Friday Teardrop Photo

I've always loved this photo by the Small Trailer Enthusiast of a colorful T@B trailer and teardrop trailer staying warm together in a snowy campground. Stay warm and cozy with your family this season and have a wonderful holiday.

Cyber Monday for Teardroppers

Personally, I'm not a big shopper around the holidays and Black Friday and Cyber Monday fly right past me without much notice. However, I have been noticing a few online deals that could work out great for teardrop trailer owners. These specials include camping supplies where you can save some big bucks or get free shipping. Also, I wonder how many teardroppers bring their trailer along to Black Friday sales to camp in? That would make a great photo!

Lodge 5-Piece Cast Iron Cookware Set $149.95 NOW $65 with free shipping from Amazon

I love Lodge cast iron cookware and while they do add weight to your car or teardrop, there is nothing better than cooking up bacon in one of these pans on a cold morning. 

 Cabana Privacy Shelter $37.99 from Target

These shelters are great for changing clothes, showering or keeping a portable toilet in. You can also set them right up next to your teardrop. This cabana is collapsible and has a small mesh window.

This compact grill can get tucked away in the teardrop and pulled out easily for grilling those yummy steaks or that trout you just caught. It has 160-square-inches of cooking surface on the triple nickel-plated cooking grate and pivoting locking legs.

This flashlight with a really long name is a great deal! You can save 77 percent off this compact little light that is also waterproof. Teardroppers know the value of a good flashlight when walking to the bathroom or showers in a national park in the middle of the night. I think I might get several of these lights to keep in my backpack and in the teardrop.

This cover is only available for the 13 and 15 foot R-Pod camping trailers, but you can save 46 percent on this winter/summer protector that is adjustable and has zippered panels for door access.

The Five Best Books for a Teardrop Trailer Library

These days, it seems the only time I ever get a chance to read is on vacation. This includes teardrop camping. There is something really wonderful about being able to curl up inside your teardrop with a good mystery or fiction book that has been languishing on your bedside, especially if the weather is less than ideal. I keep a set of books in my trailer for these opportunities and I have a few that are my tried-and-true favorites.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

This book about hiking the Appalachian Trail by the amazing storyteller, Bill Bryson, is made even more hilarious by the addition of his portly and foul-mouthed sidekick, Katz. A Walk in the Woods not only shows you how NOT to go hiking in the woods, but gives you an incredible view of the history and ecology of one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.

The Anna Pigeon Mystery Series by Nevada Barr

There are nearly 20 books in the Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr. A good place to start is with the prequel, The Rope, a super exciting murder mystery that takes place in the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area. In fact, each of the books about park ranger Pigeon takes place in a different U.S. national or state park and actually becomes a character in the story. Some of her books are pretty scary and edgy, but many feature nature as a main theme.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I guess you can tell that I like to hike. This is a newer book about hiking another long trail: the Pacific Crest Trail that runs from Mexico to the Canadian border. This very popular book was fun to read, but I was a bit disappointed that the author never hiked the Washington state portion of the trail. A sequel might be necessary. If you want another book about hiking the PCT, try Zero Days, about 10-year-old Mary's hike along the Crest with her parents.

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

Most teardroppers go out of their way to take the back roads, and Steinbeck's classic tale of traveling 1960's America with his standard poodle, Charley will have you wanting to pack up the trailer and hit the road.

Teardrops and Tiny Trailers by Douglas Keister

Of course, no teardrop library would be complete without the bible of teardrop trailers by Douglas Keister. I was lucky to meet the talented photographer when the book was just coming out and he really captures the beauty and simplicity of teardrops and smaller trailers like the Canadian Boler. This is also a good book to show your many teardrop admirers.

Teardrop Trailers on Makezine and Instructables

There are tons of teardrop trailer plans and schematics on the web, and because of the popularity of DIY, many of these home built trailers been showing up in Make Magazine and the handy step-by-step site, Instructables

While these types of sites don't take the place of a well drawn plan, they are a handy tool to see the process and final project. What's also great about these plans is that the trailers have already been built by the owners and they are sharing not only the visual steps they took to build the trailer, but also what issues they run into, how they purchase their supplies and any links they found to be helpful.

