The Wilderness Wife and I like to travel. We talk a lot about trips we’d like to take and places we’d like to see. I like to run pretty lean when it’s just me, but the wife likes just a little creature comfort when we’re out road-tripping and camping for multiple days. A few years ago we saw a couple pull into a camp ground hauling a small teardrop trailer from T@B. That began our obsession with teardrop trailers.
This past May we took a few days off and drove to the Overland Expo outside of Flagstaff, mostly to see friends, but with the secondary motive of checking out the trailer options for overlanding. The Expo proved fruitful and we came home with a stack of brochures for all the trailer and gear options. There were a few stand-outs that we really liked.
The Moby1 Teardrop Trailer…
One of the first trailers we saw that we really liked was from Moby1 Expedition Trailers, LLC. We liked that it was light, clean and simple with high clearance and plenty of options. A very versatile trailer that we could take anywhere and probably tow with any vehicle. They have a variety of configurations ranging from super light, bare bones trailers to heavy duty, cross country, off-road trailers with tons of amenities. A viable option, but we wanted to see more…
We looked around and saw a few others, most of which just didn’t fit us. Then we found the setup from So-Cal Teardrops and really liked what we saw. These teardrops were pretty sweet and have a TON of optional upgrades (more than we could ever afford). They fit most of what we were looking for – off-road capability, solar options, water storage and pumping options, kitchen setup, optional bike racks, awnings, etc. As with most of this kind of equipment, there is some sticker shock when you start asking.
Even so, we had the bug after the expo and just couldn’t let it go. The wife was shopping for used trailers looking for deals. I wasn’t sure if she’d really be as comfortable as she thought in one of these. I mean, they look like they could be stuffy and cramped…it’s a tin can in the desert, what’s comfortable about that?
So we had to try one. That was that.
When my foot injury kept me from flying off to California to tough out two weeks on the JMT, we decided to spend her birthday camping. We settled on the Grand Canyon and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out a teardrop trailer and see if it was something we really thought we would use. Luckily, she found a local outfit renting Little Guy Trailers under the name Old School Teardrop (they no longer exist).
Old School Teardrop Trailers…
I contacted Old School Teardrop via email after checking out their site and Facebook Page. The wife had pretty much decided already that she wanted to try to rent one from them if it was available…and it was her birthday so I had to see what I could do. Jose, the owner of Old School Teardrop, got back to me and we slowly hammered out the details via email. Jose was very accommodating and actually let us pick the trailer up the night before our rental so we could get an early start with it. He has two trailers he rents out and has plans to get another one. Both trailers are kept very clean and he has rules against allowing pets or smokers use the trailers.
My giant truck barely knew the trailer was there. The one we rented was pretty light weight and stripped down. Jose had it outfitted with a bed, storage pockets on one wall and a set of old-school metal lunchboxes on the other wall for storage (pretty cool!). We got the trailer up north and made our first night’s stop at Bedrock City. The trailer was still holding some of the heat from the valley and took a while to cool off inside. Even with the roof vent wide open, the two side windows open and the back left wide open all night it was still a little stuffy until about 4 in the morning.
After that first night though, it stayed cooler and was much more comfortable. We spent three more nights camping at the Desert View Campground in Grand Canyon National Park. The trailer gave us a nice spot to chill out, nap, crash at night, change clothes in privacy and a secure place to stash our stuff while we were out exploring. The most important part: After 4 days on the road and camping the wife was not ready to go home! WIN! Four days in and she was ready to keep going and a lot of that had to do with the trailer.
So, it sounds like a trailer of some kind is in our future. It’s just a matter of figuring out what we can afford vs. what we need to make it worth while. Renting the trailer was a great learning experience and gave us a lot of information to work with in making a decision. I also think Old School Teardrop will continue to be a great resource for us until we find one of our own. Jose seemed pretty excited about having Wilderness Dave take one of his trailers out. We’ve already talked about renting one again for an extended trip out to Joshua Tree National Park in the near future.
When I mentioned online that we had rented a teardrop for our trip I had a TON of responses from people on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram asking about the trailer and what I thought of it. The teardrops seem to be really popular right now. If anyone has any questions about the trailer or our experience that I didn’t cover here, just hit me up in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.
UPDATE 2015: We have made our decision to get a Teardrop Trailer. We are having one built to our specifications and should have it by the end of the year. Read more about our Teardrop decision here. And check out our builder TCTeardrops.