Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Teardrop Photo


Even though it's almost march, winter is still beating down on some parts of the U.S., so I just had to put up this photo from Links Teardrop Rentals in Orange County. Links is a new company that rents out several Little Guy and Cozy Cruiser teardrops for a two-night minimum.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Five easy teardrop trailer meals

Over the years that I've been camping in a teardrop trailer, I've seen a large variety of meals prepared out of the back of a teardrop galley. Everything from bread and cookies out of camp ovens to appetizers and full course meals. We've done our fair share of major cooking, but sometimes you just want a quick, simple meal at a rest stop or after a long day of exploring.


You will need a basic propane stove or grill for each of these meals. We have a Coleman 2-burner stove with a grill that allows us to cook two dishes at once for a little variety. We can either do the cooking in the galley or on a small table near the galley. If we do this, we use the galley counter for food prep. This usually attracts a lot of attention in parking lots and rest stops.


Burgers and grilled veggies

One of the best camp foods is still one of the easiest to make. The good old burger (meat or veggie) can either be cooked on the grill or in a pan. You can then use the grill for some veggies like peppers, asparagus or corn on the cob.

Quesadillas or grilled cheese and soup

The ultimate comfort dish. We always have tortillas with us and fill them or bread with cheese and ham or prosciutto for the ultimate grilled sandwich. You can also grill up a tuna fish sandwich as well. The other burner can then be used for tomato soup.

Salmon fillet and couscous

This meal is done in about 15 minutes flat. Grill the salmon over the grill pan and cook some packaged couscous in a pot on the other burner. Top the salmon with some mango or tomato salsa.

Tacos

Heat up those handy corn or flour tortillas in some aluminum foil on the grill and cook up some ground beef, ground turkey or even pre-cooked chicken in a pan. Top each taco with premade salsa, quacamole or sour cream.

Shish Kabobs

This is a great way to get both your protein and veggies together on the same dish, but just be sure you pack some metal skewers. Spear some cubed beef, pork or chicken on the skewers with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers and pineapple and grill. The other burner can be cooking up some couscous, orzo pasta or rice. Top both the side dish and the kabobs with tzatziki made with yogurt and cucumber.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Featured Teardrop: Little Guy T@G

The Little Guy Worldwide company just keeps coming up with new trailer ideas and the T@G teardrop marries two of their most popular designs: the T@B and the classic 1940's teardrop like their popular Silver Shadow. The T@G is a stylish and modern teardrop trailer that is light enough to be towed with a Toyota Prius.


The T@G has a 100 percent aluminum frame and a silver or white fiberglass exterior with brightly colored trim and graphics. The doors feature a portal window like the T@B, two additional windows and a full galley with a sink and a stove. The T@G comes in two versions: the 875 lb B@sic and the 1,105 lb Max.

The B@sic includes a 3-speed, dual directional roof vent, fiberglass fenders, alloy mag wheels, wood cabinetry, LED lights and a high quality, padded queen sized mattress. The tongue of the trailer features the T@B LP tank, which also houses the battery. The galley is set up for an optional fridge/freezer. The trailer has 12v and 110 power with multiple outlets, LED interior lights, porch lights, a 30amp inlet and a 25 power cord that you can use to charge up the battery at campgrounds. The B@sic starts at $8,995.

The T@G Max includes all the B@sic features as well as 12v fridge and freezer chest for the galley, a 19 inch LED TV with DVD/CD/AM/FM/MP3 and mounted speakers and installed AC. The Max starts at $10,995.




Photos by Little Guy Worldwide

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How do you decide where to camp?

People have asked us in the past how we decide where to take our teardrop camping. They are curious as to how we find our great campsites and what we look for in a campground. We've camped in many different types of facilities including free boondocking sites and WalMart parking lots, but prefer national and state campgrounds. In addition, our preferred sites usually have the same five principles.


When we drive to a campground and don't already have a designated space, we first take a tour of the entire place. We slowly look at each campsite and check for shade and sun options, fire pit quality, privacy and a possible view. If the campground is filling up fast, we back or tow the teardrop into the spot and rush back to the front of the campground to pay for the site.

These are the five things we look for in that perfect campsite:

  1. We like to be where we have some sort of view or quick access to a lake, stream or river.
  2. It is nice to have a campground store for last minute food and wine, it's also a benefit if the campground has a gas station nearby.
  3. With a teardrop we usually need wind protection, so a campground with trees, rocks or some sort of wind block is nice.
  4. It helps if the picnic table can be moved. We like to put it next to the teardrop galley for some extra cooking space.
  5. Neighbors are nice, but sometimes you don't want them too close to your camp. We like a site where we have privacy as well as peace and quiet. We also like to play board games in the evening which can get a little rowdy. 

