December Cool Tears Magazine

The December issue of Cool Tears and Tiny Campers is now available online. This issue features the awesome Rockin' Raisin by Mike and Casie Bazay that has room for their whole family. Other stories feature the Tiny Camper Company and a teardrop that celebrates the University of Michigan.

Featured Teardrop: PeeWee Campers

PeeWee Campers calls their designs the “21st Century” teardrop trailer for several reasons. The little campers don’t have the classic rounded rear for the galley which adds more interior room; they are lightweight without sacrificing quality or heavy-duty framing; and the outer skin is made of 1/8 inch Aluminum Composite Panels that include a solid polyethylene core. The result is a sturdy, but maneuverable trailer that can fit a full kitchen and two people.

The campers start at $8,499 for the Half Pint teardrop camper. This camper has a quite a lot of features including a deep cycle battery, 1 3/4 insulated side walls, roof vent, two mattresses, under floor storage and 15 inch wheels. The galley includes upper and lower cabinets, a countertop, two galley lights and a 12 volt receptacle. The Half Pint can be ordered without the galley, mattresses and side door for $6,799. PeeWee Campers also sells a Toy Hauler Cargo Trailer for $7,699.

The PeeWee Camper options are huge. You can choose from various exterior colors, custom graphics, tongue boxes, roof racks, solar power, rubber flooring, refrigerator, sink and cooler. You can also have a 2,000 watt generator installed on the tongue.

PeeWee Campers offers free delivery within a 1,000 radius of their factory in College Grove, Tennessee.

Photos by PeeWee Campers

November Cool Tears Magazine

The November 2016 issue of Cool Tears & Tiny Campers is now available online or or as a print copy. You can read all about Bob Aisenbrey's "Tuff Dog" overland camper and a beautiful wooden canoe and teardrop set by Corey Loeffelholz.

Friday Teardrop Photo

This summer I was at Great Basin National Park when the Strawberry Fire broke out. My campground, the Lower Lehman campground was fine, but the campground next door was evacuated and during the fire one firefighter lost his life. It was a little unnerving to go to sleep in the trailer with a fire raging just one hill over.

5 Best Portable Potties for a Teardrop Trailer

Probably the most often asked question of teardroppers is, “Where’s the bathroom in this thing?” Well, larger RV owner, us teardroppers don’t usually have the luxury of a flush toilet in our little trailers, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t have a nice toilet experience.

While my husband and I primarily use public or campground toilets on our teardrop travels, I have seen a wide range of portable toilets that are usually tucked into a shelter right next to a teardrop trailer. There’s no need to suffer when teardrop camping with these five portable potties that are lightweight and affordable. Of course you could always make your own like SoCal Overland did.

Kampa is actually a company based in the UK, but they have one of the most streamlined and handy camping toilets around. The comfy seat will fit any tush and there is no risk of tipping with its wide base. It has an interior water container that you take to to a public toilet to empty. Its handy toilet paper holder hangs on the site. This toilet also won’t break the bank.

I like portable toilets that don’t look like portable toilets. The Hassock by Reliance looks more like a bucket, but has some nice features. First, it has a contoured seat that feels like a real toilet; second it has a removable inner bucket that makes thing easier to clean. You use Double Doodie bags with this toilet and it also comes with a free sample of Bio-Blue toilet deodorant. The handy lid also has a toilet paper holder.

This toilet not only pops up conveniently from a handy holder, but it comes in several different colors: blue, yellow and camo. The Turbo Toilet by Blackpine can support up to 330 lb. and includes 12 biodegradable waste bags and 12 odor control powder packets that can absorb up to two liters of liquid waste.

The Cleanwaste is a handy toilet that unfolds to reveal a comfy seat and a backrest, all on a sturdy set of legs. Waste is held in a waste bag that uses enzymes, so you will need to buy and pack several bag kits. However, this toilet is said to support up to 500 lb.

If you want to spend a little more money for some luxury, the Thetford Curve is a stylish option. This odorless portable toilet has battery powered flush controls and a holding tank that you don’t have to access or even see until it's ready to be emptied. It only weighs about 10 lb. when empty and has a handy carrying handle.

Top photo by SoCal Overland

Friday Teardrop Photo

Last Thanksgiving the Sunflower spent the night in the snowy forest of Sierra Hot Springs. Her owners went off to enjoy an amazing dinner and a dip in the steaming springs. She had to stay in the campground.

Featured Teardrop: Drifthouse Campers

I love to see when small companies take the teardrop design and turn it on its head…er…roof. Drifthouse does this with its new Adventure Trailer where you have the choice to stand up and cook inside.

While this is not a typical teardrop trailer, the Drifthouse Adventure is a microlite camper that only comes in at 1,250 lb. Inside is a kitchenette with a sink, faucet and drain, and a Murphy bed that converts to seating with a small folding table.

