When it comes to adorable tailgate campers, picking favorites is never easy—just ask Heather Gardella. "Just when I think my dream camper is gulf blue with vintage hula girl curtains," says Gardella, founder of Dub Box USA, "we build a velvet green with flannel and faux fur that I fall even more in love with.”
Named affectionately for the “W” in "Volkswagen," Dub Boxes encompass everything lovable about vintage VW tailgate campers, but are crafted completely new from fiberglass. No original models are harmed in the process—Gardella finds herself reiterating this fact about her business to the surprisingly fiery community of VW fans who fear the originals have been compromised. “The passion for the vintage VW is ageless and overwhelming,” she says. “We have people who grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s with vivid memories of camping in a VW bus, and young fans that are inspired by the retro styling.”
As an Oregonian, Gardella is quick to draw parallels between the Pacific Northwest and the brand, which launched in spring 2012. “We tap into our natural surroundings for design inspiration,” she says. “Our color palette is inspired by vintage VW paint colors and earth and water tones. We are so fortunate to have the mighty Columbia River Gorge, the spectacular Oregon coast, and glorious mountains as our backdrop.”
Gardella originally created Dub Box USA to offer tailgate campers, but the Oregon City-based company has since expanded to include event trailers, food carts, and a smaller version of the trailer, known as the “Dinky Dub.” Each captures the darling je ne sais quoi of those nostalgic originals, but is outfitted with modern amenities such as outlets, a Bluetooth sound system, and a number of optional additions, including Solar Flex panels and an air conditioner. A number of regional businesses—Portland Cider, Sherwood’s Symposium Coffee, Seattle’s Biscuit Box—have adopted Dub Box as a portable home for their businesses.
For a transporting lunch break, we recommend you take a moment to build your own camper on the Dub Box USA website: you'll get to ask yourself whether you need a retractable awning (probably!), muse over the color that best complements your vacation mode, and visualize making coffee in the morning on your two-burner propane stove. Aaaah. Paradise.