Friday, June 27, 2014

Fixing the trailer for rego for our Explorer Box

Part 1 can be found here

Preparing for rego
So we have been preparing the trailer to re-register, we pulled it apart, took away the rust, took of the heavy metal cage ...

Painted the cleaned up frame. 

Painted the sides for rego, a happy, bright yellow, as it was in the shed, waste not want not :)

Bought the marine ply for the whole Explorer Box, very pleased to get it on special as well, $215 for the whole lot! Bought new mud guards to attach to the trailer.

Cut the base.

I'm now painting the base while A checks and fixes the electric system for indicators and lights. We hope to register the trailer next week.

Building a travel kitchen

I have also been looking at kitchen layouts, the Explore Box comes with a nice shelving set-up, but I want something that pulls out and my co-builder says we can do that. I put together all my camp kitchen gear to see what why I needed to pack in this space.

I then looked at various American style chuck boxes which are a clever system, developed by the scouting movement I believe. However, Americans, bless them, have huge cars and big trailers, I needed to model something created for a small car with limited pulling. I was quite taken with the layout below.

I then looked to Europe and found just what I was looking for! It's called a Campinambulle and is designed for small European hatchbacks. It's really clever and I'm going to base my build on it's layout. I'll be using plastic boxes for lightness, but I am in love the pullout stove and cooking space and the table.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Building a compact camping trailer using the Explorer Box instructions from Compact Camping Concepts
My partner and I are planning a trip up the coast from the Blue Mountains, in NSW, to the Great Barrier Reef in Qld in August/September this year. We'll take 6 weeks to pootle up the coast, camping at nice places and relaxing and unwinding. We haven't had a real holiday for two years, so we are really looking forward to it.

We normally tent camp, but I have decided to make a light weight camping trailer for our trip in the next 6 weeks. Yes, mad as a cut snake, such a short space of time, but I work for myself and I can spend a good amount of time on it during the day.

The project is being funded by the contribution from friends. I recently had my 60th and they gifted me the money for a DIY project, well, the money was
for a shoe making workshop, but being a Gemini, that which was shiny 4 months ago, has lost its appeal :). After I decided to change to this project a builder friend then gifted her time to the project and she and I will build the small camping trailer using the Explorer Box instructions from Compact Camping Concepts. Our car is small, a Chery J1 1300, so we can't pull anything heavy, and nor do we want to. But the small car restricts adding camping gear, we would be packed to the gunnels, this way we will have space in the car and a travel home as well.

The trailer is second hand one, once someone's pride and joy, its made from old metal bed bases and currently weighs 150 kg, not really heavy but we intend to strip it of its heavy metal to lighten it and build our new camping trailer box on its frame. The lighter the better for our trip.

The plan that Scott of CCC provides is really well put together, he uses inches and feet as he's American, but not an issue, easy to convert to metric. We also have to move the design to work with our Australian left hand driving. Each step is well outlined and its a relatively easy building project for an historical costumer and pattern maker, that's me, and carpenter and electrician, that's A, both very competant women!

See the full build here ...
The design provides kitchen storage and then the rest of the space in the trailer is for storage of camping gear, bags, food, gas bottle, esky or travel fridge, water, spare tire, etc. For sleeping a separate stand alone tent or, as we will do, add a roof top tent and annex and tarps for wet weather. 

I'm thinking of putting the kitchen at the back and the storage at the front, having the kitchen near the trailer bar seems like a way to end up with a lot of bruised shins, especially at night. However, we will see, the trailer's wheels are closer to the back, so there is less space.

From a camping forum
 I've also thought of making a simple pull out kitchen like the one on the left. Just shelves and a bench top for the stove, food preparation, washing up, etc. at a good height to save the old and cranky back!This one hangs off the back door of the trailer, not sure how much weight bearing our wooden one will have, but the same layout could slide.

When we've finished it should look like Jay's set-up below on the left. Simple,  but comfy. The Roof top tent
Jay's set-up
and annex has been purchased and is on layby, well not really, but the owner of the second hand unit has kindly allowed me to pay it off over a few weeks.

So, watch this space, I will document the build here for you all to enjoy.


I'm The Tailor's Apprentice, maker of The Miss Page 1940s reproduction patterns, gowns developed from pattern pieces found amongst the remnants of Miss Violet Florence Page’s life and work. Affordable, elegant, and unique garments from the 1940s war years. 

All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern and have already published the Australian Army Nurses Services WWI uniform pattern.

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