I don’t get to feature many Apache pop up campers, so I am very excited about the one I get to share today. If you have never seen an Apache camper, you are missing out. They are just SO cool. You might remember that I featured Karrie’s Apache makeover here. Joy’s camper is just as unique and amazing. And the best part? She got it for free! 😀
Joy’s camper belonged to a neighbor who had purchased it brand new when he was a kid in 1978. In 2015 when the neighbor moved, he pulled it out of his backyard and was ready to take it to the dump. Joy and her family expressed an interest, and the neighbor instead gave it to them for free. Awesome, right? It was in rough shape and hadn’t been opened in years. The mice had been living in it, and it was really dirty. When Joy and her husband set it up the first time, they took one look and were so grossed out that they put it away for another year.
When Joy and her husband were finally ready to tackle the camper project, they brought it into their garage and worked on it at night when their two boys (ages 1 and 3) were asleep. They cleaned and cleaned and and cleaned some more. It was a big job. Joy tells me the cleaning water was black from all the grime.Joy’s husband is an electrician and he was able to repair (or replace) all of the electrical issues. He even replaced the ceiling lights with LED lights that he ordered on Amazon. He removed the wheels and had them sandblasted and painted and put new tires on them.
Joy got to work on the interior of the camper. The old tweed cushion fabric was disintegrating, so she cut it off all of and removed all of the staples. She washed the foam and let it air dry so she could reuse it. Once it was dry, Joy recovered the cushions with cute upholstery fabric she bought from a local store called S.R. Harris.
Joy also made new curtains for her camper with a coordinating fabric. The curtains in her Apache hang from plastic hooks, some of which were broken or missing. There are quite a few websites dedicated solely to Apache campers, and Joy was able to order brand new plastic hooks from apachecampertrailers.com.
Since the walls were essentially wood paneling, Joy painted them with Behr One Coat Paint and Primer in Tasmanian Sea from Home Depot. She had washed the walls well when she cleaned out the camper, but she was still a little concerned about all the grime that had been in the camper. The wood really soaked up the paint, and painting the walls helped seal them from anything nasty that may have remained. It also got rid of the musty smell.
After cleaning them well, Joy left all the wood cabinets in the camper alone. They were in great shape, and she wasn’t sure about how well painted cabinets would hold up to abuse. She did paint the interior of the doors with a spray chalkboard paint, though. Then she came back and trimmed them out with the same color she used on the walls.With two little boys who get stir crazy inside the camper, Joy thought having chalkboard cabinets would be fun. She is also able to write the contents of each cabinet on the drawer front, which helps her husband find things. Great idea, Joy! 🙂
She left the original camper floor and countertops in the camper. Once she and her husband had cleaned the layers of grime from them, Joy discovered she really liked the originals–and they were in great condition, too!
Joy and her family were taking a family trip to Glacier National Park later that summer, and they wanted to take their “new” camper along. This was the goal that kept them plugging away on their remodel. They were able to get the camper ready just in time to make some wonderful memories in Glacier with their two young boys.That is my favorite kind of makeover story. I love hearing about all the awesome family adventures. It makes all the hard work worth it! Thanks for sharing your makeover story with us, Joy. I know your boys will have some wonderful camping memories.