Monday, December 30, 2013

TeardropShop.com

For big fans of the Little Guy Worldwide teardrop trailers and accessories, the company has a store where you can pick up everything you might need for your Little Guy or other manufactured teardrop trailer. The TeardropShop has teardrop trailer covers, shelters, screen rooms, camping gear, parts, portable toilets and even portable solar panels.


The TeardropShop also has daily deals with sale items that have been marked down. You can also pick up accessories for your T@B trailer like covers, visors, bike racks and and trailer tents. You can even get a teardrop trailer for your garden birds.





Friday, December 27, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How do you wash your dishes?

The romance of camping in the great outdoors can be brought back down to earth with dirty dishes. Doing the dishes while on the road is necessary, but not very fun. Unless you are lucky enough to have a trailer that is hooked to campground water and a galley sink, you will find yourself hauling water and washing dishes out of a plastic pan. We've set up our own dish washing system when we go camping that seems to work for us. We do have one rule: whoever does the cooking, doesn't have to do the dishes.


Our dish pans do double duty as a holder for dish towels, garbage bags and a cast iron frying pan.

Because we don't have a galley sink, we use two plastic dish tubs to wash our camping dishes. We sometimes use water from the supply we brought with us, but most of the time we just grab water from a local water source: a camp spigot, a creek, lake or river. We boil the water on the stove or the fire pit and either take it off when it's lukewarm or mix some cold water with it so we don't burn our hands.

We've noticed that we need more water to rinse dishes than to wash them, so we put about a third of the warm water into one pan and the rest into the second pan. We then use a sponge and very little dish soap to wash. Silverware and less dirty dishes go into the wash tub first; our greasy dishes will get wiped with paper towels and will be washed last. After rinsing, we place all the dishes on two dish towels spread on our pop-up table or on the picnic table. That's one thing I've noticed about teardrop camping: you can never have too many towels. I am also very picky that everything should be dried and put away before we go anywhere. I really dislike a messy campsite.


This is a wonderful sink setup from Debbie and Randy Pontius of Northern Nevada. The water is sprayed from a metal hand pump.

So what if you don't have access to a lot of water or you don't like to wash camping dishes? On some camping trips, we've exclusively used paper plates or my friend Nancy's spray bottle technique. When we teardrop camp at Burning Man, we have to bring all our water with us, and there's no reason to use it for washing dishes. I don't particularly like the waste of paper plates, but we will use them for our basic meals and then put the plates in the public burn barrels that dot Black Rock City.


The spray bottle technique is just a simple spray bottle from a drugstore filled with water and dish soap. We leave it out in the sun to warm up then spray it on our dirty dishes and wipe off the food with a paper towel or a cloth. This doesn't work so well for very greasy dishes, but for simple cleaning, it saves a lot of time and effort.

Because most campgrounds or public parks don't like you tossing your dirty dish water on the ground or (please don't) in a fresh body of water. You will need to dump your dish pans in a pit toilet or outdoor sink. In fact, parks like Yellowstone, will have enclosed sink areas where you can wash your dishes without fear of bears sniffing around at your leftover bacon and eggs.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Teardrop Photo(s)


 It might be too late to get in those last minute holiday gift orders, but if you're looking for something for your teardrop loving friends for the New Year, the liltinpurse shop on Etsy has some fun and inexpensive teardrop themed window stickers, magnets and wooden necklaces — all with a retro style.




Monday, December 16, 2013

The Small Trailer Enthusiast

One of my favorite blogs about small trailers and the trailer industry is The Small Trailer Enthusiast. The owner of the blog, Pat, camps in a 15 foot 2010 Serro Scotty HiLander, but his blog regularly features teardrops, T@Bs and other small trailers. He also blogs about RV shows, technical updates to trailers and new small trailers by manufacturers and individuals. Pat was so nice to answer a few of my questions about his blog and why he loves small trailers.


How did you become interested in small trailers?

I guess my interest really started when my wife and I were in-between trailers. We bought a T@B teardrop that we soon realized after buying it that it was just a tad too small on the inside for us. We wanted to stay small, so my fascination with small trailers started when we decided to find something that was a little more functional for us while still staying small. While searching for its replacement, I researched just about everything on the market and soon realized I wanted one of everything I found! That research created a database of knowledge in my head that never really stopped growing even after we bought our replacement.


