Early Car Campers

A little car camping in 1918. No attribution found.

In the heady days of 1918 while the German threat was being finished off in Europe Americans began to take leisure time in a new direction.  Automobiles were almost commonplace and Yankee ingenuity was applying itself to this new platform of creativity.  Patents were being filed to sell improvements on the original designs while pioneer camping technology was far from lost.  Money was tight for the average person and the economy was devastated world-wide encouraging frugal holidays.

There is a little stove on the pull-out, a hurricane lamp on the side shelf, and just enough of the comforts of home under the wagon cover to make for an easy vacation.

Novel Camping Trailer from 1929

From the ingenuity of the Roaring 20s.  Pack up with your favorite Flapper and head to the wide-open spaces!


Novel Camping Trailer Opens Into Comfortable Quarters
A NOVEL camping trailer has been produced in London which is hailed with delight by lovers of the outdoors because of the comfort it provides. The trailer, compact when closed, is attached to the rear of the automobile by a device which makes it ride easily with a minimum of side sway. But when camp is made the sides of the trailer let down to increase the available space and a door at the end provides access to the interior where there is ample headroom.

From Modern Mechanics and Inventions, December 1929.

Another Great Design

From Casual Turtle Campers

Peter at Casual Turtle Campers has come up with a great new design in a minimalist caravan.  I have posted his earlier work here a couple times and this new design is worth a look..  This model looks like it would work well as a base camp for one or two people who don’t need a substantial kitchen or keep the cooking gear in the tow vehicle.  The low profile will certainly appeal to people who drive lower vehicles as well.


Peter Pavlowich of Casual Turtle Campers

It has his signature roof-line as found on his other designs.  The compound curved roof is a nice, artistic touch.


It reminds me of an old Ben Roy design or a Teardrop on steroids.

I wouldn’t be able to do it justice so here’s the description that Peter sent along:

The Hatchling – Here’s a new model that I’ve been wanting to build for a while.  It’s sort of in the size and tradition of a teardrop, but in Casual Turtle Campers style – dead simple, cedar, domed roof, lots of windows, etc.  In fact, it’s quite a bit roomier than most teardrops – and by leaving the entire trailer area as living space, the cabin feels damn near palatial!  Not really, but it is a nice little space that two people and a couple dogs could be perfectly comfortable in.

As an unsolicited build, I had planned to insulate and finish out the interior myself – but then I thought it might appeal to someone looking for either a dead simple, lightweight little camper, or someone looking for a project.  One could add nothing to it and have a very comfortable, capable, simple camper – or features could easily be added to their desires – storage, gear hooks, bed platform, etc.  And I’m perfectly happy to discuss building out an interior for someone. 

Here are some of details… It’s built on a very nice, custom 5’x8′, fully boxed trailer frame with 13″ tires from a great manufacturer here in northern Colorado.  The cabin’s frame is mostly western Hemlock, with Western red cedar siding.  The bottom of the cabin has a 90 mil PVC membrane covering, and the roofing is a fully adhered, 60 mil, ivory-colored TPO membrane – thermally welded at the seams.  It has four opening windows with screens, and two large fixed windows (forward bulkhead and door) for pretty good through-visibility.  It weighs 840 lbs, with about 110 lbs of tongue weight.  There are more specifications/details on the website –casualturtlecampers.com.

I really like this camper, and I can see using it just as it is – or with a more developed interior.  Either way, its a great platform for someone looking to get into a very easily towed, comfortable, unique little camper.  At 840 lbs, this model could work with a wide variety of tow vehicles.  The forward bulkhead is short enough (66″) to tuck in well behind most crossover and small SUVs.  I even towed it around town with our little Subaru Impreza.

I’m 6’2″ and 195 lbs, for scale.  As a shell version, the walls and roof assembly are left open, showing the OSB roof deck’s bottom side – though it could easily be insulated and closed in.  If anyone has any thoughts/ideas/questions please email me at casualturtlecampers@gmail.com.  I’d be happy to discuss this camper or something similar/different that you might be interested in.  And I’m also happy to discuss full or partial delivery from Fort Collins, CO for a rather nominal, mileage-based fee.

Thanks for having a look – and please share it with anyone you think might find it interesting.  I’m tentatively calling this model the Hatchling, but any other ideas for a model name would be welcome, too!

Price – $6,250

static.squarespace.comAnd he obviously has good taste in literature:

“I had to go alone…a kind of casual turtle carrying his  house on his back.” – John Steinbeck, from Travels With Charley.