Test Run with a Teardrop Trailer…

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 couple 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…

teardrop trailers- Moby1 trailerOne 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…

 

So-Cal Teardrops…

teardrop trailers- so-cal trailers

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.

Old School Teardrop Trailers…

Old School Trailer- teardrop trailer

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.

Teardrop trailers - Old School Teardrop

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.

Old School Trailer- teardrop trailer

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.

Teardrop trailers - Old School Teardrop

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.

Dave Creech is a successful business owner and entrepreneur based in Phoenix, Arizona. He shares his personal story and lifelong passion for travel and rugged outdoor adventure through his blog at WildernessDave.com. David’s focus has been on trip stories, gear reviews, Wilderness Medicine and a series of articles aimed at introducing Yoga to hikers and backpackers as a path to staying fit, healthy and injury free.

Comments

  1. Sounds like a winning concept. I could probably tow one of these behind my Xterra. I’ll have to give one a trial run sometime. I don’t think I’ll buy one, but RENTING one is an awesome option.

    Hope your foot mends quickly.

    • Thanks Jeff!

      Yeah, if you can find a local company that rents them, that would be the way to go. Your Xterra would haul it with no problem. The guy we rented from hauls his with a tiny little car.

      • Does it get hot in there? Do you get much cross-ventilation? Or in simple terms, what’s the maximum outdoors temperature that you’d feel comfortable sleeping in this?

        • Jeff,

          A lot of that will depend on your personal threshold and breeze. The ventilation is effective if you can position the trailer across the breeze right. There are some with mechanical fans built in to the roof ventilation that would help pull warm air out…the one we had didn’t have that.

          In the trailer we had, I would say anything warmer than a 60 degree night time temp would get pretty stuffy. We napped in it mid-day with the doors and windows wide open in 80 degree temps and felt fine…but there was a lot of cross breeze. Out here, it’s too warm from late Spring through late Fall to use something like this in the valley. But I can get up on the plateau and it’s a easily a 4 season piece of equipment.

  2. Dave, was the trailer a 5-wide or 6-wide? The 5-wide is five foot wide and the size of a queen size bed. The 6-wide is a king size bed. I ask because of your truck’s mirrors. I would think the 6-wide would need some kind of mirror extenders. The 5-wide, probably not. What say ye?

    Little Guy Trailers are made right here in Ohio, a few hours from my home.

    Brent

    • Brent,

      It was the 5′-wide queen size model. In my truck, I barely saw the little guy behind me unless I turned. I doubt I would need mirror extenders for the 6′ wide. I had no visibility issues at all. That said, I do have a huge truck…short bed truck, or trucks without the extended cab might have more issues….not sure.

  3. I forgot to mention: Little Guy makes an Expedition model for when you want to lug that teardrop over rough ground and through a few stream crossings.

    Brent

  4. Glad to hear Grand Canyon was a success. We tent camped it in June. I have been over the top about teardrops and canned hams since our Route 66 exploration. Blog on.

  5. I took two 12 volt case fans from a computer and wired them up to an extra battery from a ups. I took those camping last time we stayed in a trailer. I’m working on making it a little more enclosed so no little fingers get cut off, and doing up a better switch, but it works great for getting air in and out of a trailer that you can’t point into a breeze.

  6. Dave, your adventures with the different teardrops sounds like fun. If you want to try the 5-Wide model w/ Sink & Stove option built-in feel free to rent ours. JackrabbitRentals.com – based out of Glendale, AZ.

    • Devin,

      I’ll have to take a look at your rates. I know we are planning to rent again and try out different models/styles. This will be a good option to consider when we get ready for the next trip. Thanks!

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