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Can You Convert a Cargo Trailer to a Camper?

Can You Convert a Cargo Trailer to a Camper?

Cargo trailers are enclosed units, and it is easy to convert them into campers with several modifications. For example, you can change the floor plan and install different features with an appropriately sized unit. It costs around $4500 to $5500 to cargo trailer to camper, and a new camper is around $11000 to $210000.

You can covert a cargo trailer to a camper by selecting an appropriate-sized option of 7x14x7.5 feet, 5x8x5.6 feet, and 6x12x6.9 feet with a GVWR of 2800 pounds to 5400 pounds, purchase new, upgrade the tires, suspension and establish a sidewall window. Install 30-50 volt power shore compatible equipment, adjust 12-volt dual cycle batteries, and put an inverter, solar panel, and wind generator. Install a wall AC and propane heater, fit the bed with mattress, install plywood doors, and establish a bathroom with a toilet seat, shower unit, sink, and drainage.

You can haul heavy objects with these travelers without a suspension failure.

How do you convert a cargo trailer to a camper?

The camping experts provide hundreds of ideas for this modification. I have explained a step-wise guide to changing a trailer into a camper. 

Select an appropriate size

A 7×14 feet option is a famous conversion variant with an average height of about 7.3 feet to 7.5 feet. People can adjust to these models with their appliances and sleeping equipment. o

You can convert a 5×8 feet enclosed unit into a living camper with several modifications. It is a small setup with an average roof height of about 5.5 to 5.6 feet. 

A small enclosed trailer has a GVWR limit of about 7100 pounds to 7200 pounds. 

A 6×12 feet variant can adjust several appliances and furniture items. It has an average height of 6.8 to 6.9 feet and can accommodate 2 to 3 adults. 

You can add an average weight of about 1600 pounds to 1700 pounds. The limit does not include the weight of travelers, cargo, and additional equipment.

Spacious options have a bumper pulling coupler, and their empty weight is about 2800 pounds to 2900 pounds. Lightweight and small variants weigh around 1000 pounds to 1200 pounds.

Their bigger variants have a weight capacity of about 5300 to 5400 pounds. 

Colorado can tow an enclosed trailer with an efficient V6 engine, and a Nissan Titan can handle its weight with V8 engine specifications. 

A 2016 Ford F150 has a turbocharged V6 motor that can tow the heavyweight variants. 

Used VS new cargo trailer

Purchase a new trailer because it can establish an appropriate camper. The used trailers undergo excessive wear and tear and lose their reliability.

With a new layout, the suspension works efficiently; the tires can cover thousands of miles and withstand road obstacles. 

Check your budget, consider multiple options, and select a variant according to your requirements. Then, change your existing layout into a camping setup by following the guidelines. 

Low-priced options are available, but they require more repairing and maintenance. In addition, their surfaces have corroded spots, and frames are slightly less efficient. 

Replace the wheels and other components 

Change the tires, brakes, and other components on a used cargo system. The enclosed equipment requires the expensive replacement of different parts.

The excessively used tires leak due to pressurized conditions and uneven tread. Change them with high-quality wheels, clean their surface, and maintain their internal pressure.

Upgrade the wheels for around $105 to $205 and cover the long distances without a sudden failure. 

Check the bearings on the older and used trailer and replace them with new equipment. The malfunctioning bearings can damage the entire cargo without a warning sign.

The average cost to change the bearings on a used trailer is about $104 to $403. For a pre-owned design, repack the bearings. 

Make a window

Add a window on the side wall for your cargo trailer for improved ventilation. Use a thin wall layout to cut, build and maintain a side window to access the outside view.

Adjust a frame around the windows and secure the weak walls. Adjust the frame on the wall, mark the spots, and cut the hole with a jigsaw.

Access the outline and drill tiny holes to adjust the screws. Seal the window edges and apply the primer and other protective material. 

Apply adhesive material to the window frame, adjust the plastic clamps, and leave it to dry for 1 to 1.5 hours. 

Adjust the window in the framing unit, tighten the screws in the holes, apply the sealant, and seal its body.

In this converted variant, the window installation costs around $310 to $1050.

Alter the suspension

The suspension connects the wheels and brakes of a trailer. It can stop the heavy cargo systems with one push.

Its stability and high performance are essential to keep the system intact for a long time. You can upgrade the suspension on the used variant for about $505 to $2650. 

Use the suspension of a new trailer and never change the factory features.

It can support the gross vehicle weight rating without sudden failures. However, the used layouts cannot support the cargo weight.

They do not allow the weight distribution according to the standard patterns. For upgradation, install the new brakes, shock absorbers, and leaf springs.

The used and older variant can handle the overall weight with the modifications. Check and calculate the weight of appliances before their addition.

