10 Years of Trailers

17/07/16 0 COMMENTS

TT_02“Time is the most valuable currency so spend it wisely” – Debasish Mridha

Indeed it is true!  Nathan and I at Overland Trailer started our first trailer 10 years ago this summer as a hobby project.  That trailer was for my own use but unbeknownst to us, started a whirlwind of adventure in the form of a business, helping home-builders, trade shows, and a feature length documentary that brought in heavy hitter sponsors.  It is an understatement to say that we are thankful to the teardrop community for your enduring support since we first hit the big time with our Consumer Reports Blog that momentarily went viral (Read it here).

In our industry of recreating the past, tradition plays a major role.  As children, we remember walking into Ma and Pop shops, like our own and seeing a framed dollar bill on the wall.  Inevitably, it was the first dollar that the business had made.  Modern banking has left us at Overland Trailer without a dollar on the wall but with numbers moved from one computer to another.  This begs the question, how do we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the genesis of our company?

TT_01For years, I’ve had the first license plate from that first Overland Trailer -dubbed the jPod.  I haven’t known what to do with it as it carries feelings of nostalgia.  Then a year ago, I had the idea for making a guitar.  Yes, a full year ago I started making plans for the instrument that you see in this post.  The final product is a raw banjo sounding instrument until plugged into an amplifier.  Then it is an unwieldy rock guitar.  It will take a lot of practice to learn all of the foibles of this one!

The guitar is made from the first license plate, discarded parts from the original trailer, a photo of the first trip in the jPod (read about it here)(watch the video here), and a trailer shaped head-stock that is an exact CAD dimensional shape to the current 58 Heald trailer from Overland Trailer.  It is our Legacy Guitar!

Thank-you again teardrop campers.  We love our work!

Enjoy the photos and a video of me unleashing this thing for the first time.  It blew my mind!

Until Next Time!  – Mark

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OT Featured Review in Cool Tears Magazine

14/08/13 2 COMMENTS


“Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.” – Alice Walker 

I’ve made no qualms about my excitement for Cool Tears and Tiny Trailers magazine.  I love reading every publication because every one shares a new adventure.

To my surprise, the editor contacted me and asked to review the Overland Trailer documentary “Historic Camping & Tiny Trailers”.  Copies were mailed out, an interview conducted, and it is now published.  I am always surprised when something like this happens.

The big question, that I didn’t know until reading the review was: Did it get good marks?

Well….  I’m not going to spoil that one for you.

You’ll just have to read the magazine for yourself.  It is another great issue of Cool Tears (even if OverlandTrailer wasn’t mentioned in it).



Merry Christmas From OT

25/12/12 2 COMMENTS

About the Photo: This is our first customer ordered 58 Heald Trailer in the Vibrant Yellow color.  During this build, we dubbed this trailer “The Honey Bee” for two reasons.  Obviously a black and yellow trailer looks like a honey bee.  The second reason is that the customers are involved in the honey and bee keeping industry.  A perfect camping vehicle for some bee keepers!  We just finished this trailer & that makes a very merry Christmas for some newly inducted teardrop campers.  This also concludes our 2012 production.  Time to take a few weeks off and we’ll get started on the 2013 models.

My personal thanks goes to our local fire department for helping us get this great photo of our trailer next to their largest truck.  The colors are perfect and I laugh at the idea of this truck pulling our little trailer.  It might be a good place to stay during some long brush/forest fires!  Thanks again!


Merry Christmas from Overland Trailer!  We’ve had a good year and look forward to the camping adventures of 2013.

As I think of this past year, I am nothing but thankful.  Honestly, that is the best way I have ever ended a year.  It isn’t about presents or parties.  Simple gratitude for the experiences (good and bad) for this past year.  The camping, the friends, the work of designing and building these little trailers, those of you who read my occasional blog posts.  I’m thankful for all of it.

I want to offer my many thanks to those who are fans of Overland Trailer.  This started as a blog of my trailer build (the jPod), grew into a successful feature-length documentary film (“Historic Camping and Teardrop Trailers”, and now a retro-styled teardrop trailer small-business.  I never thought that would happen.  I just wanted to go camping.  Actually, I STILL just want to go camping!  Life takes us by surprise sometimes.

I have more camping adventures queued to blog and document for your reading or viewing.  There has been a publishing gap recently because we welcomed another member to our family, a son.  This is perhaps, my biggest point of thanks for this year.  A son, a daughter, mom & dad?  Yep, that’s a full bunk & bed in the teardrop.  That must mean we’re done having children.  We’ll see what the future holds but if the trailer is any indicator, that’s it for this family!

I wish you all a very merry Christmas & a great new year.  May your plans for this next year be successful and full of camping!






New Film Edit Pre-Release with a Lower Price!

21/11/12 0 COMMENTS

Film Festival Cover Image

“Someday I hope to write a book where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away. “
– Clarence Darrow

A year ago saw the original release of the documentary “Historic Camping & Teardrop Trailers”.  With the passage of time comes change (and the expiration of legal contracts!).  I no longer have to pay royalties to certain parties involved in the making of this film.  This means the price is less and we can edit the film as we please.

We are now offering a “tighter and cleaner” edit of the film.  It is the version that has screened at film festivals and was awarded 4 out of 5 stars at the 2012 Spokane International Film Festival.

You can pre-order a copy of the Film Festival edit of “Historic Camping & Teardrop Trailers”!  Orders will begin shipping in early December.

For the rest of November, you can get free shipping on the pre-release and any other item in the Overland Trailer store by entering the following code: “Give Thanks”.

