A couple years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to buy a 13foot 1987 Scamp Travel Trailer. If you’re not familiar with Scamp Trailers, they’re a fun, cute, lightweight option if you want to get out and do some camping. We were pulling it with a 4-cylinder Subaru Outback with no problem. As you can see from the “before” photos, this Scamp trailer needed a lot of love. Fortunately, the body itself was pretty decent so we really only had to focus most of the attention on the interior and minimal exterior things.
This trailer’s previous owner took it out for local fishing trips, but I have no idea how long it had been since it’s last trip. When we saved it, it looked as if it was starting to be used as storage for both junk and dirt, haha! The front window had a couple small cracks along the bottom and as we drove it up the freeway, the wind pressure spread those cracks quickly! The rear window was actually solid glass, which is definitely a no-no on a Scamp. Furthermore, the rear glass window had a huge spider web shaped crack/shatter and the weight of the glass had sagged it down so the rubber seal was all messed up and the duct tape used to “fix” it was crusty and falling off. It was clear that the windows would need to be the first thing to get replaced. We could have purchased new plexiglass windows directly from the Scamp Parts Store, but they would have been clear and we knew we wanted the windows to be dark tinted so we headed over to Ridout Plastics in Kearny Mesa and picked up some dark tinted plexiglass sheets that we’d have to cut down to size.
After tracing the window pattern onto the new plexi, I used the Bosch JS365 Jigsaw to cut the rough shape out of the plexi. Next, using the original windows as a template, I used the DEWALT DWP611 Compact Router and Freud Flush Trim Bit to cut an exact replica of the original window. Cutting out the window shapes wasn’t too difficult, but installing them was a pain in the butt!! We used the appropriate beading and lockstrip with the Lockstrip Tool and it was very difficult…even with the baby oil trick. But we finally got it in place and gave it a thin clean application of Black RTV Silicone Sealant around the edges just for some added leak protection.
Next was the 4-pin wire harness. When we plugged the trailer into the harness on our Subaru (the Subaru harness had just recently been installed new) the marker lights, brake lights and blinkers on the Scamp were all messed up. I hit the brakes and the right turn signal blinks….I hit the left turn signal and all the marker lights blink. Everything was out of whack. We found a pretty simple wiring diagram over at eTrailer.com and decided to simply rip out all the old 12v wiring and install brand new 12v wiring. This also allowed us to update the tail lights/brake light to LED and also install new amber & red LED marker lights and when they were done, those lights are nice and bright! You should definitely update your lights to LED.
**ADDED** We also used a dielectric grease like this CRC Di-Electric Grease with Precision Tip Applicator at all of the electrical connections to prevent corrosion.
We also replaced a few other stock Scamp items here and there, and those were relatively easy to do. Then came the interior. As you can see, the kitchen was totally gross, the lights are all old and original with parts missing, the front bench was cracked, the carpet was super nasty and to me, that spelled “fun project”! I’ll give you more details on all the updates if you scroll down to the “after” photos.
The first thing a lot of people notice is that storage box on the tongue of the Scamp. I built this from scratch using wood and some vinyl sheet product. After drilling holes to feed the wires and gas line, I coated the underside of the storage box with a Bondo All Purpose Resin product to protect it from the elements when driving. The storage box worked out perfectly and it was used to hold and secure the propane tank and the battery, and there was still extra space to store misc other items like some Basic trailer chocks, an Assortment of bungee cords, a 9×12 tarp, etc. We even stored a small battery charger in there, similar to this Schumacher 15 Amp Ship ‘n Shore Battery Charger in case the battery decided to quit on us.
You can also see how nice the new tinted plexiglass windows look and to make sure that front window didn’t get damaged by freeway rocks, I added the rock guard from Scamp.
Inside the Scamp I tossed out the original dining table and replaced it with a new one. The new table is 3/4″ maple plywood stained with Minwax Dark Walnut Stain. I used the original table as the template (using the same technique I mentioned above for cutting out the windows) and then attached some trim (also stained dark walnut) around the edge to hide the plywood edges. The table was finished with a couple coats of Minwax Satin Polycrylic.
The Scamp got all brand new 4-inch thick foam from UFO in Vista. Since I don’t know anything about sewing, I had my wife pull out her Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine and sew some covers for everything using a super cool and modern Nate Berkus print. I love how it looks!
The kitchen area got a complete overhaul as well. I modified and installed an IKEA countertop that extends all the way to the front of the Scamp. This gives extra counter space to put a toaster oven or coffee maker….or both! I also used the scrap from the IKEA counter to use as a short backsplash, and a whiteboard-type product as a backsplash on the kitchen wall. I kept the original Scamp sink, but got rid of the pump-style faucet and installed a Classic Single Handle Faucet instead. Since we ditched the original water tank (it was gross and nasty) we weren’t planning on using it anyway, and I installed a Pressure Regulating City Water Inlet on the outside of the Scamp. Finally, I installed a new Suburban 2-Burner Stainless Cooktop and it looks much much better than the beat up old tan original one, haha!
