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Interview with Kelle Arvay, Little Vintage Trailer

Here at Empire, we’re passionate about the innovative and design of all vehicles. When designing covers for cars, RVs, trucks, boats and more, we consider all of the latest design trends. That’s why we’re obsessed with vintage RV renovation.

We’ve were lucky enough to score an interview with camper renovation expert and blogger Kelle Arvay of Little Vintage Trailer. Kelle’s blog is about the newest trends in camping, RVing, and renovating vintage- you guessed it-trailers!

Read on to find out what “glamping” is, where to find your own vintage trailer, and why Kelle loves restoring old campers.

Kelle Arvay of LittleVintageTrailer.com

BTC: How would you define “glamping”?

LVT: The term Glamping was original coined by Mary Jane Butters of MaryJanesFarm. It means Glamorous Camping. For me, it means surrounding yourself with comfort and things that make you happy, which are things like décor that trigger that happy sensors in your brain, or a luxuriously comfortable bed. While I could “rough it” with the best of them, I definitely prefer to camp in comfort.

BTC: How did you get into renovating vintage trailers?

LVT: I have a soft spot for small vintage trailers that need saving or a little TLC to bring them back to life. Then they can go on to have new adventures with new owners. After owning a few myself, I found a few more that I renovated and really enjoy the process.

The Interior of Jellybean, the ’55 Bellwood

BTC: Tell us more about Buttercup and Jellybean (Kelle’s trailers):

LVT: Buttercup is a 1961 Shasta Compact that is 10 feet in length, not including the tongue. While she doesn’t have a lot of floor space, she is very well laid out for a small trailer. The dinette makes into a king size bed and she has quite a bit of storage space.

Jellybean is a 1955 Bellwood that is 11 feet in length, not including the tongue. Her layout consists of a front dinette and a rear bed. She lived her life in Arizona prior to coming here to Michigan, so she was in surprisingly excellent original condition.

 

Jellybean, Kelle’s 1955 Bellwood Camper

 

BTC: Where can you find vintage, discounted trailers like these?

LVT: I’m not sure about discounted, as vintage trailer prices can vary quite a bit. I think the most important thing for anyone seeking to get one is to decide what they want first and narrow their list down to things like what size, what model and what amenities do they want it to have (i.e.; does it have to have a bathroom? Does it have enough sleeping capacity? Can their tow vehicle tow it safely?). I created a list on my blog on this particular topic that may be helpful.

Pricing also depends on the condition of the trailer. Most vintage trailers will be in need of some repair, and others will need a full restoration.

Before and After of the Shasta Compact

BTC: Tell us more about your latest project, the ’64 Shasta Compact:

LVT: The ’64 Shasta Compact was a really fun project. That trailer was actually sold before she was completed, so the buyer was able to pick out the exterior paint color scheme, as well as some interior features they wanted. We replaced some wood that was water damaged and put in new flooring. We also had it professionally painted.

The 1950 Kenskill

BTC: What’s your favorite trailer under “featured trailers”?

LVT: That’s a tough one as I like so many of them! If I had to pick just one, I would say the 1950 Kenskill. It’s just such a great example of an early 50’s vintage trailer, not to mention it is extremely adorable.

BTC: How often do you drive your campers? Or do they serve a better purpose when parked? What do you used them for?

LVT:  We tow them often when camping or going to vintage trailer rallies. We try to get to 2-3 rallies a year and squeeze in at least a couple family camping trips each year as well.

I also use the trailers at a local Antique and Flea Market show as part of my set up. I bring the trailer, set up the awning and have tables in front of the trailers that are filled with all the wares I offer. You would be surprised how much a cute vintage camper draws people in to your booth, as they all want to take a peek inside. I’m happy to oblige. I’ve had a few people come back the following year, and say they caught the vintage trailer bug after seeing mine at the show and found one themselves. When I hear that, I know I’m doing my job. The more people that appreciate them, the more of them will be saved and be enjoyed for many generations to come.

BTC: How do you keep the exterior of your camper clean?

LVT: I first clean the exterior with a product called Spray Nine. It comes in a gallon jug and this stuff is awesome! A little poured onto a soft cloth will take off any streaking and bugs. A bunch of bugs on the front of the trailer from towing is something you want to clean off as soon as you can, and this stuff really does the trick.

