Explorer Box Camping Trailer

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Project by schaney posted 07-03-2008 10:36 PM 15650 views 13 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few year back I searched for a nice compact two person camping trailer, no one made one, so I designed my own.

It’s design is a combination for vinage tent and teardrop trailer, I call it an Explorer Box. It’s a rolling camp box of sorts. It has a kitchen / galley area on the front that includes organized, shelved storage compartments and counter space. In the rear is a large general storage compartment for bulkier items and storage containers. On top I again used an expedition style roof top tent for sleeping quarters. The Explore Box is great for extending our Subaru’s storage space and at just under 400 lbs dry it’s a breeze to tow.

The Explorer Box uses a straight forward glue and screw corner block method of assembly. The floor is made from ACX Radiata Pine, shelves are from Baltic Birch and the exterior is made from 9mm BS1088 Okuome for its light weight, strength and beautiful Mahogany finish. It’s sealed with CPES and top coated with a new oil-based, water cleanup varnish from Target Coatings called HybriVar.

I’ve had some much interest in the Explorer Box that I created a construction manual for DIYers.

-- Scott, Camping the "Compact Way",

15 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3308 days

#1 posted 07-03-2008 10:46 PM

That is really cool. Not for the pampered motor-home set, though. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View schaney's profile


25 posts in 2798 days

#2 posted 07-03-2008 10:53 PM

Yes, if you need a microwave and big screen TV to go camping, an Explorer Box isn’t for you :o)

-- Scott, Camping the "Compact Way",

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 2793 days

#3 posted 07-03-2008 11:01 PM

Looks great!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 2753 days

#4 posted 07-03-2008 11:12 PM

Very cool, thanks for sharing

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 3166 days

#5 posted 07-03-2008 11:19 PM

I have alway liked Teardrops . . . but they look like a considerable project.

This however is really neat and looks much easier to build.

Thanks for sharing.

-- BLOG -

View tjocpa's profile


26 posts in 2786 days

#6 posted 07-03-2008 11:53 PM

This looks great. How does one get your construction manual? I tried your website and it did not work.


-- Tom O'Neil, Celtic Saw Guy

View Woodshopfreak's profile


389 posts in 2831 days

#7 posted 07-03-2008 11:54 PM

Great way to have a collapsable camper! Make your own. How long did it take to build?

-- Tyler, Illinois

View schaney's profile


25 posts in 2798 days

#8 posted 07-04-2008 01:03 AM

Zuki, much easier to build than a teardrop. The Explorer Box has a big advantage over a teardrop, when you pull into camp, you don’t have to unpack stuff out of the trailer before going to bed. You just pop the tent open and it’s ready.

Tom, I found a typo in my sig, takes you to the Explorer Box page which has ordering info on it.

Tyler, the first one took a few week and some rework to get the design right. Now I can build one in a few days. Putting the finish on actually takes longer than building the trailer box.

-- Scott, Camping the "Compact Way",

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 2973 days

#9 posted 07-04-2008 05:59 AM

Now that is a cool innovative idea!


View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 2822 days

#10 posted 07-04-2008 11:43 AM

Very cool! I can see myself in one of these… now if I can only convince the wife. :)

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View schaney's profile


25 posts in 2798 days

#11 posted 07-04-2008 08:05 PM

TedM, you would be surprised how many wifes see the Explorer Box at a show or when we are camping, think it’s just “so cute” and go get their husband’s to show it to them. At a Earth Day show we did this year, there was a wife that was doing the convincing of her husband that they had to build one. So far the wifes love it :o)

-- Scott, Camping the "Compact Way",

View Dadoo's profile


1788 posts in 3080 days

#12 posted 07-04-2008 10:04 PM

Cool idea Scott! If you add to the tarp on top, you could have a dining fly as well!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Wooder's profile


163 posts in 3276 days

#13 posted 07-05-2008 04:45 PM

I built a similar design myself 35 yrs ago to pull behind a ‘66 VW!!!!

Very much like yours.

My 1st wife and I spent many nites in Yosmite and vicinity with it. Brings back many great memories.

Too old now. Need too thick a pad in tent floor….(<;


-- Jimmy

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3250 days

#14 posted 07-07-2008 06:53 PM

this is awesome. Everything seems to be very accessible. Amazing.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View schaney's profile


25 posts in 2798 days

#15 posted 08-31-2009 04:22 PM

I added some more pictures of my Explorer Box camping trailer. I recently sold it, the last picture is how I reconfigured it as a cargo verses tent topped camping trailer, enjoy …

-- Scott, Camping the "Compact Way",

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