By Paul Lacitinola
Publisher, The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine
The variety of camping trailers built post war through the 1960’s is seemingly endless. After a decade in the hobby I am still learning of manufacturers that I have never heard of. The popularity of the vintage trailer hobby has caused many people to have a new-found interest in once obscure and long-forgotten trailers. Most vintage trailer enthusiasts are familiar with the major brands like Shasta, Airstream and Aristocrat, but there were many more mid-century manufacturers that were small operations with limited productions. The market was flooded with trailers of different sizes, floorplans and amenities. Determining the vintage trailer that will best suit your needs today is a critical part of investing in a classic coach.
Most motor vehicle departments consider the length of a trailer to be the overall length from the ball hitch to the rear bumper. Sometimes sellers only measure the length of the body and do not include the added length of the tongue. Make sure you are clear on the actual overall trailer dimensions. When purchasing a trailer consider where it will be stored. You may be restricted in the length or width of a trailer that will fit in your storage area. Other primary considerations are how many beds you will need and what type of bathroom, if any, is a “must have” for you. Bathrooms may include any combination of a commode, shower, tub and sink. The smaller the trailer, the less likely it is to have a bathroom. Trailers can range from 10’ to over 30’. I think that up to a bout 26’ is a manageable size. The bigger your trailer, the more considerations there are for the type of tow vehicle that you have and the campgrounds that can accommodate you.
Go to a Vintage Trailer Rally
Once you have determined some of your non-negotiable needs and desires, you are ready to begin looking at trailers that also fit your budget. Waiting for one that fits your parameters, and is close enough to go see, may take a while. Rather than waiting for one to pop-up for sell nearby, I recommend you visit a Vintage Camper Trailer rally that has an Open House. An open house is typically held on the Saturday of a rally and is open to the public to tour the trailers. Often there are trailers for sell at a rally or the people there have, or know of, trailers for sale. Being able to see several different sizes and floor plans will help you continue to focus on the perfect vintage trailer for you. Meeting and mingling with people already in the hobby will give you insight into variables you may not have considered. Do you prefer twin or full beds? Is their enough ceiling height? Is the available living space enough for your kids, pets and gear? (All the rallies in the USA are published in the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine).
Take a Test Drive
Once you narrow down the trailer type, size and amenities that you would like, you may want to take one for a test-drive. Outdoorsy.com now offers a searchable data base where you can find “vintage” trailers for rent. You can even search by brand name like “Airstream” or “Shasta” to help you find the trailer you would like to take camping. This nationwide database provides you with the opportunity to experience vintage camping before you buy. It also provides you an alternative to owning a trailer yourself. If you ultimately invest in a trailer you may want to offer it for rent on Outdoorsy.com to offset your expenses. If you are going to be camping, why not take advantage of a 50% discount on your camping fees? Passport America is the original 50% Discount Camping Club and has the largest network of quality campgrounds across the nation. A one-year RV Discount Camping Card is only $44. You will likely save as much on your first weekend outing.
See the Trailer in Person
Always go and see a potential trailer purchase in person before dropping your hard-earned cash. Trailers always look better on-line and computers don’t have smell-o-vision. Even a novice can “feel” a soft floor or smell a funk that may be impossible to get rid of. If you can’t go see the trailer, you can take your chances with a trusted friend that may be closer and can give you their feedback. Consider the risk/reward of NOT seeing the trailer in person, and the cost of transporting the trailer, in the overall cost of the RV.
Other factors to purchasing a vintage trailer include evaluating the condition of a trailer and determining the value. These are two important aspects of investing in 70-year-old camping trailers requiring their own articles. Here is a link to an article on valuing a vintage trailer. You will also want to explore your vehicles tow rating, so you are able to travel safely.
Buying a vintage trailer and being a part of the vintage trailering hobby should be a very positive experience. The first trailer you buy, may not be your “forever” trailer. Being in the hobby, and participating in the rallies yourself, will expose you to many opportunities to find your perfect trailer. Selling the trailer that you have shouldn’t be a problem with all the interest in the vintage trailering hobby and another newbie on the hunt for their first vintage trailer.
Visit a rally with over 200 trailers! www.trailerfestrally.com
Learn how to restore vintage camper trailers.
Shop for a vintage camper trailer.
Sell your vintage camper trailer.
by Melody Gilmore
I have been having a wonderful time combining three passions of mine - cross-stitch, travel trailers, and postcards (see issue #4 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine, October 2012: Greetings from Trailer Town Campground). Camping and visiting America's spectacular national parks is something else I love to do. Collecting vintage postcards of Yellowstone has been a popular hobby since my first trip in 1988. A lifetime resident of central Ohio, I always long for the days when I can discover a new trail or scenic campsite among the peaks and pines.
