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
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.
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 2022 calendar is a glimpse back at some of our favorite photos. Like the magazine, the calendar features trailers from the pre-war era through the mid-century. Custom and traditional trailers that have been restored by professionals or owner-built. In the spirit of the magazine, each photo contains a caption that tells about the trailer and its owner's vintage journey. (8.5" X 11" full-color glossy paper with a cardstock cover.) FREE SHIPPING. Shop Here.
Silver Suzi Jewelery Designs
A self-taught metal artist specializing in unique silver designs. Shop a wide selection of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and pins. Vintage trailer, Airstream, and custom designs for you. Shop Now
Tow Girlz Gear
Cozy sweats and ladies v-neck tees for around the fire or waking up in the woods. We include a sticker for your trailer so everyone knows you are in the "club." View Options
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Tow Boyz Gear
Get ready to rally with our club button-up camp shirts, t-shirts, and hoodies. Click here to shop and
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Picnic Table Shield
Avoid the mess, avoid the splinters and uncomfortableness of public picnic tables with these convenient covers! Made in the USA of commercial-grade marine vinyl. Shop here.
Mid-Century Key Fobs
Three mid-century key fobs for your vintage trailer keys. These motel-style key chains feature "room number 4569" to remind you of the mid-century years from 1945 through 1969. Only a few left!
Vintage Nights 2022 Calendar
Vintage Nights 2022 Calendar by Rick Rajewski. Vintage Nights 2022 Calendar. Order yours here.
Vintage Camper Trailers Book
Vintage camper trailers are a unique symbol of midcentury America that resonates with many people. This book introduces many of those people, along with the trailers they’ve lovingly maintained or restored. It includes hundreds of photographs of everything from fancy and comfortable trailers designed for glamping (glamorous camping), to trailers handed down through families across generations. Shop our books.
The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine
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Women that are vintage trailering and running with their passions at work and at play.
NAME: Hannah Weber
TITLE: Owner/Boss Lady
COMPANY NAME: Hannah's Granny Crafts
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 4 years officially - However, I started selling in the 3rd grade
WEBSITE URL: hannahsgrannycrafts.com
Tell us about your business.
My business is centered around handmade crochet products. I focus on baby items and home decor. My target audience is the busy woman looking to gift high-quality, handcrafted products effortlessly.
What does being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
Being a business owner means the absolute world to me. It means I can build a life of my dreams. A life of financial independence, flexibility to make my own schedule, and the ability to make my own rules. It means I will be able to stay home with my future children while also running a business.
What or who has been your most significant influence in business and why?
My mom is the most amazing influence in my business. A considerable part of the reason I was so willing to jump into the life of entrepreneurship is that my mom owns several businesses in our small hometown, and I have grown up right in the heart of those businesses. I have seen the pros and cons of being a businesswoman, and I know that, for me, the pros outshine the cons in SO many ways. From a very young age, I have known that I wanted to be my own boss, and my mom has played a huge role in helping me achieve that goal - for instance, allowing me to sell some of my products in her gift shop starting in just the 3rd grade.
Another huge influence in my life is my grandma - "Grammy." Both women have overcome considerable obstacles in life and have used hard work and perseverance to overcome these obstacles. Grammy is such a massive influence in my life I based the branding of my business around her.
What is the best advice you can pass on to others?
If you are looking to start a business, just feel like it isn't the right time or just aren't "ready enough" - JUST START. Start anywhere. Even the most minor steps can make a HUGE difference. It will never be a perfect time, and I hate to break it to you; you will never feel prepared. This feeling never goes away in the journey of business owning, but it is worth every moment of uncertainty. This might sound stupid, but my greatest accomplishment is simply starting the business. It is scary and overwhelming, and it's a huge accomplishment to put your whole heart and soul out to the world.
Even those not interested in business owning, remember to SHOP SMALL!
What have been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Showing up. Simple as that. I mostly use Instagram and Facebook to market my business. Consistency is key. Show up for your audience - in stories, posts, everywhere possible. It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be planned - just show up.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
It sounds cliche, but your failures are not as detrimental as they seem "in the moment." You will move on from them, and some of your greatest successes will come out of your biggest failures. I have come to love failure (ok, not LOVE it, but appreciate it) because it only helps me improve in the long run.
Do you have any new projects coming up?
I don't have any huge projects coming up at the moment. I am focusing more on perfecting some of the smaller "behind the scenes" mechanics of my business to get things running just a little smoother :)
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
We are lucky enough to live in the center of Montana, surrounded by mountains. My favorite way to spend the weekends is in the mountains in my camper, my boyfriend and the dogs. I can crochet and take in the fresh mountain air - nothing better! I also love to hunt, which is so accessible to us because of where we live. We are truly blessed!
What is the number one business goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
My number one goal for 2021 is expanding the amount of in-store places Hannah's Granny Crafts items are sold around the state and possibly beyond!
What would your book be about if you were to write one?
The adventures you can find in small-town Montana while running a business from it. I live in a town of 300-ish people, and I think many people think it's "boring." It is the farthest thing from that, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
What is the best way to connect with you?
I am most active on my Instagram account - @hannahsgrannycrafts. I am also on Facebook as Hannah's Granny Crafts, and you can check out my website hannahsgrannycrafts.com to find out more and look at items to purchase! So with that, I'll leave you with "Good Going" - a phrase Grammy says to me often. It means, "good luck, I'm in your corner rooting for you."
