Convert a Freight Trailer Into a Travel Trailer

A freight trailer is a great platform for conversion into a travel trailer. Medium and large sized freight trailers are wide enough to accommodate a full-size bed and high enough to allow most people to stand upright. Many have preexisting personnel access doors at the front and full-width drop-down or roller doors at the back, which make them ideal toy haulers. Although such a conversion is time-consuming and likely to be costly, the finished article will be designed specifically to serve the builder’s purposes. A great deal of detailed planning should be carried out before starting such a complex project

Take accurate measurements of the freight trailer’s internal dimensions and transfer them to graph paper. Mark on the plan the exact location of all preexisting doors and roof vents. Visit a recreational vehicle show or go to some dealerships and learn what options are available, then design your own interior. Locate galley and bathroom areas beneath the preexisting roof vents, and design storage areas around the doors.

Determine how your motorcycles or four-wheelers will fit into the freight trailer if you are converting it into a toy hauler travel trailer. Consider whether you will wish to keep muddy areas separate from the residential space, and draw partition walls on your graph paper plans accordingly. You may need to make provision for the safe storage of fuel canisters, and if specialized protective clothing is required then dedicated closets should be considered.

Photocopy your plans of the fixtures and fittings, then plan 12 volt and 120 volt electrical systems to serve the lighting circuits, appliances and outlets. The 12 volt system should have a deep cycle battery connected to a fused hot wire from the tow vehicle which will recharge it when the engine is running. By fitting a shore power cord and circuit breaker board to a 120 volt system, household electrical equipment and air conditioners can be installed.

Draw a plumbing system onto a separate photocopy of the plan; consider whether you will need a toilet and a shower, or just a wash hand basin. Consider a freshwater storage tank for remote camping, with a 12 volt pump and waste storage tanks installed beneath the freight trailer. A city water hookup can supply the system when external supply is available.

Plan on insulating the walls, roof and floor against extremes of climate, and the use of interior paneling to make the interior attractive and easy to clean.

Ensure your freight trailer travel trailer conversion will be legal for road use. Learn about the legal change-of-use requirements in your state, and the minimum number of running lights necessary for the trailer’s length and width.