Hall knew that accommodations in Alaska were few and far between, and the trip to Alaska on the Alcan Highway presented its own set of challenges. Mindful of the demands that lay ahead, Hall designed and built a camper for the long three-month trip.
His design attracted so much attention and acclaim that Hall started building the campers under the Alaskan Campers name in 1958. By 1962 there were five factories in the United States and two in Canada manufacturing the campers. The major element that separated the Alaskan from other campers was the telescoping roof that was operated with a hydraulic assist. The clever idea of having a telescoping top, which has since been widely imitated, allows for generous headroom when camping and provides a more ground-hugging, streamlined profile while in motion.
In its advertising, Alaskan capitalized on the advantages of having a camper instead of a trailer: “No license is required for the Alaskan Camper. It is lawful to carry passengers en route. Passengers may rest or sleep in ample comfort, play cards etc. while the miles go skimming by.” The advertising does not mention how those activities are comfortably accomplished with the top in the retracted position.
Alaskan Campers are still being manufactured and continue to be regarded as among the most durable and highest quality campers on the market. They are available in eight- and 10-foot lengths.
The 1967 eight-foot Alaskan Camper and 1968 Chevrolet truck with a Servis utility body are owned by Milton Newman, and were photographed at the Travnikar Dandelion Sanctuary, Penryn, California.
Gibbs Smith Publisher will publish Douglas Keister’s new book, Mobile Mansions, this spring. Doug is also the author of Ready to Roll: A Celebration of the Classic American Travel Trailer and Silver Palaces: America’s Streamline Trailers. Personalized autographed copies are available from Doug. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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