In a personal history sort of way, the Trail Along to Pismo rally most likely began to formulate in June of 1963. We spent our honeymoon camping in an “umbrella” tent in Sequoia National Park for a week. In those days, most regular folks did not go far from home for their wedding celebrations like they do today. We continued camping in a tent until we purchased our first new truck and camper in 1967. We joined a camper group and belonged to it on and off for about 40 years (became secretary-publisher of the newsletter/flyer for a few years) and eventually had a couple of different sized motorhomes while we raised our four children. Members of the club took turns planning these just camping (and dune buggy) type rallies. We still belonged to the club until just after buying our first vintage trailer in 1999, and then — there was no going back.
We attended the Newport Dunes Rally a couple of years before I voluntarily assisted with publishing its newsletter and events for the wagonmaster, Craig Dorsey. The following year, when it appeared it would not be happening, I asked the wagonmaster if I could do it, and it was a yes. Altho’ it regularly had 100 vintage trailers, we could only obtain 75 sites at such late notice. The staff at Newport Dunes was very helpful.
We began attending small rallies mostly in northern California, a couple in southern California and Arizona enjoying and exploring the vintage trailer world with the old-timers and the newcomers. We kept seeing Bob and Cindy Ross at many of the rallies throughout this time. One day I received a call from Cindy Ross asking me to join her and Bob and one other in planning and organizing an unnamed event at Pismo Coast Village. Cindy found Pismo Coast Village Resort on the internet and felt it was an excellent location to bring northern and southern Californian trailerites together in one place. We were used to hosting many teams, birthday, school, work, graduation parties, and receptions in our backyard. I replied with a yes since I often organized events at my place(s) of work before retirement. Even though Chuck Miltenberger was not listed as a wagonmaster, he was always present, supporting and assisting with all aspects of the rally.
Bob and Cindy were, and still are the canned ham specialists. It seemed everyone either owned a restored trailer or had one worked on by them. Their specialty at Pismo was the number of trailer folks they knew which was essential in getting the first word out on Pismo. They were and still are highly respected and popular amongst trailerites. Planning began in 2007, and it took 3 or 4 months to fill the spaces. Later on, it took less than 24 hours. We went by postmark as we accepted checks by snail mail. We also did not charge any registration fee. We decided it would be the party we gave. The waiting list grew longer every year. The most challenging part was putting names on a waiting list, recognizing how badly they wanted to join the Pismo experience, and we wanted to share it with them, too.
Little did we realize at the time how this rally would take on a life of its own and grow and grow and grow. Cindy and I were concerned and anxious if we would even be able to fill the 100 sites we had. We ended up adding sites and think we had 125 sites that year. The following year it grew to 160. Then I think we had a year of maybe 225 trailers. Pismo notified us that they were giving 300 of their 400 sites to us; we had this number of sites for at least the last two years of the event.
In retrospect, I think Pismo’s key to success was founded on
Communication * Respect * Patience * Commitment * Common Interests
Eventually, Pismo took up a whole bedroom in my home filled with packets, mementos, and an assortment of items we would bring with us. I initially began with 5 or 6 lists of everything to check and double-check all the lists and activities. I knew if you over-planned an event, it would happen, maybe not in all the ways expected. Still, it would happen and hopefully be acceptable. I’d try to maintain a sense of humor and be flexible to roll with unexpected happenings. Planning and follow-up was a “big” part-time job. It was a double-edged sword; I loved it, but it was almost all-time consuming because we cared so much, but we chose to do it because we wanted to do it. Trailer rally and show organizers can attest to the extra time it takes to pay attention to extra phone calls and emails, but if someone has a question, you can be sure others probably have the same one.
The first year we offered nachos, and a couple of other folks brought some finger food. After that, we made it a finger food potluck and everyone attending trailer trash night contributed. We did not have a dinner potluck due to the size of the area because there was no place to seat everyone if they all chose to attend at one time.