BTC: What advice would you give someone looking to renovate a camper?

LVT: First I would advise them to know just what they want, and how much work they want to put into renovating. Some trailers may just need a few things to make them road worthy safe and camp worthy, while others may need a full ground up restoration. Know that when you’re going into any project, that these things take time, energy and money. Find the best camper prospect you can that fits into your criteria, and one that won’t overwhelm you, especially if it’s your first time taking on a project like this.

I created a list of things to look for when buying a vintage camper in general. It would certainly also be helpful to anyone looking into restoring or renovating one.

BTC: What kind of trailer (make, model) would you love to renovate?

LVT: Someday I would love to get a hold of a small vintage Sprite caravan. While they do come up on the rare occasions, you just don’t see many here in the U.S. since they originate in the UK. But that is definitely one I would love to renovate or restore.

 

Protect your own little vintage trailer, RV or camper with a high-quality cover from EmpireCovers.com.

Nathan McDonald Guest Post: Summer Fishing Safety

Here at Empire, we’re all about playing it safe. In the spirit of summer safety, we called upon competitive bass fisherman Nathan McDonald to give us tips and tricks to staying safe on the water.   The dog days of summer are upon us. Some would argue that they have been here for a while, but August is normally the hottest month of the year for my area. A lot of anglers look to the cover of darkness to catch fish, but I for one choose to fish during the day. I have a few tournaments left in August, so I try to stay safe in the heat and protect my fish. Here are a few things that I do every time I am on the water during the summer.

Top Five Fishing Summer Safety Tips
Guest Post by Nathan McDonald for EmpireCovers.com 

1 – Apply sunscreen early and often throughout the day. I use Coppertone in the spray bottle on my arms, legs, neck, head, and face. I apply it as soon as I get to my first stop and continue to use it until after the weigh-in. The spray bottle also keeps the sunscreen off of my hands and in return off of my baits. There have been several discussions on whether or not this affects a fish’s reaction to the lure. I choose to just avoid it all together and not take a chance.

2 – Stay hydrated and eat something every once in a while. Gatorade and water are my two best friends on the water in the summer. This is something that falls under the “practice what I preach” lecture. Last month at a tournament on Green River Lake, I nearly passed out at the weigh-in while getting my fish out of the live well. I know it sounds odd, but I find it hard to remember to drink and eat during a tournament. I just get caught up on watching my line and waiting for that bite. Drinking and eating seems to take a back seat. Try to make it a habit to grab a bottle of water every time you move to another spot.

3 – Keep an eye on the sky. This time of year, pop up storms can happen at any time. Many of these can be severe and produce dangerous lightning. At least twice this year, I have made a dash for cover during a day on the water. If you are in a tournament, it is easy to push it to the limit to get in every cast possible. You have to ask yourself, is it really worth getting hurt or worse, dying for that one extra bite? I have read to different articles this year about people in boats dying from lightning strikes this year. One was in Florida during a tournament and the other was in Kentucky during a trip on the lake just having fun. I am sure there have been countless other incidences this year that I don’t know of.

4 – Fill up your live well early in the day and use an additive. I always fill up the live well at my first stop. This will normally be when the water is at its lowest temperature in the summer. This is also when I add U2 to my live well. There are several additives on the market, and I am sure there are arguments to which one is better. My opinion is that any of them is better than not using one at all. These products will remove ammonia that builds up in the live well, relieve stress from the fish, and help repair their slime coat.

5 – Carry a fizzing needle in the boat. One important thing to do with is to learn how to use a fizzing needle. Many fish are caught in deep water during the summer months. Deep water is relative to your area and the lake that you are fishing. On most of the lakes I fish, 20 plus foot is considered deep. This does not affect all fish that are caught deep. When a fish is caught in deep water and they are reeled in rapidly, the fish’s air bladder gets air trapped inside and the fish cannot regain their equilibrium. If the air is not fizzed out, the fish will float upside down in the live well and most of the time they will die. There other products on the market to help remedy this but I like the fizzing needle. Once again, there are arguments over which is safer for the fish, but any of them is better than not doing it all.

Hopefully some of you will find these tips helpful. Most of these things are common sense, but we can never be reminded to many times when it comes to safety. Whether you are out for fun or in a tournament, please stay safe on the water.

