Thursday, March 28, 2013

Teardrop Trailer Sinks: Pros and Cons

The decision behind whether or not to have a sink in a teardrop is just as varied as the owners and styles of these tiny trailers. Having a sink already built into a galley can be very convenient and allows for quick cleanup of dishes or your hands and face while camping, however they do add a bit more complexity to a rather simple trailer. Many expensive and high-end teardrop trailers will have a sink and many smaller, less expensive teardrops will not.

Teardropper Doug Holser has a small sink with a 2-gallon tank in his Little Guy 5-Wide Platform

So, what are the other pros and cons having a sink in a teardrop trailer? I asked a few members of the TNTTT board their opinion and received a mix of answers. It will really depend on the type of teardrop you have, are building, or want to buy. It will also come down to how much work you want to do, repairs you want to make or how simple you want your teardrop life to be.

48Rob's teardrop trailer has everything and the kitchen sink

Pros 


How nice would it be to set up camp and have your water all ready to go for a cup of coffee? The pros of having a sink installed in a teardrop is that the water receptacle is ready and most likely your water tank is full of water. There is no need to fill up a water container at a campground for washing dishes or making dinner. Even though the tanks in most teardrop trailers are small (between 5-15 gallons) and the waste water tanks are sometimes about half the size or don't exist at all (the water is dumped via a hose into a portable waste water tank) having that water available for a day or two makes teardrop camping a little easier. The portable waste water system also keeps used graywater from being thrown into various parts of a campsite, which might attract critters.

A portable waste water tank can be placed under a teardrop trailer.

Having a sink with a faucet and a plug is also really useful for keeping yourself clean. I know when I camp, my hands and face seems to need to be washed of dirt and fire pit ash constantly. However, you will want to really think about how you use your sink. Do you want it large enough to wash a couple of dishes and frying pans or will a small bowl to wash your face and hands be enough?

"Yes, we have a sink with pull out sprayer faucet and a six gallon gas electric water heater. We love it because meal cleanup takes no more time than at home." 
Shadow Catcher on TNTT

webbaldo on the TNTTT used a dog dish for his teardrop sink.

Cons


One of the biggest cons mentioned on the forum was that a installed sink in a teardrop trailer can have multitude of problems. When you add plumbing into a very small space that bounces down the road, you have the potential of running into leaks, busted pipes and loose tubing. If you are a DIYer, this may not be an issue, but if you are purchasing a teardrop with a sink, take into consideration that you will probably need to make repairs down the road.

The type of pump to draw up water to the faucet is not really a con, but if you install an electrical pump, there are more issues that you will have to deal with if something happens with your battery or wiring. There are some water pumps that work off a 12V plug like the Whale GP1352 which can be submersed into a water tank.


You can also get a hand or foot pump for your sink. They don't rely on electricity, but are only good for a few squirts of water rather than an entire sinkload. Several complaints on the forum were about when a teardrop trailer is not quite level on the ground, the pump will not draw correctly from the tank.

The Combination Hand Pump and lowboy can be ordered from Tweety's

Many teardroppers decide to opt out of having or installing a sink since they do take up valuable galley and food prep space.
"I thought we would have a sink in Miss Piggy just because most teardrops I had seen in the past had one. I assumed it was part of the build. But once I started reading the comments here on the forum, I changed my mind. And so far I am glad I did! It was less work in the build, saved money, took up less of our much valued space, and gives us more flexibility at clean up time."

Vedette, owner and builder of Miss Piggy 

"If had a bigger trailer and could easily afford the counter and storage space that the tanks, plumbing and a decent sized sink would occupy I would have most likely installed it. But with a 4-1/2' wide trailer it just didn't seem worth it."
Oldragbaggers on TNTT

Alternatives to Teardrop Sinks


Teardroppers are the most creative people, if I do say so myself. If they don't have a sink, they make one. I personally do not have a sink in my teardrop trailer and have had to come up with my own system. We have about one or two five gallon water tanks that we use for storing water, another 1.5 gallon tank that is our "faucet" and two dish washing pans that we use as sinks. For hot water, we just heat up a pot on the stove or over the fire.

Our "faucet" is a slimline, fridge jug from WalMart.

Debbie and Randy, the builders and owners of Monstro on TNTT, have built an ingenious little sink washing station out of PVC, a dish basin and a metal water hand pump.


If you don't want to do your own pumping, Coleman sells a All-In-One Portable Sink that comes with a dish drainer, two tubs and a 2.5 gallon sink that pumps water with four D cell batteries or a
CPX™ 6 rechargeable battery.


If you want the luxury of hot water all the time, Coleman's On Demand Portable Water Heater will help keep that coffee warm and dirty hands clean.






Trailer photos courtesy of dholser and 48rob.




8 comments:

  1. I do it like you do.The simplicity of a teardrop is part of its charm.The less to maintain the better.The galley isnt for cooking and cleaning its a storage area.We do all cooking and cleaning on the picnic table.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree...Sometimes I do get tired of packing up that heavy 5 gallon water tank into the back of the car, but I would also be a little nervous at having plumbing and a water tank so close to where I sleep. :-)

      Delete
  2. Nice article and I love 48Robs teardrop..!! I have always done without and just made a dish washing station to the side because the real estate in a teardrop is so valuable and I love to cook....so I have chosen to use my space and WEIGHT for food and SHOES..!!
    Kay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kay! I'm hoping to see you at the Dam Gathering in May. Yes, we notice that we end up using the galley counter space as more of a bar than a food prep area. LOL.

      Delete
  3. I'm browsing for excellent tear dropping hints while my 6 wide platform is being built. I initially ordered it with a stove and sink but the final order is to not have it on this unit. I'm the creator and host of TearDropTrailerRadio that had it's debut program Saturday morning May 18th, 2013. My guest co-host and sponsor was the president and owner of Little Guy Worldwide. I will be using tips ideas and suggestions on the weekly program that I see the loving community share on blogs and articles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Brooke. How fun! I always thought that the community needed a teardrop trailer radio program...just the the VAP! I will be sure to do a post on this.

      Delete
  4. I agree with you Christina. I don't see the practicality of one of those teeny tiny sinks. Nothing fits in it when its time to wash dishes. I just take my water jug, turn it on its side and use my dish washing tubs as my sinks. Everything sits on my 'side' table that I use for cooking. When done cooking, it doubles as the dish washing station. I think it's 'cool' to have a water pump, but just not practical in my opinion. Keep it simple. However, I like the way Rob has solved the problem. His is quite large and seems fairly practical. I've also opted for room in the galley to transport our 'full' size cooler. That real estate is quite valuable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Todd. I've thought a lot about sinks and how they can be a useful, little luxury, but you're right...those tiny sinks don't work too well with dishes. I do sometimes wish for a sink with on-demand hot water just for washing hands and a quick hair wash.

      Delete