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Man Builds $11,800 Lightweight Mobile Micro Camper Cabin

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In this post I’m introducing you to Peter Pavlowich and his Terrapin micro turtle campers.

This series is called The Terrapin and it’s a new model of trailer campers he’s created. They’re inspired by many of the tiny travel trailers from the 1950s and 60s which are great for road trips. The best part is that you can easily tow these campers because they’re lightweight and compact.

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Terrapin Casual Turtle Camper

This way you save on gas and ultimately it’s affordable to adventure. I urge you to check out the rest of this micro camper below because I think you’ll like the interior:

Interior of the Terrapin Casual Turtle Camper

The cabin has a total of seven windows so you can enjoy the view while inside.

Homey Bedroom Setup with Comfy Foam Mattress

There you will also find a 6″ memory foam mattress and of course the bed transforms into a dinette (just like in most RVs).

This way you can sit, hang out, eat, work, and sleep. All in one tiny unit.

Bed Converts to Dinette Setup

When you’re inside it’s like no other camping experience out there because it’s like a micro cabin inside.

I don’t know about you, but I’d sure love to have one.

Related: High Tech and Lightweight Alto Safari Condo Lightweight Teardrop Camper

What Would You Do With This Camper?

In the comments below I’d like you to share what kind of adventures you’d go in with a micro camper like this.

Here’s What I’d Do With It…

For me, I’d love to use this towable micro cabin to tour and enjoy the country with while visiting other tiny homes, people, and spreading the message by speaking and sharing what I find here on Tiny House Talk.

And when I’m not on the road with it, I’d use it as my micro man cave out back.

So How About You? How Would You Use It?

How about you? (Let us know in the comments).


  • 1360 lbs
  • 5’x8′ custom trailer frame
  • 3,500lb axle
  • 15″ wheels with trailer rated tires
  • A-frame tongue with jack and storage
  • Truck bed liner undercoat
  • Insulated flooring, walls and roof
  • 15 amp power inlet with two interior outlets
  • Custom crown molding LED lighting
  • Full size memory foam bed


  • width: 6’9″
  • height: 8′
  • length: 8’2″ (cabin) and 12′ overall (with trailer)
  • interior height: 5’11” at peak
Peter Pavlowich Applying Finish on a Casual Turtle Camper

Peter Pavlowich Applying Finish on a Casual Turtle Camper

Visit Casual Turtle Campers online right here.

Learn about buying this camper for $11,800 here.

Related: Zach’s DIY Convertible Handmade Micro Camper He Tows with a Subaru

Related: Even Smaller Hand Built Woody Teardrop Camper

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More Like This: Tiny Houses | Awesome Australian Made Off Road Micro Camper | THOW

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 51 comments… add one }
  • Mame
    April 18, 2014, 1:51 am

    The finishing seems really nice, no rough stuff there — but does the bed and dresser take up the entire interior? The “kitchen” appears as though it could have a few little amenities added…but all in all, a lovely little rv. I must tell you, I am enchanted with the name of Turtle Camper — for years I have said I would love to get rid of real estate and travel around with my house on my back like a turtle — seems really possible with a unit this size if a few more necessities could be added 🙂

    • di
      February 18, 2015, 10:10 am

      Rather than a bed, try pull-out STORAGE ottomans beneath a padded bench to create a larger bed as needed. Store one set of stackable kitchenware and a minimal wardrobe in the ottomans. Try one-pot or one-pan recipes. Try 7 tops and 7 bottoms to create 49 outfits. A bureau may not be needed. Store a composting toilet in an ottoman.

      • di
        February 18, 2015, 10:25 am

        To create a larger bed, place the pad from the back of a bench on top of the ottomans.

      • di
        February 18, 2015, 10:30 am

        For privacy, surround a portable composting toilet with a circular shower curtain.

    • di
      February 18, 2015, 10:16 am

      Add a folding shelf adjacent to the head or foot of the bed. Position the shelf slightly higher than the bed. Sit on the bed and use the shelf to dine or study.

