July 2001

For someone who has a lightweight vehicle that isn't meant for heavy towing, or simply doesn't have the ambitious plan that I did, there are alternatives. My brother Darren decided to make a smaller sleeping wagon. He doesn't have anywhere near the amount of, well...crap...that I like to carry to events, so a wagon for him simply had to have enough room to sleep and store his event gear.

This wagon went together pretty quickly. It took about a month and a half of weekends to do, and the finished piece is off the ground and therefore very waterproof. It's also extremely lightweight and inexpensive to make.

He started with a very simple (very rusty) trailer that our Dad saw by the side of the road and purchased for next to nothing. All it needed was a good wire brushing and a coat of Rustoleum.


Dad asked me to point out that if you're buying a used trailer, it's absolutely imperative to take the wheels off and make sure that the wheel bearings are greased and in good condition. If they seize up on the road, your wonderful new wagon will be destroyed, and you just don't want that. Check used trailers over thoroughly before you put the work in.

It's only a 4'x8' trailer, so a single sheet of plywood made the floor. A larger floorplan would certainly be possible, but he wanted to go for a very lightweight and small trailer so his compact car wouldn't be overtaxed. If you look closely, you can see that this particular trailer is designed to have 2x4s fitted into slots on the side. Those will come in handy, as you'll see later.

Darren installed two 2' side walls. The trailer will have two end walls, one with a door and one with a window. The 2x4s visible in the photo have holes drilled in their tops. Into these go the ends of the folding tent poles that will support the canvas roof. (This isn't the period method, but it works, and it keeps cost and weight down.)

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