Not Just For Hauling Stuff: Convert A Cargo Trailer For Recreation And Residence

If you've ever wanted to head to the beach or mountain wilderness but wanted living quarters a little sturdier than a tent, read on. Here is an introduction to converting a cargo trailer into a recreational trailer, whether you want overnight shelter or even a permanent portable residence.

Uses for a Cargo Trailer

Cargo trailers have been getting a lot of use lately for more than just hauling stuff. While they make great garden sheds, work spaces, and bunk houses when parked on-site, you can also hitch one to a pickup truck or SUV and bring it with you on your recreational outings. Cargo trailers are ideal for toting things like mountain bikes and camping gear, and when you use one as a changing room after surfing, you can say goodbye to the angst of having only a towel wrapped around your waist between you and the world.

Some folks have gone as far as to convert cargo trailers into living spaces. While these converted trailers are perfect for a weekend away, they can actually be turned into permanent living quarters with a little ingenuity.

Why Cargo Trailers Are Better Than RVs or Fiberglass Travel Trailers

You may be asking yourself why not just get an RV or a pre-configured fiberglass travel trailer. There are actually a host of reasons why cargo trailers are better:

  • They come as an empty shell, so you can customize the interior to your needs.
  • Cargo trailers are sturdier; their aluminum outer skin and ribs of steel offer a superior build.
  • They are less expensive than RVs and most travel trailers, even when purchased new.
  • Cargo trailers have better ground clearance.
  • With their lighter weight, cargo trailers both save on fuel and are easier to tow.
  • You can pull a cargo trailer with almost any truck or SUV.

Elements to Include in Your Converted Trailer

If you're going to convert a cargo trailer into a residence, even for the weekend, you'll want to include elements for your comfort. Start with paneling to make the interior less noisy and more attractive. You also want light and ventilation, whether through the roof or additionally with windows cut in the sides.

Think about how RVs and campers are outfitted, and you'll get inspiration for other inclusions like

  • kitchen counter
  • sink (run the water to a graywater container for environmentally-friendly disposal)
  • fold-down table
  • fold-up chairs
  • bed and/or sofa (or unit that combines the two)
  • awning for shade and rain protection outdoors
  • storage that can be secured when on the road

Depending on your location, you may also want to add heat or a fan. You can run all kinds of electrical appliances, like HVAC elements and a 12-volt compressor refrigerator with solar power generated on the roof and stored in a battery. Some converted cargo trailer users even have TVs and stereos on board.

Your bathroom options include building in a dedicated bathroom with waste containers similar to those on an RV or setting up a camp latrine. Many people find having a tent bathroom allows them to shower and conduct bathroom activities in privacy and comfort, and there are portable camp toilets that work well in this environment.

There are lots of floor plans and ideas online for how to convert a cargo trailer to the mini living space of your dreams. Your only limitation is your own imagination!

Visit stores like TRSC to find a cargo trailer.