Bumper pull camper turned sled hauler??

Feb 10, 2018
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La Pine
How’s it going everyone! We have been looking at enclosed trailers online to replace our 4 place open trailer. Have been noticing the trailers we like (heat, gastank, cabinets etc) are atleast $7000 but usually around $8500. Then a basic enclosed stripped down about $5000 then we would have to add heat etc total after making it what we want $6000 so would probably save some cash there.

While flipping Craigslist I have noticed a good amount of bumper pull campers around $2000 that have major interior problems (fridge broke stove etc.) that would be ripped out anyway. Most bumper pull campers in the 22’-26’ range weigh anywhere from 4500-6000lbs after we strip it bare (leave overhead cabinets relocate furnace) my guess is we would lose 1500lbs stripping the interior. Maybe more so the new weight would be 3000-4500lbs

Now start to Add the weight to fabricate a rear ramp door and reinforce the rear section (400lbs) resurface floor install glides (300lbs) plus 4 sleds (144’s) gear gas etc another 2500lbs and the trailer weight would become 6200-7700lbs which any half ton will pull no issue in my mind.

After modifying the trailer to suit our needs my guess is we would put atleast another $1000-$1500 to make it everything we want. So we would be well under $4000 total build

What we want in our trailer.
-4 sleds
- heater with helmet boot/glove drying racks.
- cabinets for extra parts tools gear
- a changing statio(somewhere to sit out of the elements and get ready for the elements)
- potentially an area to camp for the weekend. (Old camper would stay warm with insulated walls)
-onboard gas tank

Thanks anyone for the input.

Looking to see if anyone has seen anyone do something like this. What I may have overlooked or missed. What would you do if you were to try this project. What would make for fun additions.

Happy sledding!
 

Mafesto

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The height will suck.
We started with a bare frame and built a concession trailer using your same rationale about existing water tanks and base costs etc.
Serving window way too low inside while being way too high outside.
Just imagining how tall that will be, I cannot imagine pulling it across Wyoming without causing sphincter muscles to become permanently distorted.

Look a the skeleton of even the cheapest enclosed vs a camper.
I cannot imagine the camper holding up.

Lastly, you will get zero return on investment. Very different to resell.

Sorry to come across negative, but this is how I see it.
Sounds like a fun project though. Kinda like that school bus conversion that some iowa fellas did.
 

Coldfinger

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I had a 2007 Jacyo toy hauler that I sold about 5 years ago. It weighed more than a regular camper of the same length. I assumed that was because it had a heavier frame because it would be hauling atv’s, etc.
 
Feb 10, 2018
23
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La Pine
The height will suck.
We started with a bare frame and built a concession trailer using your same rationale about existing water tanks and base costs etc.
Serving window way too low inside while being way too high outside.
Just imagining how tall that will be, I cannot imagine pulling it across Wyoming without causing sphincter muscles to become permanently distorted.

Look a the skeleton of even the cheapest enclosed vs a camper.
I cannot imagine the camper holding up.

Lastly, you will get zero return on investment. Very different to resell.

Sorry to come across negative, but this is how I see it.
Sounds like a fun project though. Kinda like that school bus conversion that some iowa fellas did.
Thank you for your input and suggestions. You did not sound negative at all just giving your honest opinion which is what I was looking for making this post.
After considering your input on the height I did some more research for heights on trailers.
Most snowmobile bumper pull trailers roof height is 8’-9’ typically closer to 8’ with 5’6”-6’ ceilings interior. (Con have to crouch or bend head inside)
Most bumper pull campers are 10’-11’ to the roof with 6’-7’ interior walls.
Pro is no more head bending even with boots on con extra wind sail action

So the height could potentially be an issue for long hauls if we plan them. Luckily the farthest we drive for a day of riding is an hour and a half away including getting fuel for sleds rig and persons aboard. And the most we climb in altitude driving is 2000’ due to starting off at 4200’ at the house. Also don’t really have any plans anytime soon to take them outside our area (have plenty to ride in central Oregon for our style of riding)

Very true on the skeleton of the trailers. Enclosed snowmobile trailer will have the right deck for the extreme conditions and have an aluminum stud construction with aluminum skin walls insulation is an option usually. Not as warm but much much stronger.
A travel trailer in my experience usually has 2x4 wood stud walls and will usually use cheaper materials that won’t last as long. Will have either fiberglass or aluminum skinned walls but comes standard with insulation which is a bonus.
So for longevity of trailers I thing the purpose built snowmobile trailer is the obvious winner

As for return on investment if we should build a camper trailer and find we don’t like it in 5 years or decide we are done with the sport (not sure how that could happen) it would be very hard to sell. Luckily in Oregon enclosed trailers that are sealed sell just for people to park and fill for storage obviously we wouldnt get what we put back into it out of it but might get something back.
Not planning to sell so that doesn’t concern me but a very good point to bring up.

I love the school bus conversions I have seen and think that would be a badass project. Unfortunately those go for a premium in the state and would have to drive out of state to get a good deal and hope it could drive 200+ miles to get home if it was an out of state purchase. Another downside to the bus would be having to chain. Not sure how expensive studding or finding winter snowflake tires would be.

