Of course we had to start with our own classifieds but we really think this is the best on the internet. Our website devoted to vintage motor home and trailer enthusiasts. We have a Classifieds section that everyone should include in their camper-searching ritual. Here is a link that you can use: Tin Can Tourists Search. This goes straight to the page where the For Sale ads are sorted by most recent listings.
There is a wide range of campers on Tin Can Tourists, from just-found-in-a-cornfield camper to fully restored beauties.
People are listing trailers for sale or links to trailers for sale on Craigslist and Ebay - let them do the work for you, just join these groups. Tell them what you are looking for and sometimes you'll get a good lead.
Many local area Buy-Sell-Trade groups have been started on facebook. google search of some can be found here: http://goo.gl/qqkk2 or searching for “Buy sell Trade” or “Campers + buy sell Trade” & Your City, State or County.
In order to perform an efficient search on Craigslist, you have to know how to use the pipe symbol, which looks like the vertical line: |. This is a link to a search that I commonly used on my local Craigslist. Here’s the text of the search:
((vintage camper)|(vintage trailer)|shasta|scotty|airstream|argosy)
You can see that I separated all of the keywords with the pipe symbol. It’s the same thing as putting an “OR” between each phrase or word. If there is more than one word (like “vintage camper”), then you have to put it in parentheses. And then you put everything in parentheses.
My Craigslist search was in the Philadelphia area for listings in the For Sale: Recreational Vehicles (RVs) section. If there are results in nearby areas, they show up at the bottom of the page. But you can’t control the nearby areas that show up, so you have to do multiple searches in different cities and states in order to get broader results.
Instead of performing a zillion Craigslist searches, you can use a website called http://www.SearchTempest.com, which lets you enter the distance from your location. For example, your results can include all Craigslist listings within 500 miles, if that’s how far you are willing to go for a vintage camper. Also, on my iPad, I have an app called CraigsPro, which makes it a little easier to perform Craigslist searches across many different cities and states. This is also great for yard-sale searching, so it was worth the 99 cents. There are similar apps for Android and iPhones.
Alas, through all of my Craigslist searching, I found that most of the campers on Craigslist needed some level of restoration. Many had water damage, which is the most prevalent problem with these old travel trailers. We wanted a camper that was already restored, so I had trouble finding contenders on Craigslist. But I still looked at Craigslist every day…just in case.
Around my area, Cragislist is not really that big - Kijiji is king.
Couple of features I like on Kijiji:
Its free to search (of course), and to post. You can pay to get your ads up higher in the search, but not that man people do so I don't find it of much use. The default search is by date (most recent first), so when I want to refresh my ad I just remove the old one and repost.
Searching is by area - you can drill down right to your municipality and get results close to you, but you can also search by province or state, which I believe is new to Kijiji in the last year. I like to search all of Ontario - you never know when I may be travelling to that area - it may be worth the drive!
Once you have a basic search you can also expand the search - 100km to 1000km from home. the left panel will also let you narrow the search by category, municipality, distance, offering or buying and by price. You can also sort the ads by price or date posted.
Now that you have a good search built with the parameters you like, Kijiji will send you a daily email of new ads which fit the criteria. I really like this from a buyer and a seller point of view - if I am selling, I want my ad 'pushed' to a buyer who might be interested.
Here is the super-duper eBay search that I performed every morning: Vintage Trailer eBay Search. Feel free to steal it and give it a few tweaks. It isn’t just a search for “vintage camper” or “vintage trailer”. In fact, I didn’t use any key words in the search. I honed the results to only include:
Campers listed on eBay Motors > RVs & Campers category Campers made before 1976 Campers under 25ft in length (although 16 ft would have been sufficient) Results sorted by “Time: Newly Listed” Be sure to use the filters along the left side of the page to help narrow your results. And then click the link that says “Save this search” at the top of the page.
In the beginning, I also included a location filter: I only wanted to see campers within 200 miles of my zip code. But the results were too limited, so I removed that filter.
When you use the Model Year in your search criteria, keep in mind that some sellers don’t know what year their camper was made. So, they don’t enter any year in their listing. If your search is limited to specific years, then you might miss some campers. Every once in a while, I would remove all of the year filters from my search, just to see if I missed any vintage campers.
I originally had it set up to email me everyday, but those notifications just don’t seem to work for me - I was getting irrelevant or duplicate results in the emails. So I would just run the search at least once a day.
eBay ended up being the winner for us - that’s where we found our 1956 Scotsman. Funnily enough, I had never even seen another Scotsman in all of my months of searching. So it wasn’t a keyword that I would have typed into any of these websites.
The seller had a very high feedback score, a detailed listing, provided many photos and answered all of the questions that we had. We could tell from his listing that he took pride in his work. In the end, it worked out for us, but you have to consider the risks of buying something without seeing it first. Most seasoned travel trailer owners would say that it is a bad idea. But I am not a seasoned travel trailer owner, so I can play dumb if I want.
Here are a few other websites that I would visit every once in a while. Some of them aren’t very active, but you never know if you don’t look!