DIY Bicycle Camper Trailer

Written by nathaniel miller | 13/05/2017
DIY Bicycle Camper Trailer
Bicycle camping trailers can even resemble motorcycle trailers if built to high tolerances. (blue trailer image by Diana Mastepanova from Fotolia.com)

Bicycle camper trailers can be useful in many areas of the world, be they developing countries where transportation systems are primitive and rough, or even on your favourite mountain bike trail carrying a tent and camping supplies. There are numerous brands of bicycle camper trailers, however, many enthusiasts have taken to building their own from readily available materials. These DIY bicycle camper trailers are often just as sturdy, versatile and even as stylish as their manufactured counterparts. Most anyone with a bit of ingenuity can build a DIY bicycle camper trailer.

Frame

The frame is the most important part of building a DIY bicycle camper trailer, as the frame is the actual load-bearing part of the camper trailer. You should build a sturdy, well-designed frame so that you can carry as much cargo as possible. However the material choice is important, as you will be moving this camper trailer under your own power, and it should be as light as possible. Some camper trailers are built out of square steel tubing, but this can rust if not properly painted and sealed. Aluminium is a good frame material choice, however it is difficult to weld and will have to be bolted together instead. Whatever material you choose, make sure to construct an appropriately sized frame for your bicycle (twice as wide as your handlebars and half as long as the bicycle itself is usually sufficient) and to secure supports throughout the frame to add stiffness.

Wheels and Floor

Choosing appropriate wheels and installing a floor on the bicycle camper trailer frame come after frame construction. In most cases, typical 20- to 24-inch bicycle wheels will suffice for the camper trailer wheels. However, if your camper trailer will be designed for heavier loads or rougher terrain, it is ideal to purchase some of the specially built camper trailer wheels available from many bicycle builders, as these wheels have more spokes and a greater load-bearing capacity. Also, it is desirable to design a straight axle all the way across the frame connecting the two wheels, as this adds rigidity to the camper trailer, but this may affect the camper trailer’s handling. Choose the floor carefully based on the use of the camper trailer. Install a solid floor if you will possibly haul smaller items or wetness will be a concern for your cargo.

Hitch

The final part of the camper trailer to build is the hitch that connects it to the bicycle itself. Many designs utilise the rear axle and a simple swivel, however seat clamp designs are available as well. This is one portion of the bicycle camper trailer that should possibly be purchased and installed on the frame itself rather than built, as it could be a true safety issue if the hitch fails. Check the local bicycle shops and some of the online bicycle camper trailer dealers for hitch kits that can be installed on the camper trailer you built from scratch. Choose a design that most easily accommodates your camper trailer and your bicycle frame.

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