We put together a small Welcome to “Trail Along to Pismo” booklet each year. It contained a Table of Contents which included happenings and activities such as kite flying (hosted by Charlie Wallace and Sherry Trochta), movie night (Chris Hart & Phil Noyes), Pismo vintage bowling (Karinne & Rod Olsen), Best Breakfast (Lynn & Larrie Follstad), door prize and gift exchange (Bob & Cindy), vintage trailer swap meet (rally participants), public walk-about/open house, trailer trash happy hour and finger food potluck (Chuck & Toni’s family & friends), occasional after-parties at various sites, and the Tumble Weed Sunday get-together (Andy Broomhead & Mary Bourke) for those remaining an extra day. Brad Boyajian would supply his 1935 Helm’s truck that we drove around the resort. Steve Hingtgen of Vintage Trailer Supply provided a variety of gifts for the campers each year. We listed each trailerite, their site number, trailer yer/model, in the booklet. In addition, we tried to include an educational, historical page with an excerpt from a vintage book or article in each edition. In 2011, we even published a 4th annual Trail Along to Pismo yearbook. I made amateur videos of attending vintage trailers which were given to those who contributed a picture for four of the years.
After we retired from the Pismo Rally, we assisted Cindy in putting on the Cindy Ross Chula Vista Rally its first year. Then Cindy’s mother took it over until the Chula Vista Resort temporarily closed.
Even though it was time-consuming, it was a pleasure to hear the comments and to see the smiles on everyone’s face during and after the event. Those happy faces were encouraging and motivating to us to endeavor to bring it back each year to make “Trail Along to Pismo” the event that it became; but, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em — Know when to fold ‘em — Know when to walk away” . . . and so, it was time to retire and to pass the baton to other wonderful trailerites who continue to plan, organize and create wonderful rallies available for those who share our commitment to each other and our trailers.
With thanks, love, hugs, & smiles,
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
Do you love vintage trailers? Do you love holiday-themed vintage trailer puns? We've crafted a six-pack assortment of greeting cards featuring some of our favorite vintage trailers that embody the spirit of the season. Order Now!
Tow Boyz Gear
Get ready to rally with our club button-up camp shirts, t-shirts, and hoodies. Click here to shop and
join the "club" with your own Tow Boyz decal for your vintage camper trailer. (Included FREE with every order.)
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
Give your friends and family a gift they will love 6 times a year. Select an offer that includes back issues and your gift recipient will receive a gift card with their order announcing their gift from you. In print and/or digital from $24 per year. (Click here to subscribe for yourself.)
Cooler weather is upon us, and putting your vintage trailer away for a few months may have made your honey-do list. Winter camping in warmer areas of the country may be possible, but most trailerites will put their trailer away for the winter. After hibernating for several months, putting your trailer back into service in the spring will have fewer unpleasant surprises if you follow these ten guidelines.
1. COVERED STORAGE
If possible, always store your vintage trailer under a cover. Keeping the elements off of the trailer will prevent many common issues caused by moisture. A canopy also blocks damage from hail, birds, and falling branches. Tarping a trailer may cause more harm than it prevents. A tarp can trap moisture and scuff or scratch the trailer's finish. If you are using a cover made for trailers, be sure it is designed to be used outdoors in the rain and/or snow.
2. WATER SYSTEM
Vintage trailers usually have a pretty simple water system consisting of a freshwater tank and possibly a small black and/or gray water holding tank. Even a simple water system can be severely damaged by freezing weather. Cracked pipes or tanks can be expensive and difficult to repair.
The basic steps: Turn off the water heater, drain and flush all tanks and pipes. (Open all of the faucets while draining to help drain completely.) Leave the faucets open to allow for expansion if any water is remaining in the system. If your trailer has been upgraded with a more modern design, you may have additional steps you should follow for your trailer. An RV antifreeze can be utilized for additional protection.
