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Things we did WRONG on our Roof Top Tent Trailer Build

Do you want to know the top things we screwed up when we built our rooftop trailer find out now it’s surprised how many things actually worked in our favor when we did the build but there’s a few things that we definitely could have improved on so we took our 10 year old costco purchased lifetime utility trailer ordered some steel and then we got our tough stuff alpha rooftop tent to throw on top so when we put this together we didn’t actually have our rooftop tent yet so we used measurements online to build out and decide the placement of all the bars the side racks or just a smidge too close and a painting about to get your fingers in but it still works gotta kind of get the velcro done this one’s pretty easy release it not a big deal and of course the joint with its bolt sticking out is perfectly situated right where we need to be this is chewy he went and got himself stuck inside this bush and now he can’t get up without help as you can tell greg normally sets this up so when you’re putting out the ladder the extends you start at the bottom extending one rung at a time until you get to the top and you want to you want to lock it in place so the roof actually has something to rest against and actually right there it’s perfect you can see the ladder is almost straight up and down which is not very conducive to getting in and out the height of our tent ends up being i think lower than normal so when we put the ladder about where it should be and then we extend it all the way up it’s not actually catching the next rung there’s the next rung as you can see it’s a little too high so either we end up having to go out a little farther than we would want depending on our camping area i think if we could have done it again i would have if i was able to measure that and have it um just a little bit taller or a little bit shorter and i think it would have been perfect we could always get a different ladder we i’ve always loved camping in state parks but with our big travel trailer so this nice smaller one lets us go into

The forest service parks which are awesome most of the campsites are passenger oriented so you park on the passage side get out and there’s your space well unfortunately we didn’t plan that well with the awning so when we get to most of the campsites we actually have to flip the trailer around and the trailer’s not too heavy when it’s unloaded and that lets us use the awning so this one is the driver’s side version because it opens up on the driver’s side if we could do it again we would do the passenger side and just flip the tent it then would open up towards the big campsites when they’re actually a designated campsite if you’re out in the open dry camping out in the boonies it doesn’t matter so we had ordered and built everything at the beginning of summer and got our kitchen built gorgeous stained it with leftover deck stain two days before our first camping trip and boy was it stinky if we could do it over again we would definitely definitely not use this we’d try to find some sort of kitchen stain or some sort of sealant that doesn’t stink to high heaven it was really bad we actually couldn’t even put some of our food in the in the drawers we made because it all smelt like dick stain one of the best things don’t get dirty shoes inside the tent foot cramp honestly we lucked out on a few things during the build if we had to do it over again and had the time it would have been very helpful to have the tent on site so we can measure and see how things lined up before designing the rack

off road camper
off road camper

Building a rooftop tent trailer can be an exciting and rewarding project. However, like any DIY endeavor, there are often mistakes and things that could have been done differently. Here are some common things that people might do wrong when building a rooftop tent trailer:

Inadequate research: One of the biggest mistakes is not conducting thorough research before starting the project. It’s essential to gather information about different designs, materials, and construction techniques to ensure the trailer meets your needs and is built safely and effectively.

Poor planning: Failing to plan the build properly can lead to numerous issues. It’s crucial to create a detailed plan that includes measurements, materials needed, and a step-by-step construction process. Without a solid plan, you may encounter unexpected challenges or end up with a trailer that doesn’t meet your requirements.

Insufficient structural integrity: A rooftop tent trailer needs to be structurally sound to withstand the weight of the tent and provide stability while in use. Neglecting to reinforce the trailer frame adequately or using inadequate materials can result in a weak structure that may not hold up over time.

Inaccurate weight distribution: Proper weight distribution is essential for safe towing and a stable camping experience. Failing to distribute the weight evenly across the trailer can lead to difficulties in maneuvering, excessive strain on the tow vehicle, and potentially unsafe towing conditions.

Overlooking weatherproofing: A rooftop tent trailer is exposed to the elements, so it’s crucial to ensure it is adequately weatherproofed. Neglecting to seal all potential entry points for water, such as seams, windows, and vents, can lead to leaks, water damage, and an uncomfortable camping experience.

Poor electrical planning: If your rooftop tent trailer includes electrical components such as lighting, charging ports, or a power supply, it’s vital to plan and install the electrical system correctly. Inadequate wiring, insufficient power supply, or improper grounding can lead to electrical hazards or unreliable operation.

Inadequate ventilation: Proper ventilation is essential for a comfortable and safe camping experience. Failing to include adequate ventilation in the design can result in condensation, poor air quality, and discomfort while inside the tent.

Neglecting safety features: Safety should always be a priority when building a rooftop tent trailer. This includes incorporating features such as sturdy ladders, secure tie-down points, and proper fire extinguisher placement. Neglecting safety features can put you and others at risk while using the trailer.

Lack of testing and quality control: Before taking your rooftop tent trailer on a camping trip, it’s crucial to thoroughly test its functionality and quality. This includes checking for any structural weaknesses, testing electrical components, and ensuring that all moving parts operate smoothly. Neglecting this step can lead to breakdowns or malfunctions while on the road.

Ignoring legal requirements: It’s important to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding the construction and use of rooftop tent trailers. Ignoring legal requirements can lead to fines, difficulties during vehicle inspections, or even being unable to use the trailer as intended.

By being aware of these common mistakes, you can take the necessary precautions to avoid them and build a rooftop tent trailer that is safe, functional, and meets your needs for outdoor adventures.

