Teardrop trailers owe their existence to family members no longer wanting to sleep in floorless tents in the 1930s and 1940s. While they disappeared for a while, in the past few decades, they’ve come back stronger than ever. Yet, with so many independent brands in the teardrop camper market, it’s hard to choose. We’ll show you which teardrops to avoid and why.
Finding the best teardrop trailer that meets your wants and needs is as unique as you are. What doesn’t work for you may benefit another. Our discussion will act as a guide to common concerns related to teardrop trailers.
Here are categories of teardrops that we suspect will cause anxiety. We recommend that you spend as much time as possible researching them before making a purchase.
- The Most Clausterphobic Teardrop: Little Guy MyPod
- The Most Expensive Teardrop: Hutte Hut
- The Most Frightening Teardrop For Acraphobics: Taxa Outdoors Woolly Bear
- The Most Frustrating DIY Teardrop: Teardrop Builder Wyoming Woody
- The Heaviest Teardrop: inTech Flyer Discover Toy Hauler
Are Teardrop Trailers Worth It?
Of all the biases people have about teardrop campers, claustrophobia and lack of features top the list. Some even think you can suffocate in a teardrop trailer without the proper ventilation. First and foremost, various governing agencies like the RVIA require RV manufacturers to adhere to strict building regulations.
Teardrop travel trailers are safe to use and come with more amenities than people give them credit. If you’re someone who’s coming from the #TentLife, we’ll show you what they’re really like.
Imagine your two to three-person tent. The wall opposite the door has a cabinet that stretches the entire length and a countertop about halfway up. The cabinet doors either slide side-to-side or hinge up/down. The countertop is usable as a solid surface for eating, your laptop, or other things. On the back wall, you even have USB or 110v plugs.
Towards the top of the wall, there’s a decent-sized LED TV so you can watch your favorite shows or movies. On both sidewalls, you have doors with big windows. You can either open the windows fully or keep the screen in place so you can insult the mosquitos as they desperately fail to get in.
On the roof, you have a vent with a multispeed fan. It can either draw in out air, creating a wind tunnel effect with the windows. The roof may have an air conditioning unit, and in the corner of the cabinet is a small furnace. A 2-3 inch thick foam mattress takes up all of the floor space in this imagined tent full of features.
Take this imagined tent and lift it onto a single-axle trailer chassis. When you leave the interior space, walk to the rear and open the curved back hatch like you’re opening the trunk of a hatchback car. Here, you’ll find a shelving system. The lower portion will have a dorm-sized refrigerator and a two-burner propane stove that’s better than the portable one you use on top of the campground’s picnic table.
The shelves have drawers for all of your kitchenware, and you have a countertop to prepare your meals. The refrigerator works on the battery mounted up front on the chassis. The stove has plumbing connected to that same 20-pound bottle, too.
To complete this full-featured tent on wheels, add a hard shell instead of fabric, place your 4-cylinder vehicle next to it (since some small SUVs and full-size cars can pull a teardrop trailer), and your savings account still has money in it.
Now that you know what’s inside a teardrop trailer and what they’re like, are they worth your consideration?
What Should I Look For in a Teardrop Trailer?
For a complete discussion on teardrop camper specifications and teardrop trailer layouts, you can learn everything you need to know in our article about the category. Teardrops range from 8-13 feet in length. The teardrop trailer weighs around 2,150 pounds. The majority of this RV category sleeps two people, but some allow four people.
Teardrops come in the traditional shape with a wide front that tapers down to a back point. Non-traditional square teardrops maximize space. Self-contained versions that mimic small travel trailers place the kitchen inside. You’ll even come across larger self-contained teardrop campers with bathrooms.
Teardrops have levels of luxury, have off-road packages, and many other features. You’ll find them wired for electricity, both shore power and prewired for solar. Some have plumbing and water tanks. If you’re looking for an RV for winter camping, insulated teardrops can keep you comfortable in early/late season conditions but winterize and store them during the winter months.
For those who want a teardrop camper but want to steer away from specific characteristics, here are some teardrop trailers to avoid and an explanation about why they won’t fit your particular needs. Please note that we are basing our results on buyer’s interests only.
The Most Clausterphobic Teardrop: Little Guy MyPod
- Inside Width: 5 Feet
- Inside Height: 3.08 Feet
- Inside Floor Length: 6.5 Feet
- Installed Utilities: House Battery, Air Conditioning, Vent Fan
Ohio-based manufacturer Little Guy Trailers launched the MyPod for the 2020 model year. The all-fiberglass two-sleeper is vastly different than the self-contained Max and Mini Max, which maintains the traditionally shaped lines on which the company earned its stripes. One of its best features is its 2,200-pound maximum weight, making the new Ford Bronco an ideal tow vehicle.