Mold and mildew will cause unwanted odors and health hazards. A dehumidifier used every couple of weeks (or as directed) or moisture absorbing material inside the RV will help reduce or eliminate the moisture that will cause damage. Some forums profess to leave a light on inside the trailer to produce a small amount of heat and "dry" the air. Stand your cushions up on their edge to allow for more circulation. Remove all bedding and clothing that may trap and retain moisture. Baking soda and sachets of coffee grounds will also help prevent or eliminate odors.
Remove all food and beverages from the trailer. Keep rodents from getting in the trailer. Fill any entry points (around pipes or exterior storage doors) with caulking or copper or steel wool. Some scents are thought to keep mice at bay and don't require adding chemicals or poisons to your vintage trailer; suggestions include peppermint oil, mothballs, pine needle spray, and dryer sheets. Poison can be used if you have an infestation. Use a brand that is non-toxic to humans and all non-rodent animals.Poison-free RatX Bait Discs work from the inside out to kill rats and mice with up to 90% less odor.
When disconnecting batteries, remove the negative cable first—store fully-charged batteries in a warm, dry spot. Larger systems with multiple batteries will have specific instructions for proper maintenance. It is usually better to keep these batteries installed in the trailer. You may still want to disconnect the negative battery cable. Check the battery charge level periodically, and recharge when necessary. If you are in need of a new battery, we highly recommend the reliable Duralast Gold Battery.
Covering your tires is a good idea in the summer and winter. For long-term storage, you may want to jack up the trailer to eliminate the chance of flat spots or deterioration from sitting in the dirt. While concrete is preferred to park on, Tri-Lynx Levelers will elevate the trailer tires and protect them from contact with the ground. You may even stow the tires and wheels separate from the trailer. Check the dates on your tires and replace them per the manufacturer's recommendations. When it comes time to replace your tires, we reccomend Tire Rack.
7. PROPANE TANKS
Turn the gas off to the trailer. In harsh winters, propane tanks should be removed (if stored outside of the trailer) and stored in a sheltered location—but never inside the RV. Cover the tank connection fittings with plastic bags and rubber bands to keep the insects from entering the lines.
Close all ceiling vents, check seals around exterior doors and windows, and re-caulk where needed. Wash and wax the exterior. Lubricate hinges, window cranks, and the hitch latch mechanism and jack.
Clean and DRY the awning. It is essential to make sure the awning fabric is completely dry to prevent molding. The same goes for pop-up or fold-out trailers with fabric or canvas siding. Prevent the smell of mildew and the damage that it and mold can cause.
Last but not least, if your trailer is stored in public storage or somewhere you cannot monitor it, remove any valuables. Any temptations for theft like TVs or other electronics or hunting and camping gear should not be left in the trailer. It may be a good idea to annually videotape your camper to have a record of its inventory and value. Update the value of the RV with a professional appraisal. Use a quality hitch lock and consider installing a GPS tracking system should your trailer be stolen.
Use the comments below to let us know what we missed? What else do you do to protect your vintage trailer?
When we renovated our 1957 Sportcraft into our full-time home in 2011-12, we installed a tiny solar powered system so that we could stay anywhere we wanted and still have electricity. Big RV Parks are just not where we wanted to spend our time, as we prefer much more remote wilderness settings where the campgrounds rarely provide hook-ups. It was the best decision we made, except for the big one of actually buying Hamlet and hitting the road! Our first system completely met our needs when we kicked off this lifeventure back in 2012. Since then, we have not only traveled the continent in our tiny can, but now run a small mobile business which helps others discover what we call #canlife! However, as our business grew, we realized that it was time for an upgrade.
Now, what we think of as a “major solar power upgrade” is probably closer to what most folks might call a “starter system.” We like it small; we keep it small, and sustainable. Our previous system consisted of a 100W Portable Solar Suitcase which went through a PWM charge controller to a 50Ah LiFePo battery that powered a 700W inverter. We ran LED lights, a 12V vent fan, and charged up our portable electronics; it was all we really needed. But, with the new, more remote, demands of a mobile business, we needed to be able to collect and store more solar energy for those days when we dived into the digital nomad work from the road -- video production, online seminars, blogging, and more.