      Use a folding shelf to cook. Use a portable stovetop. To wash items, use a basin and camping shower bag on a hook. Store everything away and use the space for other activities.

    • dana
      April 4, 2017, 6:59 pm

      this is a space crying out for a murphy bed…..would make a much easier bed conversion, i think…
      leave the hitch wall window in place (when bed is up, the coverlet should look like a curtain, when down more light), perhaps push out the wall to match sidewall overhangs, mounting murphy bed on pushout….mount a hinged/fold down table on outside face of murphy bed for dining. with storage benches, depending on size of table and bed, or even fold away benches mounted to side walls for dining.

      • Natalie C. McKee
        April 5, 2017, 6:57 am

        A Murphy bed could be fun!

  • Dan
    April 18, 2014, 8:54 am

    It is a fine piece of work, very nicely done. It looks far better than any other camper I have seen from the major manufacturers. This has much more character and style. The only thing I would want to modify on the unit would be add a couple feet in length, and have a small wet bath added to make it complete. At that price range, people are going to expect a self contained unit. Great Job and excellent craftsmanship, I think he has a winner here.

    • di
      February 18, 2015, 10:18 am

      For a portable outdoor shower, try a camping shower bag on a hook surrounded by a circular shower curtain. For indoors, stand in a large basin. Use the basin to wash dishes, clothes, etc.

      • Nancy
        April 19, 2017, 11:04 am

        WOW ~~ di, you ought to build one. I’d love to see it!

  • Ruth
    April 18, 2014, 9:06 am

    this is lovely. I have just bought a much smaller, much cheaper trailer, think snail rather than turtle; a ute back cab jammed on top of a 4’x6′ trailer, just enough room for me, my dog, and a portapotti. I am thinking of putting in a mattress that folds up to a seat, like this:
    (Link Expired: pararubber.co.nz/product.php?id_product=419) It looks to be 8″ thick. I will have to cut off the backrest bit to fit it in, though.
    Something like this would have been good in the turtle camper, to fix the “where to put the memory mattress when eating” problem.

  • Janie
    April 18, 2014, 9:13 am

    Nice..I think its better than my house! I yes, have a regular (but small) house but I LOVE love these tiny house ideas to make it feel larger…(theres me, my adult son, and soon my other adult son, his wife and baby moving in…a technically 2 bedroom house) If I could move I’d do it in a heart beat and have a tiny house…

  • Joey
    April 18, 2014, 10:01 am

    I would definitely use this for that long weekend get away. When I visit friends and relatives far from home this trailer is perfect for sleeping accommodations. No need for a hotel. I like the long weekend used more than anything. The last thing though would be for guests and their sleeping accommodations. No need for them to pay for hotels.

    • Marcy
      March 8, 2016, 8:14 pm

      I agree, Joey. But I think I could go even longer than that with it – summer trip to national parks comes to mind. And I would love to have something like this when visiting friends and family. I wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel or put anybody out and would have a place to escape to when the togetherness became to much for me.

  • Joyce Rader
    April 18, 2014, 10:15 am

    Nice woodwork and design. I believe there is storage under the bench seats and perhaps limited under the ‘open’ bed space. I can see a person using camp stoves and basins for sink and perhaps a port-a-potty if not in a campground with similar facilities.
    A person can take this design, add 2 or 4 feet in length and include a closet or potty room. One could also put the camper shell on a full size pickup bed instead of the trailer frame.

  • Molly McGinnis
    April 18, 2014, 10:41 am

    It’s really nice! What kind of vehicle do you need to pull it?

    • Alex
      April 18, 2014, 3:50 pm

      Since it weighs less than 1500 lbs many small vehicles would be able to tow it (the new RAV4 can handle 1500 lbs)

      Even some cars are rated to tow 1500 lbs so you can also probably get away with towing it with a V6 car (and even a 4 cylinder but that might be pushing it)

    • Alex
      April 18, 2014, 3:51 pm

      Toyota and Volvo cars seem to have high towing capacities.

