We Renovated A Vintage 1982 Burro Fiberglass Camper
Last year, my husband and I found a 1982 Burro camper on Craigslist and bought it the day it was posted. We then spent about six months turning this 1982 trailer into a more contemporary and comfortable camper for local trips into the mountains and desert.
The Burro is a double-wall molded fiberglass trailer that was manufactured from the late 1970s until the early 2000s. They came in 13-foot and 17-foot lengths and were delivered as kits to be put together by new owners.
What made the Burro different from other fiberglass trailers at the time (such as the Scamp trailer) is that it has a slightly raised ridge on the roof which allows for additional headroom.
The Burro only weighs about 1,100 lb. and can be towed by smaller SUVs and trucks. The 17-foot version has a small wet bath, but the 13-foot version does not have a bathroom or shower.
The layout of the 13-foot Burro is similar to other fiberglass trailers such as the Boler and the Scamp. There is a rear bed that converts into a dinette, a front couch that converts into two bunk beds, a kitchenette, and a closet.
Our Burro makeover
For about six months, this Burro got a new paint job and interior makeover. It came with the original cushions, curtains, and cabinet doors. The old carpeting and dinette were removed as well as the front couch/bunk bed.
We decided to make the bed/dinette a full-time bed and put in a custom-made mattress. The couch/bunk bed configuration was removed to become a small dinette.
Our Burro had only seen two or three owners, and nothing had been done to it for more than a decade. It still had the original cushions, carpet headliner and floor, wiring, lighting, stove, and sink.
It also had some fun remnants of the 1980s, including a cassette tape deck connected to a wired speaker.
New flooring and ceiling
After stripping everything out (including carefully extracting the tape deck), the entire trailer was cleaned and scrubbed. The old plywood floor was in very good shape with only two soft spots from previous water damage.
We installed a new plywood floor over the old one and screwed them together through the frame. We put down a TrafficMASTER Grip Strip floor and put new RV carpet on the ceiling. We splurged on a new white paint job for the exterior and replaced out the old windows with windows made of automotive glass.
The old carpet on the ceiling seam was removed, and new RV carpet was installed over Reflectix.
The support that held up the top bunk was turned into a small wooden shelf to hold cell phones and coffee cups. We re-purposed the old dinette table leg and used a pre-cut tabletop for a small table and desk.
Custom cushions and pillows make the area comfortable and two trunk organizers slide under the bed for additional storage.
Curtains made from roller blind material and Velcro strips cover up the windows at night.
The kitchen renovation
For the kitchen, we kept the same lightweight doors that came with the trailer. The original icebox was covered with an old map of Lake Tahoe made from adhesive paper. We decided not to use the icebox as a cooler, but as just a place to store dry food and vegetables.
The Burro does not have a refrigerator, so we just use a portable cooler with ice for cold food. We replaced out the old water tank and installed a 10-gallon tank that runs to a new pump faucet.
The closet is lined with white-sided Reflectix, and we are able to store clothes for all seasons. We also lined the bottom of the closet with styrofoam and placed a cloth basket in the bottom to hold jackets and toiletry items.
Instead of covering up the hole with fiberglass where the tape deck had been, we just stuck a plastic key holder over the hole and use it to hold small items such as flashlights and charging wires. After removing the old speaker, there was another hole in the fiberglass above the closet.
After roaming around The Home Depot for several hours, I found a toilet flange that fit the hole perfectly. A smaller Bluetooth speaker made for shower stalls now sits on top of the flange with a strong magnet.
We wanted to retain the original Burro logo in some way. For such an old logo, it has a really cool style. The original rock guard was brittle and worn, so we removed it and instead put the logo on a custom spare tire cover.
We decided to name the Burro the Wonky Donkey because while working on it (especially the floor), we realized that nothing on the trailer was square and just a little bit off-kilter.