Converting an old 1-ton army trailer into an adventure camper | Team-BHP

2021-12-24 10:11:55 By : Mr. Pinno Liu

BHPian rosewarrior_101 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I have been tinkering with the idea of developing a camper trailer along the lines of the adventure campers seen in the West.

It all started with buying a Xenon XT 4x4 back in Jan 2014. The concept of a truck was still relatively new in India and there were only two serious options available back then. The Xenon XT and the Scorpio Getaway. Comparing the two, it was a no-brainer to go for the Xenon XT with its muscular and seriously rugged off-road looks.

This purchase itself was driven by a love for the outdoors, camping and living out in the wilds. Towards the end, I was helped out by a Decathlon Store opening up near my place of residence.

I ended up getting myself one two-man and one three-man tent for my family. We also got ourselves inflatable air mattresses, camping sleeping bags, tent lanterns over the next few months.

We did a few trips up to the Himalayas. Pooh, Rampur Bushahr offer good camping opportunities.

But, as we started to get into more details and the stuff we were looking to carry started to increase we need more space than the truck bed offered. That's when we started to explore the options for a trailer. India does not have any trailer dealerships where I could go shopping. So I had to go out and do all my research online and adopt the DIY plans found there to Indian materials. While this was on, there was a need for a trailer as it is, as I needed to transport increasingly larger amounts of stuff around. I have three dogs, a German Shepherd pair and a Labrador that also needed to be moved with me.

So in 2018, I picked up an old Army Surplus trailer from one of the scrap dealers near Kolkata. The Xenon XT does not have a trailer hitch. So I had to design one which could be fixed to the ladder chassis of the Xenon XT to provide it with the strength to pull the trailer. I took an army trailer hitch that's fitted on most army vehicles and had to design the mounting.

I had, back in 2015, added a platform bike rack carrying two bicycles to the rear of the Xenon and this trailer hitch had to be fitted in such a way that the tailboard of the truck body could continue to be opened as well as the bike racks could remain in use.

I had the services of a small roadside welding shop in Kankinanra, West Bengal, near Kolkata who was patient enough to bear with me and carry out all the designs that I was looking to fabricate.

So we ended up designing a unique hitch arrangement that worked around the tailboard opening, the bike racks remaining operational and the rear bumper with step also being still operational.

I will be posting the pics of these.

Once we had the trailer hitch ready, we had to get the trailer ready. I had to get the brake lining changed, the braking system, thankfully was still functional and only needed some greasing. The trailer was an open body trailer and since I needed it to haul luggage and stuff over long distances I wanted to have a covered trailer.

Next, I started to develop an overhead cover for it. The entire assembly was ready in March 2018 just about in time for my move from Kolkata to Srinagar (J&K) a distance of approx 2100 kms by road with my dogs in my Xenon XT with the trailer hitched.

I had no problems driving down NH-2 from Kolkata to Gaya to Allahabad to Chandigarh to Udhampur to Srinagar, with night halts at each of these places. The stretch from Allahabad to Chandigarh was about 1100 kms, and it was a wonderful feeling to drive down the Yamuna Expressway with the Xenon fully loaded.

I reached Srinagar safely with no issues at all.

After a two-year stay in Srinagar, I was to move again and that's when I thought it was time to upgrade the trailer once again. I had been online once again and further researched the trailers and the exact requirement of what exactly I wanted.

I have now started the process to fabricate this trailer on the same old army trailer chassis.

I shall be setting these out in the succeeding blog posts.

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