Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Why Such a Tiny Trailer? Teardrop Owners Speak Out

"Why did you buy such a tiny trailer?" For many owners of teardrop trailers, the answer is obvious. However, much of the fun and satisfaction comes with the 'splaining, so I asked owners of teardrops trailer by tapping into a Facebook group, the Rustic Trail Teardrops Camper Owners Group. As I read responses to my question, little aha! lightbulbs went off inside my head. "Oh, yeah, that's right. . . . That's true. . . . Well said!"

My last blog post listed my reasons for buying a tiny travel trailer. This post is dedicated to the ideas and words of other teardrop owners. Bottom line--the reasons why I bought a tiny trailer, it ain't just me. Motivating factors for purchasing a teardrop included comfort, simplicity, and lifestyle.

June 2018, Smokey Mountain National Park
Folks are comfortable in their teardrop campers, and that comfort zone includes both physical comfort and safety issues. Michael from Georgia summed up the joy of being physically comfortable in a teardrop by saying: "A comfortable bed in a climate controlled (dry, cool or warm) environment when needed, but always a comfortable dry bed." Teardrops are mostly bed, comments including the ease of "a bed on wheels with space to come in out of the rain" (Diana from Vermont), and, speaking from experience, Karen from North Carolina: "Had the big boys all sizes from pop-up to 31 ft travel trailer..... comes down to the purpose of camping ....being in the outdoors.....so why a big camper when all you need is a bed ...RTTC campers gives us exactly what we need .... comfortable bed, air conditioning, cabinets and a place for my TV....that's all I need, everything else I use when camping is outdoors."

Some owners voiced comfort in terms of safety, having a hard surface overhead and a door that locks. Lindsey (from Australia, owning an Avan Weekender teardrop) states: "I do a lot of solo camping so I need something that I can do on my own but still have all the comfort and a little security - was once trampled on in a tent by a herd of cows that totally ransacked our camp - scared me a little to think how lucky (was me and my son at the time) that the cows missed our legs and body but destroyed the tent." Jim from South Carolina provided an additional wrinkle to safety: "My primary reason for buying our teardrop (RTTC Grizzly) is for something to bugout in if we get a major hurricane along the SC coast. I have been through a couple hurricanes and know that when the power goes out that the comforts we are used to disappear almost immediately. We desired to have a small place we could escape to that would have air conditioning and everything we might need with food, shelter and water whether we have to camp near our home or hit the road prior to the storm. The teardrop is perfect as it is compact, easy to heat and cool, provides some safety and allows us a place to have emergency items already packed when the storm rolls in." Jim's sentiments are echoed by Cheryl from North Carolina: "We had thought about that too, living on Hatteras Island. That's always a concern, and having the teardrop is much better than a motel room during recovery." Teardrops may be tiny in size, but owners say they are large providers of security.

2018, Lexington, SC
When Henry David Thoreau wrote "simplicity, simplicity, simplicity," he was harkening to his experience in his cabin at Walden Pond--or to put it another way, his tiny house . . . or his tiny trailer without wheels. Many teardrop owners affirmed that "less is more," as Phyllis from Louisiana said, while another owner added "less maintenance than bigger rigs have." Several owners mentioned the ease of towing a teardrop and how another, larger vehicle didn't need to be purchased. One owner, Diana from Vermont, was more reflective: "Small needs, small space." From Virginia, teardrop owner Mike covered a number of points, saying that often RV owners experience buyer's remorse after a purchase when the camper is too big and takes too much upkeep. They may feel it was too much money, and resale value may be low. A late discovery can be that they need a gas hog for the tow package. A teardrop eliminates all that . . . and also turns a lot of heads. Finally, he mentioned that teardrops, because of their low weight, can be deeded or registered as utility trailers instead of recreational vehicles, which saves big. One married couple summed up teardrops by saying they don’t want all the bells and whistles. As Peggy from Florida put it, "The simplicity of my trailer is perfect for me."

2017, Salida, CO
It's a lifestyle choice for many teardrop owners, the middle way between tenting in the rain and living on RV Row, hooking up your mobile apartment. Having a more stable basecamp than a tent (without having to dry out everything when you get home) yet not not having too big and cumbersome a rig is a perfect fit, as owner Jennifer says: "We love visiting Disney World and recently got back into camping. We wanted to camp more but summers in Florida just aren't great for tent camping so we decided we needed an air conditioned option. We didn't want to deal with a large camper or a pop up, and we needed to stay under 10k since this was our first really serious venture into campers, looking into smaller campers was the best option. We looked at a few options and then stumbled on Rustic Trail. Loved the retro look, size, and price." Marti from West Virginia considered the big picture when searching for a camping option: "We had several bottom line requirements: be able to pull into a rest area or truck stop and just climb in (not like a pop up); pull with a 4 cylinder car; park in our house's parking area; internal storage (not with a kitchen on the back); design where we could mount solar panels and batteries; cost less than a car. RTTC met all that. We don't have the inside space that the big campers have, but a 12x12 pop up pavillion fits right outside the door. We camp to be outside, not in a traveling hotel room or suite. Maybe if I was retired and spending all my time traveling I would consider a big one...?" Goldilocks would own a teardrop: not too small, not too big, but just right! Or as Jean from Virginia said, "Once I thought I needed more, but after searching the soul... its not more.. just more time outside and up off the ground is the bells and whistles for us!"

2018, Dillon, CO
Cash was a factor for teardrop owners, as was the towing experience, even to be pulled by a "beetle" or a Mini Countryman. The desire to be outside while camping--but not in all types of weather, was the kicker for a lot of owners. Comfort and ease, traveling and camping in a simple, economical way, enjoying a "retro" experience, a "tiny house" version of camping--all these factors were articulated by teardrop owners. For my wife and me, we're excited to be among the elect. "Just park and a ready-made place to sleep" says Andygirl from the Antipodes. As Nancy, another owner, said, "Just add food, water and clothes and we’re on the road,"  and reaching your destination to camp in the mountains, streamside. I'm feelin' it, aren't you?

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  1. Really enjoyed the article. The Mini and teardrop combo looks great.

    1. Minis seem to do a great job of towing a teardrop. Glad you liked the article. There's a painting of a Mini and a teardrop in this article. https://www.greengoddessglamping.com/2019/02/tiny-art-of-teardrop-trailers-jim-cook.html

    2. Thanks... I also believe one is more likely to use a smaller camper. We called ours the "C.O.W. "Condo On Wheels".

    3. That's funny, "condo on wheels"! I also think small is more manageable.

  2. My husband agree with everything listed: low weight, easy to move around on a site, security, a dry bed...Mainly it forces and urges us to be outdoors. Which for us, is the main purpose of camping.

    1. Enjoying nature by looking out a window is better than nothing, but I agree with you: getting out and enjoying the wind and the sounds and smells--much better. Thanks for commenting!

  3. I am in the beginning stages of getting either a teardrop or a tiny camper. I like the idea of a tiny camper but my Honda Element has only a 1500 tow capacity so I'm limited in what I can have. Thank you all for sharing, I am learning a lot!