Here are a few teardrops that have been featured on Make Magazine and Instructables.

What do you do with your teardrop in the winter?

Unfortunately, the teardrop trailer season is coming to an end here in my part of the country. It's getting down into the teens at night and the snow will soon start to fly. We are hoping to take at least one trip this winter to a hot springs area, but for now the Sunflower will be put to bed. So what do I do with the teardrop in the winter?

The first thing I do is clean both the inside and outside thoroughly. There is nothing worse than opening up your trailer in the spring to realize you had left some dirty, campfire smoke filled clothes in the closet. I also keep a checklist of things we will need for an impromptu trip in the winter or for our first spring trip. This usually includes new batteries for our flashlights, new bulbs for the lights, a new propane tank, updated clothing, some new books to read or a few new games to play. I also go through the toiletry kit and restock it with new Band-Aids, Advil, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

I then take out the marine battery and store it in the garage on a trickle charger. This keeps the battery from going dead in the cold temperatures. I will sometimes take the charger off and on over the course of the winter season.

The last thing I do is cover up the teardrop. The trailer is not parked in a garage or under a carport, so this protects the color, the laminate and the tires from sunshine, cold, wind and moisture. I use the All-Weather Cover from Little Guy. These are made to fit all their various teardrop shapes and sizes and as long as your teardrop fits within the size parameters, this type of cover should fit. The cover is waterproof, durable and stays on even during our nastiest blizzards.

Photo by Little Guy

Friday Teardrop Photo

 Using a teardrop trailer as a changing room at Travertine Hot Springs in California.

There have been several times when we have used our teardrop for a changing room. This is usually at hot springs, swimming pools, or parks with lakes or rivers that you can swim in. If we have the teardrop with us, it's so nice to just slip inside and change into or out of swimsuits or dry off with the towels we have in our "closet" and into dry clothes. The curtains on the window offer privacy and we try to keep the bed free of items so we can lie down if we need to.

It's so much easier than trying to wiggle into your suit or clothes in the back seat of a car.

More Treasure Island Teardrop Gathering Photos

I wrote about the Treasure Island, San Francisco teardrop gathering a few weeks ago and just recently got a look at the photos my photographer husband took of the event. I thought they came out so great and decided that another photo show of the event was in order. You can see other photos by my Harry on his site.

Friday Teardrop Photo

 The Sunflower at a truck stop in Pocatello, Idaho. The photo was taken to show the size difference between big rigs and little rigs.

For the Teardrop Ladies: Camping Alone

On our teardrop travels we have notice there are a surprising number of solo teardroppers out there and some of them are women. Many women love to go camping alone or with their children or dogs, but some of them I've spoken to are fearful of hitting the road by themselves. I've been camping alone several times, but most of those times have been during a gathering with other teardroppers. I have traveled alone a few times, so I understand the trepidation of being in a strange place without a partner for company or safety.

I've had my fair share of travel scares. While traveling in Denmark, I was attacked by a group of teenagers on the beach (I scared them off with some self defense moves and some angry, foul language) and while in Ecuador several people tried to pickpocket me on the train. What they didn't know is that the wallet they were attempting to take from my jacket was my fake wallet – the real wallet is hidden on my body.

However, camping alone is different. You are usually out in the wilderness or a national or state park and when teardropping, you can feel vulnerable sleeping alone in what is essentially a box on wheels. Most women campers are fearful of strange men (or women) approaching them, petty crime like theft, rape and other violent attacks. We are always on the lookout for that white panel van and avoid parking right next to it.

On the TNTTT forum, there is a specific area just for lady teardroppers and the top threads are about safety and camping alone. Not every woman is going to broadcast their security camping secrets to the world, but here are the top tips from solo lady campers with a few additions of my own.

1. Camp in a well-lit campground where you feel safe and comfortable. 

Some private campgrounds have gates that lock at night as well as a full-time camp host. Introduce yourself to the host and ask if you can camp near them. There is no need to broadcast to the world that you are alone, but give them a heads-up that you need a little extra security.

If you are in a state or national park, talk to the local rangers and ask about the safety issues in the area. Get their office or cell phone numbers. Camp next to a family or older couple and let them know that if they look out for you, you will look out for them. Also, try to use the bathroom or shower in the daytime and avoid going out at night.

