There has been an increase in stolen items recently at vintage trailer rallies. Most of the items were cut from the cables that were “securing” them in the wee hours of the morning. Theft and other crime are not something we have had to deal with over the 15 years we have been camping. Many of the ideas in this article are good measures to stay safe while camping in general, and focus on preventing the theft of your personal property. This is an excerpt from an article in Issue #62 of The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
Part of the appeal of camping is the wholesome family atmosphere created when you get together with friends and meet new like-minded people. In the past 15 years, we have stayed at over 100 RV parks. Our kids grew up roaming the parks enjoying the park’s outdoor spaces without fear. I can only recall a couple of instances where anything was stolen. A recent weekend experience has caused me to rethink how we will camp in the future.
Crime on the Increase
While many types of crime can occur at an RV park, I want to focus this article on preventing theft while camping—the kind of camping we do at vintage trailer rallies. We are surrounded by friends and fellow trailerites (and the park’s long-term residents). I don’t believe that these people are a threat. It is more likely that the lawbreakers from outside the park are preying on trusting travelers.
Stop RV Park Theft
I have very little interest in catching or confronting thieves. I want to direct my energy to keep them away, slowing them down or scaring them off. If campers take personal responsibility to safeguard their possessions, thieves will not return if it is not easy pickens. High-dollar, high-demand e-bikes bring the best return for the lawbreakers. Bicycles, scooters, and motorbikes can be an easy ride or roll away. They bring quick, easy money and are worth the risk for the prowlers. Here are some ways to protect your toys and collectibles and play an active role in stopping thefts where you camp. Don’t let the fear of crime in RV parks keep you from having a great time. Camping is generally safe and a great way to get away from the daily grind.
Before you hit the road, do a little pre-planning.
Camping gear and toys can be a substantial investment. Should a theft occur, be prepared with the information you will need to report a theft or recoup your losses.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking precautions while camping will ensure that you do not become a victim. The park should be making reasonable efforts to protect their guests, but ultimately, they are not responsible for your losses. Here are some ideas to help prevent you from becoming a victim.
Bike Locks, Alarms, and Covers
(Use a combination of two or more.)
“It doesn’t do any good to report a theft. The cops won’t do anything.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you don’t report a crime because you think nothing will come of it, you facilitate the problem. Crime reports help direct future patrols and prevention and aid in returning your property to you if it is found. A police report may also be necessary for an insurance claim.
Be a part of the Solution
Earlier this year, we threw out some ideas to save fuel as prices were going up. Fuel prices have not stopped rising, and inflation, in general, may be impacting your family. We surveyed RV’ers to find out how their travel plans may be impacted in the upcoming months. As a follow-up to that survey, we asked about the habits of vintage trailerites as their travel relates to rallies. Here is what we found…
Most rally participants are typically getting out of town to attend a rally. Hitting the road and camping with friends can still be an affordable way to take a break from your day-to-day responsibilities.
Towing a trailer is more complicated than just running down the freeway in your commuter car. Being alert of other drivers and road conditions can be exhausting. Over 60% of vintage trailers tuggers say 5-7 hours is about enough in one day. Only 8% are willing to push it much beyond the 8 hour a day mark.
What is the farhest you have traveled to a rally? Almost 70% travel less than 300 mile max.
Have something to add to the conversation? Let us know in the comments.
We took a poll of vintage trailer travelers and asked them what their travel plans looked like for 2022. This poll was taken in late March of 2022 as gas prices had risen to their highest point in years. We were curious how it would affect people's travels over the next several months and here is what we found out...
Will you cancel any planned trips or rallies with your vintage RV in the next 6 months?
How will your 2022 vintage Travels compare to last year?
About the same.- 49%
We will only be RVing closer to home.- 32%
We plan on doing more RVing.- 11%
We plan on staying longer when we travel.- 5%
We will do less RVing due to high fuel prices.- 3%
How many nights will you camp in your vintage RV this year?
