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Camper Build: Plywood/Paint type?

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Forum topic by Ben posted 08-04-2020 10:51 PM 255 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ben

478 posts in 3705 days


08-04-2020 10:51 PM

Hey Y’all!

I’m building a tiny camper shell on the back of my Tacoma.
It will be a super simple frame made from 2X3 and 2X4. I hand picked these for lightest weight.

I’m trying to avoid a huge financial investment here – I see this more as a prototype and trial build, just to get me and my girlfriend off the ground in a tent and camping in a bit more comfort. But I don’t want it to fall apart instantly, either.

I am leaning towards using 1/4” marine plywood to skin the entire frame (maybe thicker on the roof), and using a marine oil paint on it. The roof will be covered in a sheet of copper. This will allow me to solder a custom drip edge onto it and have no penetrations.

Does the marine ply/oil paint combo sound OK?

Or, what about just basic AC fir ply with the marine paint? It’s about half the cost per sheet.

Or, AC ply and maybe laminate on a 1/16th thick fiberglass. This gets a bit pricey but might be worth it.

Appreciate any insight here.

Thanks!


3 replies so far

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ibewjon

1934 posts in 3641 days


#1 posted 08-04-2020 11:29 PM

Maybe you can find 1/4” thick plywood/ fiberglass laminate. Or make your own with plywood, contact cement, and the panels used on restroom walls. Available at a big box in white and almond. I see a lot of used aluminum truck caps for sale. Maybe you can find a used one for less than building one. The price is copper sheet makes it an expensive roof.

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Ben

478 posts in 3705 days


#2 posted 08-04-2020 11:45 PM

Thanks!
I found this:
https://www.acehardware.com/departments/building-supplies/walls-floors-and-ceiling/fiberglass-panels/5005797?gclid=CjwKCAjwjqT5BRAPEiwAJlBuBf4PCaLpI4iv-YAc47DTVgEHFe_gCiV6ryREpWBuEcEeQwnP7C7wcBoC_DcQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
That looks cheaper than “Filon” brand. I’d like to see it in person before going that route.

The copper sheet is about $100 – not too bad. It just seemed like the best option, no messing with EPDM (also heavy and expensive). Easy to bend a drip edge.

I have an aluminum cap on my truck but it’s too small for camping in and has a tool box on one side.

I’d rather build one, which is half the fun or more of actually using it to camp.

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ibewjon

1934 posts in 3641 days


#3 posted 08-05-2020 01:37 AM

That is either thin copper or a small sheet. 8 oz or less per square ft. The Crane composite fiberglass is exactly what I was referring to. It is made about 30 miles from me in Joliet, IL. (There may be other factories.). It is very common in restrooms and commercial kitchens.

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