In what is clearly one of the more unique RV consumer-related events to emerge in recent years, the publishers of bi-monthly Vintage Camper Trailers magazine today (Aug. 10) are rolling out an expanded version of their annual CampNation Expo — an 8-year-old event that runs through Sunday in Hollister, Calif., catering to DIY-minded RV enthusiasts.
On the agenda for attendees at the Casa de Fruta RV Park, just south of the Bay Area, are multiple workshops – four to six of which may be underway at any one time — covering everything from upholstery to axle bearings, interior/exterior painting and appliance trouble-shooting. There’s even a session on how best to go about converting a RV restoration hobby into an active business.
CampNation speakers range from motorcycle and automotive car painting expert Jimmy Evans to upholstery-savvy Mindy Maicey and So Cal Vintage Trailer’s Denny Stone. And social hour options include Casa De Fruta’s onsite restaurant, ice cream parlor and Friday night wine-tasting.
“So, we publish the 12-year-old Vintage Camper Trailers magazine, and then we also produce events,” Paul Lacitinola, publisher of the California-based magazine, told RVBusiness. “Most of them are called Trailerfests, and we do a big party, like a Trailerfest Rally. And then we also do CampNation, which is a learning experience where people come and attend workshops. And this year, we’ve added a bunch of exhibitors like Airstream (Airstream Adventures) and teardrop companies and Happier Camper fiberglass trailers and several others — a couple of dozen exhibitors — to that workshop program.”
The 2023 CampNation Expo, a rather low-profile event in the past, is also the first that’s open to the public, says Lacitinola, who also mentioned exhibitors such as Four-Wheel Campers, Levity Vans, HitchFire (Avalon RV Center), RHINO Adventure Gear, Heintz Designs Vintage Trailer Restorations, Capri Camper, Trailer Magic, S.C.A.T.T. Recreation, ModVans and Airparts Inc. at a consumer venue that’s expected to include plenty of new trailers, adventure vans, truck campers and teardrops.
“Yes, it used to be exclusively vintage trailers, and now it’s opened up,” he added. “Our tagline is, ‘No matter how you roll.’ So, we’ve got van and teardrop builders. We’ve got just about any truck campers, any type of RV that you can dream of and want to work on yourself and be able to travel and take care of yourself. It doesn’t matter how you roll. We’re addressing a little bit of everything.
“We’ve even got some classes on overlanding and how to winch yourself out of (tough) spots, and so it’s really a little bit of everything. But we do have a whole (camping) section of about three to four dozen vintage-only trailers that you can come and look at, too.”
While they’ve previously sold out each year with a smaller crowd, he said, the current objective is to draw a larger crowd of like-minded travelers, builders and DIYers in an effort to cultivate long-term relationships.
“The campers come in on Thursday night and most of the exhibitors actually camp there, too, so it’s really a community event where we’re all camping together,” said Lacitinola. “And then in the evenings, there’s wine tastings, and we’re showing the film ALUMINATION, which is a privately made film about the rise of the Airstream brand. And, so, Saturday night, we’ll have a movie and most of the people who are exhibiting are camping there and arriving at the same time on Thursday. Friday and Saturday is when the public comes in.”