Friday, July 5, 2019

Tiny Trailer Owner Profile: Jeff Cook

Anyone familiar with Facebook tiny trailer groups will probably have run across a positive, uplifting post or comment by tiny trailer owner Jeff Cook. A resident of North Carolina,  Jeff owns a 2017 squaredrop trailer built by Cross Country Teardrops, which he pulls with a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Jeff grew up elbows deep in nature by working for his dad's landscaping company. His family also did lots of camping when he grew up in southwest Virginia. When Jeff felt the desire to camp as an adult, he "chose a teardrop to get back into camping with a primitive feel."

"My wife Brandy and I love to hike, so we wanted something that would fit into the small campgrounds." The squaredrop was a great fit due to the size and weight for his vehicle; in addition, having a bed off the ground and staying dry from the rain was a great plus. Their teardrop has also provided them the luxury of going to the beach three or four times a year instead of staying only one weekend per year due to the high cost of lodging. For instance, their longest trip has been to Myrtle Beach about four and a half hours from home, and they usually go there about four times a year.  Camping is much less expensive, around twenty-five to fifty-five dollars a night instead of two hundred dollars a night at a hotel. Since the squaredrop has a twin loft bunk, Jeff and his family easily fit into it with no issue. "There have been times I’ve given my spot up and tent camped with the canopy attachment tent so that other family members would be able to enjoy our camping experience."

"We usually camp almost every weekend even if just for one night, sometimes just to get away." They love the state park campgrounds and any sites along a beach, river, or lake, providing them the primitive experience they love. Another great plus of primitive camping with a teardrop is that you can get sites for what it cost tent campers.   "There's nothing like waking up to the coolness off the river or lake, and it’s just beautiful to sit and have coffee looking at the river."

They have a number of favorite campground spots, their most visited being Pilot Mountain State Park in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, because it is close to home. However, their favorite is Huntington Beach State Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Ocean Lakes is a spot great for Halloween camping for kids, and Lakewood in Myrtle Beach also a great place to camp. "Recently we have a new found love for riverfront camping, such as at the New River Family Campground in Independence, Virginia. Camping on the river and kayaking is truly great family fun!"

Favorite hiking spots have been at Stone Mountain, Hanging Rock, and Pilot Mountain, all in North Carolina. Even though all are hiking spots, each location is unique. "Stone Mountain is in its name--the mountain is basically stone. It’s awesome to get to top and see whole mountain of stone. Hanging Rock is the toughest, but the overlook over the mountains is worth it and you can take great photos. Plus it has a lake there that you can be lazy at afterwards and cool off.  Pilot Mountain is my backyard, and its fun to hike up to the top straight from the campground. Overall, hiking also allows my family to go at our own pace yet be able to spend quality family talking."

New River Bridge Family Campground

Jeff and his family found the tiny trailer good to go when they bought it, needing only one modification. "The only thing I’ve added are Yakima bars to carry kayaks. One day we plan to get a rooftop tent for an extra bed." As far as equipment goes, the Cooks did pick up a portable gas fire pit, which Jeff highly recommends to cut the cost on wood and also for use in campgrounds with fire restrictions.

It's not always easy, though, camping in the great outdoors. In 2018 when camping at Pilot Mountain State Park, Jeff and his family heard something while sitting around the campfire. "We heard something in the distance walking. I flashed my flashlight and caught the eyes of what we perceived to be a wolf or coyote. My wife and daughter ran and jumped in the teardrop. Being the hero I am, I stayed to fend off the wild animal while they got away, only to find later out it was a trained hunting dog, as nice as can be.  But, hey, I protected my family, right? LOL!"

Maiden Voyage, Pilot Mountain State Park
The best advice Jeff says he can give to newbie campers is "to just get out there.  Don’t overthink the whole experience; learn as you go. Our best stories we laugh at are about when we first started." It took time to become the experienced campers they are now, yet Jeff and his family "learn something new each time." Jeff would also love to use his teardrop as a future blogger to show everyone the joy and fun of teardropping.  "CAMP ON!"

This year Jeff and his family plan to visit a number of parks, mainly in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and in eastern Tennessee.  "Our teardrop allows us to go out and enjoy the beauty of nature."  Jeff said in his Green Goddess Glamping interview that he plans to upgrade to a Rustic Trail Teardrop brand "because we love their campers (truly one of a kind), and they are a great family business that strives to please their customers."  And what do we find on Facebook while writing this profile? You guessed it--a photo of Jeff's new camper! And he didn't say a word!

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  1. Well there you go, another tiny camper to research...

  2. The blue one is actually for sale, I believe, for $6,000.

  3. I met Jeff and Brandi soon after they purchased their first camper. They were coming to my town, Myrtle Beach. We had met in a Facebook group that highlighted Rustic Trail Teardrops. My wife, Annette, and I have become friends with Jeff and Brandi. In fact, we have made a lot of friends through our new found love of tiny campers. No one told us about the social benefits of becoming an owner of a tiny camper. Great article, Tom.

  4. I was just thinking this morning that, although I won't be making it to 2019's RTTC get-together, maybe in 2020. I've interacted with many people online that I'd like to meet in person.