Proceeds from the sale of this film go to send free copies & teaching materials to schools.  Over 300 schools have used this film in their classrooms, so far.  Thank-you for being a part of making this happen!

Visit my store on Storenvy

 Thank-you to all of the Overland Trailer Readers!  Enjoy Thanksgiving & forget about Christmas for now.



Debra’s Vintage Gets Published

01/06/12 2 COMMENTS

“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.”— Mencius

If you have seen the “Historic Camping & Teardrop Trailers” educational film, you are familiar with the story of Debra Kellerman.  Her story of purchasing three vintage trailers and restoring them with little previous knowledge of tools is one of my greatest inspirations (which is why her story made the film).

Sandpoint Magazine in Sandpoint, Idaho just published an article which features Debra’s story.  Debra told me a few months ago that something was in the works with the magazine but I had forgotten about it until a copy arrived in the mail.  This marks the second magazine publication of a featured story in the “Historic Camping & Teardrop Trailer” Film (read Larry Shank’s Published Story Here).  It is pretty awesome to have such famous friends!  I’m stoked for them both.

If you’re like me, you absorb all vintage camping news like a sponge that always thirsts.

Check out page 11 of the 2012 Summer edition of Sandpoint Magazine and absorb Debra’s story!



Simply Growing!

04/03/12 1 COMMENTS
Side Profile (custom doors shown)

Side Profile (custom doors shown)

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Ben Franklin

If you have visited The OverlandTrailer.com website recently, you’ve probably noticed some changes in the website function.  This is because overlandtrailer.com has a new division under the license Overland Trailer, LLC.  A friend, Nathan, and I are starting a small business making vintage-looking teardrop trailers.

All of our trailers are hand built from the steel frame, cabinets, and custom galley.  Since our economies of scale are small, we can customize our basic design with many options and features to help our customers make a trailer that fits their needs and keeps that vintage look. (See our commercial trailer here)

For those of you who fear that this website will “sell-out” and go all commercial, you can stow your fears.  Nathan and I are both full-time educators and have no plans to leave our careers.  The overland trailer blog will remain the same.  The original jPod trailer design is still here for your use. The teardrop film is still raising funds for education.  Camp cookery is alive and well.  Advice for building your teardrop trailer will continue (personal & on the blog).

We put our basic reasoning & business philosophy into a letter for our business license.

A little information about Overland Industries LLC.

            The company was started by Mark Janke and Nathan Henson as a way to pursue their hobbies in camping and specifically teardrop trailer camping.  Mark and Nathan are both educators that want something to apply their hands to during summer vacation.  Another goal of Overland Trailer is to develop a business at which Mark and Nathan’s families will be able to participate in.  Mark and Nathan feel that it is important to raise their children (present & future) in a way that will keep them busy (and out of trouble), teach them to work with their hands, and allow them to learn money management skills.


That pretty much sums it up.  Tell your friends & family.  We’re in business.  What you have come to like about OverlandTrailer.com isn’t going away.  We’re simply growing!

We have only 2 build slots left for this year!  Start your Adventure.




The Home Stretch

16/01/12 1 COMMENTS

After four weeks in front of a computer screen, the final film festival edit of the “Historic Camping & Teardrop Trailers” film done.  It is fitting that I’d finish the edit and ticket sales start on the same day.

If you’re interested in attending the 2012 Spokane International Film Festival screening of this film, you can get tickets here.

Spokane International Film Festival

10/01/12 1 COMMENTS

Here’s a little secret I’ve been keeping for a few months.  The “Historic Camping & Teardrop Trailer” film is making its silver-screen debut as a featured documentary the 2012 Spokane International Film Festival!

Needless to say, I am pretty stoked that the film was accepted out of all the worthy applicants (only 30 films are chosen out of hundreds) and along side films that are featured at the Sundance Film Festival.  In fact, I’m finishing a special edit of the film just for the festival.  So if you think you’ve already seen it, think again.

The film is showing at the Magic Lantern Theater in Spokane, WA at 6:45pm on February 1, 2012.  Tickets are $8.

Click here to see the details for the documentary on the SPIFF (Spokane International Film Festival) website.

To coincide with the public debut of the film, I have finished a short Making Of Video.  You’ll see Landon (cinematography) and I in all of our manly glory talking about this project.

My many thanks for those who have supported this project.  I cannot believe how far it has gone and how many schools are benefiting from your benevolence.

Here’s the Making Of Film:

Here’s the film preview:

Shank Teardrop Story Published

30/08/11 0 COMMENTS


Larry sent a physical copy of RV Magazine to me a few months ago when we were working together on my teardrop film project. AT LAST, RV magazine has published it online.

It was an honor to have Larry’s help with the film and to hear and read all of his family’s stories about their vintage camping set-up.

If you have seen my film and liked the vintage footage and photos from Larry’s family, you’ll love this article. It has more photos that weren’t featured in my film.

 Read the article here



Teardrop Film (Video on Demand)

24/08/11 0 COMMENTS

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke 

Amazon.com has approved my application for Video On Demand (VOD) at Amazon.com.  If you’re a techy geek like me, you can download the film, stream it online, have it sent to your TiVo or other digital devices.  This way you can save some storage space in the house and still enjoy the film!  Isn’t technology great sometimes.

You can still buy a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the film too!

Click HERE to download the film from Amazon.com

Click HERE to buy a DVD or Blu-ray copy with the original art dust-jacket and disc label.

All sales help send free copies to High school social study teachers and to create new projects like this one.  So far, I’ve been able to send out 15 free copies!

Happy Camping!


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