Antiques & Collectibles: Gee, it's great to go 'glamping'

The Vintage red motel chair great for outside and inside decorating in the camper found at The Cottage of Old River Valley Antique Mall, Rochester.
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Is your glamper ready for the road?

Say what?

Your glamper!

So, what is that?

According to Mary Jane Butters, author of "Glamping with Mary Jane," "Glamping is glamour plus camping. It's about the unleashing your inner wild while wearing a pair of vintage fishing-lure earrings. It's adding glamour to your camper."


Whatever your camper, from an Airstream to a reconditioned 1962 Spartan or a 1950s Shasta to an up-to-date motor home, you can add new life and livability to a dark, cramped camper using crisp, clear bright colors, clever storage and functional furniture.

But why buy new when you are decorating a retro camper? Why not decorate with vintage, antique and collectible items found out on the trail at antique shops and malls, flea markets, garage, estate and auction sales?

Some owners suffer from the mistaken idea that things that work in "normal" homes won't work in their camper. Not so! You can decorate a camper just as you would any other home. The one limitation, perhaps, is a need for privacy, since these homes often have low ceilings, limited storage and general lack of space, but so do many apartments.

Carol Thouin, of Spring Valley, tells us, "Glamping is so much fun … and I look forward to warmer weather when we can finally enjoy it. I like to retro out my '80s-era motor home with anything bright and colorful, particularly anything red. I took down the old beige curtains that came with my camper and replaced them with colorful striped ones I had made out of old curtains."


A dark and drab kitchen can brighten dramatically with a little paint and bright, cheerful retro fabric.

Sarah Kieffer, part-owner of Sarah's Uniques and Jim's "Man"tiques, St. Charles, said, "For old campers and such, I have a lot of retro red items — utensils, toasters, and mixers, fun vintage linens, and much more! Hanging white porcelain with red pots and pans work perfectly on pot racks above the stove, and if a table isn't necessary, think of adding an island for additional counter and storage space with cute red or yellow retro-painted stools and add cushions to match."

Melissa Scott, owner of Cherished Antiques & Furniture, Kasson, said, "We have heard of the Glampers, and maybe that is the reason we are selling more of the enamelware lately. Old kitchen utensils have been selling, too, and maybe they are ending up in the campers. Think it would be very neat to have a 1950s camper all glammed up in the same era decor."


Marlin Miner, owner of The Coffee Street Peddler Antiques, Lanesboro, added, "My customers not only like the vintage utensils and enamel kitchenware, they also like tea cups and tea pots for their campers."

The Living Area and Bedroom

"Vintage quilts, blankets and lots of pillows piled everywhere make it cozy and welcoming," Thouin said. "I have a particular penchant for pillows, much to my husband's chagrin. It's fun to mix and match florals and patterns and various textures. You can pick up pillows for next to nothing at tag sales, flea markets or thrift stores."

Kieffer added, "Want to add different vintage and antique items? I have old beer glasses, coolers, lanterns, fishing poles and reels, vintage radios, and some fun old pictures for the male or female camper. These all range in price from $2 on up."

The Outside of Your Glamper

Chris Rand Kujath, owner of the Old River Valley Antique Mall, Rochester, said, "Bright colors are fun to decorate with. We have many customers that come in to decorate their campers since this has become very popular. They purchase not only for the inside of the camper but they find items at The Cottage for outside of their camper."

Carol Loshek, owner of the Cottage Cupboard, Winona, said, "I've seen chalkboard paint on the inside of trailer doors. Vintage license plates from flea markets or garage sales used as works of art and vintage boxes are great for storage, inside and out."

Thouin added: "I like the old chipped painted boxes that I use to tote campfire essentials, like paper plates, marshmallows, graham crackers and weenie sticks around the campsite. I like to use vintage metal motel chairs next to my camper. They're sturdy, comfortable and pretty easy to find at auctions, estate or yard sales. The chipper, the better, and they typically sell for between $15 to $40 ,depending on condition and color. Of course, I have to toss a pillow on each one! Can't wait to go glamping!"


Red and White Enamelware March 2014 009.jpg
Coffee Street Peddler Antiques, Lanesboro All Vintage and great items for the camper/Glamper

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