Apache Hardside Pop-Up Camper Guide (Interior, Specs, Parts)

When it comes to RVs, travel trailers, and small campers, you won’t run out of brands to look at. Some brands are independent while others are part of a large conglomerate with all hoping to get their slice of the RV industry pie. There are some good success stories like Apache.

Some of the good aspects of the early Apache pop-up trailers were the 6 1/2 foot width, the under 1600 pounds of weight, and the 16-foot length (all figures are approx.). The inside was well organized and had plenty of room to sleep 6 people.

To learn more about the Apache pop-up trailers just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about in order to find the right model for your camping needs.

Who Made The Apache Pop-up Camper?


In the business world, there are a lot of success stories. These stories all have the same theme and plot. The lone man or a couple of partners get an idea then work hard to see that idea and their dream come to fruition.

That is the way it was with the Apache pop-up campers. This company was started by a man named Eugene Lewis Vesely. But instead of starting the Apache, making company from the start, he took a side step and founded his own construction company.

With his wife supporting him, Mr. Vesely was able to take a dislike for the trailer designs of his day and turn that dislike into what is now known as the Apache pop-up trailers. It does not take much to get enterprising men on the road to success.

Great ideas are often born by seeing current products in action and it takes strong men to bring their new ideas to the drawing board and then on to reality.

The Apache Pop Up Camper History

The seed for the Apache trailer started in 1948 when Mr. Vesely started his own construction company. It wasn’t his original plan to start building pop-up trailers but when he saw the bad trailer designs of his day, he decided to expand his business interests and start making his own trailers.

It was 1955 when Mr. Vesely designed the first prototype for the Apache collapsible tent. This tent was supposed to go on a boat trailer but the models of his day were not to his liking, so he decided to start making his own.

When friends and acquaintances saw his first model, they wanted one for themselves. So Mr. Vesely started making copies of his original for them. This effort led to more people wanting his design and in 1957 the Vesely Manufacturing Co. was born.

He built his company in Lapeer, Michigan, and remained there throughout the years as it grew into the largest camping trailer manufacturer. His original 1957 factory was an old cement plant but as production grew so did the manufacturing facilities.

First, Mr. Vesely moved the company into a 4,000 sq. ft. trucking garage and from there he went to first a 35,000 sq. ft. facility before moving into a 70,000 sq. ft. plant he built himself, and all of this was in Lapeer, Michigan. This was all before 1962.

The original model lines were the Eagle, weighing 425 pounds and priced at $645; the Chief weighed only 340 pounds and sold for $525, and the Scout was the smallest weighing in at 250 pounds and priced at $325.

In 1963, the company added the Raven which weighed 425 pounds and cost customers only $450. Through the years the company continued to redesign these models and added new features to them.

Despite all this success, the company had a downturn in the 1970s and went out of business in 1979. In the early 80s, it was revived by a group of investors but the revival only lasted until 1987.

Apache Pop Up Camper Interior

The hard side model of this pop-up camper had two beds spots that provide the owner with more living space when they needed to cook or move about. The beds were on the front and the back with the kitchenette in between the two along with the dining table.

There was not a lot of space inside as there was no bathroom or shower included in the model that we saw. The original linoleum floor was a basic design and color which probably looked good when it was new.

One of the best features of this smaller camper is the windows. There are plenty of them and they are large enough to let a lot of light inside. There were two bench seats on either side of the dining table whose cushions could double for an extra bed or two for small children.

The kitchenette had a 3 burner stove, a small sink, and a tiny fridge next to the door. If you could handle the unique color scheme, then you had yourself a nice compact trailer to camp in.

Apache Camper Restoration Ideas


There are some nice ideas floating around the internet that you can use and how you want your interior to look is going to be up to your preferences. We can only provide a few ideas to get you going on the right track.

One of those ideas is to use a mover’s blanket to cover the mattress. This is a cheap option and works if the mattress is still in good condition. You can reupholster if you want but that may be a bit expensive.

Another idea would be to change the linoleum floor to an indoor/outdoor carpet. You can get rid of that 1960-70s color for something a bit more modern and appealing to your tastes.

The bench seat cushions may not be to your liking either, and one owner decided to use a shower curtain fabric to make them a little more attractive. She did so because they were stain-resistant and washable.

