One of the things on my to-do list is getting equipped for some Model T camping trips, and then going. What to take has been pretty well covered in previous discussions. But I'd be interested in actual experiences others have had with the different kinds of equipment. Some use a trailer, and some use a Model T camper with no trailer, and some have done it both ways. Especially if you're in that latter group, I'd like to know if you've found one arrangement to be preferable over the other, and why. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Are there particular features you found especially handy or helpful?
I haven't had the chance to go camping with the T yet, but we have done a lot of camping with the GPW
There is about the same room in a WWII vintage jeep, but you can pack very comfortably for two plus a cow dog. We use a modern tent that you can stand up in, it is easier to get dressed that way and they are small and light when stowed. An air mattress is important for old bones, you can get them with a small rechargeable pump or carry a hand pump. A small gas Colman stove and a cooler with cold food and a box with cooking utensils and dry food. We also carry a lot of extra water, what you do not need for cleaning and drinking can come in handy if you overheat. We use heavy duty paper towels soaked with 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol in a zip lock bag for personal cleaning (the commercially produced wet wipes have perfume and chemicals in them that are worse than dirt) It is important not to pack any soaps or anything with perfume next to food stuffs or the food will be ruined. If we are going to be traveling where there are a lot of people, we will even throw in a prota-potty and a couple of very light folding chairs.
Jeff, I'm in the hospital again so I can't put up pictures. As a kid we went on a camping trip with the T club in Akron. 5 if us in a'27 touring. We looked like the grapes of wrath. Ice box canvas wall tent lanterns and such. You will be surprised how much you can pile on the fenders and running boards. It was one of the most memorable tours we ever took! Just load up and go!!!! MG
My wife and I drove our Kamper to Richmond in 2008 from Los Angeles and back again and we camped in it a lot of the time when we were not staying with friends or decided to stay in a motel. There are fours and against for a camper body and a trailer and don't forget the camper trailer as well
Obviously a trailer means you have to have all your equipment packed up and each stop you then unload and pitch your tent and unpack all the gear.
A camper body eliminates a lot of that work, The Lamsteed can be parked and the sides folded down, and the tent covers clipped on in just a few minutes. All your other gear is stored in lockers and can then be taken out inside so if its raining you can stop unfold and be in bed in a few minutes.
A camper trailer has one advantage over the camper body, you can unhitch it fold it out, and if necessary leave it parked while you then take your model T back to town to get the supplies you forgot to bring with you.
A Kamper body means you have to reverse the process of being set up for a camp if you intend using the car to go somewhere else.
If you already have a Model T and want to camp the best solution is to make a camper trailer. You have a built in tent and all your gear can be packed away to be used when you stop, you just can't take it down to pick up a load of sand when you need to do that job at home.
Steve as you have roadster the telescopic camper would be a good one to build.
This camper trailer looks like a great design
I used to camp out with Mike Walker and some others at the Petit Jean swap meet. After a couple of monsoon rains and/or heat waves we decided that it was more fun to rent a cabin, be able to take a shower every day, and have flush toilets! That being said we were tent camping at a crowded swap meet and camping out for 4 or 5 days. I would still enjoy an overnight camp out in a T as long as I had reviewed the weather forecast!
(Message edited by paulmikeska on August 17, 2015)
We do a lot of camping in our Ts and it depends on what YOU mean by camping. If you plan to stay in camp grounds or Rv parks you will need to plan for extra time to visit with the neighbors or be up and gone early. The kind of camping that we do is a lot of back roads and we are lucky enough to have a lot of public land that we can dry camp away from the crowds. It takes some time to figure what you need and what can be done without. You can carry a surprising amount of stuff if you are creative (you have proven that). Don't expect to get it right the first time. I also have a small camp trailer that I pull behind our Model A but I don't like the way it stops behind a T.
In 1963 I drove our 1912 Paddy Wagon up to 6800 foot high Green Valley Lake in the California mountains. I had then three year old Bill and five year old Dave with me. I was a Horseless Carriage Club tour and a lot of people went. I was the only one who drove an old car. We slept in our tent and everyone brought stuff to make stew out of in a big pot. The T had a tree speed Warford and a Ruckstell. I used all of those gears and we had a good time.
Frank, I assume you wore a white shirt and a tie to keep it period correct. ???
How good a time you'll have camping in a T, depends greatly on your expectations!
You left out a lot of detail. What body style are you contemplating, and how many people are traveling in your vehicle? How many days will the trip take, and what is the geography and topography of the trip? Just the idea of going camping in a T, kind of suggests that one would be somewhat minimalistic.
For instance, two people in a touring, which is what I have experience with, allows for a lot of gear in the back seat. I also have a fold down luggage rack on the back, that I never had to use.
In 1961 I drove from Oslo, Norway, with my girlfriend, who later became my first wife and mother of my two children, to visit her parents in Västerås, Sweden. Google Map says it is 431 km (268 miles). It certainly seemed like a lot more at the time, and I am sure it was longer, as the roads have been significantly improved and straightened in the 54 years that have passed.
We had planned one overnight camping stop in each direction. We had a 7 x 7 foot cotton canvas tent, sleeping bags, an Optimus kerosene camp stove, some pots and pans and a box with dry goods, some canned goods and a water jug. All went well with the camping part on the eastbound trip, however, we got into some fairly steep hills and low started slipping and finally glazed the band. So, I had to reline, and I used a wooden guardrail along the road as an "anvil" for the job. My partner, in the meantime, cooked us a meal on the camp stove. That put us a bit behind schedule. Then the car would not run on MAG. It turned out later to be fuzz from the bands on the "pick up". We remedied that by running on BATT. Then it got dark, and she wouldn't run well on BATT either when I turned the headlights on. Probably dropped the voltage too much, so we had to drive with only parking lights on, and when a vehicle came in the opposite direction, we had to turn the headlights on for a few seconds and put up with a poorly running engine.
