During the pandemic, I’ve been engaged in several various projects around the house. At the end of June I was inspired by a story in a magazine that I subscribe to, The Family Handyman, to think that perhaps we could tackle a really big project – renovating a vintage aluminum travel trailer. It’s a big project, but we have all the skills to do it well. In the end we would have multiple uses for it – set up correctly, we could use it with the kids to go camping and when it’s at our house it can easily be a guest house, in part because I ran plenty of power to our shed.
At first I was looking for an Avion travel similar to what was in the magazine. Avion is a now-defunct aluminum trailer manufacturer. Their frames (the parts you care most about) were widely considered to be of higher quality than rival Airstream and they continued to use higher quality interior materials long after Airstream switched to plastic interiors to cut weight.
However, a few things intervened. First, Avions are harder to find. There was one in our area, and it sold a few weeks before I decided to look. So, I looked more closely at Airstreams instead. After a little research I got excited about an Airstream as an option, and there were several in a 1-3 hour radius of us to look at in various conditions. We’re not the first people to do this, and as a result there is a cottage industry of small businesses that offer parts new and used and lots of support\documentation on the process and plenty of other blogs with tons of inspiration to reference. We took a day trip just before the 4th of July weekend and looked at two different 31 foot Airstreams. At first I was going to be non-committal, but after we got home I did more research and we decided the next day to go pick up the one closest to us, which from inspection was in solid structural condition.
So, here we are – the proud owners of a 1980 Airstream International 31ft travel trailer. While structurally sound, the interior is essentially trash and everything will be gut renovated – up to and including replacing all the insulation and the wood flooring.
We’ll chronicle work we do on this project here as well, stay tuned!