31 August 2016

Toying with Teardrops

No, I'm not crying, though it has been a hell of a summer. No, I'm toying with the idea of building a teardrop trailer. What is a teardrop trailer? It's a tiny camper with the slippery shape of a teardrop: small enough to be towed by a car, but big enough to hold a comfy mattress and a galley bigger than I've seen in many sailboats.

Teardrop trailer camping
I've been thinking how cool it would be to build one for several years, but never had the time. Then Helena casually mentioned that she'd always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, and I saw Chesapeake Light Craft's kit version at this year's WoodenBoat Show.

CLC's take on the teardrop
That got me thinking about must-have design elements. This is what I've come up with so far:
  1. Simple enough to build myself with the tools I currently own (and maybe one or two more ;-)
  2. Big enough for a queen-size mattress. That means a 5'x8' bed trailer, rather than the more common 4'x8' version.
  3. Doors on each side, rather than a door on one side and a window on the other.
  4. A waterproof, overhead ventilation fan
  5. The rear shaped so as to make the galley counter reachable without banging shins constantly!
You'd think all teardrops would be designed to make the galley easy to use, but from looking at many photos, its clear that the builder and cook are different people in most teardrop camping families! Not so in mine. Think ahead!

If you've built a teadrop, please drop me a line or leave a comment below. I'd love to hear about your experiences and see some photos too!

Next Up: What's Next?



14 comments:

  1. Bought and read "The Unlikely Voyage" Great reading read all in two evenings
    Noel

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  2. Finally, a lightweight camper, towable behind a compact or small car. Much more Bear proof than tent camping. Much needed in the Pacific Northwest.

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  3. Plans are available on the web from several places - its an old design (1950's, at least) - and there have been many modifications, almost as many as there have been builders. Thinking about this myself, and look forward to your perspectives and those of your correspondents!

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    1. That's one of the beauties of it, I think... Very flexible concept and you can easily design just what you want.

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  4. I'm so anxious to see your progress John. I have not built a teardrop but I've sure given it a lot of thought. I'd add one thing to your excellent list of must have design features. I think the bunk area should actually be a dinette table during the day. Since you have a door on each side, they could be offset so they line up with a bench on each side of the table. Our fondest memories of camping in our vintage '61 Oasis trailer is the time spent around the table playing games or coloring. This way you wouldn't mind a rainy day ;-)

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    1. Hmmm. I wonder if there is room? I will look into it.

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  5. Great idea John, we don't have anything like teardrop's over here, maybe because of our weather (rain) people go for caravans'. I've looked at plans too, but at the moment we would need a 3 berth version, plus if we're towing the trailer it means we can't tow a dinghy!

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    1. If the 3rd is small enough (< 5 feet), some people have installed a bunkbed across the width of the cabin. I'll be putting Cabin Boy on the roof of the car!

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  6. My son and I built one a few years back. Our own plan and built inexpensivly. Galley, sleeping area, battery and lights/charging capable, fan and storage. He used it for a couple of years Nahuatl sold it recently. It weighed about 800 lbs dry and was towed w tdi golf and later w an element. It took us a winter to build. Might have done it faster but couldn't have been more fun. Just do it.

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    1. Yup... sounds exactly what we need. Simple and light.

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  7. I just finished reading your entire blog! I built an 8 hour canoe in high school. Thanks to your blog, I want to build a larger boat. I have certainly enjoyed reading about your adventures and misadventures! Thank you for sharing. Richard

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Richard... Just about to start a whole new series... Stand by!

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