For Outdoorsy owner Catherine Light, life—and everything in it—is anything but dull. In fact, she has a magical way of taking everything in her world and making it beautiful and amazing. This includes her five vintage rental campers.
“My first camper, which I began renting through Outdoorsy, is the 1981 Serro Scotty, called Beam Me Up, Scotty,” Light says. “I chose this camper because it was advertised in good shape, with no leaks. I bought my first truck and drove to the Ohio/Kentucky border to discover it was full of mold. I negotiated the price, drove home, and began the learning process of restoring vintage campers.”
This on-the-job training has paid off.
“When done, I was addicted,” she says. “I had been a graphic designer and found the entire process — although challenging — great fun.”
“Upon completing the first restoration, I immediately bought another,” she continues. “This project proved to be much more complex. I bought it to restore, with the thought that when I retired, I would see if anyone would be interested in renting them. I live on the edge of the Adirondack Park. Vintage camping had been gaining in popularity.”
Due to unfortunate circumstances, Light was forced into retirement a bit earlier than expected. “I had planned on retiring at the age of 66,” Catherine explains. “However, my company closed when I turned 63. I had just been diagnosed with diabetes, and my partner had been diagnosed with lung cancer — all within a month.”
However, as with everything else in her life, this creative and joyful woman did everything in her power to make lemonade out of lemons. She shares her solution with us: “I decided to buy a third camper, restore it while working as a school bus driver (new to me), and find out if they would appeal to potential renters.”
“I now have seven campers. One is in the process of renovation, the other may be used by myself for a puppet studio in a year or two. This season I have rented out five vintage campers.”
Not only does Light completely restore all of her campers, she makes them into works of art. Each has its own theme and personality, and comes fully stocked. Catherine shares a bit about her works: “Most of the campers come with matching awnings, and vintage items from the period for them to decorate with, should they want to do so.”
“One of the campers, the Shasta, is called Campers’ Choice. Campers may choose one of four ‘décor’ themes: each one includes a custom 2’x6’ banner, matching curtains and pillows, and decorative items that complete their chosen theme.”
With so many adorable options to choose from, Light’s rigs attract all kinds of renters.
“Within a month after listing my first three campers last season, I had my first bookings,” she says. “In fact, I was thrilled to have been asked to provide a camper for a vintage rally sponsored by a New York chapter of ‘Sisters on the Fly’ held in May 2018 in Rhinebeck, NY.
“Because these vintage campers are one-of-a-kind, they are often rented by folks as a gift for a loved one, for a special family occasion, for a music festival, or by those who are just ‘getting too old for tentin’,’ as they say.
“I love delivering the campers, as I get the opportunity to both visit state campgrounds I’ve never had a chance to camp at, and simultaneously get to know the fantastic people and their reasons for renting from me.”
While her business could easily stand on its own, Light is the first to admit that Outdoorsy has been an extremely helpful resource. “I chose Outdoorsy because of their insurance coverage and their superb help desk,” she tells us. “I work alone, and deliver to sites within 150 miles of either my home in Schenectady or my camp in Caroga Lake.
“Because of the additional services Outdoorsy provides, I use much of their information to help my bookkeeping. In the past 12 months I have earned over $10,000 dollars, and have 17 more bookings so far for the rest of the season.”
All about Catherine Light
Favorite morning beverage?
Favorite campsite meal?
Music you like to play on the radio?
“I love listening to standup comics on Pandora when driving. I am the only one who delivers these campers, and travel hundreds of miles a day to do so.”
If you could travel anywhere in an RV, where would you go?
“St. John’s, Newfoundland, without a doubt. I am Canadian and grew up in Southern Ontario. We had a pop-up camper and took a trip to visit Newfoundland with my grandmother, mom, dad, brother, and three sisters (two still in cloth diapers). I want to repeat that trip that was taken over 50 years ago.”