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How old is the trailer tent?


Date: 04/10/2013
Source: Camping and Caravanning (GB)

The question as to how old the trailer tent really is, has arisen since the discovery of a feature in the July 1913 edition of “Camping“, the Camping & Caravanning’s magazine at the time.
Wee Wally, the author of the article, calls the unit a canvas caravan and he designed it for those who have “a strong objection to the idea of sleeping in a tent on the cold hard ground“. He wrote: “Ladies who shudder at the thought of sleeping in tents at the mercy of rats, field mice, snakes and insects will lend enthusiastic support when a caravan is suggested.“ However, Wee Wally suggests the caravans of 1913 were so substantial they needed a traction engine to tow them. His solution was a “canvas house on wheels“.
The prototype trailer tent would have a chassis of ash, brakes and was designed to be operated by a “special lever“ in the towing vehicle. The camping unit would have beds measuring more than 7ft (2.1m, so longer than most of today’s beds) but the whole unit would only be 2ft 6in (75 cms) wide. The beds folded into the trailer for transport and – another advantage over today’s units – bedding could be left in place. However, since “all joints would be made watertight by strips of canvas of leather“, the writer recommends waterproof boxes “for the conveyance of provisions, pillows, clothing“ and “cooking utensils“ so dry bedding could not be guaranteed.
Is the trailer tent 100 years old this year? If you have any information – one way or the other – do please contact [email protected]