  
How did you decide on your own Serro Scotty trailer?

Our T@B had that "it" factor. It was red with white trim, sleek design, and was definitely not a conventional looking camper. We knew we wanted our replacement to be something that was an eye catcher. We didn't want just another white shoebox on wheels, but a little more roomy on the inside. I researched Scamps, Casitas, and R-Pods, but we kept coming back to the one we ended up with buying: the Serro Scotty HiLander. It was modeled after the orginals from back in the 1960's, but with modern technology and amenities. It was about the same length as the T@B, but it featured two dinettes, toilet/shower combo, and more headroom for me. Plus, it had the "it" factor, which is something we were looking for as well.


Do you have any experience with teardrop trailers?

Not long after we were married in 2002, we said one day we'd like to get a teardrop trailer. They were just cool, and we loved the coziness of them. It was one of those "someday" dreams we all have. Fast forward to 2009. We're fans of the fabled highway Route 66, and while on a cruise on Route 66 in Missouri, one of the participants in this motor tour had a Pleasant Valley teardrop trailer that was wrapped with a Route 66 scene, and they just happened to have it for sale. We kept talking about it while driving that day and discussed the pros and cons of a teardrop. However, that all changed when we stopped at a small town festival. A nearby Camping World store had a few RVs on display at the festival and one of those was a T@B. We were instantly hooked. It had the shape of a teardrop, but was one you could stand up in. We talked more on the way back to Indiana and decided that if we were going to buy something, it would be a T@B, since it gave us the best of both worlds. The following Saturday, we were in Elkhart, Indiana picking up a brand new 2010 T@B from Tiara RV, and the rest is history.


 What are your five favorite small or tiny trailers?

That's a tough question! These are the trailers in no particular order:

Serro Scotty HiLander: Obviously I'm a little biased here! Right now the HiLander isn't being produced, but when I talked to the president of Serro Scotty earlier this summer, he was hoping to have found a manufacturer to restart producation, which ceased early in 2012. It's just a solid unit with an aluminum cage, thicker floors, and has that "wow" factor!

T@B: Although we only had ours for 7 months, if space and money wasn't a factor, I'd have one. Since Little Guy Worldwide took over the T@B brand after Dutchmen ceased production of them in 2009, the quality has been much better and Little Guy has done a fantastic job of working with the vast Dutchmen T@B owners.

Camp Lite: I said it in 2011 after my first trip to the RVIA trade show in Louisville: I saw just about every small trailer anyone had to offer at that show, and none of them were better than Camp Lite in terms of quality. You'll pay a little more, but you're getting a solid unit.

Gulfstream Vista Cruiser: When this first came out a few years ago, it was called the Visa. I can't really put my finger on why I like this, but it just has a really clean look to it. The 19' model with the RBS floor plan would be high on my list if we were looking for a trailer right now.

Scamp: Fiberglass campers have been a curious fascination for me. Scamps are one of the most well known fiberglass campers, and you could argue they've become one of the most well known small campers over the past 30 years.

  
Where do you like to camp? What are your favorite campgrounds or parks?

We generally camp in state parks since they tend to be cheaper and you generally have little more space between you and your neighbors. One of our favorites is Starve Hollow State Recreation Area in south-central Indiana. Several of the campsites are right on the shore. I used to vacation in Minnesota growing up and it reminds me a lot of it, with the water and pine trees. However, one of the most relaxing places I enjoy the most is an RV park. It's a place called Little Farm on the River in Rising Sun, Indiana. They have a section that's along the banks of the Ohio River, and there's nothing I enjoy more than sitting in my chair all weekend watching the barges slowly roll up and down the river.
 

Do you have any favorite camping gear or camping tips?

One of the most important pieces of equipment I would never do without is the BAL light trailer leveler. It eliminates the need for leveling blocks and is a breeze to use. I had to get the word out to the rest of the small trailer world about it, so I ended up putting together a post about it.

