Lightweight Foamie 4x8 Trailer, self built Bug Out Trailer

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skyl4rk

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I have been following the foam trailer builds on the Teardrops n Tiny Travel Trailers forum, and the Bug Out Trailer seems to be about the cheapest/easiest to build way you could get on the road.  It is 371 lbs dry weight, so towable by just about any car. 

The construction is 2" foam covered by canvas.  There is a video series on construction which describes the construction method and materials well.  The insulation would make for a comfortable space in chilly weather. If I built one it would have a rooftop vent.

I have not seen a cost to build yet, but I suspect it is about $1,000.  I started out with a 4x8 cargo trailer camper, and would not go back to a 4x8 trailer unless I had to, they are very small.  However, if I lost everything I own tomorrow and needed to start over, I would start with a foamie trailer like this one. 

Here is a video of the build process:





[video=youtube]
 
The foam boards are $32.52 at Home Depot plus what ever tax your state charges each. They do give you a quantity discount if you buy 24 or more. Looks like he used 4 not counting the floor for this build. Maybe $1000, probably a little less, if you already had the 4x8 trailer. A new one is anywhere between $400 for a cheapie to about $800 for a welded up heavy duty. Craigslist would be your friend. Insulation quality is pretty good with R-10. Wonder how durable it would be.
 
Hello!

I did not even know this forum existed till I noticed a lot of traffic to my YouTube Channel from here. Thought I would come here and check it out.

Thanks for talking up the foamie I built. The videos up on my channel mostly give a quick overview of the build as of right now. I was originally just going to use the time lapse stills to make a write up on how to build a Bug Out. Later, I thought it would be just better to make a video series that included step by step instructions on how to build your own Bug Out. I have a few of those videos up now and hope to be done with a complete build series by this fall. So subscribe and follow along with the fun!

I really tried to make this first Bug Out build as simple as possible so anyone with a little skill can tackle the build. It is so simple it is a box! I do plan later on doing videos on how to do different things to the Bug Out to make it more useful. If all goes well I will create larger and different designs of Bug Outs once I finish this series out.

To answer the question to how much a Bug Out cost I can tell you that the build in the videos cost me $1200.00. That includes the trailer (Harbor Freight Style), manufactured door (new), window (salvage) and materials. If you want to tackle making your own door and window you could probably come in under $1000.00 pretty easy. Labor time was 50 hours.

I really wanted to give people a build that was easy, fun, and economical to build. In making a step by step video series I hope to enable people to see just how easy it really is. I hope that by doing this it will give them encouragement to do there own Bug Out.

Whether bugging out for the weekend or bugging out to avoid disasters. The Bug Out build should do the job well.

Thanks, George.
 
Just a suggestion, explain what you are doing before going fast motion. As in we are going to bond this canvas to the foam using common wood glue that you can buy by the gallon.
I did enjoy the video. I have worked with fiberglass and foam in the past. I used West System epoxy as that would not melt the foam.

When you think about it a 6 X 10 trailer has about the same floor space as a van, and you can get them in stand up height.
 
Thanks!

As mentioned before I was just doing the time lapse so that I had pictures to do a build write up. Since I figured it would be better and nicer to do a video series. I basically put up my time lapse to spark interest. I do now have a 2 part video series on making the floor up on the channel. I just got done with filming the next part making door and window cutouts in the foam that I hope to have up in the next week or so.

I know a few people have opted to do the West System epoxy system for their foamie builds. Which could easily be a option on this build too if someone wanted to be that adventuresome.

George.
 
Thx for the info George, I enjoyed your video.
Looks like you will be selling them?
Was wondering, did you dilute your TB2?
About how much glue per 4*8 panel did you use? Guesstimate? It appears that you went light on the glue. What has been your experience there?
How did you prep your foam prior to glue?
 
I was looking to sell them, but thought that maybe it would be better to just show people how to build their own. Maybe make a few coin with Patreon if people think the info is worth it. I still might make a few to sell though. I have one now that is finished (the one in the videos) I am debating on if I want to sell or not at this point. I am building another to make my how to videos so I will probably have to sell one eventually.