Photo: That perfect site near a waterfall just outside of Yosemite National Park

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wishing for Whitney

Ever since I saw Mount Whitney for the first time about 10 years ago, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States has been on my mind. This year, my husband, several friends and I have decided we are going to attempt to summit the 14,497 foot peak located near Lone Pine, California.


To summit this craggy peak, you need to put your name into a lottery with Recreation.gov and then cross your fingers that your specific dates are chosen. Many people attempt the 22 mile climb in one day, but we are going to try it in two days. That means we backpack in and sleep at one of several overnight camps on the mountain. The training has begun.


Of course, we will not be able to tow our beloved teardrops (and their comfy beds) up the mountain, but they will be waiting for us at one of the campgrounds below the mountain trail. We will either stay at Lone Pine Campground, Whitney Portal Campground or Horseshoe Meadow Campground and will collapse in our beds after returning from the mountain.

I was wondering if any Tiny Yellow Teardrop readers have camped in the Lone Pine area and if they have been lucky enough to summit Mount Whitney. I would love to hear your stories.

Photos by Itoda


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Top 10 Teardrop Themes

Why do many teardrop trailers have a theme? Why turn one teardrop into an Area 51 spaceship and another into a Hawaiian Tiki bar? The answer might lie in the history of the teardrop as well as what it represents today — a form of rebellion.


The original teardrop trailers were built at home, rather than by a manufacturer, so the builder had carte blanche on what they could do with their own trailer. This still applies today. With their small size and simple lines, builders can create a themed trailer or even take a plain teardrop, add some creative decor, and turn it into whatever their fantasy might be.


Themes can be reflected in the drapes and bedding, the paint job or exterior siding, the hatch art and the various decor that owners choose. It's also fairly inexpensive to do. If you were to "trick out" a large 5th wheel, that could cost a lot of money. Tricking out a teardrop can be done on a shoestring.


Themed teardrops have a sense of humor as well. It's hard to be serious about a tiny, round trailer bopping down the road. It's even more fun if the tiny, round trailer is painted to look like a toaster or a ladybug. Personally, I knew right away what the theme of my trailer would be. When I saw the yellow and black colors I had to give it a happy sunflower theme that would always make people smile.

What are the top 10 themes I've run into over the years? 

 


1. Vintage or retro style (Elvis, 1950s, chrome, vintage camping gear)  
2. 1970s (hippie, tie-dye, Bob Marley or psychedelic)
3. Nature (flowers, wood, natural decor and colors)

 

4. National or regional pride (Union Jack, Switzerland, USA, Confederate South, Australia)
5. Hunting or fishing (Smokey the Bear, vintage fishing gear)

 

6. Humorous (pirate ship, UFO, submarine)
7. Wine and beer


8. Western themes with cowboy or cowgirl motifs
9. Travel (Route 66, map designs, tropical) 
10. Cartoons or characters (Hello Kitty, Barbie, Sock Monkey, bugs)

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Five Best Movies to Take Camping

Whether you call it glamping or high-tech camping, sometimes it's just fun to curl up in the teardrop trailer at night after a long day of hiking to watch a movie or TV show. Most of the time when camping, we'll either download a movie or show to our iPads, or we'll bring a DVD along to watch on a laptop. In this list I tried to cover the gamut: from horror to drama to one of my favorite travel TV shows.


The Cabin in the Woods

Most people wouldn't choose a horror movie that takes place in the woods to take camping in the woods (stay away from The Blair Witch Project and Deliverance). However, this is a different kind of horror movie: smart, well-written and funny. It turns the typical teen horror flick on its head.


How the States Got Their Shapes

If you are traveling across the country in your teardrop, don't leave this informative and funny series by the History Channel behind. Host Brian Unger hits the road to uncover the history hidden in the lines and contours that make up the U.S. map. Everything from geography to Supreme Court cases defining our nation are covered in this fascinating show.


The River Wild

Meryl Streep can pull off any kind of character, but I think she really had fun with this role as a sign language teacher and river guide whose family runs into the wrong kind of men on a whitewater rafting trip.


City Slickers

This classic Billy Crystal movie features everything you want in the great outdoors: wide open country, a cattle drive, deep philosophical conversation and a rugged cowboy who epitomizes the American West.


