The Ultimate Home-Built Tent-Camping Trailer
by Dennis Dezendorf

(Click thumbnails for full size pop up photos.)

Camping with the Boy Scouts has always been a source of pleasure and education for me. Pleasure because I love to camp, and the folks that camp with the Scouts are generally good folks. Education, because I can always learn from others. During the last weekend of October, 2001, I camped with a bunch of Scouts near Many, Louisiana. It was there that John Brewer of Coushatta unveiled his troop's ultimate tent-camping trailer. Some of the Dads worked on the trailer to make it more user friendly. They made it with readily obtainable materials that can be bought or scrounged. Those guys obviously know tent-camping and put a lot of time and effort into building this trailer.

The basis for the tent-camping trailer was a lightweight, single axle utility trailer. You can find these things anywhere. They used plywood to make the body, then coated the whole thing with poly paint. It is waterproof, lightweight, and easily towed. John tows it with his Nissan pickup.

Cool trailer

This is the right side of the trailer. As you can see, John can pull it in to the camping area, open it up, and be ready to camp within minutes. The right side of the trailer is basically the food prep and clean-up side of the trailer. Here he stores paper plates, dinnerware, soap, rags, paper towels, can openers, spare Coleman Lantern mantles, and anything he needs for camping. As the troop became more sophisticated, better educated campers, they started making lists of things that would be nice to have. They obtained containers to hold all this stuff, and the containers are organized and labeled. If you look closely at the picture, on the top rear of the trailer, you can see a potted plant hanger. Here the troop can hang a lantern for those times when they need one. It is those little touches that makes this trailer so cool.

Cool trailer

Moving to the rear of the trailer, we can see the interior. This space is used for bulky items like bulk propane bottles, tents, individual backpacks, and ice-chests. If you look at the picture, you see that the two upper doors from the left and right sides are held open by a bungee cord. On the top right of the trailer, we can identify a loaf of bread. On the top left is a blue box that holds the troop first aid kit. When you are camping, everyone needs to know where the first aid kit is at all times. If someone is hurt, you don't want to wonder where you packed the bandages. With this trailer, everyone knows the location of the first aid kit. It is on top the trailer. It is the first thing unpacked, and the last thing packed. Good Planning, John!

Cool trailer

On the left side of the trailer we see the cooking side. Here the troop stores the camp stoves, pots, pans, cookware, tinfoil, waxed paper, spices, and all the stuff you need to cook. There is room for the food items the troop will be using for the weekend. In this picture, John is pointing out some of the details to another Scoutmaster. (The photographer apologizes for his technique. It is still under development.) On the top folding door, John has thumbtacked a menu and cooking assignments for the weekend. Notice the lantern hanger that John is leaning on.

When I saw this trailer, and the thought put into it, I was impressed! This is a cool trailer! Troop 70 has obviously put a lot of thought and planning into making this trailer a centerpiece of the campsite. It is light, easy to tow, and extremely useful for taking a bunch of boys out into the woods. Which leads me to wonder.... I have an old trailer out in the pasture, and some plywood in the barn. Hmmm!

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