RVs, camper vans, even lightweight trailers, they’re all pretty expensive. You can’t find anything that’s under $10,000, and if you do it’s been used and abused to hell and back. But you take some of the legwork off the manufacturer by buying the components and putting the camper together yourself. Enter Birch Campers, who sell a DIY teardrop camper trailer in the same way people can buy kit cars.
The Birch Camper company will sell you all the parts you need to build a teardrop camper
As you could’ve guessed, Birch Camper’s DIY campers are built from baltic birch (that’s a bit of a tongue twister). However, when I say they send you “all the parts,” what I mean is that they sell you the wood and the frame, as well as a bit of hardware. In order to put these campers together, you do need a couple of things.
For starters, it’s recommended that you have some tools on hand. This includes a cordless drill with drill and screwdriver bits, a carpenters square/tape measure, a socket set, hex wrenches and bits, small hand and bar clamps, and a caulk gun. The wood will also be unfinished and unpainted, so you’ll have to invest in the style of your camper as well.
On top of all that, Birch Camper doesn’t actually send you the frame you build the camper on. According to their FAQ page, all of their campers are designed to be built on a 40×48 utility trailer with an extended tongue. After a quick jaunt on the internet, that’ll tack on an extra $500 to the project.
However, their two camper options, fully specced, are still cheaper than a traditional teardrop camper or RV. Even after the extra expenses
Introducing: the Sprig and the BigSprig
The two models are the Sprig and the BigSprig. And as the name entails, the BigSprig is bigger than the Sprig, sitting at five feet tall rather than just four feet. However, if you’re willing to sacrifice the headroom, the Sprig kit starts at just $2,395. Meanwhile, the base BigSprig will run you $3,275.
That said, I fully specced out the BigSprig, which includes roof vents, side tables, hooks, shelving, a roof rack, and a beer tap. After adding every option, plus the extra expenses of the trailer and tools, I’d estimate you’re looking at a $5,000 camper. Painting it might cost a little more, but by comparison, the cheapest camper I’ve found as of late is nearly $11,000. And it’s more of a tent than a camper.
While you might be turned off by the idea of building your DIY camper, what’s great is that they’re ridiculously light. The heaviest BigSprig weighs in at around 600 lbs, which means most cars could tow it. However, that dry weight doesn’t include furnishing, of which the possibilities are endless.
You can completely customize the camper in terms of how you furnish it
Most teardrop campers come with a queen-sized bed that fills up the back. But what if you’re camping solo and don’t want to waste the space? Instead, buy a twin-sized bed, and leave room for other things like storage. The floor plan is 49 inches by 78 inches, so do with that what you will.
If you’re already thinking about how you’d decorate your camper van, you’re not alone. It’d truly be your own vessel of adventure. Best of all, it’s an affordable, DIY way to get into the camping world. And while it’s no fully enclosed, luxury RV, it’d make a great weekend getaway vehicle, to help you reconnect with nature. And above all else, relax.