Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Teardrop: Conquerer Australia

The Conquerer Australia brand of camping trailers are not technically teardrops, but they sure are bad ass. These tough, rugged trailers that open up like a Swiss Army knife would be the perfect type of off-road teardrop owned by Crocodile Dundee or Tank Girl.

The Australian range of Urban Escape Vehicles (UEVs) come in six different models and have amenities like independent suspension systems, large hot water systems, storage and queen-sized beds and have virtually zero set up time. Smaller versions like the UEV-310 and the UEV-330 have a roof-top tent and bed space, awnings with side walls, slide out kitchens with a sink, stove and storage drawers as well as a slide out refrigerator and freezer. They even have a small bathroom with a shower and clothes closet as well as hot and cold water. Each of the UEV's can be hooked up to solar power and have extra fuel and propane canisters for longer treks.

The larger Conquerer brands like the UEV-440 have all the same amenities including a hard roof, sides and a floor, space for couples or families, a diesel hot water system, interior heating, air-conditioning, microwave, shower, fridge/freezer, full kitchen complete with cutlery and crockery and even a flat screen DVD player. Each of the UEV's are shown on the website as hacking it in mud, water, rocky locations, dirt roads and in the middle of the Aussie bush.

These campers are not cheap. The UEV-440 sells for around $50,000 AUD ($47,000 US) and they are currently only sold in Australia. However, I do have an itch to go Mad Max all over the outback in one of these bad boys.

Photos by Conquerer Australia

Monday, July 21, 2014

Five Tips for Your First Teardrop Gathering

If you're seeking out your own teardrop trailer, or are a new teardrop owner, sooner or later you will go to a teardrop gathering. Teardrop gatherings are held all over the U.S. and abroad and are places for teardrop lovers, owners, soon-to-be owners or curious folks to check out the tiny trailers, chat with new friends and eat lots of Dutch oven cuisine.

Gatherings are great places to see other trailers, meet other teardroppers and even camp in places you may never go to on your own. Above, you will see a photo taken at a small gathering on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. Most people will never get a chance to camp in such a unique location unless they are part of a gathering. So, if you are heading out for your first teardrop meetup, keep these five things in mind:

1. Clean up and put out some information on your trailer
At least one or two days of the gathering is dedicated to "Show & Tell". This is where you clean up your trailer, put out your best linens and the great grill you found on Craigslist and tell the story of your teardrop to anyone who drops by. If you are not around to tell the story, have a flyer or some printed cards in the open galley that tell your visitors where the trailer came from, the date, the weight, the size and any other tidbits of info they will find interesting.

2. Be prepared to chat...a lot
Most conversations at a gathering will revolve around teardrops, tiny trailers, camping and gear. Be prepared to talk to a lot of folks about those subjects. If you don't feel like chatting, close up your trailer and hide out inside.

3. Bring food to share
Most gatherings will include a potluck or Dutch oven dinner night. Bring snacks, a good Dutch oven or skillet recipe and unique beers or wine to share with your fellow gatherers. Some gatherings will even have a group cooking area.

4. Bring good shoes, your camera and take notes
A gathering is your chance to get tons of information for your own teardrop trips. Visit dozens to hundreds of trailers with a good pair of shoes, a sun hat if it's hot, your camera and a notebook. Don't be afraid to take lots of photos of interesting details or designs and file your notes away for when you return home.

5. Explore the local area
Get away from the gathering for a day or half a day to visit the local area. Is there a cool beach nearby? A ghost town or hot springs? Or maybe like Treasure Island, you can take a quick jaunt into The City. Tell other teardroppers what you find and tell your friends back home what they missed.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Teardrop Photo's hot. Anyone for a margarita con lima?

The Sunflower galley acting as a bar and storage space during last summer's trip to Grand Teton National Park. Notice the cutting board? It's actually a plastic separator used for binder materials. I "borrowed" it from my previous job and it fits perfectly in the galley as a lime cutting board.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Co-Hosting on Teardrop Trailer Radio

Last Saturday, I co-hosted Brooke Folk's Teardrop Trailer Radio show again. We chatted about the International Redwood Gathering, Miss Piggy, summer teardrop camping plans and bears. Check it out on his TalkShoe radio station.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Teardrop Photo

 The Ladybug teardrop trailer by Lydia McElroy from Etna, California. She built her teardrop in her high school shop class and I enjoy seeing it at Northern California teardrop gatherings. It fits perfectly with the redwoods during the IRG.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Featured Teardrop: Roly's Stealth Fighter

Roly Nelson is a serial teardrop builder and pilot who kept his latest teardrop trailer a secret until last week's International Redwood Gathering. The secrecy completely matched this clandestine camper and Roly's F-117 "Stealth" Camper stole the show at the event.

Roly wanted his newest wooden build to look just like the F-117 fighter, but without the wide wings that might take out vehicles in neighboring traffic lanes. The cockpit holds Roly's twin bed which has Air Force themed flannel sheets and the interior is papered with air traffic charts. Roly's two small dogs sleep at his feet.

The galley is small, but has room for storage space, access to the interior and a few shelves that close up with wooden doors. Fun details like a jet blast warning sign and "Step" and "No Step" labels make his teardrop even more fun to look at.

Roly said that each time he's taken out the F-117, nearly every person who passes him on the road slows down to take a look—hence the sign in the window of his tow vehicle.

So much for being stealthy... :-)