Having an Ultralite weight comes at a cost. The interior dimensions don’t leave much space for two people to maneuver. Getting in and out of the camper can require some dexterity and forethought. If you crawl in head first, you can reach the cabinets, air conditioner, and other features, but you’ll be at the wrong angle to view the LED TV.
On the other hand, going in feet first makes it difficult to climb out. People who are “vertically challenged” will have enough head clearance to sit up with the over 3-foot roof to reach the cabinet and features.
Little Guy added big windows on both sides to minimize the problem, but this may not be the right coach if you have issues with small spaces. Compared to other teardrops, the MyPod is smaller than most. With a suggested retail price above $10,000, there are plenty of alternatives in the teardrop category with larger interiors.
MyPod Travel Trailer by Little Guy (Video)
The Most Expensive Teardrop: Hütte Hut
- Base Model Price: $63,900
- Chassis Construction: 6061 T6 Aluminum Space Frame
- Shell Construction: Baltic Birch and Joubert Okume Marine Ply
- Roof Construction: Double Plied Cotton Canvas Canopy
- Construction Adhesive: EcoPoxy® Green Seal Certified Plant-Based Epoxy
Elkhart, Indiana, is the Capital of the RV World. Yet California and the Pacific Northwest have become home to many independent companies developing innovations not seen in traditional RV construction techniques. Since the Big Four (Forest River Inc, REV Group, Thor Ind., and Winnebago Outdoors) only dabble in the teardrop category, it leaves the sector open for independent manufacturers to compete in that market space.
The Hütte Hut out of Santa Barbara, California, is a 14-foot-long all-wood teardrop with two doors on the passenger side that open the entire side. Inside, you’ll find a rear countertop and a dual 110v outlet in the base unit. The Baltic Birch, Joubert Okume Marine Play, and 6061 T6 Aluminum Space Frame Teardrop have a dry weight of 900 pounds. It can safely max out with a GVWR of 3,500 pounds.
You may be wondering why this teardrop trailer is so expensive. You can buy a self-contained teardrop with a bathroom that’s full of features for a lot less. While this is true, you have to consider the construction methods of each one. The Hütte Hut is a “green build” teardrop. The raw materials used to manufacture the coach come from sustainable and eco-friendly sources.
The wood comes from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). The Hütte Hut doesn’t have a single screw in it. To bond the components together, the company uses a green seal-certified glue that’s non-toxic, minimizes waste, keeps our water clean, and preserves our climate.
The manufacturer also meets the California Air Resources Board’s ULEF standards by using formaldehyde-free plyboard and adhesive. Every teardrop camper that leaves their production floor proves the eco-friendliness the teardrop community can reach.
Many RV manufacturers are becoming green-certified in their production and their products as technology advances. Airstream, Coachmen, Forest River, and Roadtrek were the first to gain the TRA Green Certification stamp of approval. Other brands have joined in to minimize their impact on the environment.
If the Hütte Hut is out of your price range, but you want to do your part for the environment, let your RV dealer know, and they can point you in the right direction. You can be eco-smart, enjoy the teardrop lifestyle, and not break the bank all at the same time.
The Most Frightening Teardrop For Acraphobics: Taxa Outdoors Woolly Bear
- Height to Roof Top Tent: 7.3 Feet
- Dry Weight: 1,270 Pounds
- Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC): 830 Pounds
- Utilities: Prewired for solar, house battery, power cord for gas generator
2021 is a big year for Taxa Outdoors. Not only did they move into a new production facility that dwarfs the original, but the updates to the base camp Woolly Bear are also incredible. The kitchen storage compartment has a new design, giving it better utility and storage without increasing its size.
With a 2,100-pound GVWR and standard off-road suspension, you can hook it up to your 4-cylinder Jeep Wrangler and find remote locations rarely seen. You can sleep safely at night knowing the wildlife won’t get through the compartment locks and can’t climb up to the tent platform.
It all sounds terrific unless you’re afraid of heights. The platform can hold most tent brands, but it’s measured correctly for the Thule® 3-person tent. The tent comes with a built-in ladder, and you can’t see directly down from the windows. The shape narrows towards the top, focusing your attention more towards the space’s center.
The RV experience should be relaxing. After trying the Woolly Bear at the RV dealership, it becomes too much for you to handle; teardrop campers are so popular that there’s a whole sub-sector devoted to the off-road lifestyle. Your sales representative can point out many more that will suit your needs and wants much better.
