Why so many darn keys?

The Sunflower has two sets of keys on two sunflower themed key holders. That's a lot of keys! We always like to have two separate sets in case we lose one set which would be a slight disaster. This is because the various doors and functions on the trailer each have a key.

Here are the keys that we drag along with us on each camping trip:

1. Key for the two teardrop doors
2. Key for the galley door
3. Key for the coupler lock (which we always take with us to deter theft at the campsite)
4. Key for the trailer hitch lock (always use one of these when towing)
5. Two keys for the "bear proof" Yeti cooler lock

It's not the most streamlined way to go camping, but it seems like we have a lot of items that need to be locked up.

Friday Teardop Photo

Check out this great teardrop trailer with rooftop tent built by Eric Keiper of Oklahoma. It was recently featured in the fall issue of The New Pioneer magazine and includes and interview and the materials list. The tent was purchased from Cascadia Vehicle Tents.

Nevada Teardrop Camping: Virginia City

The Sunflower and the Stargazers teardrop crew took off last weekend and went up to Virginia City in the mountains above Reno, Nev. to attend the High Desert Steam Steampunk Ball and do some ghost hunting. Again we used our teardrops as hotel rooms for a special event.

The ghost hunting was unsuccessful, but we were able to enjoy some camping above the Virginia City Cemetery on a very warm and beautiful night. We stayed at the Virginia City RV Park and didn't even bother to take any food with us — eating instead at the Cafe del Rio for dinner and the Canvas CafĂ© for breakfast.

Virginia City is home to the Comstock Lode, the largest silver deposit in the history of the United States. The discovery of these deposits in the late 1850s grew Virginia City into one of the largest and most popular mining towns in the West. The American author, Mark Twain, also called Virginia City home for a time.

Now the small city is a historical monument and tourist area with the original wooden sidewalks, shopping, fun bars and a few restaurants. The residents are really colorful and the cemetery is said to be one of the most haunted in the world.Virginia City's hotels and bars have been featured on the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures show.

Friday Teardrop Photo

A nice homemade teardrop trailer on a basic Red Trailer frame. It was parked outside of an auto body and repair shop and looked to be a great place to take an afternoon nap.

Pino Pi2010 Standy Trailer from Turkey

Okay U.S. manufacturers, listen up. These are the kind of trailers that a lot of American campers are looking for: a small standy with a kitchen that can be towed by nearly every vehicle. Is that too tall an order?

While the Pino Karavan is not a teardrop trailer, it allows campers to still sleep inside a minimalist space and cook out of the elements while still enjoying the outdoors, but currently it's only being built and sold in Turkey. The company makes larger trailers, but their Pi2010 is a wonderful design synonymous of the Knaus Schwalbennest —another European product.

The fiberglass Pi2010 is less than 900 lbs, 6 feet tall and about 5.5 feet in width and length. It's tiny, but inside is a small dinette that turns into a bed, a one burner stove and sink with a 12 volt pump, and a storage cabinet for a portable toilet.

The Pi2010 has some optional items like a 20 liter fresh water tank, exterior LED lighting, a propane heater, 12 volt cooler and the option for solar panels and a bike rack.

Photos by Pino Karavan

5 Things I've Learned from Camping in the Desert

I just got back from my ninth year at Burning Man. Each time I've gone, it's been in a teardrop trailer and I think I've learned a fair amount about camping in the inhospitable desert in a tiny trailer. If you are thinking of doing some desert camping (which is doable almost any time of year), these five tips might be helpful.

1. Elevate and line your ice chest

Keeping your ice chest elevated off the hot ground will keep your food colder. We also line our ice chest with Reflectix reflective insulation and freeze a few items (beer and soda cans, meat) to keep other food items cold.

2. Orient your trailer for optimal shade and breeze

It's easy to move a teardrop trailer around to take advantage of the sun's position in the sky as well as desert breezes. In addition, bring a shade structure to shade your living or sleeping space. However...

3. ...beware of freak weather

In the desert, I've seen freak thunderstorms, dust devils and sand storms. Make sure everything is staked and tied down and close up your teardrop doors and galley hatch when not in use.

4. Enjoy the mornings, evenings and nights

Mornings, evenings and nights in the desert are a delight. Take advantage of those times for exploring, hiking and cooking. Relax in the heat of the day.

5. Don't be afraid to get out there

Many people are intimidated by the desert and avoid it. There are some amazing places to camp in the middle of nowhere and most likely you will be the only camper around. Just be prepared with plenty of water, fuel, tools and other safety supplies.