After years of sleeping on the ground, we decided that a camper-trailer would be worthwhile investment for extending our days on the road. We’ve been considering a number of options from pop-up and slide-in campers, to dedicated rigs such as Sportsmobiles and VW camper vans, but with our current vehicle setup a bumper-pull style camper best fit our needs.
Additionally, we knew we wanted the camper to be adventure-ready with the following features:
- Comfortably sleep 2 adults and 2 dogs
- Beefy enough to tackle light off-roading and chundery fire roads
- Racks to haul bikes
- No toilet
With that in mind a variety of options and directions remained. At first we considered something along the lines of a T@B or Cricket camper, as well as the more conventional Jayco/Fleetwood breed of campers you find at your KOA & state park campgrounds. The T@B’s seemed like the best match, however, one equipped with the necessary features well-exceeded the budget. Eventually we started looking for older “vintage” style options such as Shasta’s (canned hams), Scamp & Casita (fibergless egg shaped trailers), and Airstreams (the holy grail of pull-behinds and way outside the budget). While an older camper offered an attractive price-point, it also meant putting some TLC into the restoration and bringing it inline with our vision.
I had come across Salt Lake based camper restoration company, Camper Reparadise, and contacted them with our needs and budget. Camper Reparadise specializes in bringing vintage campers back to life as modern adventure rigs, so from there, it seemed like an obvious match. After an initial consultation, they gave me the heads up on what to look for in a vintage camper, and I began the search for our future home-on-the-road. Fortunately I didn’t have to look too far, and was able to locate one a buddy was looking to unload nearby.
The camper is a 1973 era Bell Manufacturing canned ham very similar to the once popular Shasta Compact. Google didn’t yield many results, so I don’t think there were many of these guys made, and once it’s finished it will truly be one of a kind. We’ve enlisted Camper Reparadise for a full inside-out, top-to-bottom rebuild, and we can’t wait to see the finished product. Below are a few of the before photos.