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This Minimalist Luxury Micro-Camper Is a Full DIY Project Under $900

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This Minimalist Luxury Micro-Camper Is a Full DIY Project Under $900


Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but whoever is doing the beholding here won’t have a hard time seeing that this micro-camper is a stunner. Perhaps more so than for its good looks, this micro-trailer stands out for being a full DIY (do-it-yourself) project on a budget under $900.

This compact and arguably luxurious micro-camper is a full DIY with a budget under $900
30 photos

Photo: YouTube/President Chay (Composite)

How’s that for affordable luxury? Indeed, this micro-camper is presented as a “luxury” unit designed for quick weekend getaways in two. It might very well be that, if your notion of luxury is easily adjustable: it’s luxurious compared to camping in a tent or even sleeping at some cheap motel that could use a more thorough cleaning, but it’s not luxurious in the basic sense of the word.

But that’s not to say it’s not an impressive build. The RV-ing segment, whether we’re talking about products from established makers or DIY builds and conversions, is booming. Now more than ever, people are looking to make the most of every spare day to explore, unwind, de-stress, and reconnect with friends and family. They shouldn’t have to postpone these plans because they can’t afford the costs of a trailer, and that’s where this DIY comes in.

The Internet is filled with DIY videos and tutorials, be they for tiny houses, bus and van conversions, and other towables built from scratch. This one aims to show that a budget of just $1,000 can get you that perfect weekend RV if you plan carefully, use every resource available, have plenty of creativity, and are willing to put in the hard work.

This compact and arguably luxurious micro\-camper is a full DIY with a budget under \$900

Photo: YouTube/President Chay

President Chay is Chay Denne from South Carolina, his brother, and their father, working on various projects that show off their creativity and woodworking and fabricator skills. They’re quite famous, already boasting several viral videos like a 1991 Ford bus conversion, a DIY 40mph (64.3 kph) electric skateboard, and the Krabby Patty car from SpongeBob. Their most recent project used plenty of leftover materials from the bus conversion and other cheap stuff and was designed on a briefing that included just three considerations: weight, durability, and cost-cutting.

The project started when Chay came across a single-axle trailer on Facebook Marketplace. Priced at just $100, it was small enough for what they wanted – a starting point for a towable in the 992-1,984-lb (450-900-kg) range that could sleep two adults and offer the basics features for an overnight stay at camp. The trailer wasn’t in the best condition but was usable, so they bought it and immediately set out to work to clean it and prepare it for the future home on wheels.

In the 48 square feet (4.4 square meters) of available space on the trailer, the three added a moisture barrier, foam insulation, and a wooden frame, which they covered with plywood sheeting and poor man’s fiberglass on the outside, consisting of several layers of glue and canvas, for waterproofing. They used fiberglass R13 insulation and drywall for the interior, with leftover wood on the trims. To finish off the exterior, they added paint and metal trimming, both leftover from the same bus project they’d done prior.

This compact and arguably luxurious micro\-camper is a full DIY with a budget under \$900

Photo: YouTube/President Chay

Inside, the three put a small galley with a sink with running water and an electric cooktop. Despite the cramped space, they even squeezed in a small lounge area, where one of the bunk beds doubled as a couch facing the large-screen TV on top of custom cabinets. Everything inside was built by hand from scratch; the three were able to cut costs even on the more expensive items like countertops, which they fabricated from pallets, sanded down, and stained to resemble a gorgeous dark hardwood.

They added outlets and an AC unit to keep the interior comfy, though they used an extension cord instead of proper wiring to stay on budget – the one thing Chay doesn’t recommend. No word on the size of the water tank they used.

The Dennes’ goal was to build a micro-camper on a budget under $1,000, and they attained it: their trailer cost them $890 thanks to a combination of using the cheapest materials they could find and using what they already had lying around, whether leftover materials or scrap. The result is nothing short of impressive, even if it’s not your idea of luxury: a trailer that’s better than camping in a tent, offering the basic creature comforts in a compact and lightweight form factor that allows easy towing and maneuverability.

This compact and arguably luxurious micro\-camper is a full DIY with a budget under \$900

Photo: YouTube/President Chay

This “luxury” micro-camper isn’t meant to be an example of how to build your own RV from scratch, and not just because of the decision to use the extension cord for the wiring. It’s a project done for personal use, but with the goal of showing that anything is possible if you plan, use resources creatively, and are willing to work to see it through. It helps if you’re skilled with your hands like these three, of course.

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