Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Is Simple Better?

Our good teardropper friends, the Stargazers, recently moved up from their teardrop trailer to a Jayco Jay Flight 14 foot camper. While they still like their teardrop, they needed something that would protect them from the elements during longer trips in their retirement years.


I've never been a fan of manufactured, boxy campers, but I've got to say that the layout of the inside of their Jay Flight is ideal. They have more than enough room to store food and clothes for longer trips, a queen bed, a bathroom, heater, and a delightful kitchen that can be used in 60 mile an hour winds and sideways rain.


My husband and I have been in the discussion phase of what we would want to upgrade to when he retires. While we like our friends' camper, the discussion has revolved around gas mileage, cost, size and our most needed amenities. I love the Sunflower and it's ideal for long trips with great weather. It's when we get into bad weather that we have to look at something different.


The thing is, we want to keep it simple. All we need is a comfortable bed, an inside kitchen, a place to store food and clothes, and maybe a table. A bathroom would be nice, but after years of not having one, we know exactly what we need to do. However, if a future camper had one, we would use it.


Finding all the items on our list is proving to be very difficult. We've looked at the T@B, the MeerKat, the RPod, the Chalet, the PaloMini, the Scamp, and the Passport ROV. These choices are either too expensive, the bed or the storage is too small, or there is just too much...stuff. Quality seems to be an issue as well and I don't feel like getting 12 miles to the gallon hauling around items we don't need.


We are sticking with the tiny yellow teardrop for now, but will be keeping our eyes out for small, efficient campers to be our future road warrior. Manufacturers, keep an eye on our list.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wedding Anniversary Trip to Oregon

When my husband and I got married 15 years ago, we did not have a teardrop trailer. As big fans of tent camping, we never even considered a tiny camper until several years later. After nearly 10 years of teardrop camping, the Sunflower is still an excellent wedding anniversary (or belated honeymoon) getaway.


Our latest trip was a 10 day trek to the Oregon Coast and Northern California to escape the heat of the desert interior. We took a similar trip many years ago and didn't have to book any of our campsites. Unfortunately, the number of people visiting this area has increased and campgrounds fill up very quickly. We ended up having to book sites at several KOA campgrounds and hope for the best.


We were pleasantly surprised by a few of them. One night was spent at the KOA near Mount Shasta and one at the KOA in Grants Pass, Oregon. The Grants Pass location actually had their own wonderful swimming holes. We'll be going back to that one.





The Bandon/Port Orford KOA was a quiet, tree-filled delight close to windy Cape Blanco and Bandon restaurants. It was a perfect place to enjoy the coast without getting blasted by wind or cold. We also stayed one night at the Heceta Head Lighthouse (where we originally proposed to each other) and were lucky our tiny trailer fit down their tiny road.




The last locations included Whaleshead Beach Resort near Brookings and the Redwood Meadows RV near Jedediah Smith State Park and the Del Norte Redwoods. While the Redwood Meadows was conveniently located near the redwood hikes and Smith River swimming holes, it was packed full of larger RVs. We were a curiosity in that campground. We had visited Whaleshead before and stayed in a rental cabin that overlooked the coast. This time, our campsite was meant to be for a larger RV, but had plenty of room for us.


Out of all the places we stayed, we were consistently the smallest trailer around.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Interview with Explore More Northwest

Jay and Dana Cadwell are the owners of the teardrop trailer rental company, Explore More Northwest in Spokane, Washington. After a four-month trip through the western U.S. and Canada in their Dutchman T@B, the couple decided to open up their own business renting out two Little Guy teardrops and two T@Bs—including their own. Dana was so nice to give us not only the inside scoop on how they started their business, but also how much they love the teardrop life.



How and why did you become interested in teardrop trailers and T@Bs? 

When Jay and I lived in Spokane, Washington I was working full time and he was in grad school. We wanted to get away on the weekends to go hiking but it always seemed like a hassle to pack up the car with all of our camping gear, so we looked into small travel trailers. We wanted something small enough so we didn’t just disappear into a large RV and miss out the camping experience so a teardrop seemed like a great compromise.



We couldn’t have been happier with our decision to get our T@B trailer. We didn’t realize how much use it was going to get until we spent over 60 nights in it within the first year. Not only did we use it in the summer for camping, but we towed it up to ski resorts and stayed in the parking lots in the winter.





We love the T@B layout because we were able to cook inside, allowing us to travel no matter what kind of weather was thrown at us. We have slept though severe lighting storms, winter blizzards, and torrential down pours. We love that no matter what the weather throws at us, we can still travel and have a comfortable night sleep!


