After a wet, but pleasant tent camping trip to Nova Scotia, we swore that we will never take a long camping trip in a tent again. We wanted to be in a hard sided (wind resistant), enclosed (warm) trailer that was off the ground (no water running under our bed) and had indoor cooking and bathroom facilities that would not force us to have to stand up to the outdoor hazards that had plagued us in a tent, ie. too much wind, too much water and too darn cold for our liking.
It was with this premise that we designed our first cargo trailer, with the intent of making it a basic tent on wheels. We did not have a need for the luxuries afforded to those who like factory built travel trailers or RVs. So, even after giving ourselves the opportunity to look at some of the newer trailers on the market, we firmly wanted an Aluminum (lightweight) trailer that we could fit out our own way.
We approached R&R Trailers in Three Rivers Michigan, who made a great job of following our design requests and finished the trailer on time and as we had wanted it.
After purchasing our first small 7'x17' cargo trailer in 2010, we decided three years later to acquire a larger 8'x25' trailer, correcting what we did not like about the first one. We approached R&R Trailers again and they completed the job, as we had requested.
We liked dealing directly with R&R because there was no middle man, and, at the time, they only constructed trailers made almost entirely of aluminum.
So, currently, our CAT (Converted Aluminum Trailer) is still being improved after taking three long journeys across America. It's been an interesting adventure, starting with the initial build that included the installation of the kitchen with two sinks and a fairly large working surface, along with the large bed that fits 200 gallons of water under it. This includes 100 gallons of fresh water, 50 gallons of grey water and 50 gallons of black water.
Because of the heavy weight, the bed was strategically placed above the wheel axles, which forced us to build the rest of the trailer around the bed.
By the way, included in the bed is a convenient storage area for the solar power equipment that includes a lithium ion battery, charger and inverter.
Once the bed and the kitchen area were completed, we set about getting the bathroom together. This meant making the entire front Vee of the trailer waterproof, so we made a large triangle out of wood and covered it with fiberglass. After we installed it, we put in a marine style toilet and a traditional bathroom sink and cabinet. Later on, when we realized the initial idea of using the area as a wet shower , was not going to work, we put in a make-shift tub surrounded with a plastic wall. This has worked out well for us up to now, so we will probably keep it as it is, unless we can find a suitable fiberglass shower cubicle.
The plumbing for the shower area was very crucial to get right and it was lucky that with Dieters' thinking around the logistics, we now have a very efficient plumbing system that feeds fresh water to the sink area and, most importantly, the sewage system feeds well all the way to the black tank located under the bed. All of the plumbing is indoors, which saves them from potential freezing, which affects most standard RVs and trailers.
Our hot water heating system is from an on-demand propane heating unit. This has worked flawlessly since day one and we are so happy that we chose to use this system instead of relying on an electric hot water system, that would take up way too much electric power and space.
In another blog, I will discuss the merits of our 1000 watt solar power system and why we chose to change our batteries to lithium ion.
Hi there, I am Sue. the author of this Blog, and my husband Dieter, is very much my side-kick when it comes to our travels. Since 2010, we have taken a few RV trips across America, and in doing so, we have figured out what locations suit us best and also what type of camping vehicle we like to do our travels in. This blog is meant to let people read about some of our favorite places we have been to and also, we will discuss places we want to visit in the future. We will put forward our ideas on why we chose to convert our cargo trailer into a basic off-grid home for six months of the year.