This past spring, while boondocking in a gorgeous part of the Arizona Sonoran desert, we upgraded our solar equipment. We swapped out every component with the exception of the inverter - which still meets our needs. Simply put..it has changed our life, making remote work much more feasible, and fun!
Our solar installation video goes over every aspect and step of this project on our vintage camper (including a specific list of parts, tools, and diagrams), but we’ll walk you through the components we have installed with a bit of commentary on how well they are working.
Can flexible solar panels pass the full-timers test?
Flexible solar panels have gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years that isn’t exactly fair. While some early designs had problems with overheating, those issues have been corrected in the design and manufacture. Any system installed on our vintage aluminum roof would need to live up to our full-timer lifestyle of driving around 16K miles per year, extreme weather & wind conditions, and constant use. After crossing the country from Arizona to Maine, and then boondocking for a seasonal gig on the coast, we’ve put this new system to the test! After 6 months, 4000 miles, and some extreme weather/wind conditions, not to mention some seriously bumpy roads, all the components still look like they were installed yesterday. (Click on the Read More link below to continue reading.)
Companies work to increase exposure for campgrounds and RV Parks
PRESS RELEASE: Laramie, WY October 14, 2021 – CampgroundViews.com has partnered with Vintage Camper Trailers to provide campgrounds and RV parks with a targeted avenue to reach camping enthusiasts. The companies will share information on campgrounds that utilize CampgroundViews.com’s new Campground Virtual Tour technology with the experience made available on PeriodEvents.com website.
“This is a fun partnership as it brings our cutting edge technology together with old school cool in the vintage camper community,” said Mark Koep, Founder and CEO of CampgroundViews.com. “We are constantly seeking ways to help our client parks expand their reach and this is a perfect way to make it happen.”
CampgroundViews.com has over 550 virtual tours for campgrounds across the United States. As part of this partnership any park that pays for a Campground Virtual Tour will automatically be added to the PeriodEvents.com website. Period Events is a source for people that like to play in the past. Find all of the vintage trailer rallies and other events that celebrate America's past.
“The vintage camper community is made up of die hard campers who enjoy the lifestyle and the history of our iconic industry,” added Paul Lacitinola, the owner and publisher of The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. “We focus our efforts on helping this community enjoy their vintage campers and through PeriodEvents.com share information on upcoming rallies, events and great places to visit.”
The Campground Virtual Tours allow campers to more easily identify and pick their perfect campsite. Using 360 video with information “hotspots” campers can see the campgrounds, see the sites and click the sites for more information.
About CampgroundViews.com: Accessible at https://www.campgroundviews.com/. The company has reinvented the way travelers find, see, click and book their perfect campsite. Campground Virtual Tours are an exclusive members only tool with more information and working demo available here: https://www.campgroundviews.com/best-camping-tool-ever/
About Vintage Camper Trailers: A resource for vintage trailer collectors, restorers, admirers and dreamers. A print and digital magazine that also hosts several vintage trailer rallies and The Boot Camp restoration learning experience. You have found your people. https://www.vintagecampertrailers.com.
For information contact Mark Koep at 805-341-3828 or email email@example.com.
Vintage trailering can be a very inexpensive hobby. If you are resourceful and somewhat handy, rescuing and restoring a vintage trailer may be right up your alley. Finding a great deal on an old camper, or better yet, inheriting a family heirloom may be the first step of joining in a vintage trailer rally. Whether you are combing the VCT Classifieds, cruising Craigslist, or sifting through Marketplace, your persistence will pay off. We suggest letting everyone that you know that you are looking for a camper trailer. Using your network of friends and family increases your eyes in the field. If you are willing to knock on some doors, you may even find one someone wants to have hauled away. Keep your eyes peeled and take a different route home through neighborhoods or down streets you don't usually travel. Who knows what you may find!
When we were kids looking for hot rods, we would put one guy in the truck's bed (standing up) and drive down alleys. From the vantage point of a lifted pick-up, the spotter could see otherwise hidden possibilities in the back yards. Today, the profile of a vintage trailer is a little easier to spot peaking up over a fence if you are looking.
