These vintage camper ads are pure road trip nostalgia
Image: Airstream / Dodge / CabinCar
Ah, the joys of camping. The fresh air, the quiet, the bugs. Okay, so it’s not all sing-alongs and mountain scenery, but there are some great times to be had while camping with the family.
Post-war America ushered in a new era for many things. Along with the rise of suburbia and the middle class came a new recreational pastime: voluntarily leaving the comforts of home behind. Luckily, with the right van or trailer, you didn’t have to leave all the comforts of home behind.
Here are nine vintage advertisements from the 1940s through the 1970s extolling the virtues of escaping normal life for a while.
1967 Ford Pickup Truck Camper
Starting off with a classic, pickup truck campers were extremely popular in the 1960s. This ad from 1967 is a beautiful illustration of a camper resting on the back of a classic Ford truck. It also shows the many variations offered including a smaller pickup truck version and a van.
1947 CabinCar "Teardrop" Trailer
Rewinding two decades to the beginning of the camping craze, this 1947 CabinCar trailer doesn’t just have wood siding, it’s actually made of wood! It has a small couch that turns into a bed and “clothes and utility storage galore.” It’s even got a small table for cozy dinners on the go.
1963 Sears Pop-Up Camper Trailer
This ad brags that Sir Edmund Hillary endorsed this camper trailer, ten years after he and his team became the first confirmed climbers to summit Mount Everest. Pop-ups aren’t the most lavish of outdoor dwellings but isn’t that kind of the point?
1969 Jeep “2-Car” Camper
Possibly the weirdest entry on this list is the Jeep CJ-5 car and trailer combination. At first glance it seems like a normal pickup truck style camper. But there’s a little more to it. It’s a modified two-seater Jeep with a small bed in the back for the trailer to rest on. The trailer is specially made and has its own wheels and brakes. What do you do with a two-seater Jeep with a tiny pickup bed the rest of the year when you’re not camping? Who knows? It looks great in this ad!
1969 Dodge Pickup Truck Camper
Of course, there were normal pickup camper choices in 1969 as well. Here’s an ad for Dodge showing how versatile this type of camper can be. Pull up right to your favorite fishing hole!
1966 Dodge Campers
Dodge went all in on the camper game in the 1960s. Look how many variations there are just in this one ad! Want a van with a popup roof? You got it. Want a pickup truck camper? It’s there. How about a giant pickup truck camper? Also there. Or a pickup-van hybrid camper? It’s available! There’s even a full RV that’s a retro-futuristic dream.
1971 Chevrolet Van
By the 1970s, vans were all the rage. This blue Chevy van is a classic with an elevated roof and tiny curtains for the windows. Vans were even more mobile than pickup truck campers and could be parked almost anywhere.
1978 Airstream Trailer
While mobility is nice, there’s nothing like the comfort and style of a full-length Airstream trailer. Just because you’re leaving home doesn’t mean you should go without a full kitchen. Airstreams were very aerodynamic and light for their size, so you could hop in your boat-sized sedan and drive wherever your heart desired.
1969 Starcraft Pop-Up Camper Trailer
Finally, this Starcraft ad from 1969 shows the benefits of a home away from home. With all its convertible and foldout components, this trailer was touted as a “four bedroom ranch.” That may be up for debate, but one thing is for sure – there’s nothing like sharing a good campfire and a marshmallow or two.