Probably 50% of people I’ve met in the 4wd community have all talked about wanting to build their own offroad camper trailer, I mean, who doesn’t right? After all, that’s the 4wd dream! Kit out your 4wd, build your camper and head off on the open road to explore Australia. Well that’s my dream…
I didn’t plan on building this camper though. After already going down that path and building a camper trailer three years ago, it wasn’t something I needed. I’ll admit that the first camper trailer done its job, but it was waaayyyyy to big and heavy! So unless I was staying in one location for a few days, I stuck to using the trusty old Crashpad Swag.
But as usual plans change…
Out of the blue, I was contacted by a Facebook friend saying they had a Vitara I might be interested in. If you know me well, you’ll know I couldn’t say no to another Suzuki.
So $300 later, I had myself a short wheel base convertible with a HARDTOP! Now, if you’re a Suzuki person you’ll know how rare it is to get your hands on a hardtop in Australia. After posting one photo to social media of my new buy, I had a list of people wanting the hardtop. $1,600 in my pocket and the hardtop was off to its new owner on the other side of the country and I had the funds to start my trailer.
The first step was to pull out the 9 inch grinder and cut the Suzuki right in half, there was no turning back after that stage.
I decided to make the cut as far forward as possible, that way I had room for error when cutting and shutting things further down the track.
After a few days of measuring things up and deciding the overall size of the camper body, I cut the excess of the body down to size. Having used a convertible body the sides and rear door were already at the perfect height, which saved me a lot of time.
Once I was happy with the shape of the body, I started on the draw bar. Now I spent quite a few nights trying to decide the length of it. I found there were pros and cons to having a short or long one. A couple things played in mind… I wanted a space case mounted on the front for additional storage space and I wanted to be able to open my rear door while the trailer was connected, while having the trailer as practical as possible. I ended up with a draw bar of a medium size length, after all this was a trial and error build.
As you can see from the photos, I cut the Suzuki chassis in half and kept all the running gear under the trailer. Same suspension setup and everything.
In the above photos you’ll notice I cut the sides of the front doors off and attached to the trailer. I did this so I could square the front up, ready for welding the front panel in.
With some help from my mate Shaan and the use of his mig welder, the front main structure and panel was attached. Now came the longest process of the whole build… bogging and sanding. The body was in pretty good condition apart from a minor dent above the wheel arch, so I didn’t have too much work in that area, but where I had attached the doors, I wanted a smooth finish with the body. Now that took me about 4 weekends to get as perfect as I could. So I’ll be pretty happy if I never see another tin of bog in my life.
PAINTING! My favourite part of the whole build and the easiest.
You’ll probably be surprised to know that I actually applied the paint with a roller and brush. My mate Harry had been raving on about this “amazing paint” he was painting his Troopy in and that he was applying it with a roller. I thought he was crazy, But… I decided to go over and check it out.
To my shock the paint job looked great and really held up out in the bush, you really wouldn’t know it was rolled on.
I ended up applying 4 coats of the paint, only because I had enough left to do so and I’m super happy with the glossy finish. Makes the paint on the Suzuki look terrible though.
The last and final step, the hard top. This was pretty straight forward, I needed something that was strong enough to mount roof racks to and attach a roof top tent, but also something that still allowed me to access the inside of the trailer and that was water tight.
I ended up with a thin sheet of steel and braced the inside. I attached it to the front of the trailer with a hinge, added some gas struts and some latches inside the trailer so it could be locked closed.
The most enjoyable part, was attaching all the accessories. Putting the matching tyres and rims on, setting up the brakes, mounting the space case, building the drawers and putting the roof racks and tent on.
It was a rewarding finish to stand back and see my idea come to life. In all honesty, I didn’t think it would turn out as good as it did. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I couldn’t of been more thrilled with the out come.
It was finally finished… and I was off to test it out.
The roof top tent is a perfect fit on the trailer.
I had never towed a trailer with brakes before, so I could definitely feel the difference with towing this one.
The space case holds my bigger items and the poles and pegs for the roof top tent. I found the space case is a great place to store the roof top tent cover and chair covers while the items are in use.
I went for a very similar drawer design to whats in my Suzuki.
I left some space between the drawers and hard top for the bigger items, like the table. I also left it for access room to reach the latches and lock to the hard top.
I left the rear tow bar on the back of the trailer and used the slide in receiver as my mounting point for a rear stabilizer.
When the day comes that I get stuck towing the trailer somewhere crazy I can use that as my recovery point also.
I couldn’t be any happier with the Ozoffroad Roof Top Tent! Even though I’m a massive fan of the good old swags, you can’t beat the comfort and room in a roof top tent. The tent was surprisingly a lot quicker to pack up than my swag, so that’s another plus for me.
While I haven’t spent any wild nights in the roof top tent, I’m sure the Ozoffroad Sleeping Bag will keep me warm, after all they are rated to -10.
The Rhino Rack Foxwing Awning provides all the protection for Tassie’s ever changing weather. Super happy with that purchase.
Over all I couldn’t be happier with the finish! It tows so well behind the Suzuki, it easily weighs half the weight of the old camper trailer.
Cost Break down
A brief run down on all the cost for the trailer.
- SWB Suzuki Vitara $ 300
- Steel (draw bar, Hard top, Front section ect) $ 120
- Rims and Tyres $ 180
- Timber for drawers $ 64
- Drawer slides and Latches $ 288
- Carpet and Glue $ 50
- Space case $ 300
- Trailer hitch and Brake set up $ 86
- Jockey wheel and rear stabilizer $ 140
- Paint, bog, sandpaper ect $ 100
- Welding rods, silicon, bolts ect $ 150
- Rhino Roof Racks $ 340
- Flares and Mudflaps $ 89
- Hard top hinge, latches and seal $ 70
- Trailer wiring $30
Total = $2307
Hard top Profit = – $1600
Total Spent = $707
I can only guess that I spent close to $1000 on food and Alcohol while building the trailer also…
Special thanks to Matthew Bird, Shaan Garwood and Harry Troopy for their help with the build.