Commissioning a custom build by a professional vintage trailer restorer is reserved for those that have the financial resources. An extraordinary vintage trailer build takes the time and talent of skilled professionals or a VERY proficient owner/builder. Many of the parts must be sourced or custom-crafted. Modern amenities like air-conditioning and adding bathrooms to trailers that didn't have them initially can start the price of the investment climbing. Stunning trailers updated with all the creature comforts can end up costing more than your first home. Here are a half dozen trailers that crest the six-figure threshold.
This 1950 Westcraft Capistrano is the brilliant result of more than a decade of meticulous restoration, craftsmanship, and modernization. It is the largest and most rare model that Westcraft ever offered. The 'Capistrano' is 33 feet long and features a Pullman roof (commonly referred to as a trolley top). The owner invested over $600,000 in this build and recently "Sold" it at auction to the high bidder in that price range. The bidder never completed the purchase, so the trailer goes back on the block. -more information and photos.
The subsequent three trailers on the list were built at the cost of about $550,000. The owner's ambitious vision to create a multi-room tiny house with vintage trailers required each of these three beauties to be restored with a unique floor plan to create a home when joined together with a common area patio and outdoor bathhouse. The 1949 Westcraft Trolley Top sleeps 6. The 1954 Spartan Imperial Mansion is a master bedroom suite and living room. The 1946 Spartan Manor is a gourmet kitchen and dining room. If this trailer looks a little different, that's because it is. The entire body was lifted 10" to give more headroom inside the coach. Best-Laid plans did not foresee permit issues, and the trailers can not be used on the owner's property. These trailers are currently for sale at a loss to the owner of nearly $200,000!
Professionally restored and rebuilt for the discriminating trailerite. New, never camped in, stored in a climate-controlled building. Don't wait a year or more to restore an Airstream; this 1959 Airstream Tradewind is available immediately. Styled with a 1950's martini/wine bar, the current owners wanted to capture a mid-century feeling with modern amenities. Appraised at well above its $130,000 asking price, this one-of-a-kind Airstream trailer may be a good investment.
Having traded hands a couple of times since Flyte Camp restored this 1961 Holiday House Geographic, it is hard to say exactly what the value of this trailer may be. Based on the original asking price and making an educated guess, I'd place the value north of $200,000. Only three of these trailers are known to exist and one collector in the USA owns this one and another one. The third was shipped to a collector in France over a decade ago. I don’t think he is willing to part with them at any price.
Curious to know how to determine the value of a vintage trailer? Click here for our blog on how we value them.
1936 Kozy Coach
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR SLIDESHOW
The pre-war Kozy Coach featured here is owned by Barry Weisse. A “Storage Wars” favorite, and Barrys own show, “Barry’d Treasure.” The “Storage Wars” spinoff premiered in March of 2014 on A&E and made a short run. The series features Weiss as he embarked on a cross-country trip unearthing some of the nation’s rarest and most fascinating collectibles. Maybe Barry will be traveling in his Kozy Coach!? Featured in Issue #13 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
Soon to be featured on the cover of issue #57 of The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine coming in September in both print and digital formats. For almost 10 years subscribers to the magazine have recived their issues in their mailbox on-time, as promised. If you are a subscriber look forward to more photos of this recent build. If you'd like to subscribe now, click here to see several offers starting at $24.