What are some benefits and challenges of teardrops? 

Benefits: Easy to tow, lightweight, and comfortable to sleep in. When we get away in our teardrop it’s not always about the camping experience. Sometimes our main objective is to go mountain biking, skiing or long distance running. These activities require a good night’s sleep so we can be re-charged for the next day of our trip. It is SO nice to get a good night of rest and be able to make dinner in a flash with the easy kitchen access in teardrops.


Challenges: I never had any towing experience before our first teardrop so it was a little intimidating to learn how to hook up and back up a trailer for the first time. I was surprised how quickly I learned and how easy it really was to operate a teardrop.


How did you get started in the rental business? 

Jay and I found ourselves at a juncture in life where he had the option to take some time off from work for a couple of months. We decided to hit the open road and travel out of our 2008 Dutchman T@B for four months. We had no itinerary or plan so we were able to make decisions on a whim and live each day in the moment.  It was incredibly easy to travel this way with the simplicity of our teardrop.




When we finished our trip in our hometown (Kennewick, Washington) we realized we wanted to share this experience with the local community and give them quick access to the outdoors. We are incredibly passionate about being in the outdoors and how it can bring a sense of peace to those that live a stressful life. It’s important to unwind, disconnect and recharge in nature every now and then and we hope that renting out teardrops will grant our customers a quick escape into nature.


Read more about Explore More Northwest and their rental business at Do It Yourself RV

Photos by Explore More Northwest



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Shakedown Trip

Last weekend we took off in the Sunflower (with our Stargazers friends) for our first summer teardrop getaway. Our shady campsite at Rye Patch Reservoir was only a few hours from our home which makes for a good shakedown trip.


A shakedown trip is an opportunity to get all your camping mistakes out of the way. Having the teardrop trailer tucked away for the winter will make you a little rusty in the camping department—not matter how long you've been camping. During this trip we realized what we are missing, what needs repairing and what supplies we need to stock up on.


The trip was also a nice time to enjoy our teardrops after a long, cold winter. We hiked in flooded canyons and played some late night games. We still sleep like we're dead to the world and have a few new recipes under our belts. We also ran into another teardropper with a simple trailer named the Mini GetAway.








Thursday, May 18, 2017

101 Questions About T@B, T@DA and T@G Camping Trailers

The Dutchman, Little Guy and now nüCamp series of tiny campers are certainly popular, but sometimes difficult to learn much about. Richard Lewis, a former T@B owner and forum moderator has written a book that cover all portions of the campers. 101 Questions About T@B, T@DA and T@G Camping Trailers is selling for less than $5 on Google Play.


The book not only covers the latest T@B and T@G designs, but also the older campers that are no longer being made. Lewis also answers over 100 questions about the trailers including issues with electrical, plumbing, towing, weight and modifications.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cool Tears Magazine, May 2017

The May 2017 version of Cool Tears and Tiny Campers is now available as a digital or print version. This issue has a great article on the top 10 smartphone apps for teardroppers and campers.


In addition, the magazine has an article about an epic 5,000 mile T@G teardrop trip with Elizabeth Vezina and her husband, how a teardrop build saved the life of a veteran, and a unique teardrop with a little extra room.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Teardrop Trailer for Sale: Incubate by Moksha Woodwork Designs

I recently did an interview with San Francisco based woodworker, Moksha Osgood. He builds unique campers, backyard retreats and tiny houses on wheels as well as prototypes of buildings for displaced Bay Area residents.


One of his designs, Incubate, is for sale and the sale of this teardrop-like camper will help fund additional prototypes of Moksha's dwellings for the unhoused. Incubate is 78 square feet, 2,680 lb. and is tall enough to stand up in. The structure is built on a 12 foot long Carson utility trailer and has an interesting, redwood canopy frame that can be disassembled during travel.

Moksha says he was inspired by both teardrop trailers and Japanese design and aesthetics while building Incubate.


The exterior is cover with a mix of salvaged and new redwood and cedar siding as well as 26 gauge galvanized metal sheets. The interior is accessed with Douglas Fir French doors and redwood steps.



The interior has an Atwood two-burner stove, a sink with a gravity fed faucet, four LED lights and a maple wood kitchen counter with maple cabinets. The sofa folds out into a full size bed and there are two storage cabinets behind the sofa. The interior is paneled with Douglas fir.





This one of a kind standy camper is for sale for $19,000.

Photos by Moksha Woodwork Designs