Inadequate suspension and tires: A rooftop tent trailer needs a robust suspension system and appropriate tires to handle the added weight and rough terrain. Neglecting to upgrade the suspension or choosing tires that are not suitable for off-road conditions can result in a bumpy ride, decreased stability, and increased risk of damage to the trailer.

Improper insulation: Insulating the rooftop tent trailer is essential for maintaining a comfortable interior temperature and reducing noise. However, many builders overlook insulation or use inadequate materials. This can lead to uncomfortable camping experiences during extreme weather conditions and increased energy consumption to heat or cool the trailer.

Overlooking storage solutions: Storage space is crucial in a rooftop tent trailer to accommodate camping gear, clothing, and other essentials. Failing to plan for sufficient storage or not optimizing the available space can result in cluttered and cramped living quarters, making it challenging to organize your belongings.

Poorly designed entry and exit points: The design and placement of entry and exit points, such as doors or hatches, can significantly impact the usability and convenience of the rooftop tent trailer. Neglecting to plan for easy access or not considering safety features like sturdy steps or grab handles can make it difficult to enter or exit the trailer comfortably, especially for children or individuals with mobility issues.

Inadequate waterproofing of the tent: While the trailer itself needs to be weatherproofed, the tent mounted on top also requires proper waterproofing. Using low-quality or improperly installed tent material can result in leaks and water damage during rainy conditions, compromising the comfort and functionality of the rooftop tent.

3c tent rv trailer caravan 2
3c tent rv trailer caravan 2

Ignoring weight limits and towing capacity: It’s crucial to consider the weight limits and towing capacity of your vehicle when building a rooftop tent trailer. Exceeding these limits can put excessive strain on the vehicle’s engine, suspension, and brakes, leading to safety hazards and potential damage to your vehicle.

Skipping regular maintenance: Once the rooftop tent trailer is built, it’s important to implement a regular maintenance routine. Neglecting routine inspections, cleaning, and maintenance can lead to the deterioration of materials, mechanical failures, or safety issues over time.

Lack of user-friendly features: Building a rooftop tent trailer should prioritize comfort and convenience. Neglecting to include user-friendly features such as easy-to-use latches, storage compartments, comfortable bedding, or well-designed cooking areas can result in a less enjoyable camping experience.

Not seeking professional guidance when needed: Building a rooftop tent trailer is a complex project that may require expertise in various areas such as engineering, electrical work, or plumbing. Failing to seek professional guidance or advice when needed can lead to suboptimal design, safety hazards, or costly mistakes.

Rushing the construction process: Building a rooftop tent trailer requires time, patience, and attention to detail. Rushing through the construction process can result in errors, shortcuts, and compromised quality. It’s important to take the time needed to ensure each step is done correctly, even if it means extending the timeline of the project.

Inadequate sealing and weatherproofing of seams: In addition to overall weatherproofing, it’s important to pay attention to the sealing and weatherproofing of seams in the trailer construction. Neglecting to properly seal seams can result in water infiltration and damage over time, leading to rot, mold, and compromised structural integrity.

Insufficient consideration for road clearance: When designing and building a rooftop tent trailer, it’s essential to consider road clearance and ensure that the trailer has sufficient ground clearance to navigate uneven terrain without scraping or damaging the underside. Failing to account for this can lead to potential damage to the trailer and limitations on where you can travel.

Overlooking stability and leveling mechanisms: Stability is crucial for a rooftop tent trailer, especially when it’s parked on uneven ground. Neglecting to incorporate leveling mechanisms like stabilizer jacks or supports can result in an unstable and uncomfortable camping experience, making it challenging to sleep or move around inside the tent.

Inadequate insulation against noise and vibrations: While insulation is often associated with temperature control, it’s also important to consider insulation against noise and vibrations. Failing to address this can result in a noisy and less peaceful camping experience, especially if the trailer is parked in a noisy campground or near busy roads.

Poorly designed kitchen or cooking area: If your rooftop tent trailer includes a kitchen or cooking area, it’s crucial to plan and design it carefully. Neglecting to consider factors such as workspace, storage for cooking utensils, or ventilation for cooking odors can result in an impractical and inefficient kitchen setup.

Neglecting comfort features: Building a rooftop tent trailer is not just about functionality but also about creating a comfortable living space. Neglecting to incorporate comfort features such as comfortable bedding, adequate lighting, seating areas, or privacy curtains can make the camping experience less enjoyable.

Inadequate consideration for weight distribution when packing: Even if the rooftop tent trailer is well-built with proper weight distribution, it’s important to consider how you pack your gear and distribute the weight inside the trailer. Failing to pack items evenly or exceeding weight limits can affect towing stability and safety on the road.

Underestimating the time and budget required: Building a rooftop tent trailer can be a time-consuming and costly project. Underestimating the time and budget required can lead to frustration, delays, or compromising on quality. It’s important to have a realistic understanding of the resources needed before starting the project.

Neglecting to obtain necessary permits or certifications: Depending on your location, you may need to obtain permits or certifications for your rooftop tent trailer. Neglecting to do so can result in legal issues or limitations on where you can legally park or camp with the trailer.

Failing to prioritize personal safety: Throughout the construction process and during the use of the rooftop tent trailer, it’s crucial to prioritize personal safety. Neglecting to wear appropriate protective gear, using tools incorrectly, or not considering safety precautions can result in accidents, injuries, or long-term health issues.

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