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5′ x 9′ Tiny Travel Trailer

This is a 5′ x9′ Tiny Travel Trailer guest post by Kay Beam – share yours!

I built a 5′ x 9′ tiny travel trailer. I wanted something to camp in with hard sides so that I could bring my granddaughters with me. I made the walls 5′ high with a dropped floor so that I could stand up in it. At the dropped floor the inside height is 5’8″; I’m 5″6″, so there’s 2 inches to spare.

The floor and walls are made of ¾ inch plywood, and the roof has luan placed on spars. The walls and roof are skinned with aluminum. I ordered manufactured windows and a door.

It weighs just under 1,000 pounds, and tows very easily. It has an inside kitchen and a place to shower. There is a shower pan with a drain in the floor, and a shower curtain that hangs from the walls. The shower pan stores under the bed and I bring it out and place over the floor drain when I need to use it.

There are electrical and water hookups, and I’ll be installing a water heater. It took me about 180 hours to build and cost around $5,000.

I ordered a custom made trailer chassis and built on top of it. The trailer is very comfortable and convenient. I’m very happy with how it turned out. It was a fun project!

Below is a breakdown of the building costs. Please enjoy and re-share. Thank you!

5′ x 9′ Tiny Travel Trailer

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Images © Kay Beam

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Images © Kay Beam

Trailer chassis with lights, fenders, and stabilizer jacks: $1,450
3 sheets 5’x10’ plywood, 2 sheets 4’x8’ plywood, 6 pieces luan: $594
4 sheets 5’x10’ .040 Aluminum: $371
Diamond plate: $85
Aluminum trim, putty tape, and gimp: $180
3 windows and door: $940
Lumber: $227
Roof fan: $154
Electrical: $100
Plumbing: $115
Lighting, batteries: $265
Other misc. supplies: $533

Our big thanks to Kay Beam for sharing!

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Andrea
Andrea has lived simply in small spaces for more than 7 years and enjoys sharing her space saving (and space multiplying) tips from experience.
Andrea

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{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Lynnette July 21, 2015, 8:54 am

    This is adorable!

  • Mary July 21, 2015, 10:02 am

    You did a spectacular job. I wish I had one to drive 2,000 miles to go visit my brother.
    Let us know how it works out for you, please and thanks for sharing.

    • KB July 21, 2015, 9:47 pm

      Thank you so much! I’ve used it once and it worked great. I’m heading out again this weekend to use it again.

  • Sally H July 21, 2015, 11:48 am

    Explain about the shower again? I understand that the drain is in the lowered part of the floor in front of the kitchen, but how do you hang the curtain and where is the shower head? Where does the used water go?

    From whom did you order the custom trailer chassis? LOVE the idea of the lowered floor – makes a trailer that short actually comfortable to use.

    You could add a box on the tongue for batteries (off grid power for trailer) and/or water storage.

    • KB July 21, 2015, 12:54 pm

      The shower pan is a lightweight, plastic cement mixing pan with non-slip treads on the bottom. It has a drain on the bottom/side that goes into a sink drain through the floor, into a trap, and then to the waste hook-up where you attach a hose to drain into either a portable waste storage tank or directly into the sewer. The shower curtain has cord through the top which hangs from hooks on the walls. There is pvc pipe through casing at the bottom of the curtain to hold it in place in the pan. The shower head itself is battery operated with a pump you place in a bucket of hot water. When I have water and electric hook-ups I’ll be able to put the shower head pump directly in the kitchen sink filled with hot water from the water heater (which I still need to install). I hope I’ve explained it enough to understand. I wish I could attach some pictures here so you could see what I mean.

      I ordered the trailer chassis from a local trailer builder. I really wanted something I could stand up in so decided to build this instead of a tear drop trailer. I also wanted an inside kitchen instead of a rear galley kitchen like in tear drops.

      I did add a tongue box for storage of hoses, solar panel, blocks, and such.

      Thanks for your questions!

      • Sally H July 23, 2015, 9:33 am

        Thank you for your excellent explanation. This little trailer has captured my imagination. I am completely impressed while thinking of additions to make (camping-type solar shower bag on the roof.) I hope it affords you and yours years of delight.

  • CathyAnn July 21, 2015, 8:40 pm

    I am so impressed! It looks like a commercial build!

    I wish commercial travel trailer builders would do something like this. I’m sure there are a lot of us out here who would buy them. Not everyone wants one of those behemoth trailers that they all make that take a large, heavy duty truck to pull. Something like this would be perfect for me during my summer ramblings.