13-20 nights.- 35%
21-40 nights.- 35%
Less than 12 nights.- 16%
41-60 nights.- 5%
Over 60 nights.- 8%
We would appreciate your feedback on a few more questions. If you are a vintage traveler. take just a second to tell us about your habits as it relates to drivng times and distances.
Tires are manufactured by bonding rubber to fabric plies and steel cords. Despite the anti-aging ingredients mixed into the rubber compounds, there is a realization that tires are perishable and a growing awareness that some tires (especially trailer tires) will age out before their treads will wear out.
For the most part, today's tires deliver more miles and years of service than ever before. In the 1970s, typical bias-ply tires lasted less than 20,000 miles and were only expected to be in service for about two years. In the 1980s, early radial ply tires offered a treadwear expectancy of about 40,000 miles during four years of service. By the turn of the century, many long-life radial tires extended treadwear to about 60,000 miles during four or more years of service. Passenger car and light truck tire technology and American driving conditions in the past resulted in tire treads wearing out before the rest of the tire aged. That may not always be true of today's even longer-lasting tires that are approaching 80,000 miles of treadwear.
How many years will tires last before aging out?
Unfortunately, it's impossible to predict when tires should be replaced based on their calendar age alone. Properly stored tires that are protected from the elements and not mounted on a wheel, age very slowly before they are mounted and put into service. In our experience, when tires are properly stored and cared for, most street tires have a useful life in service of between six to ten years. While part of that time is spent as the tire travels from the manufacturing plant to the manufacturer's distribution center, to the retailer and to you, the remainder is the time it spends on your vehicle.
"Environmental conditions like exposure to sunlight and coastal climates and poor storage and infrequent use accelerate the aging process. In ideal conditions, a tire may have a life expectancy that exceeds ten years from its date of manufacture. However, such conditions are rare. Aging may not exhibit any external indications and, since there is no non-destructive test to assess the serviceability of a tire, even an inspection carried out by a tire expert may not reveal the extent of any deterioration."
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and tire manufacturers are currently studying the many variables. Exposure to the elements (sun and atmospheric), regularity of use (frequent or only occasional), and the quality of care (maintaining proper inflation pressure, wheel alignment, etc.) will all influence the answer. So while tire life depends on the service conditions and the environment in which they operate, the difficult task remains how to identify all of the variables that influence a tire's calendar age and attempt to quantify their influence.
Should You Replace Old Tires Even if Their Treads Aren't Worn Out?
No one is sure of how long tires will last because of the many variables. Heavily loaded tires on vehicles stored outdoors in sunny, scorching hot climates and only driven occasionally face some of the most severe service conditions and potentially have the shortest calendar lifespan. In contrast, lightly loaded tires on vehicles parked in garages and driven daily in moderate climates experience some of the least severe service conditions and potentially have the longest lifespan.
There is the influence of how well drivers maintain their tires (regular cleaning and pressure checks and periodic rotations and wheel alignments). How they use and/or abuse them (drive on them when overloaded or underinflated) and the possibility of irreversible damage from punctures, cuts, and impacts with potholes, curbs, and other road hazards. A tire's original durability will be permanently compromised if uncared for, abused, or damaged.
Therefore every tire's life expectancy ultimately depends on the environment in which it operates and its individual service conditions. The difficult task remains how to attempt to quantify tire life based on calendar age. Arbitrarily replacing tires prematurely based simply on age may result in tires being discarded before their time, contributing to increased operating costs and waste disposal and recycling concerns.
Buy from a reputable dealer.
Since Tire Rack sells tires manufactured in North and South America and Europe, Africa, and Asia, it's common for us to receive new tires directly from manufacturers that are already six to nine months old. Since we rotate our inventory, most of the tires we ship are less than a year old.
There are also some occasions where we work with a tire manufacturer to help them clear out their inventory when they discontinue a tire line. While this may uncover some new tires that are several years old, these clearance tires are typically offered at a discount and will wear out before they age out.
