You can still go camping these days, but campgrounds have special regulations to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Camping can be your home away from home.
Whatever your camper, from an Airstream to a new or reconditioned camper, to an up-to-date motor home, you can add your own personality and give it new life. If you have an older camper, go from a dark, cramped camper to a bright, clean camper using bright colors, clever storage solutions and functional furniture.
Why buy new when you are decorating a new or retro camper? Decorate it with the vintage, antique and collectible items you love, and those you can find at antique shops and malls, flea markets, and thrift, garage, estate and auction sales.
Chris Rand Kujath, of Rochester: “We have a 1964 trailer on Camp Lacupolis that is located along the banks of lower Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River in Wabasha County. We have been there for over 20 years. Since it is a fishing camp, we decorate in fishing décor, with minnow buckets, lures, poles, paddles and fishing spears. Most of our decor is from local garage sales and flea markets.”
Shayna Dais, of Winona: “We have a 1972 Kayot camper we purchased several years back, sold it to our son, he upgraded, so we bought it back and started refurbishing two years ago ... work in progress! New linoleum going in next. For the furnishing, I got my ideas by first selecting a fabric for the cushions and selected my wall colors from there. I used a vintage doily and vintage flower pots for the table, along with a 'Holt Howard' cat salt shake, as that is the only one I found ... still searching for the pepper shaker. I still need to figure out what I will use for the backsplash behind the stove and sink. It is, like I said, still a work in progress.”
Gail Holty Modjeski, of Goodview: “We camp at the Prairie Island campgrounds, Winona, with our 2013 Surveyor camper not far from home and decorate not so much inside, but more outside. I recently purchased some vintage camper pillows to toss on the couch inside the camper to add some color and my own personality.”
Where to shop
Sarah Kieffer, of Sarah's Uniques and Jim's “Man”tiques in St. Charles: “I have a lot of retro items, such as utensils, toasters, mixers, vintage linens and so much more. Hanging white porcelain with red trim and pans that work perfectly on pot racks above the stove along with cast-iron pans that are great for frying those fish. If you don't have a table, think about adding a little storage cupboard for added storage and counter space, with some cute red or yellow painted stools with cushions. I also 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.”
Chris Rand Kujath, also the owner of the Old River Valley Antique Mall in Stewartville: “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 for the outside, too. Vendor Michelle Peterson has a great doormat suggestion with her cute doormat and pot of flowers. She also has pots and pans, along with many cute vintage items for sale in her booth.”
Following campground rules.
Look for some of those vintage motel metal chairs to sit around the campsite with or next to your camper. They're sturdy, comfortable and pretty easy to find at auctions, estate or yard sales. And of course, toss a cushion or pillow on each one!
Sandy Erdman is a Winona-based freelance writer and certified appraiser concentrating on vintage, antique and collectible items. Send comments and story suggestions to Sandy at firstname.lastname@example.org.