Teardrop trailer designs became extremely popular once world war 2 ended. Families wanted to travel and take vacations but wanted small lightweight travel trailers. There was such a surplus of supplies around that it was relatively easy to make a teardrop out of war supplies. Small Jeep trailers and parts were often used along with aircraft parts. You could even find published teardrop trailer plans in magazines like Popular Mechanics.
Teardrop trailers were all the rage in the late 40’s. Because the cars were only about 100 horsepower at that time the trailers needed to be light enough to tow. There were even teardrop trailers designed for motorcycles. Around the start of the 50’s the teardrop craze started dying down. In true American fashion the cars started being built with more horsepower and people were able to start towing bigger campers.
The past few years has seen a renewed interest in teardrop trailers. There is a cult following and community growing around building and traveling in a teardrop camper. As this community grows the teardrop camper has evolved into a few different shapes. Let’s look at a few of the main teardrop trailer designs.
The classic teardrop trailer design is basic, simple, and one of the most popular. The front has a simple curve and tapers back 8 feet to a point. This is a popular teardrop trailer design because you can build the walls out of one sheet of plywood.
Pretty much all teardrop trailers have a back door hatch that opens and hinges from the top and a main door on each side of the teardrop. Most teardrops have a small “galley” in the back that sometimes has a small kitchen and storage.
Options in the galley all depend on the imagination of the builder. It seems that this is the easiest to build and is recommended as a good first teardrop trailer to build for a beginner.
Just like the name suggests this design looks exactly like a backward teardrop. This design seems to be a little more aerodynamic. You don’t see it as much and it’s not as popular as the classic teardrop design.
The nostalgic and classic look of the classic teardrop I think makes it a more popular design. The reverse teardrop usually doesn’t have a kitchen galley and instead has a more accessible back door for easier entry to the sleeping area.
This teardrop is popular for those who need to be able to get in and out of the camper easily. It’s also a great design for those who just need to be a little different and buck the popular trends.
The Wyoming Woody has a unique and cool design. It has a shape that’s closely related to the classic teardrop design but it has a few more curves. The hatch in the back instead of coming to a point curves around and is usually part of the hatch door.
The overall shape has more of a oblong look than a teardrop shape. It has all the same features as a classic teardrop, the only thing different is a slight difference in shape.
I love the lines and curves of a Wyoming Woody. I debated on building one as my first build. It has such a cool 1950’s vibe to it. In my opinion it has the most character out of all the teardrop trailer designs.
The Benroy Trailer was one of the historically classic teardrop trailer designs. It was one of the popular options in the 50’s along with the Wyoming Woody. The creator and founder of the Benroy, Bennet Petersen, couldn’t keep up with the competition and was bought out by a larger company called King Richard’s. Eventually they died out around 1956.
The benroy has a very boxy design with just a few curves. The front of the trailer comes straight up off the trailer frame and curves to a flat roof. The same thing happens in the back. The hatch door comes straight up with a small curve to the flat roof.
Sometimes the back hatch door only opens halfway up the trailer. The inside of a Benroy is set up exactly the same as a classic teardrop and a Wyoming Woody.
The square drop trailer in my opinion is the ugliest of the teardrop trailer designs. Exactly as the name implies the squaredrop is just a plain old square.
All the curves and aesthetics are gone and there is nothing left except a plain old box. Not only is it ugly but I’m sure it gets terrible gas mileage. Some designers do put a slight curve on the front to help with the aerodynamics, much like the Benroy design.
But even with the slightly curved front it still does not help it in the looks department. One thing the square drops do well is the back door can open any direction. You don’t have to have the big hatch door.
Since the back of the square drop is completely flat it is easy to install any style of camper door. That is probably the one thing it has that it has in its favor. But for me is not enough to like the design.
Lastly we have a category that is a little outside of the teardrop trailer designs. There’s often times when the teardrop trailer design will cross slightly over into the mini campers.
With all the designs and customizations out there sometimes builders will design something that doesn’t quite fit perfectly into a teardrop design. My first build is actually going to cross into a micro camper territory.
Most teardrop trailers are roughly 4-5 foot high off the trailer frame. Anything taller than 5 foot is more of a micro camper. There are some great oversized teardrop designs especially now as they gain popularity and RV manufacturers start producing them.
I did forget to include one teardrop design in this list and that is the off road version. This category is kind of a sub group of enthusiasts that are a little off the beaten path.
The off road teardrop trailer designs are actually pretty cool. they remind me of something you would see a military humvee pulling. There are many different versions of off road teardrops.
I don’t even know if they would fall under a teardrop category they might be so far removed from the original design they now have morphed into something else. With bulked up suspensions and rugged features many of these trailers have heavy duty tents on top of them and the trailer is used just for storage.
There you have it. A basic rundown of the main teardrop trailer designs. There are even more offshoots of each design and the sky’s the limit for what you can create. Mix and match different aspects of each style and take your favorite parts and include them in your design.
That is the awesome thing about building your own teardrop. You get to decide the end product and you have the freedom to create something amazing. If you ever have the chance to go to a teardrop meetup you will see teardrops of every different style, color, and design. It is a unique sight to see.
Let me know in the comments below what design you built or which one you are planning on building!