A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

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RonKMiller
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A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#1 Post by RonKMiller » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:50 pm

Hi folks:

Greetings from still toasty Tucson, AZ. :banstick :biggrin2

I've spent a bit of time searching, but found no interesting threads so throwing it out there for discussion. I have this (probably) insane :lol: idea of taking my Chalet folding travel trailer - wheels and all - and simply parking it on top of a pontoon boat deck. An instant house boat.

I intend on using it at Lake Powell. I envision literally backing it on to the pontoon with extension ramps and wheel "guide channels" running the length of the deck, unhitch and tie it down with chain binders or some 10K lb. heavy duty ratcheting straps at all four corners. Obviously the wheels would need to be well chocked front and rear, or a "locater slot" for each wheel built into the deck. On a level surface this trailer can easily be pushed by two people with a "nose wheel" inserted in the crank up jack on the hitch. Securing it is not an issue I am concerned with.

1. My trailer weights 1950 lbs. dry, so I figure another 400 lbs. or so for water, propane.

2. My max occupancy will be four passengers, so I'm using 800 lbs. for that figure including personal gear and food.

3. I'm now up to 3,200 lbs. of "cargo "

4. I plan on using a 28' 1988 Sun Tracker Party Hut - completely stripped of everything above the deck except for the helm. It's has the third log (see, I already know some pontoon lingo) so wondering if this will allow me to park the trailer more rearward than a typical twin pontoon.

5. I'm thinking a 150 hp Honda engine as my power source. (I'm a huge Honda fan...) I want this bad boy to motate - Lake Powell is HUGE and the winds can be wicked at times.

Attached is a picture of my trailer opened. The body of the trailer is 16' long, and 19' over all to the tip of the hitch. 73" tall when folded and completely flat, basically a large rectangular cube. http://www.ChaletRV.com.

Be gentle on me, I've spent the last 28 years in the air as a Commercial Pilot, so even though I've sailed a few times I'm relatively new to water.

OK, as a newb I'm an easy target. :mrgreen: Tell me why this wouldn't work! :donno

Questions: Can anyone guess what all the "stuff" on top of the 28' Tracker Party Hut weighs - and minus all these goodies - how much gross weight could I carry?

Thanks in advance for your insights - and yes - I am 100% serious. Thank you berry much.
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GregF
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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#2 Post by GregF » Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:19 pm

Watch that first step! The doors on the trailer are on the sides and that is over the side of the boat isn't it?
I would also worry about it being top heavy. If this is a permanent installation I would at least take the wheels and axle off
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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#3 Post by MIKEYLIKESIT » Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:20 pm

I can't answer your question, but it sounds like a pretty cool idea. I have thought about doing this myself, problem is I have a 33' footer so I would need something a little smaller.
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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#4 Post by RonKMiller » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:49 pm

GregF wrote:Watch that first step! The doors on the trailer are on the sides and that is over the side of the boat isn't it?
I would also worry about it being top heavy. If this is a permanent installation I would at least take the wheels and axle off
I figure I've got about a 1' foot wide "gang way" to work with to access the door - not a problem with a couple of grab rails mounted on the side of the trailer.

The whole idea is to not make it permanent - I want to be able to use the trailer as is the rest of the year. The prime seasons for Powell are spring and fall. Steenking hot in summer and frigid in winter.

Top heavy is not a concern, the cg is actually quite low compared to most trailers and directly over the axle. When cruising over 10 knots it will be folded to lower it even more and to help with wind resistance. I've pulled the trailer with my one ton crew cab at 80 mph and it handles exceptionally well.

Appreciate the insight though and keep it coming! :bowdown

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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#5 Post by RonKMiller » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:51 pm

MIKEYLIKESIT wrote:I can't answer your question, but it sounds like a pretty cool idea. I have thought about doing this myself, problem is I have a 33' footer so I would need something a little smaller.
Nah, all you need is a 66' pontoon boat! :shock:

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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#6 Post by chill'nthemost » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:02 pm

Ron, well, I guess we smoke the same stuff :nana Years ago I found an early Airstream type trailer. Not sure who made it, but it had a slanted, aerodynamic nose. Never have figured out who made it. This was sitting in a very rural area. About a half mile away was a old toon with nothing on the deck. I thought it was a match made in heaven. Could you imagine a polished toon with a polished trailer mounted on it? My wife couldn't either. :nono
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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#7 Post by curtiscapk » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:24 pm

WTF! We want pics when its done. I see nothing wrong with it I think a 150 Honda would push it good :nana :nana
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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#8 Post by Rooster368 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:42 pm

According to the guy I bought my tube from, he said a 32'x 21" x 21" U-shaped tube yields ~3200 lbs of floatation...I am not sure how he came up with that number but if it is accurate (and your tubes are comparible) then 3 x 28' tubes would be about 8400 lbs capacity; even with a ~350 lb motor and 264lbs of fuel, you have enough floatation to hold it (you just may be riding real low)

The big problems I see would be:

1. That is a big sail you are adding to your boat, it may be hard to hold it against moderate wind (remember you won't have static friction between the wheels and the round to hold you....water is slippery when wet :) )

2. With 1' clearance on the sides, it may be difficult to see around to steer

3. Your deck would need to be pretty strong to support the axle weight, unless you used long planks to disperse the weight.

4. With the top popped, it may be a bit top heavy

5. loading it may be a bit difficult since you truck could only push it so far before your tubes would start absorbing the weight of the truck (i.e. you might damage the front part of the tubes if they bottom out); after that you would need to be able to manually push it towards the back

6. If you pulled it off, I think you might be soley responsible for starting a new fad :biggrin2

keep us posted....this would be unique and cool mod. Pics please!!!