Then to cover the orangish/brown trim inside, she went to shelf paper. The self-sticking paper makes it easier to apply. These ideas should get your creative juices flowing as you have a lot of freedom to design this limited space in a way that is comfortable for you.

Apache Pop Up Camper Models

The original models for this company were the Chief, the Scout, and the Eagle, and these were made starting in 1961. Through the 60s, the company really went all out in its model design and introduced a variety of different ones before the decade was over.

Then in 1963, the Raven was introduced followed by the Golden Eagle in 1964 and then the latter model was followed by the Silver Eagle which was an exact replica of the Golden Eagle.

1965 saw the production of the first hardtop pop-up camper and it was called the Golden Buffalo. Not one for creative model names, the company then produced the Silver Buffalo in 1966, during these years the Scout, Raven, and the Chief were always in production.

The company did not sit on its laurels either as in 1967, it produced the Madero, the Ramada, and the Mesa while replacing the Raven with the Falcon. When 1969 rolled around the manufacturing company started adding the numbers I, II, III to their existing model line ups.

Most of these models sold for under $1000 when new.

Ramada Pop Up Trailer

This model was the one that made the competition nervous and sit up to take notice. There were a lot of new designs and features added to this model line as the Ramada was the first super-sized pop-up camper.

The upgrades included the new crank system that opened the hardtop and slid the beds out into position. Then there were the 3-burner range, sink, icebox, large dinette table as well as a self-storing screen door and electric brakes.

This model sold originally for $1500 and offered 21 feet of length along with 125 sq. ft. of living space.

Mesa Camper

There was a model called the Buffalo Mesa which was a similar design to the Golden Buffalo model. However, there were a few modifications that were made. the first one was the removal of the self-contained toilet and the second was the addition of the screen door.

Like the Ramada, the Mesa had a crank system that raised the roof at the same time as the beds were slid out. The Mesa was similar to the Buffalo Mesa in that it had the same cranking system and was priced about $20 more. It weighed in at 825 pounds and came with a hardtop.

Apache Royal Camper


The Apache Royal camper was not much different from the Ramada model. It had a 3-burner stove, a sink, a small fridge, and a small dinette. However, those items except for the stove were positioned slightly differently than the Ramada.

The Royal could sleep 7, weighed under 1600 pounds, and had a 6’ 8” width as well as a 19-foot length. The features you got would depend on the model year as one seemed to come with a microwave oven which may have been added later by the owner.

The 10-foot interior would expand to just about 18 feet or more once the beds were slid out. Most likely, you will find many of these campers in need of some TLC, and they are supposed to be a rare find these days. However, they are considered classics and well-built. They should still outlast some modern versions made today.

Apache Pop Up Camper Dimensions

The size of the trailers would differ from year to year and depend on the model that was being built. The Eagle-400 measured 7 by 4 feet and weighed about 710 pounds. But when the company made the Eagle-600 those dimensions went up to 16 by 6 1/2 feet approx. and weighed over 1000 pounds.

The Mesa was the same size as the Eagle 600 and the Eagle 800 measured 19 feet with the same width as the 600 model. The Ramada and the Roamer lines were made over 20 1/2 feet long but still had the 6 1/2 foot width the other trailers had. They weighed 1700 and 1800 pounds respectively.

The Golden Eagle was 14 by 7 feet in 1967 which gives you an idea of how large the company wanted to go with these campers. Keep in mind that many lengths of pop-up campers include the tongue length so you may not be getting actual living space length when you read the advertisements.

How Much Does an Apache Pop-up Trailer Weigh?

These weights varied over the years and some trailer owners may get a little jealous at how light they really were. The company’s original 3 models weighed in at: Scout-230 pounds; Chief- 340; and the Eagle - 425. The Raven, introduced later, weighed only 425 pounds.

The Golden Eagle tipped the scales at 625 pounds, with the Raven gaining some weight as it went to 500 pounds. The Golden Buffalo weighed 785 pounds but it also had an 8000 BTU furnace inside.

The Silver Eagle was 750 lbs.; the Ramada was 1400 lbs.; Mesa was 825 lbs. As features and length were added, the weight went up. it all depended on what components were added or subtracted. One had a self-contained toilet while another did not. One had the furnace while many did not.

