Teardrop campers are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and a comfortable way to spend the night outdoors. Characterized by their retro “teardrop” shape, the teardrop trailer became a popular way to camp in the 1930s.
Today, teardrop trailers are making a comeback. Higher gas prices make them a more economical way to travel. And numerous DIY plans can be found online, making it easy to build your teardrop camper for a fraction of the cost.
There are many reasons to get hyped about the teardrop trailer. Below, you’ll find a list of things to look for in a camper and profiles of some of the coolest small trailers for sale. We’ll also give you some DIY advice for building your own teardrop trailer.
Traditional teardrop trailers can be easily recognized by their round ‘teardrop’ shape. They are built on a trailer with two wheels and connect to your car or truck using a ball and hitch mount.
Small teardrop campers are built to sleep two people comfortably. They have doors on both sides and sometimes have windows.
The trunk of a tear drop camper opens like a hatchback to reveal a portable outdoor dining area and some extra storage space.
How much to teardrop trailers cost?
Pricing varies widely. You can expect to pay $10,000 – $15,000 for a basic teardrop trailer and up to $30,000 if you want something more luxurious.
Alternatively, DIY teardrop trailers are significantly less expensive. You can build these for under $3,000 if you’re willing to put in the work yourself.
Why choose a teardrop trailer over other campers?
Portability: Because of the small footprint, they are easy to tow, maneuver, park, hitch and unhitch. You can leave the trailer at your campsite to ‘reserve your spot’ and still have a vehicle to take on adventures during the day.
Due to their size, they can easily fit into a regular tent camping site. They’re also small enough to squeeze into a store parking lot if you need to make a grocery run.
Low impact: Compared to a 5th wheel or RVs, the teardrop trailer is much more environmentally friendly. You’ll save a lot of money on gas, and you don’t need a giant truck to tow them.
Off-grid adventures: With their small size, teardrops are significantly more versatile than larger solutions. They do well on dirt roads and tight turns, unlike an RV. The design is minimal, so a bit of rattling isn’t going to hurt the appliances inside. They also have a high ground clearance compared to most standard campers.
All of this is to say you can take a teardrop camper off the beaten path and experience nature in a more secluded setting.
Comfort: Compared to traditional camping, a teardrop trailer is a luxury experience. The hard-outer shell keeps you safe from the elements and eliminates wind and rain.
Because you’re sleeping on the bed off the ground, you won’t have to worry about critters and snakes sneaking inside. You also don’t have to worry about water pooling underneath when it rains or rocks and uneven surfaces disrupting your sleep.
Teardrop campers have mattresses inside, making them nearly as comfortable as your home. Many have vent fans built on top to help control the temperature as well.
Kitchen and storage: Unlike a tent, you’ll have a full kitchen set up right alongside you in a
Electricity: Some modern teardrop trailers utilize solar panels and batteries to power electronics off-grid. Portable solar generators can also power lights, fans, refrigerators, stereos, and e-bikes during your trip.
Price: Perhaps the most desirable feature of a teardrop trailer is its price tag. You can have a comfortable camping experience with a significant cost reduction compared to a 5th wheel or RV.
Build your own: If you like projects and working with your hands, the teardrop trailer is the perfect camper to tackle. Dozens of designs can be found online, ranging from minimalistic builds to modern geometric shapes.
A DIY teardrop is not that expensive to construct and will hold up over a lifetime of use.
What are the disadvantages?
Limited storage space: Teardrops are one of the smallest types of campers. That means you simply won’t have the storage capacity you would in a larger trailer. They also have oddly shaped rooflines, so you probably won’t be able to strap a kayak, canoe or bicycle on top.
However, because all of your camping equipment can fit inside the trailer, that leaves a lot of spare room in your tow vehicle. You can utilize a rooftop cargo box or storage bag to add extra space on top of your car.
Built for shorter trips: These trailers were not meant to be full time living solutions. You’re better off looking at a camper van build or RV if you plan to spend a significant amount of time camping. They lack some major amenities like a toilet or shower that you would typically find in a larger camper.
Privacy: Teardrop campers are more similar to a tent camping experience than an RV living situation. You’ll find that these campers aren’t insulated well so sounds and lights will carry through them easily.
There is also a little less privacy with this type of camper because your kitchen is outside. Don’t expect to spend any significant amount of time inside the trailer during the day; that space is reserved mainly for sleeping.
No bathroom: As stated moments ago, there is no toilet or shower in a teardrop. That might make this camper a deal-breaker for some. Luckily, portable toilets and camping showers pack down small and can easily be brought along on your road trip.
Teardrop Camper Manufacturers In North America
Things to look for before purchasing
There is a huge variety of teardrop campers out there, and some companies have gotten really creative with their designs. Asking yourself a few questions before purchasing can help you narrow down the results.
- How many people will be sleeping in it?
- Where are you taking it?
- How important is electricity and entertainment?
- How much storage space do you need?
- What is your budget?
- Can you build it yourself?
- Do you want to test a camper first?
If you’re serious about owning a teardrop trailer and have the time, we recommend testing one first. That can save you money in the long run and really help you figure out the best camper for your family.