Tires are stocked in Tire Rack distribution centers under favorable storage conditions. Protected from exposure to direct sunlight, moisture, and hot and cold temperature extremes, our inventory leads a sheltered life compared to the tires mounted on wheels, installed on vehicles and exposed to the elements, road grime, and brake dust.
Tire manufacturers' replacement tire warranties begin when the tires are purchased and typically last 4 to 6 years from that date. This allows the tire manufacturers' limited warranty to accommodate the time it takes tires to be shipped from the manufacturing plant to the warehouse or distribution center, to the retailer, to the consumer, and the time they spend in-service on the vehicle.
What is the best thing you can do to care for your tires?
Keeping tires properly inflated is probably the most significant action a driver can take to prevent tire failure. For example, driving a vehicle with a significantly underinflated tire can permanently damage the tire's internal structure in ways invisible to external visual inspections. A U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tire aging field study revealed that 30 percent of spare tires observed were significantly underinflated when first checked. Putting underinflated spare tires into service before properly inflating would greatly increase their risk of catastrophic tire failure. The inflation pressure of spare tires should be checked monthly along with the rest of the set.
Our experience has been that when properly stored and cared for, most street tires have a useful life in service of between six to ten years. And while part of that time is spent as the tire travels from the manufacturing plant to the manufacturer's distribution center, to the retailer, and to you, the remainder is the time it spends on your vehicle.
Share your experiences or other helpful information or questions in the comments.
By Paul Lacitinola, The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine
The increased price of fuel will certainly affect your travel budget. Coupled with inflation across all sectors it may be enough of an increase to cause you to rethink your travel plans. Before you do anything drastic, consider these 6 fuel-saving tips and take our 3-question survey to give us an insight into how vintage trailerites are dealing with the rising cost of camping.
Starting with the obvious. Shop for inexpensive fuel. We use the GasBuddy app, Good Sam Club/Flying J discount card, and Costco to pay the lowest price per gallon. We don’t drive too far out of our way to save pennies because the extra miles just consume more fuel. We also see value in the amenities and easy entrance/exit that a large truck stop offers. Small, cheap, dirty gas stations with stinky or non-working restrooms and no coffee are not worth whatever I am going to save on fuel.
DROP SOME WEIGHT
Size matters. Many of us have more than one vintage trailer. A smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic trailer may be a better choice if you are making a longer road trip. Do not overpack. Don’t travel with full freshwater or wastewater tanks.
PLAN YOUR ROUTE
There are multiple online apps and maps that will help you plan your route. You may be staying closer to home or traveling to another state but either way, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Getting lost or backtracking can add to your fuel costs so make sure you know in advance where you are headed.
You can save a substantial amount of money on your next trip by overnighting for free. Find a Walmart, join Harvest Hosts, or pull off into the wilderness. We broke down on a recent trip and pulled into a church parking lot for the night. If you just need a shower a major truck stop is a good place to freshen up without having to rent a campsite.
SAVE MONEY ON CAMPSITES
Discount cards like Good Sam, AAA, and Passport America all offer savings on lodging. Passport America is the "Original" & World's Largest 50% Discount Camping Club! Apps like The Dyrt can direct you to money-saving options and Campground Views can take you on a tour of the campground before you book your site.
KEEP YOUR TOW VEHICLE IN TOP CONDITION (Also applies to RVs)
Share your money saving ideas and feedback or questions in the comments.
A Spartan in their house!
This trailer was featured in Issue #59 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. Read the entire article.
Steve and Paula or you may know them by their “trailer park names”, Sugar and Booger, have a Spartan in their house! Last year they built a new house that incorporated a 1957 Royal Mansion into the floorplan! Housing a bar, lounge area, and ½ bathroom, the beautifully refurbished mid-century mansion overlooks the Okanogan River leading to the Columbia. The trailer was restored on three sides using parts and materials from the fourth side that does not show. New doors were acquired from Dan Piper at Vintage Campers in Peru, IN. The trailer had to be craned into place and sits on four-foot-tall stem walls. (The entire article is in issue #59 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.)