As upgrades to components took place the weight went up as well. Each individual camper would be in the ranges we have just mentioned but very rarely did these campers get near 2,000 pounds.

Buying Apache Pop Up Camper Parts


There is good news and even after the company disappeared 30 years ago there are parts still available. One of the companies that deal with this aspect of the industry is Apache Camping Trailers.

They sell original parts that were in stock when the company went out of business and manufacture the other ones that can still be made today. You can see their website at this link. The company has an email address and a contact form you can use.

Or you can go to this link as it is all about Apache pop-up trailers and has a few links that may help you get leads on where to find parts. One of the links is to an Apache owner’s club and another to an owner and fan website.

When we searched for websites offering parts, many different companies use the Apache name for different types of products other than campers. You may have to take time to filter out those newer Apache companies to get to a sight you need.

Apache Pop Up Camper Replacement Canvas

Finding a company to do this work is going to be a lot easier than finding original parts. There are a lot of RV canvas replacement companies offering their services through their individual websites.

The apacheowners.com forum has a list of different businesses you can contact. Then the Apache Camping Trailers we linked to above is advertising they can help as well. Then RV workshop does this work as well as at least a dozen other companies that popped up on the first results page.

Your main concern will be price and the last option is making them for around $1000 more or less depending on size, style, and so on. Make sure to do a little comparison shopping before you commit yourself to a deal.

How To Open an Apache Pop Up Camper

Some models were all manually operated. The cranking system seemed to be for the roof only and everything else had to be done by hand. To lift the roof and the side walls, you had to go to the hand crank at the base of the rear of the trailer.

You crank slowly until the roof and side walls are in place. Once those items were locked in, you went piece by piece and assembled the interior. The dining table top lays on the floor and the different wall panels were laid flat on top of the bed or beds.

The privacy curtains were on top of those panels and you had to either install them or move out of the way until you manually placed the different panels where they are supposed to go. There are a lot of latches that secure the walls and other components in place so you need to make sure you do those one by one and not skip any.

The beds slide out manually and you need to pull those into position first before you get access to the side and rear wall panels that fit into the side wall frames. It does take some time to set up one of these older campers.

Download Apache Pop-up Camper Manual

There are a few places you can go to get access to an Apache owner’s manual. The first place will be this link. But be forewarned, it does not have all the manuals for all the models or for all the production years.

The same goes for the Apache owner's website. It has some manuals available but its system is a little bit weird and may not be easy to navigate. Click here to find what they have to offer.

If you need a 1975 Royal manual then you can click on this link. Some companies only deal in more modern pop-up camper manuals. Their lists are very limited and do not seem to go back very far in time.

This is understandable as the older models are disappearing and it does not always make sense to have manuals for trailers that do not exist anymore. If you go to those fan and owner clubs we linked to earlier, you may get better help and possibly an owner may share their copy with you.

It never hurts to try and ask. They may also have leads on where to find your own copy as well.

Finding an Apache Pop Up Camper For Sale Craigslist


This may be a bit difficult to do as many individual owners may not use this classified ad as a way to sell their pop-up camper. You may have luck using this internet option by looking for different dealers who would use it to further their sales reach.

The ads we saw on Craigslist usually simply say ‘pop-up camper for sale’ and then you have to click on each individual ad to find out which brand and model they are actually selling.

But with that said, there are other places you can look that will sell and are selling old Apache pop-up campers. These are dealers who have their own websites and place their used models on them.

We came across more dealers selling old Apache models online than we did find individuals selling on Craigslist. Their prices were reasonable and the trailers looked in fairly good condition. There are some websites that have for sale by owners as well and you may get a good deal looking at those.

Plus, dealing with dealers is a lot safer than dealing with many sellers on Craigslist. That option should be used with a grain of salt and very carefully.

Some Final Words

One thing about the old Apache pop-up campers is that one day you may come across one in a rare barn find and it will still be in great shape. For their time, they were well-made campers that provided owners with a great camping experience.

Plus, their construction materials may outlast the upgraded technologically advanced construction materials used today. Apache of the 20th century had some great models for you to choose from and some of those models still exist today. You just need to find the one in good to great shape.

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