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Dawn’s Teardrop Camper Story: On the Teardrop Trail

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Guest Post by Dawn Langton: On the Teardrop Camper Trail

When I was kid, my mother aspired to a singlewide. She grew up in our house, a rambling Dutch Colonial on Long Island. My friends loved its weird nooks and crannies and creepy cellar. My mom hated that it always needed work and took forever to clean.

So in the New York suburbs of the 1960s, when most adults thought bigger was better, she longed for a simple trailer in the woods. Later, she discovered tiny log cabins, and lobbied my father endlessly to make the move. She finally got her wish, in a way, when they retired to what she called her “treehouse,” a small, rustic duplex on stilts on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Dawn Langon's Teardrop Camper Trailer

My mom’s love of little dwellings was not lost on me. We started to camp when I was 10. While my dad started the fire on cool fall mornings, she and I would hunker down in the canvas cabin that we got with S&H Green Stamps. I still use the same Coleman cooler and stove, but I’ve reached an age when sleeping on the ground has lost its charm. My husband and I also are working toward downsizing. I blog about our progress at Trending Toward Tiny Retirement (www.trendingtiny.com). When we sell our 1,800 square foot house, we hope to rent a smaller place as a base and take to the road.

In the meantime, we’d like to camp more. I love all things retro, so of course I’m drawn to teardrop campers and vintage travel trailers. The 50s version of today’s tiny houses, they are ready to go on a moment’s notice and fit most anywhere. And, unlike VW campers, which I also covet, they don’t have an engine to worry about.

I spent hours, days, weeks, ok, months online, drooling over old and new campers. We ruled out the taller canned hams, tempting as they are. As much as I’d like to stand up in my dwelling, finances and vehicle storage are top priorities for now. So I honed in on teardrops.

Let me be clear about one thing: I can paint and hammer and sand, but I’ve never built anything bigger than a birdhouse. It was made of redwood, but that’s where its grandeur ended. So building a teardrop was out. But that still left lots of choices. Used or new? Wood or aluminum skinned? Homemade or company-built?

I joined the forum at www.tearjerkers.net, and asked those good people for advice and leads. A few members were selling wonderful, one-of-a-kind tears they’d built, but most of them were too far away. So I used a Craigslist app and www.searchtempest.com to scan Florida on a daily basis. I visited vintage trailer classified sites and eBay weekly. I haunted forums and blogs.

One day I spotted a listing for a teardrop in Eustis, Florida, about two hours from my house. Many phone calls and texts later, we were on our way to check it out. Built by Andrew Bennett of Trekker Trailers (www.trekkertrailers.com), it was aluminum out and wood in, the tiny product of a tiny company.

Andrew is a skilled builder with an art background who appreciates fine design, careful craftsmanship and smart spaces. He had two tears on site, a Simple Sleeper and the larger Adam’s Cabin, both beautiful to behold.

Even better, the smaller one was a demo, and Andy offered us a great price with lots of extras thrown in. The next week, after a few modifications, we hitched it to our Kia Ronda and drove off. Since then we’ve camped in muggy downpours and freezing winds, and stayed snug in our tear.

It’s not a singlewide, but my mom would have loved it.

Find more micro shelters in this section. If you want more teardrop camper/trailers we have a category on that too.

Dawn Langton is a writer, editor and blogger who has loved tiny spaces since she built a duplex out of a refrigerator box when she was seven. She’s been a newspaper reporter, college publications director and small business owner. She lives in a bungalow in St. Augustine, Florida, with her husband, daughter, dog and cat, and is the proud owner of a Trekker Trailer teardrop. She blogs about Trending Toward Tiny Retirement at www.trendingtiny.com.

Trending Tiny - Teardrop Trailer Camper

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • jerryd
    April 20, 2013, 11:34 am

    I like teardrops as just so cool looking and easy to tow. Sadly not as aero as the name sounds, just small.

    But other than sleeping in, not much else. For trips to avoid hotel bills and places, events where you only come to it to sleep, a great thing.

    By making it a little taller and just doing a curved roof that only drops 1′ aft from the tallest part would give far more room, flexibility and not more aero drag especially if the sides and a lesser curve in them.

    Done right can even cut the car’s aero drag enough if you keep it light, won’t need much if any extra power/gas to tow it.

    And if it just sits/bolted on the trailer you could pop it off and use the trailer for other things so you don’t need to get another trailer or a pickup.

    And as a trailer home is only a so badly built boat it won’t float, making it float gives other options, value.

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