Photos by The Small Trailer Enthusiast

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Teardrop Photo


The Sunflower is nicely tucked under her cover for the winter snows.
Happy Holidays to all the Tiny Yellow Teardrop readers and may your teardrop trailer also be protected this winter...or heading to Florida.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Teardrop Secret Compartments

For such a small trailer, a teardrop can have a lot of secret compartments where you can stash cash, wallets, keys, phones or other items you might not want someone to easily find. In our teardrop trailer we have storage under the mattress where we put extra bedding, pillows, towels, tools, emergency gear, extension cords, bungee cords and a first aid kit. It's a pain in the butt to get to, but that can sometimes be a good thing. It's also not immediately noticeable that the teardrop has such a large space under the bed.


I've also stashed a few belongings under my pillow or inside my pillow case. You can even buy a pillow case with a secret pocket sewn in, like this design from Dormco.com. Of course, it's best to keep your teardrop trailer hiding places a secret, but if you want a few ideas, here are five additional secret compartments in a teardrop trailer that you can turn into a quick hiding place.

1. Hide belongings inside a food container

That can of Pringles on the galley shelf doesn't always have to hold chips. Use empty food containers to store extra cash or coins, your phone or other small items.

2. Build it in

If you're building your own teardrop trailer, construct a small hidden compartment into one of the walls. Teardrop trailer walls are not very thick, but a small compartment with a hidden latch can be just enough for cash, keys or phones. However, keep in mind where you will be traveling with your teardrop. In this funny thread on the TNTTT forum, a note is made that Canada will search trailers and vehicles for hidden compartments that could be utilized for drug smuggling.

3. Sew it in

When I was putting in my new teardrop curtains, I thought their seams would make a great place to hide cash or keys. You can sew additional layers into your curtains and add a secret pocket in the process.

4. Use your clothes' pockets, even if you are not wearing them.

Hide small items inside pockets of clothes that are stored inside your teardrop cabinets or closets.

5. Sorry, this last idea is...well...secret


Monday, December 9, 2013

Featured Teardrop: Sierra Madre Teardrop Trailers

Cabinet makers already have the fine-tuned skills to design and build teardrop trailers, and Matt Lingeman of Sierra Madre Teardrop Trailers is no exception. His 15+ years of cabinet design and construction skills merged easily with his teardrop building skills about eight years ago when he saw his first Kit trailer that had been purchased by his sister and her husband.


"I saw it and thought two things: 'Man, that's cool'; and 'I can make one of those!'" Matt said. The teardrop plans were put on the back burner for a few years as his shop, Sierra Madre Cabinet Co., flourished during the housing boom and then faltered during the bust. After a few more family issues, the teardrop plans resurfaced during a routine spring cleaning. Matt decided to re-visit the project and his first teardrop was born – from a $1,500 budget.

I ran into Matt at the Treasure Island Teardrop Gathering and later asked him a few questions about his custom built teardrop trailers that, of course, have amazing galleys and cabinets. Including galley cabinets faced with chicken wire.



 What do you feel makes your trailers unique or special? 

I would say that the cabinetry is definitely what makes or trailers special. Being as it's my first love, a lot of heart and soul go into making them special and unique for each customer. We use the best materials including all the cool, soft-close doors and drawer hardware. Also, each one is built by hand so if you look at one of our trailers you see the care that was taken to get all the details just right. I know for me, when I'm buying something, the little details that most people don't notice, speak all kinds of truths about the piece as a whole.



  
Tell me the story behind your own personal teardrop. What's its name, how did you come up with the design? 

We had built a few trailers by this point, still building them without any particular client lined up so we were able to test them out on quick overnight camping trips, as we still couldn't afford one of our own. Through the test runs we learned what we liked and didn't like, and what would work and not work for our family of four. Finally, it came time to make a decision- do we go full steam ahead with the business and make a display trailer and try to take some orders? Or do we just keep going the way we had been building them and then selling them, without any way for our customers to see and feel? With that said, we were blessed that we were able to invest into our own trailer. I knew I wanted to do something different for ours and since I'm a woodworker at heart, a woody made sense. I knew what kind of look I liked so I started sketching it out by hand and came up with the design, I still have the original drawing sketch. We haven't named it yet, our daughters are working on it, for now it just gets referred to as "The Woody".