Find Nathan on Facebook and check out his fishing posts on the EmpireCovers Facebook page.
Get durable, waterproof covers for your fishing boat at EmpireCovers.com.
Be sure to check out our covers for pontoon boats, bimini tops, & other marine accessories. 

Coming Soon: The New Empire Patio!

Empire is more than just vehicle covers. While we’re mostly known for car covers, over the years, we’ve launched durable, long-lasting covers for boats, RVs, motorcycles, trucks and more. Our latest product release, Empire Bimini Tops, has brought us beyond “just covers”. We’re thrilled to announce that this Fall, we’ll also be making big changes to our EmpirePatioCovers site.

You can still expect high quality covers for patio furniture, but expect a sleeker, more user friendly experience. We can’t wait to bring you new products, such as the gazebos we shared on our Facebook page.

Gazebos as a new product is one of our exciting changes to the new Empire Patio website.

Are you excited for the new Empire Patio experience? 

You can still find the same high quality covers for patio furniture at EmpirePatioCovers.com. 

Marc Zumoff Gets Covered

Here at Empire, we don’t like to cover and tell. However, a few of our better known customers have sung our praises on their personal blogs and social media accounts. One such customer is Marc Zumoff, the Emmy Award Winning Sports Newscaster for the Philadelphia 76ers. Marc recently got our American Armor cover for his new car. Marc tweeted:

 

He also provided this pic of the cover in action:

 

What’s your favorite cover from Empire? 

High quality Titan Quatro covers, deluxe American Armor covers & even more indoor and outdoor covers
are available now at EmpireCovers.com.

Snow(mobiles) in July

In unreasonably hot weather, it’s easy to look forward to crisper, cooler temperatures. As temperatures rise, we long for autumn leaves, cool breezes and of course, snow. At the EmpireCovers.com offices in Eastern PA, we’re used to getting a lot of snow in the colder months. In July, obviously not so much.

This time of year, we’re cranking up the AC and trying to beat the heat with handheld fans and ice cold drinks. As we’re melting like popsicles, we dream of taking our snowmobiles and sleds out of storage. We envy those in colder climates, such as countries in the Southern Hemisphere, that are seeing snow and ice this time of year.

At the Empire office, we’ve already started to talk about our favorite winter activities, such as skiing, ice-skating, sledding, and of course, snowmobiling.   Besides the sweltering heat, our longing for winter was likely inspired by the Harley-Davidson snowmobile we spotted a few weeks ago. During Empire’s visit to Gettysburg Bike Week, we came across a vintage Harley snowmobile.

Wherever you are, whether it be San Francisco or Sydney, you’ve likely heard of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. Founded by William S. Harley in 1901, there are nearly 900 Harley-Davidson dealers in the U.S. to date. The company has a massive worldwide fan community, with groups such as the Harlistas, Harley Women Riders and the Iron Elite. Harley-Davidson has become a household name, so it isn’t surprising that they’ve sold more than just motorcycles.

Sold briefly in the early 1970′s, the Harley-Davidson Snowmobile is now a valued collectible. The company, owned by AMF at the time, released their first snowmobile in 1971 to meet popular demand. Advertised as being built with a Harley engine, the snowmobile was created to compete with other popular snowmobile brands of the time. Harley quickly followed up in 1972 with pull along sleds. However, failing to make an impression in the snowmobile industry, Harley ceased production in 1975. Since, the Harley-Davidson snowmobile and pull along sled (pictured below) have been treasured collectibles.

 

What’s your favorite vintage find? 

From classic snowmobiles to brand new, high powered snowmobiles, EmpireCovers.com has the right cover for you!
Check out our variety of covers for snowmobiles, jet-skis, ATVs & more!

 

Repurposing Planes, Trains & Automobiles

V8 Engine from a ’69 Camaro

Here at Empire, we’re huge fans of classic cars, as well as believers in reusing materials. Looking to incorporate this into our office space, we decided to get this one of a kind coffee table. Made from the engine of a ’69 Camaro, the table is sleek and sophisticated- not to mention over 300 lbs! Our innovative coffee table got us to thinking about other ways to reuse auto and marine parts.

