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How Do I Choose the Best Vintage Travel Trailers?

Jeremy Laukkonen
Jeremy Laukkonen

If you are in the market for a recreational vehicle (RV) and you have decided on a vintage travel trailer, there are a number of factors you may want to consider. Vintage travel trailers offer a particular aesthetic that many people enjoy, but they can also be a substantial investment of time and money. The two main options when buying a vintage RV are to locate a fully restored unit or to perform all of the restoration work yourself. Restored units are often very expensive, but older travel trailers that are in need of repairs can require a great deal of money and expertise to fix. It is also sometimes possible to locate vintage travel trailers that are in near mint condition, but even these units often require some work.

The first step when choosing the best vintage travel trailer is to determine your budget, the amount of time you can put into the unit, and how much you know about RV repair. If you have a substantial budget but little repair knowledge or skill, you may want to look for a fully restored unit. In this case, you will want to find a travel trailer that has adequate sleeping and living space for the number of people who will use it as well as other amenities you want, such as a cooktop range, fridge, and shower facilities. It is also important to inspect the trailer for structural integrity, verify that the roof is in good condition, and check out other components, such as the tires.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

If you enjoy fixing things as much as you do camping, you may prefer to look at vintage travel trailers in need of restoration. These trailers can range anywhere from old canned ham units with deteriorated siding to relatively intact teardrop models. Vintage travel trailers that are in need of a great deal of repairs tend to be less expensive, and if you have the skills and time even a bare frame can be fully restored. It can be a good idea to assess the amount of time and money you have available for restoration before you start looking at vintage travel trailers so that you do not find yourself with a project that is beyond your means.

There is also the chance that you may locate a vintage travel trailer that is in very good condition due to gentle use, good maintenance over the years, or storage in a garage. Even though these vintage travel trailers may look nice, you will still want to inspect them for hidden defects. It can be a good idea to check for signs of roof leakage and test the siding for soft spots. You may also want to check the frame and undercarriage in addition to the tires, wheel bearings, and other items.

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