On-The-Go Camping by Wade Mitchell

Camping Blast-from-the-Past #2

contentPopular Mechanics;  June 1969

ENGINEERS ASK RV MANUFACTURERS TO TEST BRAKES. Some experts say that within a year the Department of Transportation may require brake performance certification on all RVs. The Society of Automotive Engineers wants manufacturers to help set up workable standards. Eventually, every trailer, van and motor coach may be required to carry a plate specifying brake-stopping distances.

DISC BRAKES FOR TRAVEL TRAILERS. One of the largest manufacturers told PM privately that “disc brakes are inevitable on travel trailers.” Reasons cited include the disc brakes’ proven advantages on downhill grades, through water and in panic stops. They start stopping sooner, almost never fade. Currently, all trailers have drum brakes as standard equipment. Disc-brake kits are available now, but the question of how to power a trailer-installed disc brake is not yet settled.

CAMPER CONVERSION BOLTS TO VAN BACK! That’s right—the new Bovan unit is a compact coach-section designed to attach to the tail end of such vans as the Ford Econoline series, Dodge A-100 series and Chevy and GMC vans. The maker claims it will fit any Detroit van built since 1962 without modifications. To install a Bovan (for Back of Van) the buyer merely removes the van’s rear doors and rear bumper. The Bovan then slips into position like a glove. (Installers may use the same holes formerly used for doors. Rail clamps will complete the installation.) Bovan says that you can add one in only 30 minutes. Inside the add-a-coach section are a dinette, bed, toilet and kitchen unit. Bovan is made by Easom Engineering, Detroit, Mich.

IS A SUPER-LIGHT TENT TRAILER COMING? The sudden interest in subcompact cars has prompted new tent-trailer designs that can be towed by any of them, according to experts. Ford is already selling the Maverick and the even smaller Ford Phoenix is due in 1971. Chevrolet may market the XP 887. American Motors is expected to announce a subcompact reviving the famous name of Hornet. Can such cars tow a trailer? Maybe yes, maybe no. The aggressive tent-trailer industry won’t take chances. Scaled-down versions of the most successful deluxe models may be announced in late 1969.

HOW ABOUT AN ALL-CANVAS CAMPER TOP? You can get one now with a peaked roof, rear door and sidewall curtains in a shape amazingly similar to wood coaches. The new canvas model from Off-Road Campers, Inc., Box 158, Dearborn, Mich. 48121, weighs about 198 pounds, has nylon strip slides on all moving surfaces, independent tent-bow construction and ozone-resistant and weathertight seals. For the family with a coach-storage problem, this may be one answer.

WRAPAROUND CONTROL PANELS FOR PICKUP TRUCKS? The GMC Truck and Coach Div. has been experimenting with new control panels which monitor virtually every moving part of the vehicle. Dash instruments start to the left of the driver, then sweep across in front of him and around to his right. Everything is easily read and operated without reaching. Though the system was designed for heavy-duty carriers, the concept of wraparound control panels for pickup trucks is obviously worthwhile.

CHEVROLET ANNOUNCES AUTOMATIC VEHICLE SELECTOR. Anyone interested in Chevrolet camper vehicles can get instant statistics such as gross weight, suspension capacity, transmission options, axle ratios, trailer-hitch type and many other facts on a handy new slide-rule calculator. This highly attractive tool, called Vehicle Selector, is now available from Chevrolet dealers. It should help solve problems caused by salesmen who lack knowledge about recreation vehicles.

camping, history, innovation, RV, RV manufacturer, RV products, vintage articles
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