CH Camper Company builds high quality replicas of vintage campers and sells restoration parts for DIY enthusiasts.
riverside rv, shasta camper, CH camper company
MobileRVing: The Buzz, Your Outdoor Lifestyle Insider, Written by Andrew Malo
Vintage Camper Company Delivers Replicas To You
A High Percentage Of Their Business Is Events & Vending, But The Newly Built Retro Campers Are Sure To Stand Out As Winners On The Campground
Many people dream of restoring old campers. Finding an old Shasta, painting it, redoing paneling, and driving off into the sunset. The reality of purchasing a vintage camper is often different and more complicated. Rusty parts, mold in the ceiling, plumbing leaks. These are a few reasons why restoring these pieces of Americana yourself can cause you a major headache, sometimes more than a headache. “I’ve traveled this country delivering campers and have seen several vintage campers flipped on their side on the interstate because of rusted out parts,” says Jerry Ragon. Ragon owns and operates CH Camper Company. CH Camper builds high quality replicas of vintage campers and sells restoration parts for DIY enthusiasts.
That isn’t the reason why Ragon got into the camper business, though. He was a building contractor from Tennessee who never went camping. “I wanted to go camping so I bought a 1961 Shasta about 4 years ago to restore,” recalls Ragon. He spent time restoring the camper in his driveway and before he finished, “Someone wanted to buy it, the price was right, and it ruined my camping trip,” he chuckles. So he bought another camper to restore and the same thing happened.
These campers he restored were eventually put on a website with information about Ragon as the restorer. A lady in Florida contacted and asked him to make a vendor bar for her out of a vintage camper. He decided to build it from the ground up and CH Camper Company was born.
Of course, Ragon still wanted to go camping and he found the perfect camper to build to make it happen - a RetroLiner. “The RetroLiners were made for about 2 years and then the factory burnt down and they never rebuilt it,” explains Ragon. As a result, only about 200 were made. “I found a picture on the internet and we build the replica from that,” Ragon says. The result is a beautiful, 25 foot trailer that he sells on his website. “I went camping for the first time in one of those I built and it was great,” he says.
Most of his campers are replicas of small Shastas and a lot of them are used for different vending purposes, rather than camping. “Most of the customers are women,” explains Ragon, “We’ve had one or two men, but the rest have been women.” A lot of the campers are used for businesses or coffee shops. An added benefit to starting a camper business is the ability to deliver the campers all around the United States. “I never did much travelling before starting campers,” Ragon says, “And now I’ve travelled to the Dakotas, Arizona, California, everywhere.” What is his favorite place he has seen so far? “Albuquerque, New Mexico,” he says, “I saw the sunrise there and I thought it was the sunset it was so beautiful.”
An interesting client is a lady from Virginia who uses the pink Shasta-like camper that CH Camper built for her as a workshop space for sewing. Her company, Little Pincushion Studio, does sewing classes for children. One class she does is to take her camper around to parties and parks her camper, named “Penelope,” and teaches a sewing class to kids.
About six months ago, CH Camper started making DIY kits. The kits are based of the 1961 Shasta that Ragon originally bought to restore and includes everything one needs to build their own camper. It has title paperwork, a chassis, walls, ceilings, siding, etc. and instructions on how to put it all together. “They have been very successful,” explains Ragon. Ragon says that if one is able to restore a vintage camper, “These are a lot easier because everything is cut and ready to be assembled.”
There are definite advantages of buying a new camper that is modeled after an old camper. First, “We build everything from the ground up with new parts,” Ragon explains. Meaning there is no rust and everything is working right from the start. Also, Ragon says that they build their campers stronger, wider, and more versatile than the originals. “The cabinets on the original Shasta Campers were part of the frame which makes it really hard to restore,” explains Ragon. With CH Campers, the campers can come as a blank slate, where DIY'ers and creative-types can design and build their camper the way they want it built.
Campers are a part of life for millions of Americans and the trend towards small, vintage campers is picking up steam as evidenced by companies making retro-looking campers such as Riverside RV. CH Camper provides a truly vintage experience in a newly created trailer free of complications, complete with one’s own imagination to make that experience their own.
A graduate of Northeastern Illinois University in Education, Andrew has taught for the past decade in Chicago, New Mexico, and Japan. He enjoys tinkering with trucks and motorcycles, woodworking, reading and computer programming.
Make Sure To Check Out:
CH Campers, a company that builds brand new Retro-style campers for event and vending use. CH Camper provides a truly vintage experience and even delivers your order directly to you. Vintage campers are unique and interactive way to stand out from the rest.