On the exterior of the camper is a customizable space to store bikes and other outdoor gear. The trailer also has a screened door and windows. The trailer keeps things simple with a rubber floor, roller shades and a pretty pine interior. The Adventure Trailer is also completely solar powered with Goal Zero.

The Drifthouse campers are still in production, but this trailer is being sold for $6,250. If you are interested in purchasing one, you can contact the company at their website.

Photos by Drifthouse

Teardrop Trailer Burial*

I apologize again for the lack of posting lately. I had a death in the family and have been taking care of everything that goes along with that. I've had a few days to think about about both life and death and have a totally different view on how to live and what to live for.

The person who passed never really got to live the life they wanted, and I want to make sure that doesn't happen to me. The favorite times in my life are the days spent camping, traveling and being with friends and family, and I intend to make sure that continues as long as possible. Live life today and do it your way.

*The photo above is not meant to be morbid, but if I wasn't being cremated, I wouldn't mind leaving this world inside a stylish, black teardrop towed by a hearse.

Useful Teardrop Item: Magnetic Hooks

Any item that can serve several functions is a good item to take teardrop camping. Lately, we have been using these magnetic hooks from a home improvement store and they come in handy for everything from hanging towels and garbage bags to attaching things onto metal bear boxes.

You can pick up several of these hooks for under $10. While my teardrop trailer doesn't have a lot of metal on it, we do use these hooks on the side of our camping table for garbage bags, towels and barbecue tools and to hook towels over our propane tank to protect it from the sun. They also come in handy if you have a metal bear proof food box in your campsite. We love to hold up our ice chest cover with them and hang up hats and clothes. Just remember to detach them and pack them away before you leave your site.

Friday Teardrop Photo

When visiting Glacier National Park this last summer, I came across this teardrop trailer/display case being used to sell Glacier jams, syrup, magnets and other gift items. I think the trailer was built specifically as a display case, but whoever built it knew what they were doing.

Pleasant Valley Splits from Little Guy; Becomes nüCamp

Many of you might know that my teardrop trailer was built by the Ohio-based Pleasant Valley company when they were an independent business. For the past few years they have been manufacturing teardrop trailers, like the popular Silver Shadow, for Little Guy Worldwide. Last spring Pleasant Valley decided to split from Little Guy and become their own company, nüCamp RV.

nüCamp RV, who already features the Cirrus Truck Camper, will be building a sleek, new T@B design and will continue to manufacture their popular style of teardrop trailer. nüCamp expects to build more than 3,500 campers this year and has increased their manufacturing facility in Sugarcreek, Ohio by an additional 91,000 feet.

“We employ some of the most highly skilled craftsmen and craftswomen in the world, and their continued dedication to quality is renowned in the industry," Scott Hubble, nüCamp RV CEO says. "This is our second plant expansion in three years, and we continue to manage this growth through a dedication to the core principles upon which our company was founded.”

In September, nüCamp revealed their latest design: the T@B 400 prototype. The trailer is full of amenities like a bathroom, more headroom, a closet and separate eating and sleeping spaces—all within 2,300-2,600 lb. What's awesome about this design is that it is similar to the European versions that we've been wanted to come over to the U.S.

Photos by nüCamp

Friday Teardrop Photo

While this "okie-techno" teardrop trailer looks real, it's actually a concept drawing by Solifague Design. The concepts by this designer run the gamut from teardrops to motorcycles and could work as inspiration for you builders out there. The luggage rack is wicked cool...

Away for awhile...

I'm sorry I missed a few days of posting. I was doing some traveling and during that time our area had a terrible forest fire that burned over 20 homes. Things are okay now, but they were sketchy for a while. The worst thing? My husband and I were out of town and couldn't do anything about it.

Photo by RGJ

I'm going to refer to a post I wrote in 2012 about another nearby fire that we did witness and used our teardrop trailer to help with evacuation: The Teardrop Trailer in an Emergency.

We can evacuate in less than an hour with the teardrop since it already has clothes, food, water and other necessities already packed inside. However, what if you can't get to your trailer? We have some wonderful neighbors that can help grab our animals and important papers, and they might be able to save Sunflower as well.

If you have people who you can depend on, they might be able to save your camper from fires, floods, hurricanes, etc. They will need to know where the keys are and how to unlock any hitch locks. They will also need to have a vehicle with a ball hitch in order to get your teardrop to a safe location.

If they are unable to save it and are required to evacuate, you might have to consider your teardrop a complete loss. Before anything like this happens, be sure you have insurance on your trailer.

Quick Teardrop Upgrades for $20

Recently I was inspired by the extreme makeover of my Long Long Honeymoon friends' Airstream. Sean and Kristy did an amazing job updating the interior of their camper and featured the entire process in an excellent video.

I didn't want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on upgrades for my teardrop trailer (I would be hard pressed to even try), but I did want to give the Sunflower a little facelift. So I proceeded to replace out the trailer's original drawer and cabinet pulls and added a new, fancy throw pillow—all for less than $20.