On the return trip it started raining, and it came down pretty good. There was no sense in trying to pitch a tent in the rain, so we hunkered down and pressed on, and we reached Oslo a little after 10 in the evening. I don't have side screens, which would have made the trip drier and more relaxing, but with side wings on the windshield stanchions, and the top up, we didn't fare too badly.
Michele and I have done several camping trips with the Roadster Pickup with two running board carriers. Including 1400 miles around Lake Michigan.
I am in the market now for a trailer to pull with me so we don't have to sleep in a tent.
The only thing I wish I would have had was side curtains, so there would always be a dry place to "huddle".
The only thing we ran out of was caffeine! When we broke a valve spring retainer 100 miles from nothing in the UP. But thankfully a college aged couple came to the rescue with two Mountain Dews in the morning!
Steve -- You might contact Dean Yoder and pose your question to him. He probably has more experience camping with a T than anyone alive. Most of his camping was done pulling a trailer, but he recently built a camper on a T. Ring him up and get some good info. (I'll email you his phone number.)
Dean is off on an adventure as we speak (type). He is headed west with his T pickup/camper pulling his trailer. Yesterday afternoon he was at Minden Nebraska, about a third of the way across the state. He's headed to the National Parks Tour, commemorating the first such tour held in 1915.
He told me he had weighed his T and trailer yesterday and it weighed about 3,000 lbs. I'm sure he will have good input for this thread, however I sent him the link but no response yet. Maybe he stayed at a campground without wi-fi?
My mistake, Dean said by telephone from Colorado he's driving his touring pulling a trailer:
His Facebook link includes pics and video of his T camping rigs:
I have been trying to load these pictures for hours, I sure hope this works. The first one is my camp car on the way into The Saline Valley in Death Valley park, the others are the Model A trailer, the sides fold down and side curtains go on to cover it.
Dennis, I see drums on the trailer. Have you rigged up brakes for it? Have you done anything to the touring for towing other than installing a hitch? Dean's trailer uses front wheels, but I see external brakes on his car.
Steve, The trailer does not have brakes on it. The car in the picture is a roadster and I have pulled the trailer with it and it does have aux brakes and oversized tires for more surface area on the road but I still don't like the way it stops. I found some better pictures of the trailer. The hubs on the trailer are Model A fronts. In Kansas I might be ok with pulling it but we have a lot of mountains here in Oregon that we do a lot of our camping in. I also have a 26 touring with a KC Warford and Rockies on and I still don't pull the trailer with it. Both cars have high compression heads and 280 cams and they are pretty slow on the hills with the trailer. I have learned too that the more space you have the more stuff you convince yourself that you need to take.
In my opinion a trailer with brakes is the way to go when touring. I'm getting ready to build one that Will use Honda four wheeler drum brakes with the master cyl mounted on the trailer using an electric security gate lock selinoid sold at tractor supply. I will pull this trailer even empty just to have those brakes as there's just not enough tire on the ground to stop the T with that extra load even with RM brakes when the roads are wet. I look to keep the weight to less than 300 pounds empty. Now I am driving a 1911 open runabout and space in the car is limited to say the least there's times I want to just drop the trailer and drive around towns without the extra load.
For years we have enjoyed camping in our camper converted pickup and more recently in our camping trailer. The advantage of the pickup mounted camper is that it doesn't require extra space for storage. The disadvantage is that once you are set up you can't easily go for a drive.
Our camping trailer is quick to set up and has plenty of room. It uses modern electric brakes and tows easily.
I find that the trailer provides a much nicer camping experience.
We just recently returned from a 4 day camping trip in the Rockies.
Recently Dean posted some pictures of a T with a sort of camper set-up, but I see on his current trip he's gone back to pulling the trailer. I'm leaning that way myself. I think I have most of what I need to make one.
Depends on where and what exactly you want to do. You don't want to be pulling a trailer in off-road conditions for example. With a Model A I'd consider a trailer but with a T I think I'd just carry a large two room tent; one tall enough to stand up in, put a table and chair inside to sit in if the weather is bad outside...you cannot do that in a small camper trailer. Trailer campers look cool but I see no huge advantage in them, especially if you're only going to use it 2-3 times a year.
For those who are interested in Model T Camping, check out my listing in the Classifieds.
1926 Model T Pickup - Camper FOR SALE
I have personally seen Robb's camper truck and it is a work of art. Really nice!!!
we have an MTFCA chapter called "Tent Topped Touring Ts" we have an annual camping trip every year. we (11 cars) actually drove from upstate NY to Richmond for the 100th party. it took us 4 days and we spent 3 nights camping. we have campers that are vintage and we tow them. we had a camping compound set up at Richmond. campers manufactures such as Zegalmyer, cheanngo, wisconson, calre just to name a few from the club. I will have to dig out some pictures. we "boondocked" which means we camped in fields off old back dirt roads. sometimes we did take in a registered camp ground too. Model T camping is great. we drive during the day with are T cookers on and eat when we stop for the night. we buy provisions daily so we don't store a lot of food. praying for dry weather also helps. camping in the rain is not much fun.
Check out the Australian Gidget Camper:
Cute, but out of my price range.
Yes, out of mine too, you could buy one of the old teardrops for that here. I still like Peter's KampKar the best, not sure I'd like only having mesh for windows though, I like the idea of glass to help keep the weather off.
Too old and too lazy to do it any other way!