Monday, July 24, 2017

ANOTHER Vintage Camper!

We did a thing! 

If you've been following along for a while or if it somehow slipped your mind, in 2012 we purchased a vintage camper for $500 and turned it into a traveling photo studio and darkroom. Flash forward a few years and it's still rollin' but with digital guts. Read all about that here

But if you want more beat up, before pictures and the story of how we found this cutie, keep reading!

We have been wanting to downsize for a while now. Since we stopped developing photos in the camper, having an extra 5 feet or so for a darkroom was unnecessary. Also, since we started Lamphouse, there have been a number of venues open in up in Wichita that could easily accommodate a camper smaller than Lampy. Throw that together with the fact that we've gotten a warm response for the "Lampy" camper as a digital photo booth and we were ready to start looking in earnest for a smaller camper to fix up.

Problem is, in the past 5 years things like "glamping" and "putting a photo booth in a vintage camper" have become ~things~ thereby driving the price up on old campers and even making hard to find ones that aren't fixed up already.

View from the hitch. This window is definitely not original. Hoping to replace it with one that is or similar. 

So a few weeks ago I decided to start really looking. That means checking craigslist about two dozen times a day, along with any other classified you can find and even, if you have NO shame, asking your neighbor who has one in their backyard if they'd ever consider getting rid of it...

We stopped in Russell and got duct tape for this window. It lasted about...1/2 a mile I'd guess. 

I found a really cute one on a classifieds site in a town called Russell, about 160 miles away but it said that it had been sold. Womp womp. I thought my chances would be better on a smaller site than Craigslist so I checked again that night and WHAT WHAT there it was - for sale again!

The seller told us that the man he bought it from was using it to go fishing at the lake. 

It was already 11 o'clock at night so I couldn't call the business number that was listed. I set my alarm for the next morning and immediately dialed the number - the camper was still there and still $600. One problem? The tires were mush.

A Loveland, Colorado sticker

We went ahead and drove straight up in the Jeep and had a look at it. Conan mentioned there was a camper parts store in town that we could maybe get tires at and the man selling it said that would be a bust so he called the local tire shop and lo and behold, he had 2 perfect, used tires! The seller even jacked up the camper and took the wheels off for us! Kansas nice, y'all!

From the other end - cute marker lights! 

So we got two tires, put them on and headed home on side roads and two lane highways. A trip that took 2 hours going took 4.5 coming back. Now that's what you call "white knuckle driving"!

Here she is parked in Stafford, Kansas on the way home:

The inside is pretty standard fare for an old camper. An area for a table 

A cute little kitchenette

(with an icebox!)

A sleeping area

And some souvenirs! 

I'm keeping that mug.

Conan dug around on the internet and found what he was pretty sure was the make of the camper - an ALJOA (or ALJO if it was after '57). He went out and had a look and sure enough, you can barely make out ALJO on the top and back panels of the camper.

He even found this neat old photo of the exact same camper as ours:

We're SO excited to get to work on her! If you had asked me about 4 years ago if I wanted to restore another camper I...well, I probably would have said yes because I'm crazy and a compulsive business starter but whatever. 

I haven't quite decided if I want to post about renovating the camper over here and on our business blog or just over there yet but I at least wanted to introduce you guys since you "get" us ; ) 

I'm hoping to get in there and start demo this week or next if the weather stays nice-ish.

Next up?

More camper stuff maybe and a look at an AMAZING piece of furniture we got for the kitchen a while back!

If you're interested, our local paper, The Wichita Eagle did a little write up about the original Lampy camper and the new one here


  1. Heh, I understand vintage campers are like tattoos. Hard to stop at one.

  2. At this rate, our backyard is going to look like a KOA campground sooner than later! UNLESS the next time I have the urge to buy one I just get a tattoo of one instead ; )


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