The Parent Trap

I'm talking about the 1961 movie with Hayley Mills and the beautiful Maureen O'Hara, not the one with Lindsay Lohan. This is one of my favorite Disney movies and it still holds up today. This is a great movie if you are camping with children or anyone who loved summer camp as a child.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Teardrop Photo


I'm sure my husband is not going to be too thrilled with the photo, but this is the Sunflower and our REI Alcove being used as a crash pad after a margarita party at a neighboring camp during Burning Man 2010. My husband had partaken of too many of the yummy drinks and decided to sleep right on the ground in the desert heat.

At Burning Man we need to keep our cooler up off the ground to preserve the ice as long as possible in the hot desert. The kitty litter boxes are makeshift gray water and trash receptacles since there are no dump stations or trash cans at the event. What you pack in, you have to pack out.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Featured Teardrop: American Teardrop Outbacker

This alien looking teardrop trailer was really just a flash in the pan, but seems to have made a few friends along the way. The American Teardrop Outbacker was only manufactured for one year in 1989 until the Wenatchee, Wash. company went out of business in 1990. However, these trailers seem to retain their look and value over time and keep popping up on the Web.


Shawn Johnson purchased his 350 lb. polyethylene Outbacker from a CBS producer in Hollywood and is taking it across the country on a job search. He's currently in Long Beach, Wash. looking for a home to buy.


"Life on the road with this trailer is fun," Shawn said. "I can't get gas without someone asking about the trailer. I forget sometimes I'm towing it due to it being so light."

Shawn mentioned that he is definitely camping during the wrong time of year, but his job search is taking him into colder areas. He added that his favorite types of camping gear are vintage stoves and lanterns and he is looking forward to adding a Dutch oven to his arsenal of gear.



Laura and Michael Moncur of Starling Travel also purchased an Outbacker to tow with a Toyota Prius on a cross country trip. They have a detailed post on their blog about what it's like to travel with this lightweight teardrop trailer as well as a good video on how to set up camp with an Outbacker.







Monday, February 3, 2014

How do you make coffee?

Even if you don't drink coffee in your everyday life, there's just something about a fresh cup of hot Joe when you're camping. It really gets you ready for a day in the fresh air. However, without a regular drip coffee maker (or the electricity to power it) how do you make your morning coffee while teardrop camping? Believe it or not, this has been one of the main questions we get when out on the road with the teardrop. It's an important topic to some people and our choices of coffee gear are very international.


Personally, when teardrop camping we use an insulated French press that makes about three to four cups of coffee. If you have not used a French press before, Howcast has a video on how to use this elegant little coffee maker. You will need to heat up water in a saucepan or a teapot first, and we do this on our camp stove or on the fire pit. The ground coffee beans go into the bottom of the French press, and the hot water is poured over the top of the beans. The top lid of the press has a plunger that you press down into the water and bean mixture which extracts out the coffee. The type of French press we have is very easy to clean out and the coffee stays warm for about half an hour in the insulated base.


Another type of camp coffee maker is the Italian espresso maker. We've used this type of pot before while teardrop camping, and the benefit is that the espresso maker can go right on the camp stove without having to boil water in another pot. This video by Sean Michael of the Long Long Honeymoon is a humorous look at how to use a Bialetti Moka Express coffee maker.



You don't have to use espresso beans in this type of pot, but it helps if the beans are finely ground. Put the ground coffee in the little filtered insert that goes on top of the bottom compartment. Cold water is poured into the bottom compartment, the top pouring compartment is screwed on, and the entire pot is put on the stove. The water from the bottom will heat up and force its way through the beans and into the pouring compartment. The pot makes a cute bubbling sound and when the bubbling stops, your coffee is done. I actually prefer this type of coffee pot and use it at home, but we are usually camping with several friends and the French press makes more coffee than the Italian pot.



Our Stargazers teardrop friends like to use the classic camp coffee maker, the percolator. This type of coffee maker uses the same science from the Italian maker, but without the forced steam. We've used this type of pot on both the stove and on a campfire grate and it makes at least five to seven cups of coffee. The coffee grounds are put into a filtered container that fits into the top of the pot. The filter has a long tube that reaches into the water inside the pot and when the water heats up, it flows through the tube, into the filter and back into the pot. I love to watch the coffee percolate into the glass viewer on top of the pot, but I personally think the coffee is a little weaker with this type of maker. Check this percolator video from Howcast.


Photo by simplerich