How would you like to sit at a desk made from an airplane? Would you carry around a backpack made from a sailboat sail? Repurposed mechanical parts are more popular than ever. Everything from airplane cowlings to old oars are used to create unique home goods, decor, furniture, clothing, accessories and more. Here are some amazing ways cars, boats, planes and trains have been repurposed:

 

Office Desk from a B-747

747 Cowling Desk, Courtesy of MotoArt.com

Chances are, you’d feel sky high if you worked at this desk. Made from an old B-747, cowling desks are extremely difficult to get. We’re envious of anyone who’s got one in their office!

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Car Wheel Ottoman

Ottoman made with a car wheel, Courtesy of VWVortex.com

 Kick your feet up on this awesome ottoman! The perfect gift for any car enthusiast’s home or office.

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Vintage Sail Duffle Bag

Vintage Dacron Sail Bag, Courtesy of SeaBags.com

This duffel bag is one of many bags, backpacks, purses and more made from old sailboat sails.

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Starbucks made from Shipping Containers

Starbucks Sustainable Containers, Courtesy of the Starbucks Blog

 Starbucks, always focusing on innovation, constructed this drive thru Starbucks using shipping containers.

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House from a Victorian Train

House from Victorian Train, Courtesy of UK Daily Mail

 This UK home was constructed from an authentic Victorian Train. Two 40 ft carriers make up the 85 year old house.

How do you reuse materials?

You can reuse our durable, waterproof, UV treated covers for just about anything!

Empire’s Favorite “Famous” Cars

Here at EmpireCovers.com, we know cars. During our visit to the Media Car Show, we saw a few cars that looked extremely familiar.  After some research, we realized that a few of the cars were used on popular TV shows and in movies. That got us to thinking to well known cars in Hollywood, so we compiled a list of our favorites:

EmpireCovers.com Favorite #3: Chevrolet Impala

The Chevrolet Impala is a long time favorite of Hollywood. Featured in shows and films such as Drive (2011), Cars (2006 ), Big (1988) and recently, The Killing (2011), the famous Chevy Impala has shared the screen with actors and actresses for decades.

Classic red Chevrolet spotted in Media, PA

Our favorite Chevrolet Impala is the 1967 Chevy Impala featured in the CW’s spooky series, Supernatural (2005). Starring Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, the series centers around two brothers who are always on the road in search of demons, monsters, and other unworldly beings. Nicknamed Metallicar by fans, the show’s classic Chevy is in nearly all the episodes.

1967 Chevy Impala used in Supernatural.

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EmpireCovers.com Favorite #2: Volkswagen Bug

Spotted in Media, PA- The Volkswagon Bug

 Another Hollywood favorite is the quirky and loveable VW Bug. Featured in films and television shows such as Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973), the CW’s One Tree Hill (2003), Road to Redemption (2001), USA Network’s Psych (2006) and Cars (2006). Of course, our favorite is the 1963 Volkswagen Bug used in the infamous Love Bug films from Disney. “Herbie” the creamy white VW Bug starred as a free-thinking race car that featured a sunroof, racing stripes, as well as a characteristically sunny demeanor.

“Herbie” from the classic Love Bug movies.

 

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EmpireCovers.com Favorite #1:  Chevrolet Camaro

The Classic Chevy Camaro

Another Chevrolet favorite is the Camaro, a sporty automobile with a sleek exterior. The Camaro has been featured in films such as Remember the Titans (2000), A Walk to Remember (2002), Christine (1983), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), and television shows like The Vampire Diaries (2009), Overhaulin (2004) and Monster Garage (2002). A long time consumer favorite, Camaros are infamous for being the ultimate American sports car. 

Classic Chevy Camaro spotted in Media, PA

Our favorite Chevy Camaro is the unrefined 1977 yellow Camaro used in Transformers (2007) to portray the protective and mysterious Autobot “Bumblebee”. In Transformers, Autobot Bumblebee takes the form of an old, beat up Camaro to befriend human Sam and his love interest, Mikaela. Eventually, Bumblebee transforms into a different year of Camaro, the newer and sleeker 2009 Chevy Camaro. The model used in the film was a concept, as the car had not been officially released by Chevrolet.

Megan Fox and Shia LeBeouf in Transformers, along side of the 1967 Chevy Camaro used to portray Bumblebee.

 What are your favorite cars from film and TV?  

No matter how famous your vehicle is, EmpireCovers.com can provide you with a high-quality cover for your car.