Livin'Lite 5.0 with custom sewn awning and vestibule

Discussion in 'Checkout My Rig !' started by agranger, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. agranger

    agranger New Member

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    Jun 28, 2010
    A few months ago, I picked up a Livin' Lite Quicksilver 5.0 trailer to tow behind my MINI Cooper for camping, track weekend stays and car club events.

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    So far, this is a pretty standard set of photos for a Quicksilver 5.0, but here is where it gets a bit strange! :D

    I wanted some more outdoor storage / work space... somewhere that would make cooking more convenient and would give me a place to store all of the stuff I like to take along with me. I didn't like the screen room solutions due to size or design considerations... too wet, to sensitive to wind, too poorly made or a combination of all of these reasons.

    I kept thinking about what an ideal solution would be for me:

    1. light weight and small packing space (the trailer isn't very big)
    2. Simple and well-made
    3. Dry in a hard rain
    4. Setup with 1 person

    To start (and to test my sewing abilities), I spent a few weeks sewing a custom awning for the rig. It's a bit larger than the add-on unit from Quicksilver and has a few extra features:

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    I setup my kitchen gear to see how it all fits. Looks good! I was able to fit 2 rubbermaid totes in the trailer when packed... one for kitchen gear and the other is for clothing and personal items.
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    You can see the guy line pocket here (with the black zipper), and the tie down tabs (smaller bits of black webbing) that point both inside and out. I ran a bit of cording around the inside as a clothes line to dry out damp towels, etc.
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    Once I got the roof in place, it was time to start thinking about walls for more rain protection...

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    On the passenger side, there will be a door with zippers down either side. In this simple drawing, it's hanging straight down, unzipped. When zipped, it will look a lot like the other side. I'll put some sort of Velcro wraps at the top so the door can be rolled up and kept out of the way on nice days or when it's just barely raining.

    The fabric for the walls will be much thinner (and hopefully easier to sew) than the roof. It's a 4oz ripstop nylon with a waterproof coating (think 'tent'... not so much 'heavy-duty tarp' like the awning) and thin, clear vinyl windows. I'm not sure if I'll put a window on the roll-up door... I hope that the door will be stowed in the up position 90% of the time (only pulled down for heavy rain), so I might simplify the design (and it will probably help keep the rolling of the door easier without the bulky vinyl window). I'm also thinking of running black nylon webbing down each of the tie-down seams (the parts that go down to tent stakes) to bear the brunt of the tension. It's not as pretty that way, but I think it will be sturdier and more wind-proof.

    I've spent easily 40-hours over the past 2 weeks sewing like a mad man... I'm 2-3 hours away from my first test fitting and photo session for the tent (what I'm calling a vestibule) based on the drawings above. So far it looks pretty good... the first camping trip is in 2 weeks!
     
  2. Island Ranger

    Island Ranger New Member

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    Aug 14, 2006
    United Kingdom
    I like your rig, the mini cooper was very big in the UK (Old model) & I like the new one as well. You had a great idea & carried through well done love the pics [{:)]
     
  3. yogi

    yogi New Member

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    Aug 13, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    You are brilliant! What wonderful design and sewing abilities you have, can't wait to see it all completely done!
     
  4. liamlunchtray

    liamlunchtray New Member

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    Jun 28, 2010
    Do you have the specs for what size zipper matches the factory awning Zipper?
     
  5. agranger

    agranger New Member

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    Jun 28, 2010
    On the zipper... I can get you CLOSER to the correct zipper, but not all the way. I purchased a #10 Visilon one-way separating marine zipper in white from Seattle Fabrics... 6' long, if I remember correctly.

    The one I ordered looks like the right STYLE of zipper (about half-way down the page http://www.seattlefabrics.com/zippers.html), but I got the size wrong. The teeth and everything else looks right... just too large. I wound up just sewing the other half of my larger-toothed zippper onto the original zipper that was installed on the fabric of the trailer, so I've got 2 zipper tabs up there. It seems to be holding up fairly well, but sewing through that massively thick material + the zipper binding was difficult. I had to drag the sewing machine out into the driveway so I didn't have to completely remove the trailer tent top (my neighbors are probably used to my strangeness by now :D ). If I had to try it again, I'd look for a #8 size zipper.

    I asked Livin'Lite about a zipper spec and they never replied to me. I did notice a manufacturer's tag on the door of the trailer tent, so you might be able to get in touch w/ the people who sew the tent portion of the trailer for Livin'Lite and ask them for the spec.
     
  6. agranger

    agranger New Member

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    Jun 28, 2010
    UPDATE: I got the tent pole grommets installed last night and had to make some adjustments so that the awning and the walls were closer to the same length, but it is all coming together. I've got to stop by the sewing goods store on the way home to pick up some more velcro, but I'm almost done! Woot!

    Sewing this tent has taken a LOT more time than I thought it would. Simply sewing a vertical seam (6 feet long + a change of thread in the middle for the fabric color change) is difficult because you are dragging along 12+ yards of fabric and it takes a fair amount of time just to position that much material so that you can work on the area you need to reach. With commercial equipment, I'm sure it's much easier.
     