2. Carry some sort of self defense weapon and learn self defense

Depending on your state or county, some weapons may be illegal, so please check your local laws. If you are comfortable with guns, get a permit, take a class and learn how to use it correctly. Remember that the teardrop is a small place and a thief may have a much easier time finding it hidden under your pillow. Other weapons are batons, kubatans, bear spray, pepper spray and tasers. Other self-defense devices include body alarms, door alarms and panic buttons on car keys. These will usually deter someone just hanging around or a wayward bear. A large, good flashlight will also illuminate dark areas for you and blind someone who might be looking too closely around your teardrop.

Learning some self defense is good for any kind of situation, not just camping alone. A few years ago, I took a women's self defense course which gave me more confidence and strength in dealing with a bad situation. Keep your skills updated and don't advertise that you know them.

3. Be aware of your surroundings and use common sense

If you read the post on Stacie Tamaki and her Glampette, she outfitted her teardrop to have a peephole in the door. She wanted to be aware of her surroundings without anyone being aware of her. No matter where you go camping, be aware of who else is around, where the nearest buildings and roads are, where the dark areas are and how to contact someone quickly. Keep your cell phone, keys and self-defense items close to you at all times. In addition, be confident in your ability to defend yourself and don't be helpless in any way. You are a solo teardropper – no way are you helpless!

4. Be prepared while inside your teardrop

Before getting into your teardrop for the night (and locking the doors), be sure your campsite is cleaned up and tidy, have any entertainment items inside with you, and make sure your curtains are closed. It's also good to have emergency water or food in the teardrop with you in case you get hungry or thirsty before the sun comes up.

5. Don't freak out

In the dozens of times we've gone camping in the teardrop, we have never run into any nefarious people. People in campgrounds tend to look out for each other and their belongings and don't tolerate loitering. There is no need to panic and spoil your camping trip, so if you are camping alone, just be prepared and aware. Because you are in a teardrop, you will have people approach you to admire your trailer. There is no need to tell them you are alone, but you may end up making more friends than you thought you would on a solo trip.

Photo by Designspiration

Unusual Places to Take Your Teardrop Trailer

We have been to some amazing places in our teardrop trailer like Crater Lake, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, and there are some interesting places we still want to go to. For some reason we have never made it to Cathedral Gorge in eastern Nevada, but once I saw photos online of the amazing rock formations, I had to add it to my growing list.

Some other unusual places we want to take the teardrop camping is White Sands National Monument in New Mexico (along with the funky Truth or Consequences, NM), the Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona, Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World and the Leinenkugal Brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

The reason we call these places unusual is that they are not your typical parks or campsites. The White Sands National Monument has regular missile testing nearby and you can sled down the white dunes like you would down mountains of snow. Saguaro National Park, while hell in the summer, is heaven in the winter and spring. The Fort Wilderness campsites at Disney World in Florida are expensive, but what a great way to stay in the park and avoid the traffic and lines for the buses. On the TNTTT forum, asianflava has a good review of the Fort Wilderness campground.

As for the Leinenkugal Brewery and the Leinie Lodge in Wisconsin. One of the first photos I saw of a teardrop trailer was Big Woody Camper's photo of one of their handcrafted woody trailers in front of the brewery. In addition, one of my favorite book characters, Anna Pigeon of Nevada's Barr's mystery series drinks Leinenkugal beer and their Sunset Wheat is hands-down my favorite camping beverage. I don't think we can camp there, but a photo in front of the brewery is going to be necessary.

Where is an odd or unusual place you want to take your teardrop trailer?

Friday Teardrop Photo

Lunch on the road: egg salad on rye with chunks of pineapple for dessert. While on the road with the teardrop, we will pull over at various rest stops, truck stops, parks or parking lots and prepare a meal in the galley. This usually attracts a lot of attention and anyone heading into a fast food restaurant looks a little jealous.

To make it easier for these types of meal breaks, and so you don't have to break out the propane or stove, always have these types of food in the galley or ice chest: bread, crackers, cheese, hard boiled eggs, mayo, fruit and vegetables, canned tuna, chips and salsa, salt, pepper and spices, soda and water. Cleanup should be easy with just a quick wipe of a paper towel.