Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Goodbye to Vintage Camping & Some Advice

Well I've sold the Shasta and have given up on the Forester so am saying good bye to vintage camping. 

Some advice for anyone considering getting into this ... please please please, take the time to think about what you're getting into before you hand over your hard earned cash.  Check every inch of the camper and if there is any evidence of mice or major water damage (not just along the windows but on the floor of the potty closet, under the carpet, etc) WALK AWAY! 

Do NOT even consider buying something that needs work (even if your spouse says it will be fun) unless you (or your s/o or spouse) know this is something you can and will accomplish.  Set a timeline for getting the projects done and don't allow procrastination.  Find out how much it will cost to rebuild your camper and make sure you have a backup plan if your spouse drops the ball and 6 months after gutting your camper, you're still stuck with nothing but loose wires that go nowhere and a Menard's bill.

Don't be swayed by cute ... cute is irrelevant in the long run.  I was swayed by cute and a husband who said he could/would be able to fix up my camper and even though I knew I should have walked away ... even though I knew the camper was a piece of crap and I was handing over way too much money because it was a cute, tiny canned ham (what I was looking for), I ended up bringing it home and now it's just a costly piece of junk cluttering up whichever space it's parked in at the moment. 

I am out about $5000 because I thought Sisters on the Fly would be fun and vintage camping was just so darling ... I ended up taking a big loss when I sold camper #1, camper #2 collapsed on the drive home and is nothing but a chassis and camper #3, while still cute, is a gutted piece of aluminum. 

Be sure also that your state will allow you to title a camper if the seller doesn't have one.  Nebraska won't allow you to title a camper on just a bill of sale.  Fortunately for us camper #2 collapsed before we had put a bunch of work and money into it, we couldn't have gotten it titled/registered anyway.

I guess in hindsight, I'd suggest doing a lot of research and soul searching before you decide this is for you.  I should have realized it wasn't for me.  I'm not a rough & tumble cowgirl, I dislike horses, dirt, bugs and charity work (unless it's for one of the charities that is near and dear to my heart), I don't fly fish, I don't cook over a campfire (unless it's hot dogs and s'mores) and I like having a flush toilet, running water and a shower. 

I'm not saying don't do it ... it might be just your thing ... just please do your research beforehand.  There are a ton of great resources out there and you CAN walk away even if you've driven 4+ hours 1 way to see a camper that had been "stored inside, was pristine and in awesome condition and had never had mice or water damage."  Riiiiiiiiight.  There's a sucker born every minute and it was my time.

Thanks for following and reading my blog.  Sorry I don't have more to offer!


  1. going to post this as well... love it... www.trailergal.blogspot.com -

  2. Aww...sorry it didn't work out better for you sweety. I just bought a vintage camper this year, and love it to pieces. The camper cost me $450, and needed no work structurally, and the makeover job has cost under $150 so far and I am close to done. So, in terms of money, its working out fine so far. She hasn't taken her maiden camping trip yet, as well had miserable weather all Summer.
    Your advice is very wise!! I will definitely keep it mind throughout my vintage camping ventures!

  3. Girl..I am so with you on this!!! They are selling a life style but don't go into what it takes to get there. I would say at least 3/4 of the campers from these groups are definitely UNSAFE to be pulling down the highway! but that is never mentioned...all about the fun and games and dress up..ugh! (for me anyway). We are just finishing up my 1954 Bellwood and nobody can even imagine the hours we have in it...if my husband was not a builder it never would have been possible...there is no way you can afford to have this done unless you have very very deep pockets. This is why I post a before picture with every post i do about renovating...people have no idea what they are getting into...if you want to talk my e-mail is molliedog1@msn.com

  4. Just came across your blog. So sorry you had such an awful experience with our vintage campers. I was lucky. About 10 years ago I bought a 1963 Shasta. It was in excellent condition. I absolutely love it. I don't live near any "Sister on the Fly", so unfortunately it just sits here. My husband isn't really to keen on the idea, but oh that's okay. Some day I'll find someone close that will enjoy these little babies as much as I do. Your camper was sweet...wish you could have had a better experience. By the way, I Love, Love, Love your luggage ideas and I have both pieces at home in my basement. Guess what I'm going to be doing....you got it!!! I'm going to fix them up to use in my camper. Love them! Thanks for your insights on them. Amy B

  5. do you have the Forester yet?

  6. Dennis ... yes I still have the forester. We're working on it slowly so I haven't completely given up on it. I'm hoping over the winter to get it done. :)