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.