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4×4 Camper: 1978 Chevrolet Blazer Chalet

We have seen a few of these rugged camping rigs over the last few years here and every time I see one, I wonder why Dodge or Ford didn’t make one. This is a 1978 Chevrolet Blazer Chalet and it can be found here on eBay in Staunton, Virginia. The current bid price is just over $8,000 and there is only a day left on the auction. This Blazer and camper were married later in life like some of us were.

When I said that I wondered why Ford or Dodge didn’t make one of these integrated campers on a 4×4 truck I know that GM didn’t make the camper portion, they were made by a company called Chinook, in this case, the seller says Chinook Western RV Co. I can almost picture one on a Dodge Ramcharger.. hmm.. I wonder what that might look like…

Ok, I admit that this quick Photoshop exercise is a little out of scale and somewhat bent and twisted much like the author is, but still cool, eh? (unlike the author). I had a Ramcharger and having a Chalet-type camper on the back may have made it a livable vehicle instead of the troublesome dog that mine was.

I’m not a huge fan of the orange and brown color combo and the black wheels, but that’s just me. I really like these things to be factory-fresh-looking otherwise it looks like an afterthought. I would want to paint either the Blazer or the camper, or both in this case, but that’s just me. There’s a good reason why it doesn’t look like a factory combo, it isn’t. A previous owner found the Chinook/Chalet camper and had the interior redone and badda-bing, instant 4×4 Blazer camper combo.

The interior looks fantastic in this Blazer. They go through all of the options that this truck had when it was new and give a sales price of just over $10,000 which is $46,400 today. A lot of you paid that much for your daily-driver pickups.

The Chalet camper portion was customized by the second owner and it looks great in there. I could easily live in this thing. There is reportedly headroom enough for a 6′-5″ tall person inside once the top is raised. And yes, there is even a toilet! They mention that the canvas in the top portion needs some help.

The engine is Chevy’s 400 cubic-inch V8 with 175 hp. It runs like a champ but I can’t imagine the mileage is too hot with a 4×4 Blazer pulling a camper on the back of it. That’s not the point, though, the point is to be able to get down trails and old roads where a regular camper or trailer may not be able to go. Summer is here and this would be a fun rig.


  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Nice work on the Dodge Ramcharger Scotty! LOL! I agree on your color comment. Maybe squirt the camper white to match the coves. I am surprised the inside of the camper is so nice. I like it. Nice rig, just needing paint. Great write up also, thanks, Mike.

    Like 5
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha, thanks, Mike! I didn’t want to make the Ramcharger look too realistic in case car companies hound me for design help in the future (crickets) (tumbleweed blowing by) (train whistle in the distance)..

      Like 13
      • Mountainwoodie

        I agree. The front of the Dodge Ram matches the Chinook design clues much better, more aerodynamic for sure. I think Scotty ought to find a Ram and Chinook and mate them. Call it a Scottynook.

        Like 2
  2. TimS

    Great for a night or two at the lake, I bet. I wonder if someone in the Statler Brothers circle owned this thing.

    Like 1
  3. canadainmarkseh

    This sort of camper might be a good approach for modern no box to speak of pickups. It could be set up in such a way that the interior slides in like a insert and when not in use could be removed to turn the shell into an over sized topper. These Blazers are just to short to work well. road Handling must be like herding a cow down the road with a stick. I wouldn’t want this truck, I’d be better off just buying a camper for my truck, and with an 8′ box a real camper would fit. In fact the original owner of my truck had a 10′ camper on it.

    Like 3
  4. KidNova

    3rd one this week.. must be a spring thing ..
    loved my 75 blazer,, last year the full roof comes off…show a few of those…

    Like 3
  5. Doug B

    Gosh. I don’t know but for me this thing is just plain Ugggggly. I thought well maybe a matching paint job? Visualized that, but dang, still Ugggggly. Maybe it’s just me???

    Like 0
  6. CanuckCarGuy

    Nothing says manly-man vehicle, better than a fire extinguisher behind the toilet!

    Like 4
  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    The ’78 and ’79 GM 4x4s were probably the best they ever made. GM pulled out the stops and all but made them failsafe. A lot of people didn’t care for the 400 SBC. We had some bottom end failures in 4x4s but for the most part they held up. My ’79 GMC turned the odometer over three times before I had to take it off the road. And that was because the suspension and the transfer case chain were worn out. Too bad that I somehow ended up with two cracked heads after all that.

    This truck could serve an individual or a couple quite nicely but I wouldn’t want to attempt anymore than that. Personally, I’d prefer a Blazer/Jimmy and just get a small tandem camper to pull behind it. Oh yes, that’s some good Photo-shopping, Scotty…

    Like 2
  8. Glenn Schwass Member

    The interior of the truck and camper is awesome. I don’t like the brown of the camper but who really cares? I’d use it as is. The hardest thing is finding a garage big enough to store it so it stays nice. They rusted in regular air back then, just sitting, so that has been well taken care of either way.

    Like 1
  9. Cfj

    Have never seen one of these with such contrasting colors. Doesn’t look like the “trailer” portions of the rig belongs there. When I first looked at the vehicle, thought the Chalet had been added to a regular pickup.

    Like 0
  10. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Boy, I think the buyer did pretty good here. A sweet K5 low mileage rig. Ready to camp! The only thing missing is a Smokey Bear bumper sticker. Ended: May 08, 2019 , 3:38PM
    Winning bid:US $10,300.00
    [ 14 bids ]

    Like 2

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