I dilute the TBII 50/50. Not sure that I went light with the glue. I usually try to apply a liberal amount to both the wall and the canvas before mating the two surfaces together. I try to visibly make sure that the canvas pores has absorbed glue into each pocket, if that make sense.

Not sure on glue amount on a 4x8 sheet. The build in the video took nearly 2 gallons of TBII for the entire build. That is canvasing both sides of the foam.

My foam prep is sanding the entire sheet and wiping it down with alcohol. I do use a pinwheel to poke holes into the foam along the wall glue up areas though. Some people do use a seeming tool used with carpeting to puncture holes into the foam. The theory is that it creates a better bond. It may or may not. I have not tried it yet, but will at some point.

George.
 
I have used heavier old camper trailer frames which seem to be better built and cheaper to get. I have also done something that no one seems to think would work on tnttt using interior doors that are dowelled together then completely covered in PMF (drop cloths, tightbond glue, and then house paint) using spray foam and large 1 3/8 " pieces of dowel for attachment points. This has held up well for over 3 years now in the desert in Utah summers and Arizona winters. Damaged interior doors sell for as little as $15 in the big box stores. Just so you know I think George deserves a big Thanks (Button, button who has the dang thanks button?)
 
Great idea bullfrog, light yet strong, like aircraft.
When you mentioned spray foam, injected into the doors? What size trailer have you done?
After seeing Seafoam on Tnttt, wonder how big a trailer one could build. Has to be a max to retain structural rigidity. Could a 7*14*6.5 be doable?
Skinning with a 5mm luaun on both sides?
Been toying and researching this idea in my mind.
 
bullfrog said:
I have used heavier old camper trailer frames which seem to be better built and cheaper to get.  I have also done something that no one seems to think would work on tnttt using interior doors that are dowelled together then completely covered in PMF (drop cloths, tightbond glue, and then house paint) using spray foam and large 1 3/8 " pieces of dowel for attachment points.  This has held up well for over 3 years now in the desert in Utah summers and Arizona winters.  Damaged interior doors sell for as little as $15 in the big box stores.  Just so you know I think George deserves a big Thanks (Button, button who has the dang thanks button?)

I am using manufactured doors for these builds, but I am always looking at economical ways to build. Like I said in the above post, I think if someone could build their own doors and windows, this build could easily come in under $1000.00. The manufactured window and door was a cost of $450.00. That is a lot of wiggle room for a home made idea. Foam is different to work with though so keep that in mind. Eventually I would like to come up with a more economical way to build doors and windows and add those videos to the channel to give people options for their build. Your door idea and Wiley windows might make good alternatives.

Thanks for the kind words, George.
 
Minivanmotoman said:
Great idea bullfrog, light yet strong, like aircraft.
When you mentioned spray foam, injected into the doors? What size trailer have you done?
After seeing Seafoam on Tnttt, wonder how big a trailer one could build. Has to be a max to retain structural rigidity. Could a 7*14*6.5 be doable?
Skinning with a 5mm luaun on both sides?
Been toying and researching this idea in my mind.
There has been some larger foamies built with favorable reports. I think building the bug out would help many realize just how strong a foamie really is. If planned right a larger structure is doable. Of course you could laminate 5mm luaun onto the foam, but that complicates the build and adds weight. If that is something you could live with then go for it. I would like to eventually expand the channel into more complex trailers as time goes on.
 
Thx George. Any links to bigger trailers?
Like I've said, only seen Seafoam or was it Airfoam on tnttt? Was about 6*14 I think with plywood bracing. Nice job.
I would love to build one.
 