Thanks again mafesto for your input.

To Coldfinger. Also I have been hunting to find a toy hauler cheap but that’s very hard to do especially finding one built to haul 4 sleds. So it would need interior mods but the back entrance door would make it worth it. Also I would have to assume as you did that the frame is beefed up to handle the extra weight of toys and all the interior.

If we did do a standard travel trailer I think gutting the interior weight would equal 4 sleds and gear or close to each other so I think the frame will handle the weight of snowmobiles.

So thank you Coldfinger for bringing up the toyhauker idea.
 

Coldfinger

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If you convert a camper or even use a toy hauler camper, make sure the inside is as water tight as possible because sleds have a lot of snow and ice which will melt and you dont want water to get into the walls.
 

eldereldo

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Consider that most travel trailers going cheap probably also have water damage in the roof and walls, maybe in the floor as well. You might find you end up with a frame and nothing else once it is all ripped apart.
 
Jun 23, 2004
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Black Diamond, WA
The height will suck.
We started with a bare frame and built a concession trailer using your same rationale about existing water tanks and base costs etc.
Serving window way too low inside while being way too high outside.
Just imagining how tall that will be, I cannot imagine pulling it across Wyoming without causing sphincter muscles to become permanently distorted.

Look a the skeleton of even the cheapest enclosed vs a camper.
I cannot imagine the camper holding up.

Lastly, you will get zero return on investment. Very different to resell.

Sorry to come across negative, but this is how I see it.
Sounds like a fun project though. Kinda like that school bus conversion that some iowa fellas did.
Kinda negative like my response in your thread about sled warranties.......just sayin.

Nevertheless you're 100% correct.
OP, you'll likely incur more cost than your expecting to spend, have a trailer of very questionable quality/road ability. People don't dump TTs for cheap that were generally been well cared for and a TT is far more susceptible to leaks and rot than a cargo trailer. Plus it probably wasn't towed anywhere for a while. Tires, brakes, bearings etc.
Honestly, keep your eye out for a good used snowmobile or cargo trailer.
And most importantly, like Mafesto said, you'll spend however much and it will be pretty much 100% sunk cost. Whereas if you pay a fair price for a used cargo type trailer and take care of it, it will retain the majority of its value for years.
Better investment for sure.
 
Last edited:
Jun 23, 2004
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You'll have to search for a while likely to find a deal.
4 sleds, decent quality and good condition will be $5k min used.
You could search outside your area, but roadtrips for used stuff can be risky.
I found a 10 year old 28' Charmac in Portland a few years ago. 5 grand, basically new with dry rotted tires. Guy literally used it maybe 5x in 10 years.
Could probably get that much or more for it today.

One suggestion, if you find a trailer dealer in an area that the economy is not strong, you may be able to buy new for the cost of used in the PNW.
I needed a trailer last year to haul some stuff back from WI. My big trailer was totally overkill especially to dead head 2000mi with it.
Ordered a new smaller cargo trailer from a dealer in northern WI, had it delivered 100mi to my place and the total cost was $500 less than I sold it for lightly used on Craigslist in Seattle when I got back.
 

IDspud

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OP,

Check out racingjunk.com.
Many cheap setups with living quarters and room for 4 sleds.
Can search with max price to find older, all ready set up trailers.

I admire your thought process, love to build my own when it prices out, but agree with thoughts above. More factors to you’re pricing than you’re seeing, resale being one of the biggest. Everything changes and someday you’ll outgrow it.
Good Luck whichever route you choose!
 
Feb 10, 2018
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La Pine
Thank you everyone for your input. This is why I brought this thread into the forum. I knew I would find a lot of education through the members. Everyone’s points are spot on and it may be doable but not realistic. We are going to run our 4place open for the season or next couple until we can find a nice trailer at a good price.

Happy new year to everyone and happy sledding!

Again thank you everyone for your input greatly appreciated. Everyone’s comments put into perspective excactly how much would have to be done and how just “okay at best” it would be.
 

Flatcat12

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I think you hit the nail on the head it's "ok at best." I've helped Dad has take camper rollovers and make open trailers out of them twice. They are cheap and easy to modify because you just weld something on. The downsides are they are heavy, tall and you may need to move the axles to get them balanced for their new application.

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Apr 5, 2019
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Just saw that on Craigslist @nurse2004 we live in CO also. We currently have a fifth wheel we are converting. Interested in trades for that Tahoe? Might be interested. Just started a business don’t have the cash for it.
 
Apr 5, 2019
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A 4 place open trailer and some older sleds currently. In a building project tied up on cash. Barter services if you have anything needing a wrench turned on it. Certified marine mechanic and have worked on it all.
 
Apr 5, 2019
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@donbrown but that’s to easy and I’m polish. (That makes me cheap in weird ways) Thanks for the advice much appreciated

Have found them for that price locally, got a free fifth wheel camper we are converting that can fit 4 in the rear area and 2 up top if needed (will post pictures one day still need to reinforce bedroom and build a ramp door for the side)
 
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