1937 KOZY COACH DELUXE
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR SLIDESHOW
From the late 1920’s to the onset of World War II, one segment of the transportation world that was growing, despite economic woes, was the travel trailer industry. A leader in this growing world was Kozy Coach located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Their advertising effectively told prospective buyers that “You’re Ahead with a Kozy Coach Behind”, or “Favorite of the Road-Wise”. They started with a welded steel chassis to prevent sagging, side-sway, and assure quiet operation and perfect alignment. In 1937 three models were offered, the Junior, the Standard, and the Deluxe, which offered all the comforts of a home away from home. Kozy Coaches were among the best trailers on the market and survived well into the 1950’s. A well preserved time capsule, featuring an original condition example of pre-war art deco and hand-crafted workmanship. Featured in Issue #20 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
1936 Covered Wagon
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR SLIDESHOW
In 1929 Arthur Sherman constructed a prototype 9x6x5’ “Box on Wheels” (after an uncomfortable rainy camping experience with a Clare Tent Trailer.) By 1935 Sherman sells 400 “Deluxe” 15 ft. trailers with a total output of 1134 Trailers. “Pioneers in Field”-1936. Some Deluxe exteriors are leather. In 1936 Sherman pre-orders hundreds of 6 foot axles when other trailer manufactures expanded their width to 8 feet. Sales dropped and depression woes set in.
World War II changed operations at Covered Wagon greatly, as it converted its production efforts to wartime needs. Sherman makes truck parts for the war effort. The company produced truck cargo bodies and was granted the Army-Navy “E” award for high achievement in war production in the spring of 1945. Additionally, forty-two Covered Wagon employees served in the armed forces during the war and one was killed in action in the Pacific.
Following the Allied victory in Europe, the War Department decreased its order for truck bodies from Covered Wagon. The company was apparently idled in mid-1945. By September of that year the plant was leased to the Ironrite Ironer Company, and by December, 1945, Ironrite ironers (and not travel trailers) were rolling off the assembly line. Covered Wagon officials expressed their intentions to resume trailer production after re-evaluating the company’s position, but this never occurred. The Covered Wagon Company passed into the pages of Mount Clemens history. With union problems, a lockout, bankruptcy with reorganization, and a shortage of materials, Sherman closes shop.
In 1958 Herbert Reeves Jr. visited the Arthur Sherman family and acquired the rights to the name and logos of the Covered Wagon Company. It had been the largest manufacturer in the industry and the first national giant. Reeves reestablished the Covered Wagon brand as a travel trailer manufacturer. He owned and operated the second generation Covered Wagon Trailer Company in Elkhart, IN from 1958 through the 60’s establishing several industry firsts such as developing the sewer line storage in the rear bumper and the rear access storage trunk. Reeves sold the manufacturing company in 1965 and it apparently produced “Covered Wagons” for a few more years. Reeves then opened the Arrowhead Park Campground in southern Michigan. With his widely varied career now over 30 years old, Herb Reeves was recognized for his years of dedicated service to the growth of the industry by induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in the class of 1979.
Do you have an interesting trailer that you would like to be featured in the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine? Share your high resolution photos and a bit about your vintage journey with us. EMAIL VCT
By Susan Fletcher
I subscribe to The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine, have done for so many years. I absolutely love it. I also have both of your books. I saw in your magazine that trailerites could tell their stories about their vintage campers. I don't know if you will publish my story in the magazine or put it in another book. It doesn't matter. I still want to tell it.
Me and my then husband went Camping at Cherokee, NC in our 2005 Dutchmen. We took a ride on Cherohala Skyway into Tennesee. I spotted a vintage camper at a campground on the road. We pulled in and I talked to the owner of the 1965 Zipper.I just fell in love with it. It was then that I decided I wanted me one. So I started my hunt fto find my own. I found one at Lincolnton, NC. It was.a 1972 Vacationaire. In Sept 2013. It needed work so my hubs said he would tear it down n rebuild it. But we had problems, and in 2014, we split up. He took both tow rigs that were his. Both campers continued to deteriorate. So I sold them.