The six sun drawer pulls were purchased for $1.28 each from Home Depot (they are a lot less "brassy" than they look on the website), and the sunflower pillow was on sale at TJ Maxx for $9.99. Not too bad for a few hours of shopping and remodeling.

Friday Teardrop Photo

We found this handmade Steampunk style trailer in a parking lot in on the West side of Glacier National Park. We didn't get to speak to the owners, but their funky trailer was getting more attention than the area's bears.

KOA Memberships: Are they worth it?

Answer: It depends.

This summer we stayed in several KOA Kampgrounds and had a wide range of experiences and amenities. Whether or not you decide to get and keep a KOA membership will depend on the places you end up staying.

KOA Kampgrounds are privately held campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada. There are over 500 of them scattered around North America and they typically cater to larger RVs with dump stations, water, power and cable hookups. They also offer showers, laundry facilities, breakfast and coffee, and other amenities like lounges and playgrounds for children. KOA Kampgrounds also have some beautiful deluxe "kabins." These little wood cabins cater to people who don't have a camper and don't want to sleep in a tent.

We decided to try out a KOA membership for the year and see how they ranked. We purchased a $30 Value Kard to save 10 percent every time we camped at a KOA. You can also earn redeemable points for each stay. Depending on the location, it would still cost us about $40-$75 per night, so the 10 percent didn't really do anything for us. I don't think we will re-purchase the card, but I think we will still stay at a KOA while on the road. This is why:

The five best things KOAs have going are:

1. They are conveniently located

Those little red and yellow signs on the side of the road mean that a KOA is within just a few hundred yards of a highway exit. This is great when you are tired and don't want to drive to a state or National Park for a camp site. Also, many KOA Kampgrounds are within just a few miles of many National Parks and scenic areas. Our St. Mary KOA, while not the best place to camp, was five minutes from the park entrance.

2. They have a great KOA directory

Both the online and print KOA directory is very helpful when looking for a place to stay. I planned my "western state" trip around the availability of KOA Kampgrounds. The paper book came in real handy when cell service was unavailable.

3. Members get priority

From both the KOA App and via phone, you can make a campsite reservation at any location. If you are a member, you get priority if the campground is filling up. This is useful in more popular areas.

4. Showers and laundry

At each KOA we stayed at, the showers and laundry facilities were clean and convenient. The Great Falls KOA in Montana was hands-down one of the most beautiful campgrounds I've ever been in and had amazing showers in an atrium full of plants.

5. Other amenities

It was a blessing to swim in the Green River, Utah KOA swimming pool when the temperatures hovered around 100 degrees. It was also great to have fast WiFi in other parks. These amenities (if they are consistent and useful) will keep me coming back to a KOA.

However, teardroppers might not get as much bang for their buck at a KOA. We do have a choice to stay in a tent spot with no hookups or in a convenient pull-through spot with power and water. However, the price difference is negligible. I stayed in tent sites that were around $35 and a pull-through spot that was $45 per night.

When you stay at a KOA, you are paying for the amenities. So when searching around for a place to stay, check on those and weigh whether or not the extra cost is worth it to you.

Friday Teardrop Photo

During our Glacier National Park trip, I saw a world record number of teardrop trailers on the road and in the campgrounds. This wooden beauty was camped at the lush Avalanche Campground on the west side of the park.

Cool Tears July/August 2016

The latest issue of Cool Tears & Tiny Campers is now available. This issue comes with some great news. The regularly bi-monthly magazine will now be published monthly. If you are interested in receiving the magazine, all you need to do is add your name and email to their list.

This issue has a couple of great spreads of teardrop trailers in the wilderness, a feature on the newest PeeWee camper, and an interview with teardrop builder James Caverly.

Friday Teardrop Photo

I get overly excited about broken down or retro style roadside signs. I have to pull off the road, put the teardrop into place and get a shot. Odd...

This is the Sunflower in front of an abandoned gas station near Baggs, Wyoming.

Teardrop/Kayak Trip to Burney Falls

Normally our teardrop trailer camping trips consist of hours of hiking or backpacking, so it was so nice to take off last weekend and enjoy a very relaxing couple of days of kayaking and sleeping in.

We went with the Stargazers teardrop to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park in Northern California and camped in the campground above Lake Britton. We spent the days kayaking on the lake, cooking up really good meals and talking about teardrop trailers.

We also visited the Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park and saw a wide range of plant life, birds, frogs, fish and great views of snow-capped Mount Shasta.

I have heard of two friends in the last week who want to either borrow a teardrop, or are looking for their own trailer to purchase. They are both tired of tent camping and have probably been swayed by some of our trips to take the teardrop route. Can you blame them?

Friday Teardrop Photo

This Rebel teardrop trailer by Off the Grid Rentals is being towed by a 2016 Tesla Model X. The trailer was towed from Fountain Valley, California to Flagstaff, Arizona by Dan Edmunds of as an experiment of the Teslas's towing capacity. The trailer was perfect. The Tesla was not so perfect...