Desert Hot Springs and Playa Camping

Before the summer heat sets in, we took off in the teardrop for the Black Rock Desert of Northern Nevada this weekend. Exploring without a quad or other all terrain vehicle is a challenge, but we still were able to see some beautiful places.

To start off the adventure, we took the Sunflower down a rutted 50 mile dirt road north of the desert to Soldier Meadows, a riparian area that is part of the emigrant California Trail. There's not much out there but mountains, a ranch and some beautiful hot springs. We met up with our Stargazers friends and camped on part of the ranch ($12 per night) and swam in the springs under the stars.

Our trailers took a beating from that 50 mile road and nearly everything on the shelves came flying off. Our galley were already full of dust, so on the way back to the Black Rock Desert we decided to take a "shortcut",  skip the rutted road and fly across the Playa—an ancient lake bed where Burning Man takes place in August. At this time of year, it's empty and perfect for driving on.

Since the desert is public land, you can set up camp wherever you want. We chose a spot right by our favorite mountain (Old Razorback) and spent a quiet night in a very unique spot.

Friday Teardrop Photo

Taken at the crossroads last summer. The Sunflower is headed into the desert for the Memorial Day Weekend. See you soon.

Interview with Simply GO Campers

For a recent Do It Yourself RV post I interviewed several teardrop trailer rental companies. Dave of Simply GO Campers in San Juan Capistrano was kind to answer a few more questions about his company and love of camping for the Tiny Yellow Teardrop.

Photo by Rachel Antoun

How did you become interested in teardrop trailers?

I became interested in teardrops a few years ago after seeing one at a campground. I immediately thought they were awesome and have been talking about getting one ever since.

Why did you decide to go into the teardrop rental business?

My wife and I decided to go into the teardrop rental business because we love the outdoors and love the idea of having a business that encourages people to spend more time in nature. Teardrops were an easy choice because of the ease of traveling with them. Someone who has never towed or camped can easily rent one of our units and be camping with very little effort. Teardrops aren’t intimidating to tow or use, and they have a unique appeal to them because they are different than your typical camping set up.

Why did you decide to choose Little Guy teardrops?

When I started researching teardrops Little Guy was one of the top brands. I wanted teardrops that were professionally constructed and had a history of manufacturing. The more I’ve researched, the more I’ve found that to be true with the Little Guy brand.

What camping gear do you offer for your customers and what types of gear do you think go best with teardrop trailers?

One of our goals at Simply GO Campers is to encourage people who are new to camping to get out there and give it a try. With that in mind, we know that new campers aren’t necessarily going to have all the gear that you might want for a camping trip. The gear we have available includes the basics: sheets, sleeping bags, chairs, and a full camp kitchen box (camp stove, pots, dishes, silverware, dish washing supplies, etc.). We are also open to providing additional gear as needed to make our customers as comfortable as possible.

A few products we personally love to use are our dutch oven and cast iron skillet. My wife is amazing in the kitchen and just because we are camping doesn’t mean we won’t be eating well. She loves finding new recipes to use while camping versus just eating the basic hot dogs and beans.

Photo by Rachel Antoun

What are the things that people should keep in mind when renting a teardrop trailer?

People should keep in mind that they will now be towing a trailer so they need to make sure they know how to do that and the laws of the road. The actual towing part is not difficult, it's more of the actual being aware it's back there. One must keep from making too tight of turns and speeding. Here in California, people towing must go 55 mph and are limited to the left two lanes only.

The other thing to keep in mind is to make sure your campground will allow a trailer in your site. Most campgrounds are ok with this but if you are in a  specific "tent only" site that can cause some problems. So always check with your campground that you are able to bring your trailer.

Other than those two minor things be ready to have a blast!

Photos courtesy of Simply GO Campers

Friday Teardrop Photo

This summery setup is from Basecamp Adventure Rentals, a teardrop rental company in Seattle that rents out three sporty TC Teardrops for $180 for the first two nights in the high season.

Featured Teardrop: Timberleaf Trailers

Teardrop trailers are getting pretty lux and the Timberleaf Trailer design is just one of them. Built by a company in Colorado, the 10x6.5 foot Timberleaf has some features you won't see on other commercially manufactured trailers including an optional custom cooler, one inch thick insulation and memory foam mattress.

The anodized aluminum exterior can be painted any color you want and the interior in Baltic Birch plywood shows some excellent cabinetry details. The height of the galley work surface is made possible by a custom cooler with a birch cover and leather handle that hides in plain site. The galley also includes a sink with cold water faucet fed by a 12 gallon tank, slide out shelf for a stove and plenty of storage.

The bed interior has a large overhead skylight,  and tons of storage at the head and the foot. Two little dropdown shelves are located under the bedside windows.

This 1,200 lb. camper starts at $15,250 for the base model which includes a Fantastic fan cabin vent, seven LED lights, two doors, polycarbonite skylight with shades and a "Colorado Queen" foam mattress. It also includes the deep cell marine battery, four power outlets, 12v charger, and a full sized spare tire.

The options really raise the status (and price) of this trailer and include the custom cooler ($425), detachable exterior serving shelf ($90), ZAMP 40w solar panel ($385), and a detachable wood dining tabletop and leg ($245).

Photos by Timberleaf Trailers

Friday Teardrop Photo

This week I dropped the Sunflower off at an RV service station to get her ball bearings packed.

Why does she look like she's surrounded by hungry wolves?

What is the worst storm you've been in?

Because of their small size and exterior kitchen, teardrop trailers do best in fair weather. We have been camping in some inclement weather over the years, but nothing like what the KombiLife crew went through in Mexico in a VW bus. If you have not been following the VW adventures of Ben, Alaska and Co'Pito, check them out.

We have been in two bad storms in the teardrop trailer. One was a wind and lightning storm in Death Valley that kicked up dust and illuminated the mountain peaks with bright flashes. It lasted way into the morning when we woke up to birds singing.

We also camped for three days in the pouring rain during a teardrop trailer rally in Northern California. Known as the Dam Gathering, it was coined "The Damp Gathering" by the teardroppers who survived it.

Many storms can come without a moment's notice, so setting up in a protected area or quickly stashing away items that can be destroyed is helpful. The best way to make it through a storm in a teardrop trailer is to have plenty of entertainment. We have a good selection of movies downloaded onto our tablets, games and books.

March/April Cool Tears Magazine

The March/April Cool Tears and Tiny Campers magazine is now available. You can download the PDF version or order the print version for $8.

This issue cover the wonderful wood epoxy design and building process by Chesapeake Light Craft, a story of a couple who quit their jobs to travel in their homemade teardrop trailer, and the amazing designs of the English Caravan Co.