How do you convince your "better half"?

I'll admit that my husband was not fully on board when I got my first teardrop trailer. I wanted one, and I bought it with my own money and without his there! Just kidding. I really wanted him to like it and actually bought the Sunflower to accommodate both of our needs, wants and size. Now he enjoys our camping trips with the comfortable bed.

So, what do you do when you love teardrop trailers, but your partner is not so hot on the idea? I asked some fellow teardroppers on the Teardrops n Tiny Travel Trailers forum how they were able to, or how they plan on enticing their partner over to the tear side.

Idea #1: Compare the costs

"We were temporarily on the east coast, and planning our move west. The estimated cost to build the teardrop and the gas for the trip was less than the cost to ship me, the car, and the dogs back to CA. On top of that, traveling with dogs could have been tricky trying to find someplace to stay if I didn't have a teardrop to sleep in. Now that we have it, she still wants nothing to do with it. She doesn't like to camp, and she is mildly claustrophobic, so I can't even get her inside. But it works great for my son and I to go camping. If the "other half" isn't a camper, then she won't become one. If she is a camper, then look at how much better the teardrop is versus a tent."

—SoCal Tom

"I explained that I could build one for a fraction of what it would cost to buy."


"If it's a money argument, pick some places to go and figure out how much it would cost to fly and stay in a hotel versus camping. List the places you can visit and friends you could see while showing how many vacations you could take in a year just based on cost."

 —Mary C

Idea #2: Expose them to teardrop life 

"I took her to the Dam Gathering. Upon meeting all the nice people, seeing how much fun they were having, and seeing all the decorating ideas, she was on board."


"Fourteen years ago, my sweet wife said, 'You don't expect me to sleep in that thing, do you?' She had trepidations about what "those trailer people" were like. I said they were having a gathering in a nearby campground, and suggested we go over and check them out. There were a bunch of tears, all parked side by side. We were offered coffee at the second trailer and when we got to the end of the line, my wife asked if there was really room enough in there to sleep. She was told to take off her shoes and climb in. 'Wow, this is really roomy and comfortable' she said. The teardrop owner asked what we were going to do for dinner, and we said we were fairly close to home, so would go home and eat. 'We've got four steaks all cooked up with all of the fixins, so why don't you join us for supper right here?' they said.

—Roly Nelson

Idea #3: Give them some visualization

"I built a full size cardboard mock-up of the cabin (with a few wood spars/slats to hold it together) including a full size side profile with door opening and walked through my plans with my wife. We sat in through the door, laid down inside, and she helped decide on a few things like headboard height, shelve height, light switch locations, etc."


"Like you, I was the one who wanted the tear. What convinced Randy was buying him Steve's Fredrick's manual to help him visualize how to build it."


Idea #4: Do all the work

"Tell your other half that you will do all the cooking and all the cleanup. Then they can relax without a care"


"I bring easy to prepare food, do the cleanup, bring electric blankets, nice camp chairs, coffee...anything to keep it fun and simple. We had fun, then we went to a gathering and met some wonderful people."


Idea #5: Go without them

"I always say, 'you can't teach someone to have fun'. I built a very nice teardrop, with the hopes that my wife would start to camp again. She said that is a very nice trailer but she was not camping any more. So now we are both happy. I go camping with friends and the dog and she stays!"


"My other half does not enjoy camping and has no interest. I love it. I showed him a picture of the one I wanted and went and looked at it. He said I was crazy but I should go ahead and get it"


Photo courtesy of ArtbyChrysti

Friday Teardrop Photo

This photo is actually of me in my first teardrop trailer, a Little Guy Rascal I purchased on craigslist in 2006. Our first trip was a December journey into Death Valley. Even when the daytime temperatures got into the 70s, at night it hovered around 30 degrees...hence the hat and the double feather comforters. The orange giraffe lived in the Rascal for a while and loves national parks.

