Military Gear & Army Surplus Gear Blog

How a Retro Camping Trailer is Made

How a Retro Camping Trailer is Made



Quite often, I've been driving down some highway
and I'll see a road that juts off of that highway and wondered where does that road go? Travel is extremely important. It's not a luxury. It's a necessity. I feel getting out into the middle of nowhere
helps you recharge. My name is Britton Purser. I own a company called Vintage Overland. We build teardrop camp trailers. We, being my two younger brothers and myself. And we are located in Grand Junction, Colorado. This is Britton's business. This is his idea. This is his product that he's come up with. He started getting phone calls. A lot. I have a long-standing, crazy love for these
vintage trailers. I just love them. It felt like in the realm of destiny. Like I got to go do this. Teardrops were first introduced after World War Two. The reasons they have the materials that they
use: the jeep wheels, the aluminum, things of that nature, is quite simply they were using army surplus. Between the three of us, we've done it all. All the trades. Carpentry, tile work, sheet rock, electric,
plumbing, you know all of that, cabinetry. Phase one is the woodworking phase. So we put the pattern down on here. And, we've traced our lines. And I cut it rough with the jigsaw. Very imprecise. I'm just getting most of the material out
of the way. And now I'm going to put the pattern, clamp
the pattern back on here. And I'm going to rout out to a finer degree
with the router against our pattern to make it more precise and smooth. What I'm doing right now is building what
we call the H frame. It's really the spine of the trailer. In the shop it's mostly Cullen and me. Britt doesn't have time. He's making phone calls and answering phone
calls and selling. So we cut out the wood, finish everything. Put the box together. So now we have a wooden box. A lot of people don't understand hand tools. But they're absolutely the quickest to get
things done a lot of times. I try to do the maximum amount of quality
with the bare minimum of tools. Building each caravan, it takes approximately
two weeks to assemble and finish. The second step is, we insulate the box and
then we skin it with aluminum. It's a soft aluminum, so we have to be very
careful in the shop. We dent the side of the trailer, we got to pull that piece of skin off and put a new
one back on. So it's just learning to work very precisely
and carefully. Cody's role in this has been to be an absolute
pain in the butt. Like, like never happy. It is never good enough. Are you flush? It's good. OK. If it was Britton and myself, they'd be pretty
neat, they'd be pretty nice, but with Cody in the mix, they're unbelievably over the
top. This just came back from the Powder Coater. We put the completed box on a frame. Then we jack that frame up and put the wheels
on. Cullen starts making the side doors and then
we work on the rear hatch door. After that, it's finishing details. I get inside and we put in some trim. Add the switches. And I just test the lights. Dome lights. Beautiful. Test the fan. Beautiful. All three speeds. And we put in a slide-out table. And then after that, we peel all the protective
plastic off the aluminum. We have to be very careful because these knives
will scratch the surface. Put on the decals. Just lightly put it in place. And then peel off this real slow. And the very last step is to put the hub caps on. Because they're chrome, we want there to be
no scratches. And we just put them on and it goes pop. That's a sense of relief. And now we can get on to the next one. What I envision, is you take that caravan
and not with a new vehicle. You take it with an old vehicle. You take it with an old Jeep, you take it
with an old Land Rover. Our caravans are built to be taken off road. It takes you to areas that not everyone can
get to. The thing about these trailers is not what
they are, but what they aren't. They are not an RV. These are symbols of simplicity; they're symbols
of sanctuary, of solitude. You get inside them, and I don't know if it's
the feeling of a womb, but the roundness inside and the warmth of wood… They're a retreat that goes with you. The whole goal is for someone who purchases
a caravan from us, not to go somewhere. That's not the point. The point is to go nowhere. You are in the middle of nowhere. You go out and you camp. And you look at a fire. And you realize that all that matters is food
in your belly, warmth, protection. And it's just good to go remember that. And then you go back
into the nonsense and it doesn't threaten you quite as much. It's freedom versus security. Yeah, and we choose freedom.


Reader Comments

  1. I don't have any truck and I love my own HHR 2009 and I do need to have of them, too live in for a long time, can you please help me out with one if I come there for one of those.

  2. sry guys but the price is way too much, i have seen way sturdier mostly hand made offroad tear drops for not even half the price in the base model wich has more stuff than this tear drop. only because you drop the word vintage here and there is no excuse for the heavy price.

  3. These are beautiful, but for me! I would need the bigger ones with a wet bath and kitchenette. I can sleep in my Xterra if I need a place to sleep, but want more in tear drop. Again, I total appreciate the hard work, it shows u are true artists!

  4. With that Swiss flag I thought it was going to be a Swiss Army camper that transforms into a fortress?

  5. WAY overpriced compared to very similar products whose makers also had to go through the design process (copying the originals), etc.

  6. "our caravans are meant to be taken off road". just don't touch them or you will dent the aluminum. What a fucking joke. Especially at this price range, this exact camper but better build are selling for $5,500 not the $12,000 these idiots are scamming people out of.

  7. For the same price I could get a turtleback that is actually built for off road.

    These are visually appealing, and I will give them that. They live up to the simplicity and vintage aspect… But even the frame looked like nothing more than that of a basic ATV flat trailer.

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