5 Reasons to Avoid Building Your Own Utility Trailer Camper

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A girl drinking coffee inside her utility trailer camper

Have you considered building a utility trailer camper? Scroll through Instagram, and you’ll see a lot of DIY campers. But the trend may not be as beautiful and easy as social media makes it look. 

We divulge five reasons you may want to avoid building your own utility trailer camper.

But, first, we discuss if cargo trailers are suitable for camping. So let’s get started.

A utility trailer camper attached to a truck

What Is a Utility Trailer Camper? 

First, a utility trailer is open, unlike an enclosed cargo trailer.

Utility trailers can provide more space and are often used to transport small vehicles like lawnmowers.

They also tend to have more weight capacity than similar-sized cargo trailers.

A utility trailer camper is on top of a utility trailer.

In other words, it’s when you design and build a place to sleep and live for camping.

It’s an inexpensive way to make a towable camper.

They’re typically lightweight, which means various types of vehicles can pull the trailer.

Do Cargo Trailers Make Good Campers? 

Cargo trailers can make good campers since you already have a structure with a floor, walls, and a ceiling.

However, the interior build can be a little more challenging and confining.

In addition, you’ll likely want to add windows, an air conditioner, and other amenities. 

A utility trailer before being turned into a camper

How Do You Turn a Cargo Trailer Into a Camper?

To turn a cargo trailer into a camper, you’ll first need to determine if it’s a DIY project or if you’ll hire a professional.

If you hire a professional, you’ll need to develop a design and plan for the project. Then, let the builder get to it. 

If you’re doing a DIY build, you’ll want to determine which components your camper will have.

For example, consider if you wish for solar power, a bathroom, and all the other features you’ll need.

Next, you’ll want to settle on a budget for the build and begin designing. And finally, purchase the materials and get to work. 

Turning a cargo trailer into a camper is much like producing a traditional camper from the ground up.

You’ll need to think through every component, such as electrical, plumbing, and angles. 

Keep in Mind: These RV electrical accessories are shockingly worth the money they’re so good!

5 Reasons to Avoid Building Your Own Utility Trailer Camper

Building your own utility trailer camper can be overwhelming. That’s not to say it can’t be done and be rewarding, but don’t think it will be a walk in the park.

Let’s take a look at five reasons to avoid building your own.

1. Designing a Floorplan

Designing a floor plan may look simple, but it gets tricky fast once you start looking at measurements in your tiny space.

The goal of building a camper is to leave little space unused. It makes the layout of the floor plan painstakingly difficult.

Creative thinking is key, from fitting in a queen-sized bed to maximizing your storage.

In the end, you may need to comprise some of the things on your priority list.

Be open-minded from the beginning of your build.

A man reading with his cat inside his utility trailer camper

2. Incorporating Storage

Incorporating storage into a DIY build can prove to be very challenging.

The RV manufacturers make it look easy, but it’s not.

Once you start measuring out your floorplan on the utility trailer, it will become apparent that there’s not as much room as you may have thought.

Be creative and find ways to add storage features. For example, if you’ll be building a couch, make it so that there’s storage underneath. 

Keep in Mind: Finding storage in your RV is easily one of the worst parts of owning an RV. These Storage Ideas are the answer to your storage problems!

3. Time and Cost

Building your own utility trailer camper will inevitably take longer than you anticipate.

From things going wrong to waiting on supplies and everyday life, the build is likely to be a time sucker.

And you might as well throw your intentions of sticking with the budget out the window.

DIY camper builds tend to go over budget, just like building a traditional home.

We recommend planning to go about 15% over your original budget as a safety measure.

A utility trailer camper attached to a truck on the road

4. Insuring the Utility Trailer Camper

Your insurance company may not be keen to insure a utility trailer camper.

Before starting your build or ordering materials, contact your insurance carrier to find out your options.

The way DIY camper builds are viewed across carriers and states varies.

You may need to shop around for the right coverage.

5. Lack of Warranty

Unfortunately, you can’t give yourself a warranty for your own camper build.

It can present a problem if something breaks down.

We recommend having an emergency fund before you hit the road.

Purchase the warranty for appliances or large items you put in the camper when possible.

For example, get a refrigerator that comes with a warranty. 

Is Building Your Own Camper Worth It?

Building your own utility trailer camper can be a lot of fun. But it’s also hard work, time-consuming, and comes with some challenges.

So we recommend thinking through the five reasons we presented to avoid a camper build.

If you can overcome those issues, it may be worth it.

It’s an excellent way to save the expense of purchasing a professionally manufactured RV. 

Have you ever built your own camper?

1 comment
  1. Several years ago assisted a neighbor in converting a 5×10 cargo trailer into a travel trailer. She had designed a space saving floor plan and accumulated countertops/drawers and materials from a Habitat for Humanity resale store. We built a Murphy style bed, installed a water tank, sink with waste water collection, solar panels to power a battery electrical system, LED lighting, a rooftop solar water heater feeding a shower composed of a deep pan with a shower curtain and a bucket toilet. She traveled 1000s of miles and at last contact, it was still in use.

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