargo trailer of your choice.

Secondly, the interior design of the trailer should be done in accordance to your needs. To need to purchase expensive items and equipment is not at all required, especially when you are not going to use it frequently.

The best way to go about things would be to plan everything in detail. Have a sketch of the trailer interiors and a brief idea on what you plan on doing. This way, you can proceed on with things efficiently.

How to install the electrical system in the cargo trailer?

Making a Camper Out of a Cargo Trailer How To 5

This should be quite simple because several campgrounds comes with electrical access. When on the road, you can make use a battery. With the help of an RV power cord and outlet box, cordless drill, hole saw, and electrical pigtail, ​angle grinder​​​ you can get started.

You can cut a hole in the floor of the trailer, decide on the location of the plug. Now, all you have to do is attach the RV cord. It is best to attach it underneath the vehicle so that you can attach it with outlets present on the campgrounds.

How can you add the ventilation inside the cargo trailer? 

Making a Camper Out of a Cargo Trailer How To 6

You can add ventilation inside the cargo trailer with the help of a trailer vent, drill, and glue. First, drill holes on the sidewall. The vents and holes should be of the same size. That ensures the dust will not enter through the openings if present.

The vents then should be installed on the holes which the help of edible glue. Once complete, drill them shut. They can be done using the nails, which come along the vents. For the vents to be placed on the outside, you need to repeat the same process.

Once you have installed them, check if everything is all right.

How can you install the flooring in the cargo trailer? 

You can install the flooring in the cargo trailer with the help of glue, vinyl flooring, and paint for the walls. The flooring of the trailer has to be measured accurately. The best way to do that would be to measure it when nothing is inside it.

Then with the help of the glue, you can apply the flooring on the base. Once you have done that, put some pressure on the vinyl flooring to make sure that everything is in place without any opening.

How to design a bed or cot that is makeshift? 

The only thing left now is the makeshift bed or cot. Depending on the number of people you need, the cot has to be purchased and installed. Remember, you do not want the cot or bed occupying all the space inside your cargo trailer.

To do that, you will need to purchase a mattress of your choice, sufficient plywood for the makeshift bed frame, hinges, and rope for grooves, a drill, and strap to hold the cot or bed. First, you will need to know the size of the mattress, which you plan to install inside the trailer.

Based on your measurements, you will want to shape the wood accordingly. Then you need to install the hinges around the cot. That ensures it holds the cot correctly. The legs have to be notched because they need to hold together once the bed is in upwards position.

The clip for the straps has to be installed to help it hold the cot for additional space. A rope needs to be used to route the grooves and hold the mattress together.

Why have other facilities?

Since you have designed almost everything that you require for your cargo trailer, the only thing, which is left, is the other facilities, which you will need. Some of them include toilet, sink, and other sockets for electrical appliances for your kitchen.

The electrical appliances can be purchased from home depots or online stores. These can be assembled based on the manufacturer’s guidelines. The other facilities provide you with the same comfort and convenience you get at home.

You certainly do not want to be camping outdoors, when you do not have access to a toilet, kitchen countertop, and hot water. Once you have installed these amenities inside your cargo trailer, you stand a good chance of loving the experience.

You are no more breaking your head on whether your camping expedition is going to be ruined because of the lack of these essential amenities. They make your camping experience lively and satisfied. Once you are back home, you long for the next trip of fun and frolic.

However, when installing the amenities mentioned above inside your cargo trailer, you might need to make use of tools like the saw and drill. Here is a small tip for newcomers or those of you who are not experienced in using tools or DIY tasks.

If you are not sure how to use these tools or work with them, then you might want to hire a professional. Like mentioned in the start of this article, if you are not that confident about doing things yourself, there is no harm in taking the help of a designer, who can help you out.

Not to mention, he/she will provide you with excellent tips on getting things done more efficiently. You never know what you can learn from the experts. It will not cost you much too.


Camping in an RV or trailer can be a lot of fun. Why do you want to deprive yourself of the experience to enjoy the flexibility it provides you with when you can do things yourself. The benefits of building your camper cargo trailer are immense.

It helps you save money, it offers you a convenient way of living, not to mention, you are provided with all the amenities, which you will need like water for personal hygiene, a toilet for privacy, and a decent makeshift kitchen, where you can cook proper meals.

Hope you found this article useful and you are motivated to design something yourself. Designing a camper home might seem impossible, but with the right attitude, right people, and right tools, you can see yourself as a proud owner of one very soon.

You are encouraged to watch tutorials on YouTube and read blogs, which can enlighten you on the steps to build your camper home.

If you have any queries or doubts, which you want me to address, then please feel free to leave a comment below.

We would love to know what you thought about the above pointers, your building experience, and your ideas.

8 thoughts on “6 Easy Steps To Make A Camper Out Of A Cargo Trailer (2023)”

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  3. Wow, making a camper out of a cargo trailer sounds a lot like making a fancy treehouse. I’ve wanted a camper for a while, partly because having a portable room like that sounds great, but never had the budget, though I think I could get an enclosed trailer. Not every camper has a bathroom on it anyway, so not having an included bathroom like you mentioned wouldn’t be too much of a drawback, and it really sounds like a fun way to make a camper that is completely customized.

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