I currently have a camper box 80" wide x 12' long and 74" tall (allows me at 5'10" to stand up without hitting my head) sitting on a 24' trailer (the last 12' is a flat bed to haul a Suzuki Samurai). It has two beds down either side a wall and door then a shower, toliet, storage bench area which holds my tent and camping gear with a street side exit. By building a boxed floor of 2"x2" wood and 1/4" plywood filled with spray foam in the voids, there is little or no flex, once you add sides and roof ALL enclosed in PMF it is super strong as the drop cloths shrink as they dry. Then I mount this on the trailer frame with bolts through structural pieces. This last winter I made a pickup topper using the same process. A Ryobi 18 volt drill, circle saw some clamps and straps, paint brush and roller all done in my son's drive way. I rebuilt scrapped rv doors to fit using PMF to hold it all together as well.
 
Over an 80" span the roof can sag enough to pool water if not braced while glue dries and PMF is applied. Mine does but it's water proof glue and house paint. I am eventually filling low spots with layers of paint but I would suggest making a exterior roof brace to mount solar pannels as well as keep the roof joints flat in the next build.
 
Those looking for a small trailer easily and safely pulled by small high-mpg vehicles, IMO this is the way to go, unless you have money to burn.

The TNTTT.com foamie subforum contains lots of details and discussion on variations

ghcoe is one of the masters there

but there is no one true method.

Each builder adapts their own, and reports back their results, almost always successfully.
 
Several of the builders there came from building airplanes and boats so light weight and durable is something they strive for, but there are several all thumbs people like me using their methods and several that try to advance the art of building a water proof shelter you can sleep in. Yes there is a lot of experimental stuff that seems to work, but it is the internet. In my opinion some if not most is much cheaper and better than a manufactured RV especially if you are just looking for something waterproof to sleep in and any mistakes are easily repaired.
 
Minivanmotoman said:
Thx George. Any links to bigger trailers?
Like I've said, only seen Seafoam or was it Airfoam on tnttt? Was about 6*14 I think with plywood bracing. Nice job.
I would love to build one.
Not familiar with the build you mentioned

There are others buried in there.

I don't think you would need the plywood bracing. The foam is quite strong by itself. The Formular 150 has a compression strength of 25lbs per sq inch. Foam does have a significant expansion/contraction rate which when combined with wood structure could cause cosmetic imperfections. You can do it, but you have to do it smart. I do have some wood structure to screw the door onto the bug out. I have made it so that the wood is actually embedded into the foam where expansion/contraction is not telegraphed to the exterior foam/canvas surface. I did use the foams compression strength to my advantage in doing this.
 
John61CT said:
Those looking for a small trailer easily and safely pulled by small high-mpg vehicles,  IMO this is the way to go,  unless you have money to burn.

The TNTTT.com foamie subforum contains lots of details and discussion on variations

ghcoe is one of the masters there

but there is no one true method.

Each builder adapts their own,  and reports back their results, almost always successfully.

I agree, I believe the Foamie is a great alternative to a expensive composite build. The best part is that they are easily maintainable with off the shelf products. Expensive composites usually have one of a kind construction and are expensive to repair.

Thanks for the kind words!

There really is not set build method as of yet. Just like everything else it has it's evolution. I do feel that a standard build is nearing it's final stage though. The Foamie shines when it is kept as simple as possible. Making a builder out of a ordinary person with little skills is what I think the Foamie is all about.

I designed the Bug Out to be as simple as possible for a beginner to cut their teeth on. I think once they get a build, like the Bug Out, under their belt they will be encouraged to build bigger and better. I built the Bug Out so there was no complicated patterns to work with. Just 1 full sheet of OSB, 4 sheets of 2" XPS. Of those materials only 1 needs to be cut to size. The rest is used as purchased. Simple door window cuts and if you can paint and apply wall paper you should be able to build a Bug Out.
 
My bad with the memory, the Foamstream.
He actually milled out plywood stress framing iirc and went with 6" foam, rounding it all out witha final shape similar to an Airstream. Great job and over a 200 pages long thread.
My main concern is the roof span and sufficient strength there and why he went with plywood support trusses. Will have to go back over that.
I can see at 7' wide reinforcing being necessary while not necessary with 4'. Seen wood planks grooved into side panels for that support.
 
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