In 2012, some of my glamping gurus asked if I could create cross-stitch patterns of their vintage campers. I shared those designs on social media along with some other trailerite creations. After numerous nudgings from friends and family over the years, I finally decided to start a design business (facebook at openroadabode or email email@example.com). My initial series included small 4x6" patterns printed on postcards. This year will introduce several larger designs and "camper samplers" (to be released at the Nashville Needlework Market in March).
The timing couldn't seem to be more perfect as more and more Americans are hitting the open road and enjoying all the benefits that recreational living has to offer. Crafting while camping is also experiencing a surge in popularity...particularly needlework. Compact and portable, small projects can be packed in vehicles and trailers for your leisurely convenience. And they make great gifts for exchanges at gatherings or to add to your own lovely, camping décor.
I have created a special design for Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine readers that I hope you will enjoy stitching in whatever fabric and floss colors you desire- "making it your own." Not a cross-stitcher, but would love to learn this simple form of embroidery? There are many basic tutorials on the Internet to get you started. Just like hitching, take one step (or stitch) at a time and have fun with all the adventures that await you with a needle and thread!
How fun would it be to work with vintage trailers every day? The vintage trailering hobby only seems to be growing. Vintage trailers appeal to so many people for so many different reasons. Restoring them for rallies, rentals and mobile vendors are just a few of the ways vintage trailers are being used. If you are knowledgeable with all areas of RV repair/restoration and have experience managing other workers, this may be the opportunity you have been looking for.
Vintage Campers is a full-service vintage camper and vintage trailer dealer specializing in SPARTAN and other riveted trailers. They mainly deal in trailers from the 40s’, 50s’ and 60s’ with riveted construction because they are more durable trailers and will last a lifetime. Offering vintage trailer sales, restoration services (major and minor), as well as, new, salvaged and reproduction vintage trailer parts, Vintage Campers is a respected go-to in among trailer restorers and a longtime supporter/advertiser in the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. Other trailers in their stock include Airstreams, Avions, Silver Streaks, Boles Aeros, Vagabonds, Curtis Wrights, Streamlines and others. Wood framed vintage campers like Shastas, Scottys, Yellowstones, Fans, Trotwoods and Palace trailers also find their way in to Vintage Campers yard.
Centrally located in the Midwest in the small town of Peru, Indiana. Whether you are applying for a position or looking for your next vintage trailer, Dan and his crew are there to serve you with the honesty and integrity that you deserve. Thanks for visiting VintageCampers.com. They hope to hear from you soon. Email your resume: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are like me, you love the look of wide whitewall tires. I run them on my classic cars and love the way they look on vintage trailers. Until now I have not put whitewalls on my trailers because I did not want the risk of running a car tire on a trailer. We now have a source for whitewall trailer tires...
A simple device that will end the frustration of setting up your vintage trailer. simplify your cable, satellite and hose connections with this device that makes them easier to align and tighten.
RV cable grip’s ergonomic design easily attaches without a wrench. Cable grip stays on the cable, so you have nothing to look for when attaching, eliminating the hassle of small coax ends. Pre-made coax cable in different lengths are also available.
This invention is particularly useful if it is dark, cold or wet or if you have challenges handling small items or with your grip strength. Kits vary from $16.99 to $28.99 and are available direct from the inventor!
Visit www.rvcablegrip.com to learn more or call J Wright Concepts 916-955-0048. Dealer inquiries are available.
September 1-4, 2017
By Ben Stiles, Ed.D.
What do you get when you combine, a 1962 Corvair Greenbrier van camper, a 1964 Airstream, a 1966 Serro Scotty, 13 VW buses, a small smattering of tents, and a fun-loving group of people to fill them with camping memories? One great campout: Kampers near Knoebels XVII!
For the past 17 years, we have hosted Kampers near Knoebels at Indian Head Campground in Bloomsburg, PA over the long Labor Day weekend. In the early years, the campout focused exclusively on camper vans (and VW bus campers in particular). Camper van conversions by such well-known companies as Adventurewagon, Dormobile, Travel Equipment Corporation, Turtle Top, and of course Westfalia have graced the group camping area over the years. Due to the changing interests of the host family, the event has evolved over the years to include owners of vintage camper trailers manufactured by Airstream, Apache, Burro, Compact Jr., Eriba, Nimrod (tent trailers), Serro Scotty, and Sprite. Basically the love of camping in most anything small denotes the current theme of the event.
The annual event logos are created by event organizer Lynn Stiles, who has a graphic design background. Each logo is based on a different ride attraction at Knoebels Amusement Resort, but with a twist. Camper vans and vintage camper trailers are integrated into each ride design, thus infusing the theme of the campout. Amusement rides such as the Phoenix roller coaster, Italian swings, train, bumper cars, carousel, ribbit, pony carts, and many others have been the basis for event logos over the years.