The original, made in the USA, magazine for collectors, restorers, admirers, and dreamers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Elverta, CA - www.vintagecampertrailers.com. It has been ten years since we started publishing the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. We started with a newsprint tabloid that we could afford to print for two years without any income from subscribers. Issue number 15 was an actual glossy paged magazine. It was only supposed to be a "Special Collectors Edition," but the feedback from the community was so positive that we never returned to the folded tabloid format.
The trailerites (vintage trailer enthusiasts) and subscribers are the keys to the success of The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. We receive photos and stories from trailer owners, restorers, and rally hosts across the USA. We can tell the stories of their vintage journeys, share their how-to tips and pass-on rally ideas from coast to coast. Each issue includes a rally calendar and classified ads for those buying or selling a trailer. A niche magazine like ours relies on advertisers who value their investment and subscribers who enjoy each issue's content. Many of our advertisers have been on board since the first issue.
We are family-owned to this day, and if you call, chances are Caroline or Paul will answer. After almost eight years of working another full-time job, Paul dedicated his time exclusively to the magazine and hosting rallies. Over the years, we have added a digital option, but the physical printed magazine remains the choice of most. If you have never had the opportunity to view the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine, use the code VCTB20 to save 20% on a digital subscription. Click here to see subscription options.
If you have content you would like to contribute to the magazine, send it our way; we look forward to hearing from you soon. Join your people and stay connected with others rescuing, restoring, and rallying with America's mid-century trailers.
We'll see you campin-
From issue #1 (far left) in tabloid form to our full color glossy print and digital copies. Looking for back issues? Click here. Many are still available in print or digital.
This is an excerpt from an article by John Palmer in issue #59 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
Photos by Hal Thoms
The Vintage Trailer hobby is just over twenty years old. I have been active in the hobby for the past twelve years and have witnessed extensive growth. For example, we now have lots of vintage rallies to choose from attending within a day’s driving distance. In California this past month, we had three very large Vintage Rally’s scheduled on the same weekend! We now have The VCT print magazine, we have had T.V. shows about our hobby and vintage trailer rebuilding, we have our annual Boot Camp Learning Experience “sold out” each year, and companies are now opening that specialize in the restoration of vintage campertrailers. We have parts vendors that have invested their resources into the tooling necessary to build reproduction parts to help save our old trailers. Major insurance companies are developing special policies targeted to our specific vintage trailer insurance needs. You cannot watch a primetime T.V. show or a T.V. commercial without seeing a vintage trailer used as a prop in the background. Mainline R.V. companies have tried to jump on the vintage bandwagon by releasing modern versions of the old Vintage Trailer designs.
Anyone remotely watching this hobby has already seen the significant increase in prices for restorable camper trailers, only to find them already sold when you call. So, what are your options to just accepting the increase in cost and limited availability of core trailers to rebuild that are in popular camper sizes? How about building your own hand built vintage trailer? Read the intire article in issue #59 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
Click "Read More" below for more pictures.
By Clint Cox
In July of 2020, I transported a Spartan Carousel (10x50) through Tulsa, OK. Knowing that the Spartan factory had been razed a year (or two) earlier, I decided to leave the highway and pull the trailer onto the factory floor (located at the south end of the western runway at Tulsa International Airport). I figured I could take some pictures for the new owner of the Spartan I had in tow. I wasn’t there all of 10 minutes when a car pulled up on the pad, and a lady jumped out and was in awe of the trailer. She introduced herself as Tonya Blansett, the executive director of the Tulsa Air & Space Museum (TASM). She asked if I could bring the trailer to the museum, to which I happily agreed. I opened the trailer up so that all of TASM’s employees and volunteers could have a look. In exchange, I was given a quick tour of the museum hangar, which houses three Spartan airplanes, including the last one built, an Executive! An instant friendship was made, and upon departing, Tonya casually mentioned that they had a flat, open field next to the museum, in case we ever want to organize a rally.