GL HF

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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#9 Post by lakerunner » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:50 pm

Years ago somewhere in Ark they rented flat toons and you rolled your travel trailer on to it. Sounds like a great project but remember without pic's it didn't happen
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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#10 Post by margaritaman » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:48 am

I have in the past seen motor homes loaded into barges and used as a houseboat so what you are planning is doable. There is also a picture floating around on the internet of a redneck houseboat but they removed the wheels and built a deck abobe the roof.
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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#11 Post by RonKMiller » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:48 am

chill'nthemost wrote:Ron, well, I guess we smoke the same stuff :nana Years ago I found an early Airstream type trailer. Not sure who made it, but it had a slanted, aerodynamic nose. Never have figured out who made it. This was sitting in a very rural area. About a half mile away was a old toon with nothing on the deck. I thought it was a match made in heaven. Could you imagine a polished toon with a polished trailer mounted on it? My wife couldn't either. :nono
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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#12 Post by Bamby » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:00 am

Just a few thoughts:
Obviously the camper will somehow haft to be loaded from the front of the boat. The console because of controls, steering, and electronics will not be a readily movable large obstruction. How are you going to navigate the camper around it?
On a level surface this trailer can easily be pushed by two people with a "nose wheel" inserted in the crank up jack on the hitch.
If you were to get around the console with the camper on wheels at an uncertain point there is going to be a massive weight shift to the rear. How do you intend to stop it running over your nice 150 Honda and into the drink?

Do you have the party hut model with the hard walk on top? If so have you given any real consideration of walling it in and making it a more comfortable floating camper, houseboat?

It's a doable project that maybe you should possibly consider. You can build it like this one here but it would probability have to be scaled a bit smaller. http://blog.pontoonhouseboatodyssey.com ... build.aspx
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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#13 Post by RonKMiller » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:20 am

Rooster368 wrote:According to the guy I bought my tube from, he said a 32'x 21" x 21" U-shaped tube yields ~3200 lbs of floatation...I am not sure how he came up with that number but if it is accurate (and your tubes are comparible) then 3 x 28' tubes would be about 8400 lbs capacity; even with a ~350 lb motor and 264lbs of fuel, you have enough floatation to hold it (you just may be riding real low)

The big problems I see would be:

1. That is a big sail you are adding to your boat, it may be hard to hold it against moderate wind (remember you won't have static friction between the wheels and the round to hold you....water is slippery when wet :) )

2. With 1' clearance on the sides, it may be difficult to see around to steer

3. Your deck would need to be pretty strong to support the axle weight, unless you used long planks to disperse the weight.

4. With the top popped, it may be a bit top heavy

5. loading it may be a bit difficult since you truck could only push it so far before your tubes would start absorbing the weight of the truck (i.e. you might damage the front part of the tubes if they bottom out); after that you would need to be able to manually push it towards the back

6. If you pulled it off, I think you might be soley responsible for starting a new fad :biggrin2

keep us posted....this would be unique and cool mod. Pics please!!!

GL HF
All good thoughts!

The loading part might be a bit tricky - I am thinking an inexpensive 12 volt winch might be the answer. For loading I could snap it on to one end to pull the trailer up the ramps until it got to the top, for unloading snap it onto my truck (1 ton crew cab) or just let it out in reverse to go down the ramps. Even one made from Chineseum from Horrible Freight would do the trick - we're only talking about pulling a ton - on wheels.

The steering part is going to be a challenge since I'll have to mount the trailer in the cg of the pontoon. Right about where the existing helm is. Soooo, that means relocating the helm which is certainly "dooable" but a major challenge. I've attached a picture of the donor 'toon to give you an idea. Remember the toon is 28 feet, the body of the trailer, 16.

The other issue is I may have no choice but to relocate the helm to the aft (since I won't be able to load over the motor) which does present a huge challenge seeing over the folded trailer, unless it is built up on a "conning tower" - which would be pretty cool... Hmmm, maybe mount a 50 caliber machine gun while I'm at it for anyone that laughs at me. :shock:
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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#14 Post by RonKMiller » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:31 am

Bamby wrote:Just a few thoughts:
Obviously the camper will somehow haft to be loaded from the front of the boat. The console because of controls, steering, and electronics will not be a readily movable large obstruction. How are you going to navigate the camper around it?
On a level surface this trailer can easily be pushed by two people with a "nose wheel" inserted in the crank up jack on the hitch.
If you were to get around the console with the camper on wheels at an uncertain point there is going to be a massive weight shift to the rear. How do you intend to stop it running over your nice 150 Honda and into the drink?

Do you have the party hut model with the hard walk on top? If so have you given any real consideration of walling it in and making it a more comfortable floating camper, houseboat?

It's a doable project that maybe you should possibly consider. You can build it like this one here but it would probability have to be scaled a bit smaller. http://blog.pontoonhouseboatodyssey.com ... build.aspx
Excellent thoughts - I've remodeled a 30 foot RV before and it was a HUGE project - kind of like remodeling a small condo. Ripping stuff off and taking it down to a flat deck is EASY. Moving the helm is a big issue.

The beauty of my folding trailer is that it is complete with all the amenities already there: Solar, inverter, batteries, toilet, ac and swamp cooler, heat, fridge, propane, hot water, shower, permanent queen size bed with memory foam mattress, HDTV, etc. Duplicating it would be expensive, not to mention investing a lot of money and time in something I'll probably end up using only 4 weeks a year.

The other nice thing is that the toon can just sit there (with the motor wrapped in a Sunbrella cover) until I need it. Heck, if it works out well I could even rent it to other trailer owners - but that's a WHOLE 'nother Enchilada...

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Re: A folding travel trailer on top of a 28' pontoon boat.

#15 Post by margaritaman » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:33 am

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