The motivation to own a trailer came after a particularly cold, wet, and miserable tent-camping expedition last May. Thomasin Langlands started researching campers online and promptly fell in love with a 1962 Shasta travel trailer put up for sale by a guy named Wally in New Hampshire.
In June, Langlands, her husband, Serge Côté, and daughter Zoe headed across the border to check out the object of Langlands’ affection. They arrived to find a woebegone camper that was a mere shadow of its original self. Major water damage was apparent throughout, and it smelled of dead mouse. No problem. The smitten couple shelled out $2,000 and pulled their “new” Shasta back to Ottawa for some TLC. “The tires were highly questionable,” Langlands says with a laugh. “We were terrified they would explode!”
Detail-oriented: The original magazine rack (top) was moved to another location in the trailer; Also original, the Shasta logo (middle) has been buffed to a high sheen; Thomasin Langlands created the Shasta-themed match holder (bottom) by repainting this metal match holder and adding the logo (Photography: photoluxstudio.com, Christian Lalonde)The great camper reno lasted the entire summer, with the family doing much of the work themselves in the driveway of their home. Langlands refinished the birch cabinetry, installed industrial tile flooring, made curtains, and buffed the buffable bits to a high sheen. As much as possible, she tried to remain true to the original Shasta colours and materials. “Believe it or not, there’s a Yahoo Shasta group,” Langlands says, adding that she also sourced a few accessories from a vintage-trailer business in Vermont.
On the exterior, the couple paid for a flash red-and-white paint job, sourced half-moon hubcaps, and ordered the fabrication of an awning that doubles as a rock shield when it’s in the closed position. On the interior, they ordered eight replacement birch panels and paid a marine upholsterer to recover the seating.
All in all, returning the Shasta to the form of its glory days cost $6,000. “And that doesn’t take into account the hours and hours of work,” says Langlands. But that will all be forgotten in May when the family hits the road in comfort and style. “It always rains when we go camping,” says Langlands. “But now we won’t care!”
The original faucet hooks up to a waterline. The second small hand pump is hooked up to a water tank beneath the
Langlands refinished the birch cabinetry. A few of the panels had to be replaced because of water damage
At this end of the trailer (where the photographer is standing), the seating folds out to sleep two. As well, there is a small loft bunk
The industrial tile flooring is glued over top of the original tiles
The propane fridge (now used as an icebox) is non-functional.
The gas stove is in full working order
The dinette table folds down to create a platform for a double bed
The dinette seats have been recovered in marine-grade vinyl
The 1950s Bakelite radio was borrowed from a neighbour for the shoot, but Langlands is looking
to get one of her own
The one Humphrey gaslight can be turned on if campers are somewhere without electrical access