Conventional towed campers are too heavy to drag through the sand, and I'm wanting to build a lightweight trailer outfitted with some cool stuff that would make a great fishing camp HQ. You'd probably want some kind of large truck with a big engine pulling it, but I think it could be done.
Of course, the idea of having a fishing trailer/homemade camper doesn't just apply to surf fishing, although that's what I'd like to use it for primarily. It could be used for hauling Kayaks or lightweight boats (cartoppers) mounted on top of the trailer to various freshwater and inshore/bay saltwater locales for fishing camps there.
A traditional RV or a Camper trailer doesn't have what I want and won't do what I want. I want something minimalistic and lightweight that carries a bunch of stuff you need for a good fishing camp and has a place to sleep and have a marine/rv head and provides some shade for hanging out in the heat of the day BUT doesn't costs thousands and thousands of dollars.
I think I can seriously talk Billy Ray and Shrimper Dan into going into this idea. Find us a good used trailer, get some beach tires for it, get my friend to do some welding of a frame on it and we can do some good McGiver'ing on a cabin of some sort with some kind of Pullman car type fold up bunk type beds like Amtrack has. Wire it up with lights and plugs for some area and spot lighting and have some poles that lights can be inserted into upon arrival to the beach.
So the idea is some length of a flatbed trailer, with the front part being a shaded but open (with roll down mosquito netting) area to have chairs for sitting in the shade. The middle part would be some sort of camper shell mounted on a wall to provide a small enclosed sleeping area. A nice camper a/c unit on top of the camper shell would be heaven.
I'm not married to the idea of a camper shell. Alternative lightweight materials might be available to construct some sort of smallish shelter, but the goal is to have a place that had a small A/C for sleeping and napping in comfort during an extended beach camp. As I mentioned above, some kind of bunk beds would be best, with a a/c blowing to kill Billy Ray's killer snoring.
Of course, if you already have an SUV, since you have a trailer to haul your gear, then you now can have an empty back SUV compartment which can be slept in by two folks in most cases. In a Suburban or other large SUV's, someone can sleep in the rear bench seat while a couple of folks sleep in the back.
Several folks I know with beach fishing mobiles have Suburbans or Exursions with small a/c units mounted on the top of the vehicle. This is for use while camping, and sleeping in the back of the SUV rather than a tent. So there are lots of options.The back part of the trailer would be for gear, and it would be an easy matter to put rod racks, light mounts and other inexpensive but functional trappings on the fishing trailer. A small generator would power not only the a/c but lights and other utensils (blender, electric filet knife, etc).
One of my friends who does extended fishing camps rigged up his generator to a wheelbarrow handled cart of sorts with big tires and extended power cables. In the right area, he rolls it a bit away from camp and chains it with some serious chains to trees or rocks or the like to keep the noise in camp down. Then you can roll it back closer at night if sleeping or run a big chain with it. He also has a huge dog that goes with him, and is quite the perceptive and LARGE canine, so I think no one ought to be messing with Bart's generator.
With regard to the covered front lounging area (akin to a small porch), I know there are discount places for heavy duty canvas tarpelins, but I also know that certain tunneau boat covers for center console boats might work if they were large enough, to provide shade. The whole idea is to have a solid framework that the roof material is lashed to because of the strength of the gulf breezes, so that you have a rigid shade covering.
I've also thought that one of the fold up roll up sun shades like lots of RVs have on the side of them might be a cool luxury addition to one of the sides. Again, it's a semi-rigid frame that uses two folding poles and side to side support to remain steady, and this addition would provide much additional shade.
Of course, one could easily fashion a similar shade from some metal pipe and using some sort of tarp or canvas material make a much cheaper roll up shade with some kind of rigid battens sewn into it (like some sails) and use ropes and stakes to make some extra shady area.
The possibilities are endless. Refridgerators, a generator and/or battery banks for powering lights, a small a/c in the sleeping/sitting area for those July through September trips in the sultry steamy heat of the swamp that can be Texas beaches during those months. A water tank in the front for washing off sand before entering the sitting and/or sleeping areas, and a shower curtain could be easily rigged to provide a place to take a shower for extended stays at the beach.
Of course, with mosquito netting, you could just sleep in the sitting area and not build a small but separate sleeping area, and that's a distinct possibility if, when and if we ever build such a beast, and we decide whether it would be too much weight to tow on the beach with an extra sleeping area.
If there was a way to salvage the middle portion of a smaller sailboat like a Catalina 25', that would be an ideal thing to stick on a trailer as a fishing HQ. It has a small kitchen, a tiny but very useable head + closet, and a dinette that folds into a double bed. Behind that part of the cabin, under the cockpit, are two sleeping areas that lie underneath the seats of the cockpit above.
The rear storage area I envision with a heavy steel grate cage, if you will, around it, and perhaps a heavy steel grate door and ramp that locks to help prevent thefts of gear on the road. In this storage area you could put:
- ice chests
- bait buckets
- a gas chain saw (for cutting brush and larger pieces of driftwood for fires)
- scrap wood (If you ask nicely, you can often get large pieces of scrap wood from
construction or remodeling sites. Again, ask ask ask.) Or of course you
can bring your own wood from home if you have some laying around
or have access to firewood from friends.
-A gaff, nets, shovels, chains, tow straps, pieces of wood for getting unstuck and other kinds of tools and such items.
- grills, smokers, etc.
- a generator, mounted or on some kind of a cart.
-lights and poles that could be mounted on mounts on the trailer for both area lighting and big lights to light up the water.
-Fishing tackle, etc.
-surfboards, boogie boards, etc.