Welcome to the guide on Teardrop Campers. I am going to go over the details and history of the teardrop camper. If you have anything you think I should add leave me a comment.
A teardrop camper is a light weight mini camper in the shape of a teardrop. There is one basic design for a teardrop. Builders will modify the teardrop to fit their own personal dream. A bed is all that is in the main area. On the back there is a hatch door with a galley area. Some teardrops have kitchens and others just use the back galley as storage.
Teardrop camper designs became 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 it was easy to make a teardrop out of left over supplies. Small Jeep trailers and parts were often used along with plane 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. Cars with more horsepower were being built in true American fashion. So the size of campers grew along with the cars.
The past few years has seen a renewed interest in teardrop trailers. Building and traveling in a teardrop camper has a cult like following. As this community grows the teardrop camper has seen a comeback. In the united states they are mostly called teardrop trailers or just teardrops. They have become popular in Australia too where they call them teardrop campers.
Teardrop campers are light and smaller vehicles can tow them. This makes them an attractive inexpensive camping option. Check the specs on your car to stay under the towing limit. It’s a good idea to call the manufacture and talk with them. The information in a car manual can be deceiving. The way they calculate towing limits are are not always accurate. You will find stories of blown engines and major mechanical issues all over the forums. Be smart and stay under the weight limit.
If you are reading this I’m sure you have a slight interest in teardrops and have caught the bug. There are two options for those looking for a Teardrop Camper. You can buy one new or used OR you can build your own.
It takes a special kind of person to build a teardrop. You need to commit to the project and be a good problem solver. Building a teardrop is not for everyone. I know the idea of building one sounds awesome but don’t kid yourself, it will be a challenge. In saying all that I still don’t want to discourage anyone if they really want to build a teardrop.
There are a ton of useful resources and friendly people on line. Check out the TNTTT (Teardrops N Tiny Travel Trailers) forum. They will help you work through any problems you come across. So if it’s something you want to do, I say go for it! You only have one life, you might as well try.
Not everyone is handy and cut out to build things. Buying a Teardrop Camper would be the best option for you. There are some great Teardrop builders out there. Make sure you do your homework. Talk to others who have purchased their teardrops and see how their experience was. Some of the builders with a great reputation can have a long wait list. I’ve seen a wait list of up to 2 years for a custom built teardrop camper.
Check out the TNTTT forum. They have a huge collection of information if you want to buy a new Teardrop camper. If you can’t find what you are looking for on there, join the forum and you can ask any question you want.
Here are a couple examples of Teardrop builders.
I have no experience with these companies. I do not know if they are good or bad, I picked a few from a quick Google search.
Another option is to buy a used teardrop. This can be a tricky process. There are different laws in each state regarding home built trailers. Do your due diligence in this area.Make sure you have all the info you need. Registration, titles, insurance, and regulations vary from state to state. Know all the laws BEFORE you buy a teardrop. Buying a commercially made trailer is not as much of an issue as buying a homebuilt teardrop.
Commercial builders have to follow federal standards when they build a teardrop. This will give you some peace of mind when buying a used trailer. Buying a commercially built trailer can also be much more expensive. A used home built or building your own teardrop can be cheaper.
Like anything in life there are different sub segments of teardrop campers. Some people like being able to take a quick weekend getaway. Jump in the car and have a nice relaxing time without much planning. Others go on massive road trips across the country and even across continents. There’s a group of people that love going off road and going on expeditions out to the middle of nowhere. There’s even a group of motorcycle teardrop campers.
Sometimes these groups overlap but one thing is clear, they LOVE their teardrops. Throughout the country there are teardrop meet ups. If you would like to find one near you check the forums. Picture a car meet up you would see in a dinner parking lot, only these are for a few days and with teardrops. If you are a people person they are a lot of fun.
There’s a group of off road campers in Canada called 410 Expedition. You can find them on Youtube and they are pretty much crazy people. They will go up in the mountains in Canada and go camp in the wilderness. They have a whole team of people with beefed up trucks and trailers. It’s very entertaining following them.
They have a guy in their group called Cappy. He has a few videos on their channel about building an off road teardrop camper. It’s worth watching. You can learn a lot about camping off road in a teardrop camper.
Each style of camping in a teardrop has its own unique set of challenges. Going on a long road trip is no exception. This category could have a few sub categories of its own. There are short term road trips all the way up to those who only live in their teardrop. Almost off grid minimalists.
To take your teardrop on any sort of road trip you need to prepare. Prepare like your life depends on it. You need to have great backup plan in place or be great at fixing things. If you have both of those it would be even better.
Talk to teardroppers who have gone on the type of road trip you are thinking about. They will be a wealth of information and show you things you would never have thought of on your own.
Let’s talk about safety. I don’t see a lot of safety information out there, its not the most fun and sexy subject. There are a few things you need to know.
Let me know if I missed anything or if I need to add anything in!