    Your trailer is beautiful and functional. Love it!

  • KB July 21, 2015, 9:56 pm

    Thank you for your nice comments! Yes, I think there would be a market for this design of a trailer. I looked at commercial built trailers and couldn’t find what I wanted, so built what I had in mind. It has all that I need. I tow it with my 4 cylinder truck very easily.

  • Tim July 22, 2015, 9:43 am

    Hi KB,
    Can you tell me where you purchased the aluminum for the roof and the sides and how did you handle the seam between the sides and roof?
    Thanks!

    • KB July 22, 2015, 12:52 pm

      Hi Tim,
      The aluminum came from N. Glantz & Son Sign Supplies. There are branches throughout the country. If you google ‘teardrop trailer supplies’ you will find suppliers that sell aluminum roof edge and putty tape.

      Form the roof edge to the shape of the trailer (pound with a rubber mallet), then pre-drill screw holes through the aluminum roof, place the putty tape, and then screw down the roof edge. Be sure to NOT use stainless steel screws as these will cause corrosion with aluminum. If done properly it will be waterproof.

      There are lots of building tips and lists of suppliers on the Teardrops and Tiny Travel Trailers forum (www.tnttt.com).

  • Karen R July 22, 2015, 11:59 am

    This is so beautifully planned and built! Add a couple of feet at the back (under what appears to be a fold up bed) for a toilet and shower option, and you have me! Since we never dry camp – and never sleep through the night – the bath is a practical necessity.
    You are so right about the necessity of towables between teardrops and mansions. I am SO impressed!

    • KB July 22, 2015, 12:57 pm

      Thank you, Karen! There is a porta-potty that stores under the bed ; )

  • Brendaelk July 22, 2015, 1:19 pm

    I like this so well! It would be great to travel to see my kids in Oklahoma which is close to 800 miles and for so many occasions! Just to get out on your own in the woods or near the beach would be awesome. You got your kitchen, no big money at the restaurants or truck stops. Make your own fresh food! Good Job! Need a travel partner?

  • Hunter-Grace July 22, 2015, 1:24 pm

    Kay would you have any rough plans for us to have copies of ? As an older woman i could sure use the help of them. thanks.

  • Patty July 23, 2015, 1:18 am

    Very well-done and functional. Love the looks and porta-potty makes it perfect. Now that is a great way to camp out.

  • Bill Glass July 23, 2015, 5:26 pm

    can you send a detail of the clearance at the bottom of the dropped floor to pavement?

    • KB July 26, 2015, 6:37 pm

      From the top of the floor to the pavement is 19″. The dropped floor is 10″ leaving a 9″ clearance which is plenty since I don’t intend to take it off-road.

  • Carrie July 23, 2015, 10:19 pm

    Wow! Just love what you did!! This is what I’ve been looking for.

  • sue July 25, 2015, 6:02 am

    What a wonderful little trailer! Wow! It is charming and has everything I’d need! I may try to build something similar. How did you cut the aluminum for the door and windows? Thanks for sharing. Oh – love the curtains & bedspread! I would love to get a copy of the sketches too!

    • KB July 26, 2015, 6:30 pm

      The aluminum was not difficult to cut. Place the aluminum up against the plywood walls and mark the door and window openings with a permanent marker, then cut it with a jigsaw. Drill a starting hole, then use bar soap on a fine jigsaw blade, and cut on a slow speed. Cut on the wrong side because the aluminum shavings can scratch it. Thanks for the nice comments!

  • Sharee July 30, 2015, 6:24 am

    Hello Kay Beam
    Thank you so much for showing us this little van, it’s totally gorgeous. Do you happen to have any progress photos of building it? I’d like to tackle a similar build and would love to see how you did the walls.
    Thank you if you can.
    🙂 xxx

  • Janet Bendt August 1, 2015, 11:24 am

    This is the best tiny travel trailer I have ever seen! Congratulations to you and thanks for sharing!

  • Peggie November 6, 2016, 10:35 pm

    This is fabulous! I am buying my trailer this week to start my teardrop. I have three different plans to work from and a DVD to study, but now I am completely rethinking that plan. I will get in touch with you soon, Kay. Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Peggie

  • Annette November 17, 2016, 2:27 pm

    This is genius. Totally impressive. Thanks for mentioning that you can pull it with a 4-cylinder.

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