New member interview with Charles Knutson

Can you tell us about how you got into the vintage trailer hobby?

I grew up in a camping family and traveled a lot with a pop-up/tent
trailer that my grandfather built in the early 1960s. So there’s a lot
of memories in it. I recently inherited that trailer and started
refurbishing it. My grandfather built 3, or 4 similar trailers starting
in the 1930s. The family story is that after camping in the first one he
tried to patent the idea, but someone beat him to the punch with a
similar design. It’s just two fold out beds and some clothing storage at the head of the beds. The body measures about 7.5 long by 6′ wide. When I started working on it I also started looking for vintage trailers that might have been similar to his, and from there started looking at other vintage campers and the history of car camping in general.

What type of trailers have you owned and what do you have now? What is your dream vintage trailer?

I’ve only owned this one. Most of our camping in the last 20 years has been at historical reenactments in white canvas tents, so it’s a step up from the 18th century even with no built-in utilities… When my parents retired they bought a 22 foot travel trailer. I stayed in it with them a few times, and drove a couple times, but that’s a lot bigger than I want to have to tow. If something happens to Grandpa’s pop-up, or it gets too much for me to set up, I might be tempted by a “canned ham” trailer.

What do you tow with?

We’ve got a Ford E350 van with a V10 engine. It’s overkill for my tiny
trailer, but the cargo capacity makes up for the lack of storage in the

Do you attend rallies and what do you like the most about attending a rally?

Not yet, I was hoping to get to a couple rallies this season, but life
got in the way.

Why did you decide to join the Tin Can Tourists?

I’ve appreciated some of the info that gets shared on the FB page, and the website. History is also my thing so I’ve been toying with a writing project related to camping history and state parks in and around Minnesota, and I thought it might be an occasional resource.

What are your camping plans for this year?

Just a weekend two not far from home, but we hope to drag the trailer down to southern Indiana this fall to visit some friends who moved down there.

I did a little video tour of the trailer when I first got it home in
case you want to include a link to it

I also have a blog where I’ve been detailing my work on the trailer and
brainstorming ideas for it along the way.

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