Overland travel Tech

Off-road Tent Trailer Build, Part 1


A few posts back I introduced my “old” camping trailer and stated I was going to start to rebuild it. Here is the first installment of the rebuild process. It took some time to figure out how exactly I wanted to approach this. The old camp box was built on my M416A1 military trailer. While this would work again, I find I have use frequently for this little trailer as is. I decided a new, dedicated trailer was needed. The next step was to figure out whether it would be better to find a built trailer and make the box fit or build a new trailer to fit the box. I decided on the latter. After a few trips to Centralia Supply and Fabrication I had enough parts together to start the build. I decided on a simple ladder frame build from 2″x3″ tube steel. I chose to use a combination A frame draw bar that extends to the spring mounts. I had some old Land Cruiser springs and hangers so I used them.

For the axle I went to ABC Trailer Parts as recommended on the forum Since it is going to be a little heavy fully loaded and for off-road use I opted for a 3500# axle with electric brakes. I think this will greatly improve the safety and drive ability of the trailer on the Highway and off-road.


I had the old fenders so I went ahead and used them. They are a little small for 31-33″ tires but I think they will work out fine.

The trailer is decked with 1/2″ pressure treated plywood fastened down using rive nuts and flathead cap screws. I decided to add the deck in increase the usability of the trailer. While I said I wanted a dedicated trailer for the camp box, I realize having an extra trailer could come in handy.


I just used some LED boat trailer lights from Schuck’s Auto Supply. Be sure to print out the page and take it in if you decided to get these lights. Online they are $39.99 and in the store they are $54.99. Schuck’s will price match it’s online prices if you have proof of the price.


For the draw bar I had a piece of 2″x3″x1/4″ tube. I welded a pintle lunette onto the end and formed it for a little cleaner look. I drilled a 1/2″ hole for the safety chains about 12″ from the end and added the brake away switch for the trailer brakes. This hitch is rated at 10k# and should be more than sufficiant for my needs. If you are a concerned about the strength of your particular draw bar, take a look at this source (found on for specifications gleaned from some Australian Highway Codes.


The box is held to the trailer using the same rive nuts, 4 per side. Now I just need to add some “D” rings to the sides of the box so I can easily hoist it off.

The box will house a RV style hot water heater, power connections, 2 deep cycle RV batteries and a 20 gallon water tank. It also has provisions for a sink and stove that slide out of the back of the trailer. There is also room in front of the box to store extra fuel, water, cooler or other supplies.

Eventually I would like to add a large tent to the trailer making in a complete off-road camper. I am currently trying to source a supplier for such a tent.


Here is a sample 3D model I drew up using Google’s Sketchup program.

I will continue to add more as I complete the build process.  Next up will be batteries and a charging/inverter system.

10 replies on “Off-road Tent Trailer Build, Part 1”

Looking good Brandon. The SketchUp model looks great. Hope you can source a tent before summer’s over.

I wonder how long it has been since you have updated your website? I am interested to see more progress. Have you got your tent put together yet?

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