Cool Tears Magazine - January/February

The latest issue of Cool Tears and Tiny Trailers Magazine is now available online or as a print copy. This issue features the Atkinson's Sweet Tea teardrop trailer, Justin Preston's Comanche Cocoon and a roundup of 2016 teardrop trailer gatherings.

Friday Teardrop Photo

This vintage teardrop trailer poster can be purchased from All Posters in various sizes. Check out how it would look on your own wall.

Teardrop Gear: Throw Pillow

There are several items that we have come to depend on when teardrop camping. Our trusty Coleman stove/grill, our Luci light and even our trailer levelers come out on top, but I never thought that one of the most useful camping items would be my sunflower throw pillow.

I only bought the pillow because it had a sunflower on it, but after camping with it for several years I realized it's a handy (and comfy) tool to have in the teardrop.

1. It's perfect for reading
A throw pillow gives you an extra bit of comfort for your head while lying down in a teardrop bed to read or watch a movie.

2. Use it as a hiding place
I've used the pillow cover to stash a book or my iPad or phone.

3. Picnic benches are hard
The throw pillow comes in handy when sitting for hours at a campground picnic table. It's also nice to have it for your camp chair.

4. No teddy bear needed
When sleeping in the trailer, it helps to have something to hug. The pillow works in lieu of a teddy bear...or a spouse.

5. Minimal decor
Right away most people get the theme of my trailer from just glancing at the pillow. I don't have to hit them over the head with sunflower decor.

Friday Teardrop Photo

This photo is of the Sunflower parked at the Inyo National Forest ranger station in California —the crossroads between Mount Whitney and Death Valley. We are in the process of planning some more intense summer and fall hikes and my teardrop will be a welcome respite.

Jordan's Full Time Life in a Teardrop Trailer

I recently wrote a post about Jordan of My Teardroppin' Life for Do It Yourself RV. You can read all about her cool DIY trips for full time living in a teardrop trailer. Jordan has been spending the past few months living in the American Southwest out of a 5x10 teardrop (named Zelda) built by the same designer who build the Blonde Coyote's Rattler.

You can read about Jordan's awesome DIY tips on Do It Yourself RV, but I thought I would continue her story with why she hit the road full time and both the positive aspects and challenges of living in such a small space.

Can you tell me why you became interested in living full-time out of a teardrop trailer?

For quite a few years I knew my life was out of balance. I started to really look back at the times in my life when I felt engaged and balanced and at the things that I did that brought me happiness and fulfillment. I found the times in my life that I lived simply without a lot of stuff to distract me were the times I did feel and have those things.

Then, three years ago, there I was, with more stuff than I had ever had before – a house and garage full of things I didn’t even remember I had. I felt suffocated and trapped under it all. I had a job that I wanted out of, but couldn’t find anything else that I could support myself on. Little did I know that my life was all about to change in a big way. “Things fall apart so that other things can fall together.” is a quote I have on my blog that pretty much sums up what happens in life so often. I ended up losing my job which lead to losing my house; but if none of that had happened, I may not have had the clarity to take back my life and make it what I wanted it to be, not what I thought it should be.

What are your favorite things about your teardropping life? 

I love living simply. I am an Environmental Educator so living simply is important to me as well as living with little impact on the environment around me. I love challenging my brain to come up with unique solutions to problems —“MacGyvering” a solution to a problem using or repurposing  what I already have (or can obtain for free or just a couple of dollars).

I love that I can feed my soul everyday by just stepping out of my little trailer and watch the sun rise, or converse with the hummingbirds that come to my little feeder, or watch as the sun’s light changes the view as it moves across the sky throughout the day. Getting to enjoy the small treasures nature gives us every day that we so often take for granted, is such an amazing gift. I love traveling and discovering new places. Since I’ve only just started my full-time road warrior life, I haven’t gotten to discover too many new places yet, but I have so many on my list and I know I will also find even more by happy accident.

Meeting other people who are full-timing or part-timing has been great too. They all have amazing stories to share, knowledge to impart and are such an inspiration. I love meeting people who have figured out what I consider the secret of life – living your life the way YOU want to live it. I wish more people would allow themselves that gift.

What are the challenges?

El Nino! That kid has wreaked so much havoc on my maiden voyage! I was prepared for some colder days and nights but not for the entire three months I’ve been out in the Southwest. A lack of heat, plus an outdoor kitchen and outdoor bathroom make life very challenging, especially when the sun goes down by 5:30 along with a plummet in temperature. Bad weather is a challenge with a teardrop period, but when you live in a teardrop, extended cold, bad weather is really tough to deal with. But now that I have made it through a really uncomfortable winter, I know I can do it and have ideas on how to make it easier to deal with in the future – though I hope I don’t have another winter like this one!

