For 20+ years, my wife & I were avid tent campers. I took her on our first camping trip together for our
first anniversary way back in 1994 near Cherokee, NC in a tiny 2 person tent. The following Christmas, I
was gifted with a 10' x 20' cabin tent, sleeping bags, air mattress and all sorts of gear to make our future
trips a little more pleasant. Even after we had children, we continued to tent camp near the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park, Shenandoah National Park, a few trips to the Outer Banks of NC and a
couple of state parks thrown in for good measure.
For many of those years though, we thought about purchasing a camper but it never seemed like the
timing was right. With the children in private school, we just couldn't pull the trigger on such a pricey
investment. We looked at used campers but could never find one in our price range that didn't need a
ton of work. After the children got a little older, we started renting those camping cabins that you find
at most commercial campgrounds. This way we still got the camping experience with a few more
luxuries such at hot water, refrigerators & air conditioning.
It was sometime during 2017, I found a photo of a homemade camper on the internet. I don't even
remember the site or how I ended up finding the photo but it sparked a fire in me that wouldn't go away.
During this time I was a Correctional Officer for the state of NC and was nearing the end of my career. I
was fortunate enough to retire at the age of 51 and a do-it-yourself camper was going to be my first
I was lucky to acquire a part time job after retirement with a nearby home improvement store and after 6
months, I was offered a full time position. My camper project would still have to wait. I didn't tell my
wife about my idea until right before I was going to start on it. After telling her of my plans, she just
rolled her eyes and walked away. To be fair, this wasn't the first time in our 27 years together I had seen
My initial plan was to build a camper on a 10' or 12' flat bed trailer but after adding up the cost, I decided
that a slide in truck camper would be cheaper. On March 08, 2020, I framed the floor of what would be
our homemade camper. Every spare moment was devoted to this project. Plans got altered along the
way, but the focus remained.
It was about 3 months into the build that I realized that my camper was gaining weight. So once again,
I changed my plans and decided to stick with a tow behind camper. I was too far along to make any
major changes so I stuck with the existing design.
On August 27, 2020, I finally mounted the camper to my utility trailer and secured it. My project was