Do you design and build custom teardrops or stock teardrops? What do customers specifically ask for? 

All of our trailers are custom built to the clients' specific wants or needs. I have a basic shape that I tend to stick to but even that can be changed if they like, our woody is slightly different as well. That's the nice part about not having a machine cut your parts out, you are only limited by your imagination. I haven't had a customer ask for anything too out of the ordinary, we've done a "boat theme" trailer with portholes and we are currently doing a "Navy plane" theme trailer which is fun. Our trailer has a chalkboard wall on our daughters bunk bed which is entertaining! Other than that, customers ask for the usual things: a fridge, sink, and microwaves. We will be doing an off-road trailer as well this month, and next and will be starting an off-road line once the first is done – so we are pretty excited about that new venture!



  
Where do you like to go camping? What are your favorite places? 

We love to camp anywhere that is away from everything, and most importantly is beautiful. We love camping among the giant Redwoods and mountains. Mammoth, Yosemite and Utah are among some of the amazing places we have or would like to visit. But with little ones, most of our camping is done right here in our backyard for now in Angeles Crest Forest. We love Buckhorn Flats.


  
What do you like most and least about teardrop trailers and teardrop camping? 

I don't think there is anything we don't like about teardrop trailers. I think what we love the most about them is that we are always packed up and ready to camp. When tent camping, you have totes that get jumbled around...not to mention, we were always missing tent poles! But with a teardrop, all we need to do is hitch up and take off! It makes doing just a quick overnight trip possible and we love those. We also love how once camping, the trailer becomes a conversation piece, we've met a lot of really nice people because of it, it's been a blessing! We love the teardrop community.


Photos by Matt Lingeman

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Teardrop Photo



Because it's so flippin' cold in most of the country right now, I thought I would put up a little photo of summer. This is the Sunflower and the Stargazers teardrop trailer camping side-by-side at the Glory Hole Recreation Area in the Gold Country foothills of California. It must have been about 95 degrees out and shade shelters like our REI Alcove help to keep the sun off the galley area. The Stargazers' shelter was used over the top of the picnic table.

We were lucky to get this large RV campsite on a busy weekend and were able to squeeze the two teardrops and our two cars into the space. However, some campgrounds only allow a certain number of vehicles to be parked in one space, and sometimes they consider a teardrop trailer an extra vehicle. We had to convince the camp host that we were not a roving gang of trailers just looking for a place to crash and told him that we preferred to camp in the same spot as our friends so that we could share supplies and equipment.

If you're going to be camping with additional teardrops, check with your chosen campground before you make a reservation. Sometimes they will make you reserve two campsites next to each other rather than allowing you to share...no matter how small your trailer is.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Featured Teardrop: SignaTour Campers

The SignaTour Camper reminds me of a pocket knife: small and sleek and just when you think you've found all the tools, another one pops up. These Tampa, Florida teardrop trailers are built to be very lightweight and flexible with a large interior capacity that forgoes the traditional teardrop trailer galley.


You can go both basic or luxury with a SignatTour trailer. Their Sebring trailer is a basic trailer that can be towed by a trike or motorcycle and includes a removable folding tent with a 48" x 84" sleeping area and a foam cushion with a washable cover. Under the tent is a sport trailer with a roof rack that will carry your bike rack or canoe. The Sebring only weighs 295 lbs and costs $4,199. On the more luxurious side, the Venice is five feet wide and includes a front storage box, locking doors, carpeted and wood interior, LED interior and exterior lights and a rear entrance door. The Venice starts at $5,769. SignaTour offers additional rear-entry teardrops like the Biscayne and the off-road Rockledge.

If you still like the idea of having a tent, each of the campers has an optional roof top tent for $1,029 that can be attached to the roof for your guests or children. Other SignaTour options include air conditioning and heat, a side mounted sink and a foldable solar panel.




The company does build a traditional teardrop trailer, the Classic 59 which is a 5x9 trailer that contains a cooktop, microwave, a 24 inch TV with a DVD player, a refrigerator and air conditioning.




Photos by SignaTour Campers