We recently returned from a teardrop trailer trip to Glacier National Park. On the way back, my husband flew home to Nevada and I took a road trip down to Colorado Springs through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and across the Silver State.
After nearly 20 days of full-time traveling in a 5x8 teardrop trailer (my longest trip yet) I learned a few things about life on the road. Here are the top five.
1. I could be a full time nomad
When I returned home from my trip, I went into a slight depression. I couldn't figure out why at first, but then realized that I really loved being on the road. I loved stopping in a different location every night and waking up to a different landscape every morning. Traveling full-time is tough on your system, but it's a lot of fun and is something I wouldn't mind doing as a lifestyle.
2. You need a lot less than you think
When on the road, I only used about 60 percent of the clothing I brought with me and never used any of the "emergency" items that we bring along. When I returned home, I did a mass purge of items in my house and thought more about we really need while traveling and camping.
3. Get some downtime
Even though I was traveling by myself much of the time, I still needed some downtime. I camped in a few KOA and private campgrounds on the way to and from Colorado, and with my yellow teardrop I was the center of attention. It's sometimes difficult to get away people when you are traveling in a teardrop, so plan to camp in more secluded locations and take breaks away from urban and more popular areas.
4. Take the back roads
Through most of the trip, I stuck to secondary roads. The only time I was on a main freeway was on Interstate 70 near Denver and Interstate 80 through part of Wyoming. Both times I didn't like the traffic and went out of my way to find alternate routes. Along those routes I found some amazing places that I plan on going back to.
5. Rest stops are one of your best friends
In the western states, rest stops are few and far between, so take advantage of them as much as you can. The rest stops in Idaho were some of the best with beautiful bathrooms, maps, road guides and water fountains. We used the stops to take a nap, fill up our water, eat snacks and use the bathroom.
In addition to these five things, I realized how much I appreciate having a teardrop trailer and a comfortable and quiet place to sleep. While the teardrop did well in good weather, it was a challenge during some heavy rainstorms in Montana and Colorado, but I still wouldn't trade it for anything.
Can you tell I'm still obsessing about Glacier National Park? I'm planning to head up there again next year and was looking at staying in West Glacier. The KOA in West Glacier had a nice publicity photo that featured none other than a pretty aluminum teardrop trailer parked in their campground.
Brian Seeley and his wife own Aero Teardrops, LLC, a small company in Portland, Ore. Their company not only builds stylish teardrop trailers, but they also just became the Portland dealer for Adventure Sole Rooftop Tents. Seeley's company offers the 5x10 "Steel" model ($11,500) and the 5x8 "Broadway" ($9,500) model and both can be ordered directly from their website.
Brian was kind to answer a few questions about Aero Teardrops for the Tiny Yellow Teardrop and the latest issue of Tiny House Magazine.
Tell us a little about Aero Teardrops and why you think they are unique.
Our trailers are a blend of ‘50’s nostalgia with just the right amount of modern features. They’re a great mix of vintage diner meets modern technology and comfort. Inside, the cabin of our teardrops feel nice and airy—not like an old, dark, wooden boat cabin.
Our goal is to create a room where people can spend time relaxing. By using a mattress that folds into a couch, it allows the cabin to be multi-functional. If it’s raining, windy, or you just want some time alone, you can sit on the couch and read. With the addition of our interior table, you can easily play a board game or enjoy a meal no matter what the weather’s doing. This also allows you to expand the months you feel comfortable camping!
Part of what our family always enjoys while camping is cooking. To make this easier, we designed almost a full-depth countertop in our galleys, like you have in your kitchen at home. We’ve found that having a nice big area to prep meals in without having to shuffle stuff around is a lot less stressful.
A few other great features we offer that our family loves:
- A children's bunk in our 5x10 model that allows a child under 5’ tall to sleep comfortably inside the teardrop
- USB ports and a small phone/glasses shelf near the head of the bed for you to easily charge your phone while sleeping
- Stereo speakers both inside the cabin and in the galley
Why do you think teardrops have become so popular?