If you’re familiar with Scamp trailers, you may also be familiar with the original black twisty support bars. I don’t like them and I wanted to change it out to something more unique. To accomplish this, I took some real walnut wood made a chevron pattern support piece. You may notice some colored pieces inlaid into the chevron. Those are pieces of an old skateboard sandwiched between the walnut. As a former skateboarder I felt this was a cool unique personal touch.
I modified the kitchen cabinet area by adding two tilt-down drawers (immediately beneath the sink and cooktop) for silverware, etc. I also modified the large undersink cabinet door. Originally it was two narrow vertical doors, but I removed the center post and made it one large door instead. Everything got new Satin Nickel Hinges and black knobs. I also made all the cabinet doors from scratch so they’d match. The original cabinet doors are this weird fiberboard material with a woodgrain graphic detail. I decided to make all the new cabinet doors in a shaker style. I also ditched the original lights that were mounted on the ends of the upper cabinets and replaced them with these Brushed Nickel LED Directional Reading Lights. If you’re looking for another great option, you may want to consider this slightly larger Nickel Directional LED Reading Light. After we sold this Scamp, we installed those larger reading lights in our new trailer and we love them! That LED light strip you see underneath the cabinets is a simple LED strip from IKEA but you can also use something like this LED Under Cabinet Linkable LED Light Bar, but you should note that those options are powered by shore power, not 12v.
Another update I’m very proud of is the rebuild/replacement of the front bench. As I mentioned before, the original front bench was fiberglass and was cracked in the middle. The door on the original bench always got caught on the floor when trying to open it and it was a real hassle to deal with. I decided to rebuild the front bench from scratch out of wood and I incorporated a full-extension drawer where I’d keep the Trailer Stabilizer Scissor Jacks and other necessary tools. I really like this feature and it proved to be an awesome upgrade!
Since I don’t have any need for the bunk feature of that front bench, I decided to make a spot to put a cooler instead (since the icebox fridge is so small). I did however, keep space for storage on the left and right sides of the bench and those can be easily accessed by removing some lids on either side (one is under that black cushion).
One of my favorite upgrades in this Scamp trailer is the addition of the pull out drawers in the closet area. If you’ve ever seen a normal Scamp closet you know it’s basically just a big empty box. By adding these drawers in the closet, there’s so much more organization! I also cut out a new opening below the original closet door (and made another new door) and added a fifth drawer. This space is normally unused (unless there’s a air conditioner there) so adding this fifth drawer was a much better use of the space. I believe I used 12 Inch Full Extension Drawer Slides for the closet drawers.
I replaced all the lights inside the Scamp with LED lights and it is so so so much nicer now! (go back a couple paragraphs for more info on the lights). While I was working with the electrical stuff, I added a 2nd breaker (since there was an open slot) and added a few extra 110v/115v outlets we can use when hooked up to shore power.
We also ripped out the old nasty carpet and replaced it with new carpet. It was amazing how the smell inside the trailer improved immediately the old carpet was thrown out. Such a huge difference! A lot of Scamp remodels we’ve seen put down pergo flooring or vinyl/laminate style flooring but we chose carpet. The other stuff looks great, but we found the carpet acts as additional sound insulation. Plus it’s much softer on the feet 🙂 Then we topped it off with a new Solid Oak Threshold (stained walnut of course).
Here’s a shot of the Scamp trailer with the rock guard in place. You might also noticed I have 2 lids on the roof. One is for the original escape hatch and the other is the new Maxxair 12V Roof Top Fan/Vent I installed. This was another great install because it serves multiple purposes. First it brings in the cool air from outside. Next, since it has a reverse feature, it acts as a vent for the kitchen (since the kitchen doesn’t have a built in vent). Finally, it’s a nice white noise machine for sleeping at night!
I’m sure there’s something I have forgotten to mention. The following photos are some random iPhone photos I shot along the way during various stages of the remodel. Unfortunately I didn’t photograph every single step, sorry!
Thanks for stopping by and checking out photos of my Scamp Travel Trailer update. This project was a lot of fun and all the hard work paid off when we sold the Scamp to a great new owner. If you have a travel trailer you’re updating (whether it’s a Scamp, or a Boler, or a Casita, or a Shasta, or anything else for that matter) and you’re looking to get it remodeled, please contact me and we can talk about pricing, scheduling and the logistics getting your trailer to me so I can work on it. Currently I do not deal with bodywork/paint or frame/chassis/axle repair. You’re on your own for that stuff but if you’re wanting some custom cabinet doors, drawers, or other mods just let me know what you want and if it’s something I’m able to take on, we can throw around some ideas. I’d love to hear from you!