I bought myself a new Kia Soul, which doesn't tow. I continued to look for a vintage vamper. Finally, I found one in March 2017 on Craigslist. Fifty miles from my home in Lake Lure, NC. My daughter and her hubby went with me to look at it. It was a 1965 Shasta Airflyte. It was love at 1st sight.!! I didn't want to pay the price he wanted; he knocked off $300.00. The trailer is powered by 110v electric, no propane, which was fine with me. It had a brand new paint job and had been restored. The original cabinets and some of the original birch walls were preserved. I started hunting for a skilled carpenter to add a loft and dd Wilsonart laminate countertops "Betty" pattern to the table and countertop that were painted black. I also had him add a closet and drawer cabinet. I knew that while I know how to use many tools, I didn't know how to complete these improvements. It took me two years to find someone to do all the above. He did an EXCELLENT job. I'm so pleased with my camper. She's everything I wanted in a vintage trailer. Meet AIKO BLUE
When it comes to painting your trailer, there are no rules. You can do whatever you want. Vintage trailer paint jobs are as individual and diverse as their owners. There is a variety of ways to paint your trailer: exterior house paint, rattle cans, and automotive paint finishes. We have used all of these with good success. Most people who can paint a wall inside their house or spray a piece of lawn furniture with a spray can, are able to paint a trailer.
First, let me say, I do not consider myself a painter, but I have a lifetime of painting experience. As an 8-year-old kid, my mom handed me a paint roller, showed me my bedroom wall and said “paint it!” My Father was a career aircraft and auto body painter. His painting story began back in the 1950s when he painted his scooter with a hand-pump pesticide sprayer. He soon learned to paint with a professional spray gun, then went to work painting helicopters for Hiller aircraft. Back then they used lacquer and painted helicopters in an old dirt floor barn. When I was a kid, Pop sometimes took me along when he had to do overtime. He taught me how to spray paint when I was 6 years old. I grew up around automotive painting, helping my Dad. I painted high school hot rods, Harleys, and now, vintage trailers.
At Retroluxe, we use automotive paint to paint accent graphics and stripes, this is done onto new metal skin after we install it. We do it this way because most vintage trailers have been repainted at least once in their life. Older paint is usually not compatible with automotive finishes and paint prep work on a trailer can take weeks. Preparation is the key to a good paint job. Beautiful paint over a poorly prepped surface is usually an expensive wasted effort, and yes, I have had my share of these kinds of lessons.
With automotive paint, there a couple ways to get it done: single-stage enamel, base coat clear\ coat, and rattle cans. Keep in mind the better quality of paint used, the better the outcome will be as long as proper instruction and technique is used. As with all good paint jobs, the surface should be sanded and primed. If we are painting over a known good surface like new white aluminum skin, we use a scotch pad to break the glaze. This gives the new paint the ability to adhere to the surface.
All automotive paints used today are catalyzed, they require accurate mixing of two or more components before application. Automotive paints dry slowly. If a spray booth is unavailable, you need a clean location away from things like dust, bugs, and other vehicles that could be damaged by airborne over-spray. Base coat\clear is a two-part process, that can be challenging for someone not familiar with using automotive finishes. First, using a good quality spray gun, apply the desired color in multiple coats until the desired area is evenly covered. The second step is to paint over the color coat with usually two coats of clear. Boot Camp offers a course on painting your trailer if you want to see and learn from a pro.
Painting with single-stage enamel is easier than two-stage as it requires fewer steps. Just mix the components, spray, and wait a day or so until completely dry. However, if more than one color is to be used, base coat\clear would be better as the base coat part of the process dries quickly and is easy to apply multiple colors.
Spray cans are a quick, cheap, and easy way to get something painted. They are best if used on small areas to be painted. Low-quality paint used in rattle cans (spray cans) is usually evident in fading color or disappearing shine in a short time.
On occasion we have been called upon to use house paint. It is super easy to choose your color and to apply the paint. House paint can be brushed, roller or sprayed. We found that spraying house paint produces the best finish. House paint requires the least amount of prep, it will stick to most clean surfaces, lasts for years, and can be easily touched up. Issue #51 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine several different methods people used to paint their own trailers. You can pick up a printed copy of this issue or the entire 2020 year in digital format.
When choosing the best way to paint your trailer consider how it will be used. Will the trailer be used for rough dirt camping, vintage trailer shows and rallies or road trips? Your trailer’s outward appearance and its first impression, is largely based on your paint job, make it a good one.
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."
The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine Blog
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.