What is a glamping? Glamour-Camping. Okay, sounds a little dumb, but after massive internet and Pinterest searching, I’ve discovered the secret cult of vintage camper renovation.
Thus, a 1974 Wilderness bumper pull. At 2442 pounds, pulling with a V8 expedition, we have to be EXTREMELY careful about weight. All of those out there with goosenecks and a nicer, newer truck, congratulations. Also, as we are not professional campers, we wanted something small and super personalized, so the idea of renovating one of these things sounded like a fantastic idea!
Much like boat buying, be VERY VERY VERY careful. While we are no experts, remember, anything used is going to come with a lot of work. The biggest thing to look for (the very first, always, not matter what, is……) leaks.
When inspecting the camper for sale, before you even look at tires, decor, and the ugliness that you’re going to have to overcome, look for leak damage.
This age camper is going to have paneling on the walls and ceiling, so look for paneling stains, puffy spots, and obvious water issues.
This particular camper had 2 minor spots toward the FRONT of the trailer, so we knew that when buying this camper, we were going to have to find the source of the leak and also replace paneling. After you’ve decided that the water damage is ‘minor’ or whatever damage you see you are prepared to work with, check the axle (is it straight?), check the windows, (are they all there and can you repair if not?), and check for outer repair spots (leak stop, patch work, etc.). Lastly, make sure tires are in good condition!!! Tires are only good for 4-5 years, and can experience dry-rot. Towing and blowing a tire is a good way to ruin your car and your camper.
This particular camper was purchased for….$750! Seemed like a great deal, until we noticed some more issues on the inside once we got home. Towed great…but definitely some undercover work that will cost us a little more in the reno. This camper had good tires, good electrical, and the owner said the grey water tank was good, the sink worked, and the camper didn’t leak. When we got home it turns out that the previous owners never ‘put up the table’ when they drove around (it will wiggle and tear up the camper if you don’t secure), and that the sunroof was stuck and vibrated out of place…which is serious leakage. It also turns out the grey water tank was no good, and that the sink pipes were just plain missing (not even inspect-able until you tear out some of the paneling.) Even with the knowledge and know-how, just like a house-reno, there are many things that will add up quick to your cost.