TAXA Outdoors Woolly Bear (Video)
The Most Frustrating DIY Teardrop: Teardrop Builder Wyoming Woody
- Total Build Cost: $5,493.54
- Length: 9 Feet
- Height: 5 Feet
- Width: 5 Feet
- Build Time: Varies (1 year, 6 months, 7 days)
If you dig back into the history of teardrops, you’ll see that they were born in the 1930s. Magazines like Popular Mechanics published articles from designers all over the country. As you’ll see in the movie Alumination, Wally Byam, the creator of Airstream, started his business with wooden teardrops (aluminum came later).
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In today’s world, you’ll find many companies that offer teardrop plans, pre-cut components, or teardrop camper shells you can purchase. Getting that sense of accomplishment of building a teardrop from DIY camper trailer plans can be one of those bucket list achievements. For Ryan, the Wyoming Woody designer, making a teardrop trailer was less than $5,500.
Yet, when you build an RV, the price is only part of the total expense. It took him over 18 months to design and build his teardrop. On his website, he offers his CAD-design plans as a PDF file you can download and uses the site to provide instruction and support to those following his footsteps.
As you read through his website, he thanks everyone who assisted him with those parts of the process and used their specialized skills on specific steps. You can also read through the various threads from other builders to get ideas and inspiration on adjusting the plans to make the teardrop uniquely yours.
The original plans call for a chassis whose axle weight rating is 3,500 pounds. If you’re a patient person who enjoys learning a new skill or loves working with their hands, building a DIY teardrop might be for you. The length of time it takes to make a teardrop trailer working around your daily life averages around six months. Otherwise, customer orders for completed RVs hover around three months with the current 2021/2022 model year backlog.
Woody Teardrop Trailer (Video)
The Heaviest Teardrop: inTech Flyer Discover Toy Hauler (GVWR 5,200 Pounds)
- Dry Weight: 2,475- 2,750 Pounds
- GVWR: 5,200 Pounds
- CCC: 2,450-2,725 Pounds
- Utilities: House battery, solar prep, shore power cord, 8.5-gallon fresh water tank, shore water line, single 20-pound LP tank
At first, you wouldn’t think this tricked-out non-traditional teardrop would be heavy since it’s a travel trailer under 3,000 pounds. Using hybrid trailer foldout beds and a front cap full kitchen allows enough room to set up a table and chairs to dine inside.
The inTech Flyer Discover is in a fuzzy category. The Flyer series are non-traditional teardrops because they don’t have the classic teardrop shape. Yet the Discover and Explore are toy haulers that can carry an ATV, snowmobile, UTV, kayak, or other adventure toys.
From a technical approach, they do fall within the teardrop category officially. The Discover has soft shell fold-out sleeping spaces like hybrid travel trailers (1 standard, a second is optional).
They’re designed for more fuel-efficient trucks and SUVs. Families will like the Discover; couples will like the Discover or the Explore. If you’re loading up a motorized adventure toy, do the math to make sure you’re not going over the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or your tow vehicle’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR).
inTech had other intentions when they came up with the Flyer Discover. The four-sleeper teardrop acts as one of the smallest toy haulers on the market. The manufacturer built it with a gross vehicle weight rating of 5,200 pounds. With a teardrop trailer weight like this, using a Ford Explorer (5,600 max tow capacity) or bigger would be optimal if you’re parking your ATV or snowmobile inside the RV.
While the Flyer Discover has a lot of room inside, the RV has an MSRP of $27,090. Most 4-cylinder vehicles have a towing capacity of between 2,000-3,500 pounds. Even without a motorized adventure toy, you could quickly max out your tow capacity with all of your gear and passenger weight. This teardrop requires a V6 tow vehicle or better.
If you want a teardrop trailer with living space that’s light enough for your fuel-efficient 4-cylinder SUV, inTech and other manufacturers have plenty of options for you. You may find a cheaper teardrop trailer that allows you to add some optional features, like a batwing awning.
Intech Flyer Discover Technician Tour (Video)
What Is the Best Teardrop Trailer?
If you ask 100 teardrop campers that question, you may receive some similar answers, but each will have unique reasons. Some may enjoy the eco-friendliness of the Hütte Hut and find the sparse interior a bonus. It allows them to finish the interior however they choose. Some might not be concerned about the cost but are interested in getting the maximum number of features and technologies that a manufacturer can incorporate into a space measuring 5 by 9 feet.
The best way to determine what subcategory of teardrop fits your RV lifestyle is to rent one from a peer-to-peer RV rental company. Many rent for less than $60 per night. Try a few of them through a few weekends. The first-hand experience you gain will help you narrow down what you like and what to avoid when you’re ready to buy your own.
Throughout the process, keep up with the latest article on RV Troop for the latest tips and trends in the RV world. If you have any questions along the way, feel free to comment below. Our experts are always here to help you.
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