Greetings From Florida

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Greetings From Florida

Postby Kampereen » Tue Dec 08, 2020 7:02 am

Hi folks, my name is Dale, I'm in Fort Myers, Florida (by way of Virginia, originally). Glad I found this forum. I have towed small campers with a motorcycle since the 90s and I enjoyed it enough that I made a business out of it. A few years ago I decided to build my own. I gained a lot of respect for camper building. The apparent simplicity of a “tent on wheels” is very deceptive.

But I was also intrigued. Building a practical camper for a motorcycle requires a lot of interesting calculations and decisions. Weight is a critical factor. I prefer towing a loaded camper that doesn’t exceed half the bike’s wet weight, so 400 lbs is about the limit. A camper has to have certain dimensions to fit the human form, but those measures conflict with what a motorcycle can safely tow. I don’t like towing anything that’s substantially wider than the mirror-to-mirror width of the bike (creates an edge-catching hazard). Anything too tall has too much input on the bike’s handling. That means a realistic and safe motorcycle camper design will have components that open, unfolded, erect, snap, lock, extend, etc. to reach their full and usable form. Material costs and the facilities and skills needed to utilize them are a final consideration. I could build a pretty awesome camper if I had the money, skill and facilities to make it from exotic lightweight materials, but since that won't be happening, I continue to experiment with more traditional materials and methods.

My first camper design was light, but it’s a little small, takes too long to set up and access to the cargo space is limited when you’re inside. I’m in the middle of my second design now. The working prototype I have is what I’d call a “pop up teardrop” (see below). The sides are hinged and lift up with gas shock assist. They are connected by a soft top. This set up is nearly instant and I can get to the cargo space any time. I’ve taken it out a few times and I really like the overall concept. However, its weight is about 425 lbs empty; that’s about 125 more than I would prefer for two-wheel towing.

I’m working now on a revised prototype, which led me to doing more research, which led me here. I’ve already found a lot of good info and ideas here, and I appreciate the fact that this forum exists. If anyone has questions about two wheel towing, I’ll be happy to contribute what I know.

Thanks and Many Happy Journeys!

Dale

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Re: Greetings From Florida

Postby bobhenry » Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:11 am

The wing handles rip van winkle ( another great sleeper ) with ease. It weighs in at 525 loaded ready to tow with a tongue weight of 120 pounds +/- depending on loading.

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Re: Greetings From Florida

Postby bobhenry » Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:28 am

Here was the first motorcycle trailer just a cargo and firewood toter for the wing.
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Re: Greetings From Florida

Postby greygoos » Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:34 pm

I looked in your album. The first photo shows a half finished popup, was wondering if the fabric roof and door get permanently attached or set up at camp. Thanks and welcome.
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Re: Greetings From Florida

Postby bobhenry » Thu Dec 10, 2020 5:54 am

Look up Apache tent camper. I used the base for the build. It was an old gentleman trash hauler when I found it and $60.00 later I had a light weight frame for Rip Van Winkle :D

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Re: Greetings From Florida

Postby Kampereen » Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:55 am

greygoos wrote:I looked in your album. The first photo shows a half finished popup, was wondering if the fabric roof and door get permanently attached or set up at camp. Thanks and welcome.


Thanks for the reply. I'll get some more photos posted but there is one other photo in the album now that shows the finished prototype, the one with the round windows. The roof runs as one continuous piece from front to rear with an access zipper in the rear. The setup involves flipping up the sides which pull the attached roof into place.
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Re: Greetings From Florida

Postby Kampereen » Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:02 am

[quote="bobhenry"]The wing handles rip van winkle ( another great sleeper ) with ease. It weighs in at 525 loaded ready to tow with a tongue weight of 120 pounds +/- depending on loading.

Hi Bob thanks for the comments and links. I'm towing with an Indian Chief and while it has plenty of power and braking, I am trying the engineer out as much weight as I can. If I am happy enough with the results, I want to possibly build them for others. Maybe.
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Re: Greetings From Florida

Postby bobhenry » Fri Dec 11, 2020 6:30 am

Slide down to the foam build section. I was disappointed that mine came in as heavy as it did but I am sure the 100+ pounds of camping gear was a factor.
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Re: Greetings From Florida

Postby rjgimp » Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:55 pm

bobhenry wrote:Slide down to the foam build section. I was disappointed that mine came in as heavy as it did but I am sure the 100+ pounds of camping gear was a factor.


Yep. If you build with foam you can have a palace on wheels behind your bike and be well under 500# loaded for bear. Use heat to bend a curve into the roof and you could probably stand on top of it.
-Rob


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