Nomad camper

The Nomad rebuild was officially declared complete in March of 2012.
Nomad porchlight
Nomad Camper re-skinned
Nomad kitchen
Nomad inside
Nomad door
Nomad light
table base

The Gory Details:
My first camper – a 1969 Nomad. I bought it in 2006 before I’d ever looked at a camper forum or even knew what vintage was. When I got it home, I put it in the barn and thought that I’d clean it up a little and definitely change out the curtains.
1969 Nomad
old Nomad dinette
old nomad rear
The more I cleaned, the worse it got – until I had cleaned it up all the way down to the frame.
old nomad floor rot
old nomad tail rot
old nomad leaning
old nomad down
old nomad frame
I had enough sense to keep the door and windows and a few other things, but I hauled the majority of the old camper off to the dump. I thought that I knew for a fact that I’d never have any use for a red stove, hood and fridge, so off to the dump they went. The aluminum siding and roof – off to the dump with that, too. I mean, they used to put aluminum siding on houses, how expensive could it be to re-side a little camper? Today’s lesson: keep everything – I sure would like to have that red stove, fridge and range hood back.
old nomad kitchen
So, the demolition phase was over. That didn’t take long and didn’t cost a lot; at least not on the front end. I cut the bumper off and gave the frame a good cleaning and painted it with some left-over Rustoleum. While I was at it, I cleaned and painted the axle and rebuilt the suspension. The hubs and drums were in good re-usable condition, but since I wasn’t familiar with trailer brakes, I replaced them with new ones from Dexter.
new nomad floor
I rebuilt the floor in a similar manner that it had been done originally, except that I used half lap joints instead of butt joints and I used 1.5” of insulation to fill the voids instead of the tissue paper thin insulation. The top deck has ½” plywood on it and the underside is covered in a product called ThermoPly. They had overlapped the underbelly sheeting; I joined it at the framing and sealed it with rubber weatherproofing tape. I also primed and painted the perimeter edges and the wheel wells.
The wall framing went pretty quickly, also. I didn’t have the original aluminum to re-use so I wasn’t obligated to rebuild to the original shape.
The original wall framing used 2×2’s, but they had been notched for wire runs, so they had a built in weak spot making them no better than 1×2’s.They used butt joints with a nail or two at the joints. It seemed flimsy for something that was going to be bouncing down the highway.
nomad wall frame
nomad birch
Nomad roof
I rebuilt the walls using lap joints, tennons, glue and screws and then I glued and stapled the birch plywood to the framing. It’s a pretty sturdy unit and well insulated with 1 ½” of isocyanurate foam insulation.

One day, I found a 1947 (un-restorable) Spartan carcass on Craigslist and decided to re-skin the Nomad with it.  I did buy new aluminum for the top, front and back.
Spartan carcass
I cut the aluminum off of the Spartan with a grinder and tried to keep the sheets as large and fully intact as possible. The Spartan was riveted construction, but I was attaching it to wood framing, so I used stainless steel nails and screws. I put aluminum drip edge (like you put at on the roof to kick the water away from your fascia) at the bottom of my framing so that water wouldn’t migrate up onto the floor or framing and then attached my bottom sheet of aluminum. I was able to have only one horizontal overlap joint that I sealed and screwed – using the same layout for the screws that Spartan had used for the rivets – that was a lot of screws. Each screw got a shot of Parrbond sealant in the hole before the screw went in. At the front, back and roof seams, I tabbed and bent the aluminum over before attaching it. When the front, rear and roof aluminum went on, it was bent over the sidewalls and the gutter rail was put over that… so it has a double overlap with trim over the joint.
siding install
Nomad out of barn
Once the aluminum was on, I was good to go on finishing the interior. I didn’t put in any gas appliances, so I didn’t run any gas lines on the camper. I didn’t put in any 12 volt service either, but the 110 volt electrical is all new with a 30 amp main breaker and 3 – 15 amp breakers that are arc fault and ground fault protected. The plumbing is super simple with a fresh water inlet and drain outlet located under the trailer.

Nomad going camping

SOLD 2016! I put the Nomad on craigslist and it sold on day two.  I hated to see it go, but we weren’t using it very much – too many other projects.  If you see it on Craigslist now, be assured, that’s not my listing.
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6 comments on “Nomad camper

  1. Mike - Minnesota says:

    I have a 66 nomad and I am in a down to the frame resto. I also had a the yellow fiberglass insulation which does not contain asbestos. Asbestos in insulation is typically found in the fluffly, loose, grey looking insualtion in homes and not campers. I cannot speak to the flooring though, which linoleum in that time period had a higher percentage of having asbestos in it. I masked up, gloves, long sleeve shirt, jeans etc. when I ripped out the flooring. Asbestos is typically not harmful until disturbed. There is a lot of info out there on the internet on this subject. I am by no means an expert, just providing what limited knowledge I have.

  2. Bob says:

    The insulation that was in the original 1969 Nomad was fiberglass and it was only about 1/4″ thick. I didn’t find anything that looked like asbestos in that trailer.

  3. Kascy DuBoise says:

    Can you tell me if the insulation that was in your nomad originally had asbestos in it? I have a friend who is currently staying in one and we were curious as to the insulation and if it should be reinsulated.

  4. Bob says:

    Hi Carl, Sounds like an interesting project and you are more than welcome to use a picture of my old Nomad. The one on my blog is about the best “before” picture that I have. Good luck with your book. I tried to email you directly but it couldn’t be delivered. The Domain Name System (DNS) reported that the recipient’s domain does not exist.


  5. Carl says:

    Hi Bob, This will seem like request coming out of left field, but I am looking for pictures of Nomad trailers for a book I am writing called “The Illustrated Field Guide to Vintage Trailers.” Its like field guide for birds, but for trailers. It going to be published by Gibbs Smith Spring 2019. (The same people that published Vintage Camper Trailers and many other trailer books.) Let me know if you’d be interested in sharing a photo of your 1966 Nomad. The one on the blog would work.well.

  6. a bountiful life says:

    Superb craftsmanship. Thanks for submitting this; shows how to “do it right.”
    Jack – Carson City, NV

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