The challenge of living in such a small space can get frustrating. I am constantly moving things to get to something else or to use a space to work, and there never seems to be enough places to put things I am trying to move. This isn’t just true for life in a teardrop, I know people in bigger RV’s and even sticks and bricks houses that have to do the same thing, but in a teardrop there are far fewer options of where to temporarily put things. Of course it couldn’t possibly be because I have too much stuff! No, it couldn’t be that...

Sometimes I wish I had a self-contained RV instead of a trailer so all my stuff was together. It does get annoying sometimes to have half my stuff in the trailer and half in the car, and of course the half I need is never where I happen to be at the time, especially when it’s raining. I hope this will get less annoying as I become more organized and develop better daily routines.

Bed sheets. They are too long for my shortened bed and I get tangled in them sometimes when trying to get out of bed. Never good when you have to get up at 4:00 in the morning.

Friday Teardrop Photo

While this photo of a photo is not of a teardrop trailer, it is of the oldest existing Airstream in the world — and it's currently for sale. This 1935 Airstream Torpedo is current up for auction in Panama City, Florida by Heintz Designs. You can see more photos of the trailer on the Flickr site and learn more about the history of the trailer at Tin Can Tourists. The sale even includes all the trailer's awards, medals and trophies from various Airstream rallies and events.

Featured Teardrop: New Wave Teardrop

If you have been shopping around for a new teardrop trailer, but are put off by higher prices, check out New Wave Teardrops in Bainbridge, Georgia. This small company builds standard 4x8 and 5x8 teardrop trailers with a basic galley or without a galley at all. They range in price from $2,750 to $3,950.

The standard New Wave models have single 26x36” doors (to keep the cost down even more) and a single window. The exterior is covered with sheet aluminum, aluminum windows, aluminum door units and aluminum molding for low maintenance and a rust free unit. The interior has sheet vinyl for easy clean up, the walls are birch wood with clear sealer and the ceiling is white fiberglass. LED lights are standard with two mounted on the interior ceiling and one mounted on the exterior above the door. 

Air conditioning units actually come standard with this brand (being from the South ;-)) and they each have a 120 power strip in the floor. All units have a spare tire mounted between tongue rails under front and mesh mounted between rails for hauling cargo. Mattresses do not come with these trailers.

Options for the New Wave include extra doors, tongue box, tire upgrades, a fold down counter top extension for the galley, a coaxial plug, front jack wheel, roof rack or a nifty outside table.

You can request a quote for several model designs and view a comparison chart of the two sizes on the New Wave website.

Friday Teardrop Photo

This teardrop trailer is available as a rental on Airbnb. Located in Mariposa and close to Yosemite National Park, the owner allows the trailer to be towed to a nearby site or guests can sleep in the trailer on her land.

Teardrop Decluttering and Organization

Even though we are fully into the new year, winter can be a good time to declutter and organize your teardrop trailer and get it ready for camping season. Because teardrops are so small, they have a tendency to accumulate items over time that can quickly take over much needed space.

I tend to declutter and organize my teardrop in the fall, but take another swing at it in the winter and spring...just to make sure I got everything. Here are a few tips for decluttering and getting organized for life on the road.

When was the last time you used it?

Each item in a teardrop should have some use or it just takes up space. Ask yourself when was the last time you used a certain pot or pan, an article of clothing, a container of spice or sauce, or even towels and sheets. Can you take a trip without it and be fine? Put those items to the side or store them away from the trailer. After your next trip, if you missed it...put it back in.

Question, but allow, some decorative items

Some teardroppers love to bring along decorative items for their camp like vintage stuff, flags, lawn ornaments, etc. Sometimes these can bring joy to your camping experience. However, take into consideration the space and weight they take up and if they are really worth it. For example, I love my little American flag as a camp marker, but gave up on extra string lights for the campsite.

Pack like with like

Are you always looking for one particular item? Be sure you pack it with items like it. Keep your everyday jacket with your other clothes, keep all utensils together, all games and books together and don't spread toiletry items throughout the sleeping area and the galley.

Is it too heavy, annoying, large, etc?

Is there something that you tend to pack and bring along because you always have? Is it a pain in the butt to haul around, set up or pack away? If it deters you from camping happiness if might be time to let it go. We did that with some very comfortable, but huge camp chairs. They were so heavy and hard to pack in the car. We are now fine with smaller and more compact chairs.