Sunday, March 4, 2012

Classic Campers: The CJ5 Jeep Truck Camper

Well, time for another stroll down memory lane, this time we’re visiting a rather rarely seen, but always interesting find, the Tag Axle Jeep Truck Camper. 


The Jeep CJ5 Camper came as a factory option for CJ5's built by the then Kaiser-Jeep.   The camper itself was produced by the Eldorado Coach Company, another of the many long gone Truck Camper Manufacturers of yesteryear. 

These campers are so rare that there’s a website dedicated to their continued existence as one of the many innovations in RVing that came in the 60s and 70s.


In 1969 Kaiser-Jeep made the bold move to branch out into recreational vehicles. The popularity of RVs was growing throughout the 60's and Jeeps were already popular among outdoorsman.

That year Kaiser-Jeep introduced three new RVs as part of their "Great Jeep Escape" campaign.

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 was an El Dorado unit that was manufactured by the Honorbuilt Division of Ward Manufacturing. This camper was mounted in the "bed" of the CJ5, extended beyond the back of the CJ5 and had its own axle, with brakes, that carried most of the weight. It also extended above the front seats of a CJ5 which is where the main bed was located.

It could easily detach from the Jeep through a small opening on the floor of the camper. A large pin would be inserted into that opening and connect the Jeep drawbar to the camper frame. The camper was an option that could be added to any factory CJ5 but it was recommended for Jeeps with the Buick V6 Dauntless engine and 4.88 gearing.

Kaiser-Jeep also sold the campers separately as they would fit any CJ5 made since 1955.

The camper had room to sleep 4, 2 in the "loft" above the CJ5 cab (about 4'x6'8") and 2 others by converting the dining table into a second bed (about 3' x 5').

It also came standard with a propane stove/oven and hood package, 100 pound capacity icebox, stainless steel sink, 20 gallon water tank and pressure system, marine type toilet and holding tank, dining area, wardrobe area, a vent over the main bed and a dual lighting system (110v and 12v).

Options included a propane light above the dining area, gas/electric refrigerator, second vent, and a 9,000 BTU heater. There were 336 units built in 1969 before AMC bought out Kaiser-Jeep in February of 1970 and stopped production of the camper option. The camper was designed and patented by Chuck Prater and could be purchased for $5,000.


Second Roof Vent

The second vent matched the vent over the bed and was placed next to the dining area.

Gas/Electric Refrigerator
9,000 BTU Heater
Propane Light

The propane light was a Sun-Lite S-300 Made by Sunbeam Trailer Products out of Inglewood, California. It was rated at 1550 BTU/Hour.


Kaiser-Jeep’s Brochure on the new CJ5 Camper:


The old Great Jeep Escape ad from an RV dealer:


Here’s one of these fairly rare campers currently undergoing restoration (Full restoration photo set can be see at



  1. Hi there! I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about jeep in your area. I'm glad to stop by your site and know more about jeep. Keep it up! This is a good read.
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  2. Thanks for sharing Matt, it actually looks pretty cool!