Maintain the weight limit according to the weight-bearing capacity of your converted unit. It prevents the malfunctioning of suspension, and you can ride the unit over rough road surfaces. 

Add appliances

Adjust the heavy appliances in the living space of the converted unit. Access the electric switchboard and put the fridge near it.

Adjust the LED on the wall of the lounge. Put the sofa set, chairs, and tables in the dining area. 

Install the wood cabinets in the planned spots and adjust the crockery.

Check the electric connection

Purchase new power equipment that can compete with the shore power system of the parking spots. A 30-volt to 50-volt power system is compatible with these conversion activities.

Install them in the unit or take the help of a professional person. The installation may cost you about $80 to $120. 

Adjust the batteries

Adjust the power system in these moving camps and use the deep cycle batteries for constant electric flow. Select the rechargeable system and keep them updated.

The 12-volt batteries provide a surge-free electric flow. It supplies the electric energy to the kitchen appliances for regular use. With the flow of direct current, the power source enlightens the built-in lights.

Install a high-quality inverter for about $155 to $305. These inverters have large batteries with thousands of wattage. They can run high voltage devices like air conditioners and sound systems.

For the deep cycle system, adjust battery monitoring equipment and never drain them up to 50%. Access the new, high-quality 12-volt batteries for about $145 to $290. 

Add alternative energy sources

Use the alternative power source for the enclosed structure and facilitate constant current flow. Install the solar panels and wind power generators.

They can maintain the power flow, and the battery gets the charging time. You can purchase a solar panel for about $650 to $2100, and the cost changes according to their quality.

A 70 to 100-watt panel may cost about $85 to $170. The generators can produce high voltage and cost you about $500 to $1800 for these converted units. 

Use the 4-stroke generates for these units because they can work with the 12-volt battery system. 

Add temperature controlling equipment

It is a closed unit that requires appropriate ventilation and coping mechanisms against humid conditions. Their roofs cannot support the air conditioning systems.

Install a wall-AC and reduce the high-temperature limits. Install a high-quality cooling system for about $300 to $500.

Install a heater to reduce the effects of cold for about $80 to $190. Install a frame around the heater, adjust a hatch cover, and seal the surrounding. A propane heater can keep the 6×12 trailer warm for a long time. 

Maintain sleeping setup and kitchen

Establish a sleeping room according to the length and width of your converted unit. Assess the number of people, select an appropriate-sized bed and fix it in the right spot.

The foldable sleeping sofa and a Murphy bed are good options for these setups. Fold the bed towards the walls during the daytime and access the floor space.

With plywood, make the single or double door separation and add hinges to the doors. Use the mattress with conventional springs and high-density foam.

Customized beds are suitable for these setups and can accommodate 1 to 3 adults. You can install them for about $250 to $850. 

The cost varies with the equipment size, design, and quality. For example, adjust a kitchen top, wood cabinets, and electric appliances for cooking.

Establish it for about $80 to $450 according to the quality of the framework. 

Add an electrically empowered heating appliance for about $300 to $800. Adjust a sink with elongated drainage pipes for around $25 to $55. 

Add a bathroom with a drainage system

The drainage system consists of large storage tanks and pipelines for dirty water flow. Add a toilet seat that can handle the body weight of an adult. 

Fit a sink with a tap and water regulator. Make a drainage system from the discharge systems to the storage containers. 

Why would you convert a cargo trailer into a camper?

Several people convert their old and used cargo trailers into campers. I have mentioned a few benefits of doing this.

Cost-effective than a new camper

The modification procedure is more cost-effective than buying a new camper.

A new, average-sized camper costs you about $11000 to $210000, and the price varies according to the amenities and included features.

Carry out the conversion in about $15000 to $16000 by adding the sleeping system and electronic appliances. 

More accessories

You can add multiple kitchen appliances and furniture items with customized procedures. People make it spacious and airy by adding side windows and door panels. 

The additional features make it an attractive living and camping space. 

Customized camping options

You can cook inside and outside the camping unit due to excessive facilities.

The cleaning and washing variants with adequate drainage keep the system clean for a long time.

People use them for long-distance traveling due to their enormous amenities and comfort.

Color/paint preference

You can change the paint on the walls and entrance area according to your preference.

The application of mixed color patterns and colorful wallpaper make it an appealing unit.

How much does it cost to convert a cargo trailer to a camper?

The conversion price varies according to the design, the number of modifications, and the condition of the unit. However, the average cost for this procedure is about $5005 to $16000.

You can purchase a new layout for about $4500 to $5500 with efficient suspension, bearings, and durable wheels.

The used and pre-owned equipment costs about $1005 to $2600 that requires repairing and modifications.

Low-price options are available and cost you around $1100 to $1200. These are defective systems with damaged wheels and low-performance brake systems.

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