Creating Happier Campers

11/10/2014

A Los Angeles based father and son team who've built up a business around renovating eco-friendly and ultra-light caravans (or "travel trailers") - the perfect accompaniment to a glorious Californian sunrise.

 

What is Happier Camper and why are you the bees-knees of caravans?
Happier Camper is all about vintage ultra-light travel trailers lifestyle and culture. We rent, restore, buy, and soon will sell new ultra-light trailers. We are currently building a modern version inspired by the vintage. We believe our trailers are light weight, fun, and perfect for getaways and feel they captivate the spirit of today's families and adventurers.

The Easy DIY trailer vent AC modification you blogged was fantastic. What is the easiest and then most difficult makeovers you've done to a caravan?
The easiest makeover I've done is with our newest trailer the 2001 "Space Odyssey". I added vinyl "Hardwood" flooring, new curtains, and refinished tabletops. It took only a day and now it's like a brand new trailer and I've doubled its value. The hardest modification was building the bar for "BARbra". Every aspect of BARbra is custom and needed to be redesigned and hand built. Finding lightweight durable speciality materials so things can join together and come apart quickly was a challenge, but I'm really happy with the outcome.

How many modifications have you done over the years? What has been the most exciting?
I've restored fifteen trailers over the past five years. The most exciting thing is building the new trailers which will be available later this summer. They will have the same vintage look and feel but will also have new features like a rear hatch and a modular interior layout. We really want to build something that brings the outdoors in and the indoors out and we're really excited for its release later this summer.


 

With products like "The Chief" - what modifications do you think are essential to become food-truck ready?
In California food trucks are very popular and there are some basic regulations you have to adhere by. Proper venting and having three sinks is important and the "Chief" has a full size fridge and a full size stove all of which run off batter power.

What was the journey like to turn 'BARbra' into a functioning space?
When I found "BARbra," a vintage Perris Pacer (a well made Boler clone), she was in really bad condition and at the time, having little interior to work with I wanted to do something different with the trailer. The Perris Pacer naturally has a large side window, larger than any other trailer, and because of this I thought it would be cool to open the window and serve from it. I designed it to be a fully functional bar and service trailer. With fiberglass trailers you can't bolt into the walls so one of the hardest parts was installing the interior lining inside the trailer. Designing and building the external bar was also a challenge, but now everyone loves BARbra.

What has been the best place 'Happier Camper' has taken you?
I fell in love with these little trailers because it opened the door to California and it's amazing parks, deserts, and beaches. I didn't get to experience nature and California like this before. What has been the best caravan makeover you've seen? The best makeover I've seen is the one my dad is currently doing of the Love Bug. The 1972 Love Bug is another clone of the Boler. My dad puts a lot of pride and care into his work and has a good sense of design. My dad customized the interior to have easily accessible hidden storage, a larger bed, more shelf storage, and custom wood. He painted the outside sky blue, the paint job is really beautiful. I love that lil' trailer.

What is the most difficult part of a caravan makeover, in your experience?
Fiberglass can be difficult and challenging to work with if there are holes or cracks. Some brands have flooring made of wood and not fiberglass. The rotten floors are a huge task, because you have to lift the shell off the frame to replace the flooring. A crack in the frame is also a challenge. Happier Campers' quirky but luxurious fibre-glass masterpieces are available for rental in the Los Angeles area and devotees can even purchase one of their very own.