Building a teardrop camper can be a great and challenging experience. The thought of getting away for the weekend in a spiffy teardrop trailer that you built with your own two hands can be intoxicating. However, unlike building a house or something thats attached to the earth, there can be some safety issues you NEED to be aware of. Ignoring these 3 things can literally lead to you and your families death. Please do not ignore.
These issues are directly related to a teardrop camper and not in the actual action of building it. Using a grinder can kill you if you aren’t careful. I personally know someone who came about a 1/4 inch from death with a grinder. But thats not what we are talking about today. Now that I think about it there is probably 4 things that you need to know. I’ll throw one on at the end as a bonus.
If you go with the harbor freight trailer like many people do. Keep an eye on the weight rating. You will see some people say it really doesn’t matter that much as long as you are close. But I’m not going to risk my families life over it. Follow the rating don’t risk it.
There’s things you can do to beef up the trailer. Adding cross bracing and welding on extra plates. If you know what you are doing in that department you should be fine. If you are a complete beginner and haven’t built much in your life you should find some one who knows what they are doing and don’t mess around with it.
This leads me to a sub issue. Make sure your teardrop camper is balanced correctly. To much weight up front or in the back can be deadly. You wan’t a good amount of the weight in front of the axle. If your weight is behind the axle you will lift the tongue which lifts the back end of your car/truck up in the air. Leading to loss of control. Same with all the weight up front. This will pick the front of your car up.
You don’t want to be rolling down i95 and have your back end start swinging and not be able to stop it. Eventually your back end will swing too far and flip you. This leads right into number 2.
The axle that come with the harbor freight trailers should really be upgraded to a better axle. You can buy the whole kit pretty cheaply and it is really worth it to replace the axle.
More important than the axle is the tire rating and lug count. Normally the tires that come with the harbor freight trailer are only rated for lower speeds. Make sure you follow the speeds and ratings on the axle and wheels. Upgrading the whole axle/wheels is highly recommended. Usually the high speed out of the box is around 50-65. Pushing that can be dangerous, especially if you also have gone over the weight limit on the trailer. Not a good idea.
If you have surfed around the teardrop trailer forums long enough you will see this issue talked about a lot. Making sure you have the right ventilation. If you are new to looking into building a teardrop you might not have realized that ventilation isn’t just to keep you cool while you are sleeping, its actually there to keep you alive. Without proper ventilation you would suffocate in your sleep. Keep in mind that even if you have ventilation it has to be enough. Don’t overlook the importance of good ventilation.