Teardrops have become popular because people are thirsty for adventure but are tired of tent-camping. At the same time, they don’t want to be tied down by a large RV and all of the payments and maintenance that comes with them. Teardrops are lightweight and can be towed with most cars, which means that they don’t have to buy a separate, larger vehicle to tow with.
The nostalgic look of the teardrop camper makes them popular as well. So many people have come up to us in campgrounds and at trade shows and told me about the teardrop their grandparents had when they were kids. It hearkens back to a simpler era, where extravagant wasn’t necessary for great family fun.
Can you tell me the different ways that your customers configure their galley?
Our galleys can be configured many different ways. We tend to leave the upper cabinets the same in most of our builds to make sure that there is plenty of storage. Under the counter, in addition to the large standard drawers, customers can add a sliding stove drawer with a built-in two burner stove. We can also add a pull-out cooler drawer for a 50 quart cooler. All of our galleys also come standard with a pull-out drawer for a five gallon water jug that tucks inside a cabinet, although customers can request that this be just a regular cabinet instead. Our galley design allows us to be pretty flexible with custom requests.
What other requests do customers have when ordering their trailer?
One of the most surprising requests that I have had was to leave out the Bluetooth stereo system. A Pioneer Bluetooth stereo system is a standard option on both of our models and has no additional cost. I have also had requests for a sink in the galley. Although this isn’t an item on our option equipment list, we will quote and install sinks on a case-by-case basis. Another item that customers request is a plug-in refrigerator.
What do you like about teardrop trailers?
I like how they make camping easier for “regular” people. My wife and I love that we can keep our camping gear in the teardrop and just load food and clothes in it and hit the road. For us, it’s really brought the enjoyment and relaxation back to camping.
Where do you like to go camping and what location is on your bucket list?
We often go camping on the Oregon coast and the high desert of Central Oregon. We love the beautiful scenery. Our favorite Central Oregon campground is located in The Cove Palisades State Park near Madras. One of my bucket list trips is to take a road trip around the continental U.S. Part of that trip would include a long stop at the Grand Canyon. Another trip on my bucket list is a trip through Alaska. We’re currently developing an off-road/overlanding version of our 5x8 model and a trip to Alaska would be just the thing to test the durability! Once it’s proven itself on the rugged terrain of Alaska, we may have to take a trip to South America too.
The Sunflower and her crew recently returned from a trip to Glacier National Park in northern Montana. This amazing park has been on our camping bucket list for some time. We stayed at the St. Mary KOA in the small town of St. Mary on the east side of the park—both for their KOA cabins for our two friends, Nelly and Andres, and for the convenience to both the St. Mary and Many Glacier entrances to the park.
Most of our time was spent in the park: hiking, exploring, watching grizzlies, mountain goats, big horn sheep, and (my favorite) the American dipper bird. We hiked over 37 miles of the park's trails and even jumped into both Grinnell Glacier Lake and Iceberg Lake for an icy afternoon dip.
The weather was all over the place, which I heard is typical of this area. In the same day we would get cold temps, hot and humid hiking weather, lightning, rain and wind. If you decide to go, prepare for anything and don't put up an EZ-Up over your teardrop. We came back from a hike and ours had blown away in an afternoon wind storm.
Trailers are discouraged on the main road through the park, Going to the Sun Road. Any vehicle driven along the road and over Logan Pass can only be 21 feet long. I spoke to another teardrop owner at the KOA who had towed his new teardrop over the pass the day before. The ranger smiled about the tiny trailer traversing the steep, winding road, but still gave him a warning.
Since the teardrop was not quite next door to our friends' cabin, we used our galley for storing the cooking gear and their porch and "front yard" to cook our meals. This meant some running back and forth between the two camps, and for some reason, we were the only campers in the RV area who were cooking outside. The weather held up most of the time and it only rained on us once or twice.
The wildflowers were in full bloom at the end of July and we asked a park ranger when the leaves start to change: mid-September. Camping time in Glacier is short and sweet.