Pop-Top Camper Build

Camping has always been a part of my life.  Our family would go almost every weekend in the summer.  We have gone through numerous types of campers over the years including a tent, pop-up, pull behind and a motorhome.  After moving to Tennessee in 2008 I started out my own camping adventures with my now Fiancée Bonnie and her son Jacob.  We began with just a tent and after sleeping on the ground a few nights I decided to trade one of my ATV’s for a pop up camper.  334050_10151370578828765_807812162_o
This camper was amazing compared to a tent.  Although the roof leaked and it had various other issues, compared to a tent it was the Biltmore.  After doing the necessary repairs to the pop up we used it for another year or two.  In summer of 2012 we began the camping season finding mice and various other critters living in our camper.  The roof leaked just as bad as it did before if not worse.  At this point I was fed up with this camper.  So I towed it home and with a sawz-all and hammer, I took apart (not nicely) the whole thing and burned what I could.  Now having only a frame, it was time to start building.  After searching the internet for ideas I came across some plans called “the pop top”. The plans seemed to be interesting and easy to build.  So I started construction. I finished each piece that I built with 2 coats of two part epoxy.  First I sanded the whole trailer down and repainted it. Then came the floor. I had some sheets of 3/4″ OSB, and since I was epoxying both sides I figured it would suffice for a floor.

After this, the sides take shape. Each side was assembled first and then put up. After the sides were installed I framed up the front and rear of the camper.
Since I was using just luan plywood for the panels I thought it may be a good idea to use water putty to fill in any voids in the wood for a smooth finish later on.  This seemed to work good for filling in the “Gaps”.1374885_10152268727423765_1814718281_n1385760_10152268727278765_927677865_n1391888_10152310197878765_1345189935_n1385331_10152310202513765_982498718_n

When framing was done I installed all of the wiring inside the camper and put in foam insulation in and painted the interior with paint. At this time I also decided to put down linoleum.

At this point I decided to build a couch bed that folds to a bed.  The ending size is equivalent to a Europeon Super King Bed. I’m 6’8″ and need a long bed to sleep comfortably. The bed folds up and down with ease and has ample amount of storage space underneath.
From here I started to build the kitchen cabinets. I just started from scratch.  The refrigerator cabinet turned out very nice with ample storage in huge drawers underneath the fridge.  I also installed lighting on the interior of the cabinets to help out when its to dark to see in.

One of the last things to do is to build the top.  The top had to be huge because I am a tall person.  It is basically four swinging sides that fold up and down and then a top that sits on top of it as the roof.
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As an extra addition to the camper, I decided to build some storage boxes for the front and the back of the camper.  They are simple and follow the contour of the camper excellent.  They both have built in led lights inside.
The whole thing took me about 3 years to finish as many other projects came to life during construction.  The whole camper is built from mostly scrap wood. A few of the couch legs have bite marks on them as my Lab tried to us them as toys before I could get them in the camper. The camper has two coats of epoxy resin on it and three coats of paint. The bigger tools I used were: Table Saw, Skill Saw, Sanders, Drills and Pneumatic Nailer’s. The basic idea of this camper is to get out of the weather and still be able to sleep, eat & entertain. The camper will sleep 3 people and our Lab without a problem.  The main cabin has a “pop top” in which I can stand easily.  It allows a 360-degree view out the pop top. Below is a picture looking up into the opening from the sitting area inside the camper.
The camper can be towed easily with a Mini-Van, Light truck or SUV.  Although it has no plumbing or propane connections inside yet, both of those are easy to do outside with our cook stove and hot water shower.  We are excited to use it when the weather gets a bit nicer.  Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more blogs from Workshop Tools


  1. Hi, I was wondering if you build pop-up camper roofs? Or if you know anyone that does.

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