  7. Dusty82

    Dusty82 New Member

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    Jun 23, 2008
    Northern Nevada
    It would be easier with commercial equipment, but not by much - 12 yards is still 12 yards, and yeah, it's heavy. I hope you're using polyester thread - it's superior UV and rot resistance is needed in this application. Nylon will work too, but polyester is the preferred thread - mainly because of UV resistance. It's been the automotive/RV/Marine standard for years.

    Ok, now get back to work on it so we can see some pics! [:D]

    RE: Zipper Sizes. If the zipper slide is there, look for a number on it - that'll be the zipper size. Not all slides have the size number on it, but most do. If there's no slide on the zipper in question, take a ruler out and count how many teeth in one inch of zipper material. That won't give you the size, but it'll help you match up the zipper to another with the same tooth count.
     
  8. tlbj6142

    tlbj6142 Personal Text?

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    Aug 27, 2010
    Looks good.

    Using "big words" like guy lines, vestibule and Seattle Fabrics has me thinking you are a backpacker as well. Car/RV type campers don't use those words very often. [:D]

    I haven't used heavy fabric like you have, but I have made my own 3+ person tent out of silnylon (along with a down quilt, backpack, etc.). Working with large pieces is a bit cumbersome at times. But in the end, it is yours. And that's what makes it exciting.

    Don't forget to seam seal as needed when you are finished.
     
  9. agranger

    agranger New Member

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    Jun 28, 2010
    Yep... I used to be a tent camper... and having a vestibule for the trailer is really what I was looking for in this project... a dry place to stash some gear in bad weather and somewhere to cook when you really don't want a boiling pot of water inside the tent. Any backpacker would scoff at my overgrown 'vestibule', but I wanted to scale not just the design (could have made a very simple 2-triangle cover for the door) but the 'idea' of a vestibule from the tent world to the trailer world, both in size and in purpose.

    Yes... Polyester Gutterman thread. Thread isn't a place to go cheap, especially with all of the fabric and materials in this thing. The total fabric order for the walls alone was well over 22 yards... the walls are around 6' tall (with 16" of air space under the bottom seam) and will cover an area of somewhere around 150 sq. ft. if you measure around the outside lower perimeter.

    The awning (roof) section is made with some very heavy aluminum coated polyester fabric. I wanted something that would wear well and shed heat (hence the aluminum coating). The walls are Super K-kote, a ripstop nylon that isn't nearly as light as synalon, but it's pretty good. It's got a very thick coating on it, so should be great in a storm (both very waterproof and strong). There are 2 very large windows on the 2 large rectangular walls that don't have a door on them (no window on the door section, as I hope to just roll that up most of the time). The window material is the thinnest clearn vinly Seattle Fabris sells. It's still fairly heavy, but I think I'll be loving the natural light when I'm trying to cook.

    I've already got a bottle of seam sealer ready. There are lots of seams to go over!
     
  10. agranger

    agranger New Member

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    Jun 28, 2010
    DONE!!!

    I've got to say that I'm sick of sewing! I got the last bit of gear attached. The only thing left is to set up the trailer, attach the guy lines and watch it come together.

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  11. RFryer

    RFryer Hopkinton, MA

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    Mar 10, 2009
    Hopkinton, MA
    GREAT idea and I like the setup, very nice!! Can't wait to see it finished. The sloping walls will really help on those windy days.
     
  12. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    Great job.

    Wrestling with all that fabric can be pain, I know - for some of the stuff we made over the winter, I had DH help support and guide the fabric.
     
  13. Luv2ridebikes

    Luv2ridebikes New Member

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    Apr 17, 2005
    Granger, IN
    That is VERY nice work. What a great way to add space to a smaller lightweight unit.
     
  14. agranger

    agranger New Member

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    Jun 28, 2010
    Sure... no rain for months and the moment that I walk out the back door to do the first fitting, it starts pouring down!

    I got the vestibule up just before dark and took some iphone pics. The flash did cool things to the reflective cord that I'm using to tie down to the stakes.

    Better pics to come tomorrow after I have more light and time to adjust the guy lines properly.

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  15. nuthouseinva

    nuthouseinva Portsmouth, Virginia

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    May 7, 2008
    Portsmouth, VA
    Very nice mod! Your work looks first rate!
     
  16. T-Bone

    T-Bone New Member

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    Feb 25, 2009
    South of Dallas
    Very nice. What a great idea. I wish I could sew.
    Thanks for sharing the pics.
     
  17. IndyPUP

    IndyPUP Member

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    Jan 2, 2009
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Hey there agranger! This is Chris from Indianapolis....we shared a campsite at MINIs on the Dragon a couple of years ago. Nice to see you here on the popup forum. What a great setup you have. Perfect size and your awning mod is first-rate!

    Happy camping (and Motoring!)

    Chris
     
  18. Grizzlytaco

    Grizzlytaco New Member

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    Nov 10, 2005
    Las Vegas
    That is so cool, great job! You should produce that as an after market product. Great design and it looks clean.....Ed C. [:D]
     
  19. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Dec 22, 2002
    Malvern, PA
    Very nice! Great job, I think you missed your true calling.
     
  20. KarltonKrill

    KarltonKrill New Member

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    Jun 24, 2010
    Hats off to you! Great job!
     

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