Teardrop Holiday Giveway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my post for the chance to receive the Teardrops & Tiny Trailers book and Historic Camping & Teardrop Trailers DVD. The winner of the random drawing was Greg Vinci. Congratulations!

Many readers mentioned wanting to see more posts on teardrop storage ideas and options. Also, some people commented on wanting to see where or how to store more food for longer trips. I plan on having a post and a video covering these soon.

Other people commented on how they like to see other teardrop owners and builders and many more of those are in the works. I also love to see what other teardroppers do with  their small space, and I bow down to builders and their multiple talents. Bravo!

Friday Teardrop Photo

While this is not a teardrop trailer, I really love this photo by my friend Bruce. He lives part time out of his Airstream Overlander (a teardrop's big brother) and decorated his trailer one year for Christmas.

Bruce was recently diagnosed with an illness that is affecting his ability to walk, and is crowdfunding to raise money for surgery. You can see more of Bruce's Airstream on his website or on this video made by Kirsten Dirksen of faircompanies.

Featured Teardrop: Casual Turtle Hatchling & Terrapin

Peter Pavlowich's small trailer designs are spreading through the Web like wildfire—for good reason. His beautiful wooden designs (and cute names) are a symbol of what you can do when you know how to work with wood. Peter received his degree in Wood Construction and Design from the University of Idaho and has since created a small business named Casual Turtle Campers. One of his designs is a teardrop-like trailer called the Hatchling. A larger design (complete with dining/sleeping area) is called the Terrapin. Both are currently available for sale. Peter is happy to hear from anyone who is interested in the current designs or any similar designs. You an contact him on his website or by email at

Why did you decided to build wooden campers and trailers? How did you become interested in them in particular?

I grew up camping with my family in a pop-up tent camper—and I always enjoyed the small, cozy atmosphere it created.  I never owned a truck camper before starting this venture, but I always loved the idea of having a little cabin on the back of the truck. Once I learned how to build and engineer with wood, I figured it was time to try building my own. The prototype came together well, and once it gained enough interest, I though it'd make nice little business.

Designing and building small trailers was really a reaction to the amount of interest I received from folks around the country.  I've really been enjoying the trailers though, as its a little more flexible when you're not dealing with the bed of a truck. 

Can you tell me a little about the building process of the Hatchling and the Terrapin? What do you think is important to include?

I start by designing a trailer frame that's appropriate to the cabin I'll be building for it—crossmember spacing, axle, suspension, etc. I tend to err on the side of overbuilding, while always keeping overall weight in mind. I typically build the cabin to about 80% completion before mounting it to the trailer frame. The framing and cedar siding goes up pretty quickly, then comes the roof deck...

Without a doubt, the domed roof is the most difficult element of my designs.  The two-way arch makes building the roof deck tricky and time consuming, but it makes for a very strong, unique roof.  I adhere a single-ply TPO roofing membrane to the deck, thermally weld the seams, and trim it about the edge with a custom aluminum termination bar.

When designing my campers, I like to include as many windows as is practical.  Not only does it help keep fresh air moving around the cabin, but it goes a very long way to making such a small space seem more open and comfortable.  I also like to leave enough roof overhang to send dripping rain past open windows.

In some ways, I think what you leave out of a camper is as important as what you include. I've had a lot of people who've owned small camper for years tell me that they never use their sink, stove, furnace. Obviously, there are plenty of folks who do, but if its not something you're going to use, I think it makes a lot of sense to leave it out in the first place.

What do you think is the appeal of smaller trailers?

I think there are a lot of folks out there to whom being in their camper isn't necessarily the most important part of their trips. Having a comfortable bed to sleep on is huge—but having a full kitchen, living room, closets, etc., we're all not interested in hauling that around. It's nice having such a nimble little trailer that is easy to hook up, pull around town, navigate campgrounds and backroads. Not needing to have a Ford F350 is nice too!

