Life was good in a Combi-Camper


When I was 14, my grandparents took me on a trip east to visit the Gaspe region of Canada. For my grandparents who were French Canadian, it was a little like going to “head office”. For me, it was a liberating summer of no bed times, unlimited snacks and a new song for every camp site we visited. In short, it was heaven.

My grandfather had gone to the Outdoor Show in Toronto the previous fall and much to my grandmother’s dismay, he had invested heavily in a unique, Swedish designed tent trailer. The Combi-Camp was new to Canada in 1978 and it had a unique attribute that no other tent trailer could boast. It’s one-sided hinge system meant that once the Combi-Camp was level, it could be unclipped and set up in about 15 seconds flat.  It was child’s play for a 14 year old girl who weighed less than 100 pounds. And it drew attention in every campground we visited from Oshawa to New Brunswick.

The Combi could draw a crowd.

It created a unique upstairs/downstairs vibe for the inhabitants of the Combi-Camp when it was open with it’s upper bunk. And it had a nice 4×4′ fold out table with built in seats that were perfect for playing cards or eating in the main living area of the Combi. On many a rainy night, we were able to accommodate my grandparents, myself, my two cousins and my aunt and uncle for a rousing game of Aces.

Of course you couldn’t cook in the Combi-Camp. It was really nothing more than a solid tent, with floor and upper bunk. But it meant not having to sleep on the ground and it also meant my grandmother and I could live in luxury being able to bring pillows on our trip that could be folded away neatly when the trailer was folded back up.