    • Alex
      April 18, 2014, 3:51 pm

      But if you’re curious for your car just Google, “year make model towing capacity” and you should get your answer 🙂

  • Kathy Perilloux
    April 18, 2014, 11:20 am

    I like it a lot… head room, convertible dining/sleeping, praticle windows and doors, good use of space, comfortable interior, good roof design, and allows versitility for owner to add their own touches with ease.
    I would use it to go to Dulcimer festivals with my 2 micro Doxies…. lol
    Also semi-wilderness camping.
    I would use it a lot for volunteer work especially at http://www.frenchcamp.org
    And visit family and friends.

    • Kathy Perilloux
      April 18, 2014, 11:23 am

      PS … I like my own space.

    • Alex
      April 18, 2014, 3:48 pm

      Thanks for sharing Kathy!

  • Comet
    April 18, 2014, 2:20 pm

    I suspect that much like a boat the mattress is not one slab but rather sections that make up the seat bench and back padding. To have two seperate and complete SETS of foam for bed and seating would take up a LOT of room. And if you were swapping out and stashing under the bed—this would get real old real fast. Not to mention losing ALL of the storage room under there.

    OH—and a BTW—for anyone interested in a piece of property WITH a small house ON a RIVER—above flood stage for the house!!!!—for $27k—-in Upstate NY—(I have NOTHING to do with this just saw ad and know where house is) 45 mins from Saratoga; Bennington VT etc—check out REYNOLDS REAL ESTATE and search for single family in SALEM NY (house is actually in Shushan NY–has own small grocery and is a cute tiny town!) Needs cosmetics and perhaps more—ad did not state. Two pretty magnolia trees outside!

    Just thought I would mention this. Or post here and I will see if I can get answers for you.

  • Loren
    April 18, 2014, 5:48 pm

    This is the best little camper I’ve seen. Thank you for featuring it in your newsletter. I’m seriously considering selling my 16-foot fiberglass camper and buying a Terrapin. What a great design!

  • Alisa
    April 18, 2014, 10:20 pm

    I love it and especially love the wood work. I have been dreaming of building a tiny house on a trailer that I could live in or take on the road. I would love to have this to travel and build a tiny house on the ground to live in.

    • Alex
      April 20, 2014, 11:07 am

      Thanks Alisa glad you like it! I’d love to take it on the road too.

  • susan
    April 19, 2014, 2:43 am

    I think someone else asked-where is this located, as that would make a big difference in any consideration to purchase. From what I saw, (unless I missed something), no place to go to the bathroom? What would work to use (would not be used in RV place). thanks. Oh, did the windows have screens? I didn’t see any, but sometimes you can’t see screens in a picture.

  • Brian
    April 19, 2014, 3:35 am

    What a beautifully designed and thought out Micro Camper. I would use this as a weekender to get away for overnight stopovers.

    • Brian
      April 19, 2014, 4:13 am

      I have already downsized to a Small House and live in the country however I would use this Micro Camper to escape back to the city
      for overnight stays, once in a while. After living is the city for so long
      and then downsizing to the country, I get a little nostalgic for my haunts in the city. What a great way to do this in this Micro Camper eh.

  • Katydidit
    April 20, 2014, 9:55 am

    Love the lilt’ turtle! Does seem a little pricy for the space, but well done cept for the mattress part. The easy towing part should out way a lot of negatives! Anyway to get that done, I’m all for. Thanks Alex for all you do man!

    • Alex
      April 20, 2014, 11:06 am

      Thanks Katy! I think he should tell us around how many hours it took to design/build it so everyone can appreciate the value and price. That being said, I get it, $12k is a good chunk of change. I just think he deserves it.

  • Debora
    April 20, 2014, 11:14 pm

    Think it’s a cute, little camper, good for a honeymoon or to hit some of ones favorite sites, visiting relatives, etc. When not doing that good for an extra bed for sleep overs or visiting relatives.

