The camper option for the Jeep CJ5 first debuted in 1969 with a sticker price of around $5,000.
Kaiser Jeep company started a marketing campaign called “Great Jeep Escape” and sold three types of CJ5 campers.
First were Jeep Gladiators equipped with slide-in units. Numerous slide-ins could fit the the Jeep Gladiator from bed caps to luxury stand up units. The slide-ins were not factory options but Kaiser-Jeep promoted the Gladiator as the perfect vehicle to accommodate a slide-in. Second was simply a Wagoneer capable of towing luxury campers. Obviously the towed campers were not a factory option either but the Wagoneer was certainly capable of towing almost anything thrown at them. The third was the CJ5 Camper that came as a factory option.
The camper itself was made by Honorbuilt, a division of Ward Manufacturing. Unlike truck campers of today, the CJ5 Camper had its own axle and brakes that took most of the weight off the Jeep.
Jeep Camper Marketing Campaign
While few CJ5 campers remain, some of the marketing materials produced back in the late 60s made it to the web.
Much like modern truck campers, the Jeep Camper extended over the front seat of the vehicle to provide room for the main sleeping area. The camper slept four, two above the CJ5 cab and two others on a makeshift bed made by folding down the dining table. The camper had many of the same amenities found in today’s RVs such as water tanks, a stove, oven, toilet, gas, electric and heat.
The camper body could detach from the vehicle using a pin that fastened to the CJ5 frame through an opening in the floor of the camper.
One of the Few Remaining CJ5 Jeep Campers
Kaiser-Jeep sold these campers separately as well. Because of the consistency in the body style of Jeeps at the time, they would fit any CJ5 made from 1955 up to the mid 1970s.
Even so, it’s reported that only 336 of them were produced.
When AMC purchased Kaiser Jeep in 1970 that meant the end for the Jeep camper. This makes the Jeep Camper one of the rarest commercial RV models ever created.
You can see the patent application Charles Prater filed for his design at Google Patents. In addition, CJ5Camper.com has 9 different examples of surviving CJ5 campers for your viewing pleasure.