Given enough time and neglect, all campers will reach a state of disrepair… and some will reach such a poor state that the potential for restoration seems dismal. Which is what we found ounce this ten foot Non-Cab Over Alaskan Camper had landed on our lot.
From water intrusion to pests — this Alaskan could have easily fallen victim to a viking funeral… as pretty much everything was destroyed. Thankfully a client who’d previously owned an Alaskan Camper understood the charm, history, and convenience these units offer and set out to restore one to it’s former glory. They also hired a glutton for punishment with a family connection to the original Alaskan Camper to give this decrepit specimen a fighting chance.
Aside from usual water and damage from rodents, this Alaskan once held a large population of Mormon crickets, mud daubers (wasps), and moths…. Each were localized in their respective communities — it must have been a dynamic little Eco-system.
Luckily the extraction mission happened in the very early spring before the next round of inhabitants could establish. Additionally the original lights were all danging by their cloth wrapped wires from years of bouncing down back roads and probably from the top being lowered on gear. Likewise, the upholstery was torn, stained, and beyond saving.
To breath new life into this Alaskan, we completely disassembled it and replaced all decayed wood with new. The top is now insulated with closed-cell spray foam for the best resistance to water intrusion and highest r-value. The floor was completely rotted through in many places, and it was so sever that the lower walls began to rot in some places. This was cut out and new plywood structure was joined into the existing.
On top of the new sub-floor we placed a full sheet of Marmoluem that closely resembles the original tile. We prefer the single piece floor because it avoids shrinking and stretching of the tiles in extreme temperature ranges and prevents lifting of the tiles down the road.
A restoration of all the windows was performed, with new seals added, glass replaced, and extensive aluminum polishing to bring out its original luster. Similarly the hydraulic system received a complete rebuild that included new seals, pivots on the pump, fresh fluid, and a polish.
To complement the polished brass pistons and shinny aluminum windows, all original cabinet hardware got a new platting. The cabinetry was refinished with new counter tops, and a new single lever faucet installed. Modern 110v sconces that closely resembled the original lamps kept the traditional Alaskan feel, that we modified to run led 12v bulbs for off-grid use.
The Alaskan’s electrical system now uses an Absorbed Glass Mat deepcycle battery and Progressive Dynamics distribution panel, along with other modern amenities like a tank monitor, cleverly hidden to retain the feel of a sixties camper. On the outside, all new exterior sheet metal and led running lights ensure this camper will last another half-century of adventure.
Finally, the restored emblems were repainted by hand, just like the way Irene Hall, the co-founder of Alaskan Campers, would have finished them at the beginning of the business.