The 2014 Coleman Collectors Convention is due to be in Michigan, 2015 in Ohio. Both of those are quite drivable for us but the idea of driving that far and sleeping on the cold hard ground doesn't really suit so I thought maybe it'd be nice to have a little camper. I LOVE teardrop campers, especially the wood, stainless or aluminum ones. As soon as you make one white or god forbid beige and plastic or fiberglass you've taken all the fun out of it... That said I can't afford what they go for, or rather I don't want to pay $5,000 or more for something I have plans to use twice.
An admission here, doing somewhere in a camper, even a teardrop is not "camping". Camping involves a tent and ideally, hiking. If you've got a roof and can watch TV thats bringing your house with you. Now as I said at the outset I'm not opposed to bringing the house with me and sometimes it has a lot of advantages, not sleeping in wet bedding is a big one. The thing is I can't see myself using a camper all that much, I've got stuff to putter around the house and do so I don't think I'd be running to some campground on the weekends. In high school I dated a girl who's parents had a camper and I went with them on a couple trips but really that kind of "camping" is best done at home, we did an awful lot of sitting around watching TV.
So anyway I don't want to spend a ton of money on a teardrop and really I'd like to have somewhere we could sit up so my research brought me to Little Vintage Trailer, a blog about, well look at the name. There I learned about "Canned Hams" which are small, aluminum trailers of yesteryear. Go on there and take a look at the '65 Trotwood Lark. Thats what I'm talking about, just over ten feet long with just enough space for 2 and no more. The problem is that a nice one costs as much as a brand new (but ugly fiberglass) teardrop.
Take a look at campers or Craigslist, you'll find a TON of 20-30 foot monsters, mostly in a tragic state of disrepair. The smallest you're likely to find easily is nineteen feet although there is the occasional fifteen footer. What happens is the roof leaks and it ruins the interior. Travel trailers are built on a wing and a prayer, the walls are generally 2x2 with an aluminum or fiberglass skin, a little (dammed little) insulation and an interior panel. If the wall gets wet its ruined. Some people will (strangely) continue to overlook the leak and let it ruin the floor too. You can buy big trailers in the $1000 range all day, of course they're total crap but they're out there. A small trailer, if you can find one, will command twice that price, even when its a total wreck. Strangely almost all new trailers are either teardrop, pop up, or HUGE. Seriously, theres almost nothing being made today under 15 feet.
So lets review, used big trailers are worth almost nothing, little used trailers hold their value but almost nobody makes new little trailers, which of course explains why the old ones hold their value so well. I'd bet that Trotwood sold for more than its original purchase price. After all in 1965 $6800 was two to three times the price of a new car...
People are crazy.
Okay, I take it back, there are several companies making new small trailers, but I'll go back to my hatred of plastic and fiberglass. Scamp is a good example, sure they're small but they're UGLY. Also they have a terrible website and that seems to be a common factor among camper websites. If I get a main page that doesn't prominently feature a trailer I'm immediately put off, after all what are they trying to sell? I never have gotten Scamp's website to show me pictures of the 13' trailer, its perpetually loading or "connecting to server".
What really makes me laugh is how the new trailer manufacturers seem to go out of their way to make the inside look like the inside of my house with no real thought for style. I refer you again to Little Vintage Trailer but this time to The 1951 Cozy Cruiser which is my absolute favorite. Its a bright color, the inside has everything you need and nothing else. Sadly its sold, but I think what it all boils down to is I need to work hard, continue my economy measures and just buy something like the Cozy Cruiser. Then keep it nice and consider it an investment we can travel around in...