Camper Trailers Tech Tips

Lifting the Floor - The Easy Way

 

 

 

 

packing up
lifting the floor - the easy way

 

We have owned our soft floor Track Trailer Eagle since 1993. After the canvas upgrade a couple of years ago, we found the larger floor area of the quality heavy duty vinyl along with the 14oz canvas a little harder to lift onto the top of the trailer when packing up. We are not as young as we once were.

When we are on one of our wandering trips we are known to move bush camps daily unless we find a spot we like & then perhaps set up for a few days. After I damaged my sternum I looked at ways of getting the canvas onto the trailer & making it a little easier for both of us.    

Soft floor camper trailers fold up in different ways depending on the design of each make & model. In our situation the canvas folds down onto the top of the trailer, we then have to manually lift the heavy vinyl floor up & drag it over the top for the canvas to be on the opposite side.  

the easy way

After a little thought I had an idea to the way we should approach the problem. I fabricated hinged tent poles using the trailers boat rack supports that would allow the tent floor to be lifted by ropes & pulleys to a height that would then simply fall across the trailer to lay on the opposite side. 

We purchased two adjustable galvanised steel eye to eye spreader poles from the camping shop, along with suitable double pulleys & matching rope at Bunnings. I cut the eye from the smaller diameter end of the spreader poles & added the pulley block to the eye on the other end with carabiner clips.

After the first attempt we found the narrower diameter pole started to bow slightly with the weight of the vinyl floor. As luck would have it I had an old tent pole which fitted perfectly inside the narrower diameter to strengthen it. RHS would make stronger uprights.    

tent poles both ends of poles both ends of pulleys

In my 'might come in handy one day steel rack' I had suitable RHS section that the smaller pole diameter would fit inside. I cut & welded a larger RHS to fit around the smaller RHS to form a hinge & as a vertical support. Also in the shed I found two adjustable over-centre clamps to hold the RHS upright. I knew the over-centre clamps would come in handy one day when I bought them twenty years ago but had never used them for the job intended.   

I added a stop to the front hinge so the pole would not hit the jerrys in the rack across the front of the trailer. I plan to lift the hinge a little higher so the floor lands on the trailer like the other end does.

front hinge arrangement front hinge arrangement
   
front hinge with pole rear hinge with pole
   

 

To collapse the camper trailer tent, two poles are removed on the outer most corners, then the ridge is folded onto the trailer.

From here is where the real work begun, lifting the heavy vinyl floor up onto the trailer & manually dragging it across to the opposite side.

 

When collapsing the tent an eye to eye spreader bar is laid inside the tent along the outer most wall with both doors slightly unzipped to allow the ends to poke out. The spreader is used to lift the length of the floor instead of the tent peg D rings on the corners which would rip out of the vinyl over time.

A rope & pulley block pole is inserted into the RHS hinge on each end of the trailer. The ropes are connected to the eye to eye spreader bar with carabiner clips.

 

The inner corner D rings of the tent floor are then attached to the outer most D rings with carabiner clips so all the floor is lifted in the one movement.

 
spreader bar connected with a carabiner D rings connected ready for lift
 

The floor is lifted by the rope & double pulley blocks without any effort involved. The over-centre latches are then released.  

 

Walking to the opposite side of the trailer the rope is pulled allowing the poles & floor to fall onto the trailer exactly were we want it.

 

All carabiner clips are then disconnected.

 

The poles are lifted back vertical, over-centre latches clipped on & the ropes are tied off onto the poles. The poles are the same length as the trailer so there is no need to shorten them. We just throw the poles on top.

article by Rob

 

june 2019