Featured Teardrop: La Tortuga

I ran across Steve's (Reddiver on the TNTT forum) pirate ship themed teardrop trailer, La Tortuga, over the summer at a teardrop gathering in central Nevada. My husband and I are fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, so we were drawn to this design right away. It's one of the most fun I've ever seen. Steve answered a few of my questions about his hand built design.

 I love your teardrop design. Why a pirate ship?

I think I always wanted to build a boat. I knew that wasn't practical so when I decided to build the teardrop I went with a nautical theme (I was in the Navy). Next I decided to put in portholes — before I cut the holes inside I made the portholes to make sure I could make them. Once I had them the nautical theme was set. The nautical theme eventually evolved into a pirate theme during the next Christmas when my daughter bought me a Captain Morgan sign. The rest is history.

You built your teardrop yourself, correct? How long did it take you and what advice to do you have for other DIYers out there?

I did build it myself. Woodworking is a passion of mine. I bought the frame from Red Trailers, did some adjusting, cutting and welding and built the body. From the time they dropped the trailer in my driveway until the first camping trip was almost two years. I didn't work on it every day and the journey was great. I still work on it but miss the project now that it's complete.
I think my advice would be to enjoy the build. Don't try to buy all your parts at one time because plans and ideas will change. Buy the best parts you can afford — you won't miss the money at the finish line.

What is your favorite part about your pirate theme?

I think the pirate chest toolbox and the portholes are my favorite parts. But once the pirate theme took hold I was receiving pirate stuff from a lot of friends, so the pirate theme includes many gifts from many friends.

What do you like best about teardrop camping? What do you like the least?

I think what I like best is about teardrops is that in NO time you will meet everybody in the campground. You can sit back and have a cold beer and meet all your neighbors. I can't think of anything I don't like...well maybe getting up to pee in the middle of the night but that's an old guy thing, not a teardrop thing.

 Where are your favorite places to camp?

I'm a huge fan of the national parks. Some years ago, before I built the teardrop, my dog and I went on the road for two months and traveled across the country stopping at national parks and state parks all the way there and back. I haven't been able to do that with La Tortuga because of obligations at home but I am truly looking forward to the chance to get back on the road. I want to see Gettysburg.

Photos by Reddiver, Christina Nellemann and the The Flirty Blog


  1. Yea. Steve! Nice job Christina! Steve, looking forward to seeing you again at the Dam!