Rebuilt Pop Up Camper

Camper Re-Use

Sorry for the absence in internet land. When the weather finally looked up again here, I spent my time hunting for a phantom energy drain in the camper van. Considering my relative lack of knowledge about all things automotive, I’m proud to have finally traced the drain back to a faulty alternator that was still charging fine but when shut down was actually draining the chasis battery! Alas, a new alternator was needed, but at least typically when you get new car parts of that variety they take the old one to rebuild it.

I have always liked to re-use things, to find new utility for things that are no longer wanted or useful. I have always been something of a dumpster diver or thrift store shopper. I mean, I’m not as hardcore as some people like Click Clack Gorilla, but I hold my own in the land of refurbishing old furniture. Amongst the items I have in storage now is a love seat I’ve had since college – recovered myself – and a large ottoman made out of a small end table that was hopelessly out of style. While it might not get me on the covers of any design magazines, it made me happy!

So, lately I’ve been getting more and more interested in the idea of re-using larger items, inspired by the likes of Holy Scrap Hot Springs and their refurbished mobile home. How awesome would it be to give new life to something like that. But you can start smaller, too. I’ve actually come across two of these now.

Rebuilt Pop Up Camper
Rebuilt Pop Up Camper from Craigslist

This is a recent ad I found on my local craigslist. While very simple, I really like the idea behind this, taking something worn out and giving it a second life. Imagine taking this a bit further? Actually, I previously found a much more involved project detailed here. If you are game to follow that link, you’ll find eleven pages of details about another pop up camper that was completely dismantled down to the frame and given new life as a small camper. In that case, a few of the camper’s original systems were even re-used, not just the trailer frame. Not per se up to Tiny House standards of insulation, etc., but I think that project illustrates very well that there are a lot of ugly ducking (cheap) campers out there waiting for enterprising small house builders to take advantage.

If it was an especially nice vintage style camper, I would be tempted to try to keep the exterior appearance while increasing the insulation values and otherwise making the interior more efficient. In fact, that’s one of the things I’m most interested in doing if I find the right candidate down the line. Not likely to be too soon however as I’m just window shopping while I prepare to do a little wandering in the camper van.

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So, is anyone else out there contemplating something along these lines? Maybe you’ve already done it or started your own project? Please chime in with your projects or dream projects here in the comments or in the forum!


  1. Hi Mark, Pete from ittybittyhousetales here. Very good blog, I'll definitely be following it from now on, trying to steal ideas for my own unconventional life. I really like the post on the re-used pop up camper, good food for thought. Keep up the good work!

    1. Pete glad you liked and always hope to provide some food for thought! if nothing else! As I've said a few times here, for me this is mostly all hypothetical anyway, things I dream of doing but haven't. I've only gotten as far as the camper van!

      Sorry for the long delay in responding, been digging my way to the bottom of my inbox lately and never quite reaching bottom (and this was still not bottom – just part way down – LOL). Thanks for stopping in and do look forward to your thoughts in the future!

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