  • Nancy
    April 22, 2014, 10:08 am

    Other than the eating/sleeping problem (where does mattress go?), there is the always persistent problem – especially for females – of private space for using the bathroom. Cute is one thing, but serious inconvenience, like having to find a bathroom or use the woods, rules this one out…much as I like its small footprint. Got to have a little toilet somewhere in there or it’s just too much trouble. Not worth it.

    • Theo
      March 9, 2016, 12:17 am

      What bathroom? Didn’t see any loo, or mention of one. The woodwork looks nice, but the interior could really be better organized. As is, I would pass on it. Would also probably built it as a pickup camper, rather than trailer.

  • Paul
    May 12, 2014, 6:27 am

    Stuff it all, will someone tell me how they tie it down to the trailer so it doesn’t fall off when being towed. Yeah, fellin’ grumpy… pffffTTTT!!!

  • elizabeth
    September 19, 2014, 2:47 pm

    Now this is great. For myself, when on the road, I’d want an obvious camp kitchen and a nook or cabinet for a porta-potty. (Ideally, an outside shower – or the accoutrements to hang a gravity shower – in an attached tented bathroom with SS pan floor with gray-water capture – on a corner to keep those great windows clear. That’s also another place to put the Potty, once you’ve set up.) When you camp, there are always rainy days, and for the price, that doesn’t seem too much to ask to not have to run down the hill to the facilities. It also gives you the option to go backcountry, as long as you have water storage & propane for a camp stove & boat heater. This is the perfect step up from tent camping, and if stabilized, a perfect guest room back home at the tiny house.

  • Kbee
    November 26, 2014, 5:14 pm

    I like this one. I would park at my daughter’s in the mountains. I could spend time with my grandchildren without intruding.

  • Liz
    March 8, 2016, 5:01 pm

    The website says they sre no longer taking orders

  • Dave
    March 8, 2016, 6:06 pm

    I have yet to take the time to sit down and design my own, like this guy has, and it’s nice. But, everyone always comes back to “where’s the bathroom?” So, why hasn’t someone designed a bathroom trailer and made IT convertible into kitchen, eating and sleeping areas?

    • Theo
      March 9, 2016, 12:28 am

      An indoor bathroom is a luxury, not a necessity, you can always wash with a pot of water and a washcloth. But I consider an indoor loo, a necessity, and not a luxury. A portable composting toilet takes up little space, and can be slid under a counter or something when not in use. And yet so many ‘designers’ don’t even bother including even a simple composting toilet. Only one of many reasons I will be doing my own designing when I finally find a appropriate van to convert. I am still undecided on solid fuel or liquid for heat. Which reminds me, I don’t recall any mention of heat.

  • Mimi
    March 10, 2016, 5:34 pm

    What would I do?????? Hold my pee in. A lot. But it’s sooooo cute and cozy!!

    April 3, 2017, 6:59 pm

    Hay on a camping trip, or just a week end get away, this tiny trailer would be a awesome up grade from a tent… But as a long term tiny house, I think it falls short in many ways… But to each their own…!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 4, 2017, 5:20 am

      Yes I think it depends on “why” you are buying. I’d like more for full time living, too!

  • Greg Padgitt
    April 3, 2017, 8:26 pm

    I am a financial planner. My father was a small town doctor who made house calls. I’d love to be able to bring my office anywhere and make house calls!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 4, 2017, 5:09 am

      That would be excellent!

    April 9, 2017, 8:35 pm

    No one has mention using a blow up mattress. This will work also on short voyages.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 10, 2017, 4:44 am

      Good idea!

  • Nancy
    April 19, 2017, 11:12 am

    What Would You Do With This Camper?
    I’m retired soooo, I’d hook it up and head to Florida’s Gulf side! Add a small air window unit & a composting potty ~~ AND away I go!!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 20, 2017, 4:21 am

      That sounds lovely!

  • Terry Coffman
    June 30, 2017, 11:32 pm

    I have one like yours did you put bigger tires on it to carry the extra weight of the wood mine is a 1974 apache thanks

  • Richard B. Dickman
    June 25, 2021, 5:24 pm

    Can the unit be transferred to a pick-up truck bed?

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