There are a number or rental companies online that will let you try before you buy.
Use the coupon code “parkedinparadise” for up to $40 off your rental price on Outdoorsy
The Best Teardrop Trailers For Sale
Escapod – Topo Series
- Sleeps: 2 – 5 (with addition of roof top tent)
- Weight: 1,600 pounds dry
- Exterior Dimensions: 13 feet long, 7 feet wide
- Base Price: $16,500
The Escapod Topo Series is custom built to fit your needs. That means you can customize the colors, features and accessories to match what you desire in an adventure camper.
That’s not to say this travel trailer doesn’t come fully stocked. The base price includes a 7ft sunseeker awning, Yeti 65 cooler, Fan-Tastic Fan, a deep cycle battery, and crossbars to store your extra equipment.
There are also a ton of accessories like a portable refrigerator, inverter, rooftop tent, and propane heater, among many others.
What we like most about this model is the ample interior space it provides. While it’s not the cheapest trailer on the list, it does come with everything you need for an extended camping trip.
The company also offers rentals for as little as $125 per night, so you can test it yourself before committing to a purchase.
- Sleeps: 2
- Weight: 760 pounds dry
- Exterior Dimensions: 12.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide
- Base Price: $9,000
One of the most unique designs you’ll find is the Polydrop trailer. The modern, geometric shape makes it look more like a spaceship than a teardrop. This trailer is equipped with a kitchenette with two drawers, LED lighting and USB outlets powered by a 100W solar panel. This model offers three storage sections and a comfortable bed with space for two people to sleep.
This is a basic camper, but it comes with a lower price tag than some of the others. You’ll get more mobility with this tiny trailer, as it’s one of the lightest trailers we’ve seen.
Vistabule Teardrop Trailer
- Sleeps: 2
- Weight: 1,200 pounds dry
- Exterior Dimensions: 14 feet long, 5 feet wide
- Base Price: $17,995
The shape of the Vistabule trailer makes it one of the more traditional designs. But that’s not to say it doesn’t include a few modern features and upgrades. Side tables flip up from the doors leaving room for eating and playing cards. The temperature can be controlled with the included Maxxair fan, and there’s 115Ah of battery power to operate reading lights and dome lights inside.
As for the extras, bat wings can be added to the back hatch to windproof your kitchen and prevent rain. There are also options for a built-in cooktop, fresh and gray water tanks, portable refrigerator and a 5000 BTU air conditioner.
Oregon Trail’R FronTear
- Sleeps: 2
- Weight: 1,100 pounds dry
- Exterior Dimensions: 12 feet long, 6.5 feet wide
- Base Price: $16,000
Another made-to-order teardrop is the Oregon Trail’r FronTear. Oregon Trailer is a small company that will design the teardrop based around your specs.
Our favorite thing about these campers is the detailed wood construction inside, which perfectly matches the outdoorsy interior style. You can choose to add options like vent fans, water systems, porch lights, tongue racks and batteries.
Because the company is small and the trailers are built to order, they require a long lead time. But that also gives you a more personalized experience than you would get with some of the bigger brands.
Pika by Timberleaf
- Sleeps: 2
- Weight: 970 pounds dry
- Exterior Dimensions: 8 feet long, 4 feet 6 inches wide
- Base Price: $11,750
Built for off-grid adventures, the Pika Trailer is lightweight and compact. It’s also one of the more affordable campers, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in amenities. What do you get for the price? Lights, a Maxxair vent fan, 6 USB outlets and 2 GFCI 110v outlets, all powered by a 100Ah deep cycle battery.
Most importantly, aluminium sides and roof can support an awning, and there are ample upgrades to choose from like solar panels, a portable refrigerator and a heating or AC unit. We like that Timberleaf trailers allow you to start with a minimal, low-priced build and add options as needed.
Some other models worth considering are:
- Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers
- Little Guy Max Trailers
- Happy Campers (for rental)
Teardrop Trailers with Bathrooms
Traditional teardrop trailers do not have a wet bath inside, but campers like the TAB Teardrop by NuCamp and the Little Guy Max Trailer try to keep the spirit of the teardrop shape while still offering amenities like a toilet.
What happens if you need a bathroom? We recommend reading our post on best portable toilets for camping. Many compact toilet solutions are light and portable enough to store in your trailer.
As for the shower, portable camping showers are another great solution. These can range from gravity-fed shower bags to heated propane showers.
Don’t let the lack of a full wet bath stop you from trying out a teardrop. Remember, you can always try before buying with a camper van rental company.
DIY Teardrop Camper Plans
When it comes to teardrops, one thing not to be ignored is the ability to build your own. A DIY trailer can save you thousands of dollars and allow you design to your exact specs. You can find tens of plans online to build your own trailer. These are some of our favorites:
- Amazon Book: The Handmade Teardrop Trailer — Design & Build a Classic Tiny Camper from Scratch
Camping in a Teardrop
When it comes to camping, the best trailer is the one that fits your lifestyle. Teardrop campers are great because they’re lightweight, inexpensive and a comfortable way to camp. And if you really want to dive into a project, we recommend building one of your own for your next adventure. Happy travels!