Modern campers are beautiful, but there is something about the charm of a vintage style and retro campers that continues to enchant the camping crowd. With both newer models and old style resale vintage campers available, we have found that many are confused about the options. Here is a simple guide to help you distinguish between vintage, retro style, and classic campers. 

Vintage Campers

Vintage campers are campers that have stood the test of time. Typically built before 1990, “vintage” campers can be class C RVs, Class A coaches, or travel trailers. Occasionally you will find vintage truck campers as well. 

Here are a few images of vintage campers. 

Vintage Class A RV
Vintage Class C RV
Vintage Class B Van
Vintage Airstream Travel Trailer

To confuse things more, some late year newer retro style campers are named vintage, such as the Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser, which brings us to our next category:

Retro-Style Campers

Retro usually refers to travel trailers that are modern in construction, but are styled to look vintage – typically from the 60’s. Many retro-style campers have fun, old-school design elements such as wings, red or vintage blue contrasting paint, and fun, mid-century interiors. Check out the Riverside RV Retro, a great modern camper with retro styling.

Classic Camper 

Classic refers to especially older RVs, mainly pull-behind travel trailers from the 50’s, 60s and 70s. Affectionately called “can ham” campers, many vintage travel trailers were tin boxes on heavy wooden frames. Many sellers fix up classic RVs with modern features, or outfit older school buses to keep a classic vibe with modern conveniences to earn the name “classic camper.”  Here are some examples of classic campers for sale by their owners.

Should you consider buying a Vintage RV, a Classic Camper, or a new Retro-Style RV?

Here are some points to consider if you are thinking about investing in an older RV.

  1. Purpose. Will you be travelling extensively? Older RVs will require much more maintenance and upkeep and may not be as road-worthy as their newer counterparts.
  2. Are you handy? Older RVs will require constant work, and getting parts for the interior as well as engine can be a challenge. 
  3. Will you be staying at RV parks? Many places prohibit RVs older than 10 years to help keep a “fresh” look at the park.

If you answered yes to the above, you may want to consider a newer Retro Style Camper instead, to enable you to travel in style with the comforts of modern conveniences and lower maintenance. Whichever route you chose, be sure to have fun!

Note: this article is for entertainment purposes only, please tow at your own risk and be sure to do your due diligence prior to any RV and car purchase / tow.

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