The idea of a rally stuck in my head. I had been involved with Spartan trailers for about eight years since purchasing my own 1959 Royal Manor. It dawned on me that 2021 would be the 75th Anniversary of trailer production’s beginnings. I became excited about the rally idea and spoke with a few trailer restorers. They all felt that a rally in Tulsa would be a great idea. A Facebook page was started to gauge interest and Chance Ty, one of the group members, was a graphic artist, so I asked him to design a rally poster. Early in the fall of 2020, I posted the rally poster and announced that there would be a rally a year from now. Ryan Rice, another graphic artist in our group, who had just purchased a 1956 Executive Mansion, offered to help me with merch. We designed hats, T-shirts, bath towel sets, and a beautiful commemorative blanket depicting five popular Spartan trailer models from 1946 to 1959. Read the entire article in issue #59 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. Click "Read More" below for more photos.
Don't Spoil the Vintage Look with a Modern Fridge! Try an Energy Efficient Fridge Alternative
We can think of about a million things that we love about vintage trailers, but the original "ice box" food storage solution in our 1957 Sportcraft, was not one of them. Designed for a simpler time, we appreciate both the minimalism and the sweet, mid-century hardware on this poorly insulated aluminum box. But, the original ice-to-food-storage ratio just wasn't going to cut it for longer than a weekend, let alone full-time living.
During our 2011-12 remodel we considered a modern replacement -- 3-way fridge, 12V cooler, etc. We just couldn't find anything that would fit the space while keeping the vintage look and budget, and provide us with enough cold food storage. With our launch date to full-time living approaching and with no viable solutions on the horizon, we settled on a hasty compromise.
We used the vintage ice box inside Hamlet as a dry-goods storage space and kept all of our cold food in a cooler out in our pick-up truck bed. This forced us to stick with the tried and true habit of picking up 10 lbs of ice every 3 to 4 days. Planning ahead to avoid being somewhere far off-the-grid with a melting bag of cold water instead of a robust block of ice, just became part of our routine.
Call it procrastination, call it just settling in to the way we did things, but the constant draining and cleaning, the sweaty cheeses, the partially liquified lettuces, the trips to the store -- it all finally got the better of us. We needed a different solution that would allow us to store enough food without having to compromise our inside space or vintage esthetic. We were not alone. With all the folks transitioning to life on the road in RVs, vans, and vintage rigs, the 12V product options just keep opening up!
We settled on the ICECO VL45 Single Zone Portable Fridge Freezer, with its simple design, very reasonable price tag, efficient compressor, low-profile but durable handles, as the perfect solution for our situation. Many 12V fridge options were either too bulky, not powerful enough, too expensive, or simply too large for the allocated storage area. When your whole life fits into a 72 sq ft camper and the utility box of a truck, reallocating space is, well…complicated. Note: It's also perfect for those families who need extra fridge/freezer space beyond what they store inside their trailer.
We wanted to run our fridge off solar power to extend our boondocking adventures well beyond the lifespan of a block of ice. It also seemed like a wasted opportunity to not include an engine charging option into the mix, without draining the truck battery. The folks at Renogy thought so too, and created the Dual Input DC to DC Charger. We became aware of this product while installing a DC to DC charger between my parent's towing vehicle and RV and it really got us thinking.
This ingenious device takes an engine charge input (via the starting battery) as well as a solar panel input. It allows us to run a 12V fridge off of our 12V-50Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate battery and be able to charge it while driving, or with our portable 100W Folding Solar Suitcase while camping off-grid.
One extra feature of the Dual Input charger is that when connected to solar and the service battery is full, the charger will trickle charge the starting battery in the engine. So, no matter how far out we might be, or for how long, we won't be stuck with a dead starting battery.
The installation was pretty straightforward and can be done with minimal tools, as you can see in our step-by-step video. We had to design some vehicle specific solutions for mounting and securing components, but with the truck bed topper providing a water-resistant shelter much of the challenge for this installation was already solved.
Click on "Read More", (below) right for the rest of this article, a downloadable pdf, video product review and coupon codes.
The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine Blog
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