With some work, cargo trailers can be converted to include a section for living quarters. Whether they are the 53-footers towed by 18-wheelers or the much smaller hard side units towed by passenger vehicles, cargo trailers usually offer spaces wide and tall enough to accommodate the same kinds of equipment and appliances found in many recreational vehicles. Cargo trailer frames are strong and the bodywork is fully enclosed, roofs are often vented and many feature side doors for easy access. Adding living quarters to a cargo trailer requires extensive knowledge of construction principles and a great deal of planning.
Things You'll Need
- Cargo trailer
- Graph paper
- Colored pens
Determine what is required of the living quarters. The cargo trailer should already be equipped to provide security and shelter from the elements, so planning begins with a decision on how much space can be set aside for conversion. Once the available area is established, transfer its measurements to graph paper and include the location of an outside entry door, a place for a second door to the cargo area if one is desired and the position of the roof vents.
Design sleeping accommodations, storage fixtures, bathroom and galley facilities. Consider a platform bed using a conventional mattress with storage drawers beneath it or bunk beds slung from the walls which can be folded up to increase the living area. Storage closets and cabinets can be close to the doors, particularly helpful if dirty work clothes and footwear will be stored. The bathroom and galley should be located beneath the roof vents; privacy can be arranged by installing partition walls or curtains hung from curtain rails.
Lay out where the supplies of electricity and water must run on your graph paper, using different color pens to highlight these lines. A 12-volt electricity supply can generate adequate power for equipment and appliances sourced from truck stops specializing in equipping 18-wheeler sleeper cabs or from RV dealerships. Include a 120-volt circuit powered by an external hook-up or an on-board generator to power household appliances and an air conditioner. Install a water supply system featuring a fresh water holding tank, a 12-volt pump and a waste-water tank slung under the cargo trailer or fed from a connection to a city water supply and vented to a sewer connection.
Budget for insulation, decoration and furniture. Cargo trailers typically have thin, single-ply metal walls, therefore eight by four foot rigid panels of thermal insulation available from most home improvement warehouses should be glued between the lateral rails and support hoops. Attach lightweight paneling to the hoops and rails using self-threading screws and cup washers. Include chairs and tables that can be fitted in around the static cabinets and secured to the floor using L-brackets.
- Photo Credit semi trailer image by max blain from Fotolia.com
How do I Decorate a Really Small Trailer Bedroom?
Trailers are, by nature, small spaces. This offers some advantages like less cleaning and maintenance time. However, when it comes to decorating...
How to Design Your Enclosed Porch
Properly designed, an enclosed space makes ideal outdoor living space. It's important to design the porch to be easily accessible from living...
How to Convert Vans Into Living Quarters
Converting a van into a living space can be as cheap or as expensive as you want. To maximize comfort, over time...
How to Convert a Cargo Trailer to a Camper
Enclosed cargo trailers are often large, unobstructed spaces which lend themselves to conversion into home-made towable campers. They have strong, rigid frames...
How to Make a Semi Into a Camper
"Semi" is the colloquial name for the tractor unit of an articulated 18-wheeler truck. Many semis are factory equipped with sleeper cabs,...
How to Build a Shop With Living Quarters
The term "shop" or "workshop" designates a building with limited environmental controls, which is designed for specific work tasks. Shop work is...
How to Build Living Quarters in Your Enclosed Trailer
Building living quarters in an enclosed trailer, such as one used for race car transportation, can provide accommodations designed specifically to the...
How to Design Your Own Enclosed Trailer
Enclosed trailers can serve a variety of purposes, from hauling cargo to providing shelter. Several trailer companies offer the opportunity for customers...