The Winnebago: A Slideshow Tribute

winnebago
James Tworow, Flickr

Just last week, we reported (via Thrillist) on Tonke Campers, the coolest custom RV’s ever to hit the road. Well, Thrillist has done it again, this time providing veteran road warriors with a slideshow retrospective dedicated to that most classic of caravans: the Winnebago.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I long to live in a retro camper (just as long as it takes me to cover several continents; I’m not trying to become Jack Nicholson in “About Schmidt”). Clearly, I’m not alone, given the ever-increasing number of Airstream hotels and motels, vintage RV parks and rallies (an acquaintance of mine just returned from the 6th annual Trail Along to Pismo Vintage Trailer Camp), and trailer-courts-turned-food pods or flea markets (check out the one in the industrial Georgetown ‘hood in Seattle).

Whether your idea of a sweet ride is a janky gypsy wagon or a sleek Roadtrek camper van, we don’t see RVing going out of style anytime soon. Cheers to that.

Tonke Campers Are The Modern Nomad’s Motorhome

When I was 3 years old, my parents invested in a Roll-A-Long camper. It wasn’t sleek, like the Winnebagos of the day. It was more like a super-sized camper shell mounted on the forerunner of a dually truck. It was badass, and survived innumerable family vacations and sleepovers (when my brother and I were in college, we’d bring friends down to my parents ranch, and use it as a dorm of sorts).

Sadly, my parents sold the camper after I graduated. Unbeknownst to them, I’d been silently contemplating living it it, in order to save money and support my nomadic lifestyle. Not long after the sale, my dad said, “If I’d known you were going to move so often, I would have just sold it to you.” Dammit.

I’ve longed to live in an RV ever since. I still fantasize about it, and despite my love of vintage trailers, I find the immediacy of a camper more appealing. Interior design is also crucial to me (the Roll-A-Long’s was hideous, even for the early ’70s). Therefore, I was delighted to discover Tonke Campers.

Thrillist aptly describes these groovy, custom Dutch campers as “old-world Gypsy carts.” The Fieldsleeper 1 model they feature is mounted on a Mercedes Sprinter. It boasts polished wood interiors and exteriors; teak flooring; colorful retro fittings; an ample kitchen; cozy sleepers for three; and a bathroom kitted out with a shower and eco-friendly toilet. The rear doors open for an al fresco dining experience, and there’s hidden bike storage. Most ingenious, hydraulic legs make it easy to ditch the shell so you have an “around town” vehicle. Should all that not be enough, Tonke Campers founder Maarten van Soest will happily create a “motorhome” to suit your needs. That’s what I call living the dream.