Do you have experience camping in a teardrop trailer? If so, what do you think are the pros and cons of them?

I never have spent any real time in a teardrop, but I definitely like them. As you can tell from my designs, I'm a big fan of simplicity and I think teardrops are great examples of how smallness, simplicity, and comfort can very easily go hand-in-hand. Plus, they're so damn cute, you can't help but smile when you see one rolling down the road.

I know there are some great manufacturers out there, but it seems like there are some awfully under-built models, too. Especially when it comes to the actual trailer, axle, and wheels. I just don't think it pays to skimp on these. The only other issue I have with most teardrops, is they often seem to be lacking in windows. With such a tiny space, I think windows are crucial to making a comfortable, little cabin.

Where do you like to go camping?

The vast majority of my camping has taken place in northern Minnesota. Obviously, here in Colorado the camping opportunities are endless. One place my wife and I have had some good trips is in North Park, Colorado. It's not a super well-known area for recreation, but there are miles of lonely Forest Service roads, lots of backcountry campsites, and more moose than anywhere I've ever been. The little area around Gould, CO holds some special memories for me.

 What are some of your favorite camping items?

There's nothing better than a seriously comfortable camp chair, if you ask me. It makes everything better, from sitting around a fire, eating a good meal, drinking good beer(s). We also like to bring some prepared foods when we go. Grabbing something we can eat around the fire on our way out of town makes that first dinner real easy. We're also not opposed to having a DVD queued up on the laptop in cases of bad weather.

Photos by Casual Turtle Campers

Friday Teardrop Photo

Oh...the stories it could tell.

I shot this photo of a teardrop trailer, who has seen better days, near my home in Northern Nevada. It is no longer for sale, but I would be curious to see what could be done with this rusted frame.

Giveaway: Teardrop Holiday Cleanup [CLOSED]

I've been cleaning up my office and I have a copy of the book Teardrops & Tiny Trailers by Douglas Keister and a DVD from Mark Janke named Historic Camping & Teardrop Trailers. I reviewed the DVD earlier this year and would like to pass the information on to one lucky reader.

To win this set of teardrop trailer goodies, please leave a comment below on what information or posts you would like to see on this blog. The giveaway is open until December 19 at 9:00 a.m. PST. I'll randomly pick a winner from the list of comments using Random Result and will send the package out (hopefully) in time for the holiday.

Thank you for all your comments and ideas this year and have a great holiday (and camping) season!

Friday Teardrop Photo

The Sunflower in front of Mono Lake in the Eastern Sierra of California. This ancient lake was nearly drained by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power who used the lake's water for southern California agriculture and homes. The lake is now back to its 1919 level thanks to the Mono Lake Committee, and is home to a great visitor center, flocks of water birds and ghostly towers of tufa rock.

It's one of our favorite places to stop with the teardrop trailer.

Featured Teardrop: Viper Caravans

Being able to go off-roading seems to be getting more and more popular with teardrop trailer owners. Face it...campgrounds are getting more popular and getting off-road is very appealing for those interested in peace and quiet.

I recently found the Viper Teardrop camper from a builder in Jacksonville, Florida. The brightly colored designs won't be very stealthy in the forest and desert, but the high clearance, storage options and organized galley will make living off-road a little more comfortable.

The 8x4 Viper off-road model has Landcruiser wheels and tires, LED lights, a one piece fiberglass body, and a sleeping compartment with vented windows and two doors. Extras include a 15 gallon water tank, interior personal reading lights, a slide out stainless steel three burner stove and sink combo, a storage toolbox, electric or hydraulic brakes, alloy wheels, a TV/DVD/CD combo or an outdoor tented room.

The basic model weighs less than 500 lbs. and because of those Landcruiser wheels, costs around $13,500 brand new. The loaded version is $16,500. However, if you don't want to go off-road, you can still have the same design for a base price of $9,500.

Photos courtesy of Viper Teardrop