Placing a heating system on cars is as important as adding up an air-conditioner, especially in chilly weather. As a result, RV heating costs cheaper than on cold seasons than in normal days.
Here are the different types of heating systems for RVs:
Four Common Types of RV Heating System
Which of the four heating systems can keep your van warm – portable heaters, reverse-cycle air-conditioning, or gas or diesel heater?
Portable heaters and air-cons demand extra work to get started. On the other hand, gas and diesel heaters are stand-alone systems to heat up RV interiors. Keep an eye on each type’s advantages and disadvantages to easily select which one is better. The sure thing is, no one is better than the other as the choice depends on your needs.
This option is a versatile way to keep your RV cool and dry at the same time. Most reverse-cycle air-conditioning is placed on the ceiling of a full-sized van. The installation process has all the accessories needed to be made available from the factory, like H-frame support. It can also be an all-round air-condition by its roof-top installation.
However, you should be extra careful with its pop-top design. The air-con unit has a harmful roof lifting mechanism that won’t lift extra weight during installation. Installing the unit with layout permitting, under a bed, or under seats could be an alternative. Allow extra space for route ducting and heated-air outlets.
One good thing with reverse-cycle air-conditioning is it can provide warmth overnight. Just set the temperature to your desired heat level and be ready to go. The air might become too dry that will cause irritation.
Now, here are the downsides of air-conditioning you should be aware of:
● Delivering heat in an RV starts after a few minutes, which is not ideal for most campers. Also, it is only compatible with 240v AC power.
● Running the system can be noisy.
● The need for a licensed electrician adds up the cost of installing the air-con unit.
● You must look for a powered site before going on a trip to make use of the reverse-cycle air-conditioning.
● A lithium power system is an expensive alternative to a power grid, hence adds up cost.
● Using a generator is another option, but then again very costly. An air-con unit requires a 2.4kVa generator that may cost 2000 dollars.
● It brings so much inconvenience for the campers.
As campers want to make things work faster, reverse-cycle air-conditioning is not ideal to break that chilly morning.
Gas heaters are the best choice for heating large spaces since they operate quietly compared to other heating units.
To run the system, a 12V power must exist. It makes the fan and control unit function so well to create heat in your RV. Clean fuel is suitable for running the gas heater, which is accessible at home.
Gas heaters are both electricity and fuel-efficient in order to deliver heat in two weeks. Only a 9-kilogram bottle of clean fuel can last for weeks while drawing a low current. Remote areas charge higher costs in refilling the gas bottle than in cities. One is found in Australia’s Truma Vario Heat Eco, formerly Truma system.
A gas heater must be installed by a licensed gas fitter to avoid leaks on the gas line. They follow regulations to safely fix the heating system to some RVs. Do not install a gas heater near the door, window, and other gas appliances for safety purposes.
The final caravan heater option is perfect for DIYers, with no need for licensed fitters. It is an efficient heating unit with a compact design. Diesel heaters work with 12V power and the same fuel for tow vehicles.
Proper installation will result in a quieter operation, as diesel heaters can be loud sometimes. Inlet silencer or exhaust muffler helps to reduce the noise of the pump, much better when it is insulated.
Having an extra diesel fuel during trips is advisable, together with a jerry in topping up the heater. Compared to gas fuel, diesel smells worse and can easily stain stuff. Heating performance may also be reduced by carbon deposits formed in the chamber. Running the system in the full heat of at least an hour helps to burn the deposits. Make sure the heater is set on high for long periods.
Periodic maintenance is necessary to enhance the features of the diesel heater. It includes cleaning the glow pin to remove the carbon deposits stuck in the chamber. In addition, replace the fuel filter and perform checkups on the exhaust lines at least two years in a row.
Which Should I Choose?
Choosing the best air conditioning for caravans is crucial to match your trip essential on an RV. Better pick the system that fits your caravan needs as well as your budget. There are a lot of options you can find, so make sure to select the ones that passed quality standards.
What can you do to ensure that your vintage trailer doesn’t get that funky musty smell? Mold and mildew can make your trailer stink and do damage to the soft surfaces inside your RV. The musty smell when you walk into the RV is an indication that there are damp areas where mold could be growing. A dehumidifier in your RV when it is stored for extended periods of time will prevent the build-up of moisture.
Mold can occur during winter as windows are closed and the surface of walls and windows become colder because the outside air temperature is lower. Simply opening a window is not a solution in the winter months, this is where a dehumidifier comes in. It will reduce the level of humidity in the air by sucking in air from the room at one end, removing the moisture, and then blowing dehumidified air back out into the room again.
Many RV owners find that compressor dehumidifiers would not work well at temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and there were often problems with the compressor dehumidifier machines icing up. These dehumidifiers address these issues, functioning consistently well at all temperatures.
You can also attract and remove moisture from the air with a scented moisture absorber. For $10-$30 you can protect your vintage trailer from moisture damage while you eliminate musty odors. Excess moisture is absorbed into the white calcium chloride crystals. The white crystals begin to harden and form a solid mass. Hardened crystals must be discarded and re-purchased as they are used. Another trick is to place open containers of coffee (a cup or so) in your cabinets. The coffee grounds can help neutralize any odors that you may already have.
Courtesy of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine
The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine Blog
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