The Beginner’s Guide to Teardrop Trailers

The Beginner’s Guide to Teardrop Trailers

8 min read

Most people love the idea of picking up everything they own and traveling the country, but few have the guts to do it, at least as often enough as they wish. There’s a lot of excuses of why not to travel, but for many, it all boils down to money.

Let me just say, there’s a lot of affordable ways to travel. Today, I’ll introduce you to one: a teardrop trailer.

A teardrop trailer is a small, towable RV that functions as a tiny home. They’re a cheaper way of travel for individuals who want to enjoy a road trip or have an adventure upcountry. They’re great because you don’t have to pay for hotels or maintain a full-sized RV while on the road.

Since they usually have a bed and sink, they also make a great base camp for individuals who are always on the move. Here’s everything you’ll need to know about teardrop trailers if you’re looking to buy one or just want to learn more:

 

What is a teardrop trailer?

Teardrop trailers are a small, towable type of RV. They can be recognized easily by their shape, which is round on one end and tapered on the other. Since these RVs are small, they are not heavy and very easy to tow. The simplest trailers usually consist of a bedroom on wheels. However, larger teardrop trailers can have a dining area, kitchen, and bed.

Teardrop trailers are widely loved by people with an adventurous side, as they are relatively inexpensive (by home standards) and convenient. These teardrops are ideal for adventures who plan shorter trips and would like to have all the basic amenities with them during their travel.

They’re also a great choice for camping at national parks since the campsites at these places are usually fairly small.

The vintage design of many teardrop trailers also attracts many people. Owners can have custom builds, decorating these trailers with unique accessories or fabrics. You’ll find many teardrop trailer owners like to show theirs off at gathering at rallies like Tearstock.

 

How much does a teardrop trailer weigh?

Teardrop campers weigh less than 4,000 lbs. This is because of their lightweight construction and compact size. It’s what makes them easy to tow. Even smaller vehicles like SUVs, crossovers, light trucks, and even motorcycles can pull a teardrop trailer.

Typically, you can expect a teardrop trailer to weigh about 1,750 pounds. When factoring in the weight of a teardrop trailer, you will find it is listed as dry or wet weight. Dry weight simply refers to the weight of the frame on the trailer excluding that of cargo or fuel.

When it has cargo in it and the propane gas tank is full as well as the water tank, it is known as the wet weight. Knowing the weight of a teardrop trailer is important because you will be towing it hence you want to get the one that suits your car best.

 

How much does it cost to build a teardrop trailer?

For basic builds, you may build a teardrop trailer for as low as$1,000. However, a higher-quality version, costs may go upwards of $5,000, depending on the materials used. The different parts to assemble, the electrical work, and labor costs, all influence the overall cost of building a trailer.

 

How much does it cost to buy a teardrop trailer?

The price of new teardrop trailers ranges between $5,000 to $20,000, though it can be higher for more advanced or high-tech builds. Small teardrop trailers are usually available at a price range of $5,000 to $10,000. Midsized teardrop campers go for $10,000 to $15,000. Large teardrop trailers, with a four-person capacity, usually go for upwards of $15,000.

 

How to power a teardrop trailer

Though teardrop campers are not large, their electrical power systems can be designed to be able to deliver different functions. These can range from basic to more complicated roles, based on what the user decides to enhance their camping experience.

Most teardrop trailers have a foundation of a power system that consists of a city power inlet, 12V battery, on-board, USB, 12VDC distribution, outlets of 120 vac. There is a long list of additional amenities both 120VAC and 12VDC powered can be supported based on the source of power, charging capabilities, type of the battery and its capacity, and 12VDC power usage.

The sources of power include:

  • Plugging in: Connecting a 120VAC power cable at the site you are camping helps in recharging the 12V battery. You should be aware that using household appliances like AC’s requires city power.
  • Vehicle connection: A well-designed vehicle–to–trailer connection allows your tow vehicle to effectively recharge the trailer battery even while you are on the road.
  • Gas-powered generator: Though this is not the most ideal solution for those who want to hear the sound of nature clearly, it is also another way to generate the 120VAC power to recharge a battery and run your HVAC appliances even when off the grid.
  • Solar power: Many manufacturers of teardrop trailers have advanced and are offering the additional option of adding solar panels. The panels can be permanently fixed on the rooftop or you can be carrying them and fixing them when you want to charge the batteries. The solar panels come with a solar charge controller which helps in managing the energy collected by the panels and then deliver the charging current to the trail battery using a profile that is compatible with the type of battery. These solar panels help you to add power to the teardrop trailer which will be used to run the appliances you have brought on board.

 

Can you rent a teardrop trailer?

Yes, you can rent a teardrop trailer. People are increasingly going for the idea of renting teardrop trailers. The cost of renting one is affordable to many people and allows you to enjoy your camping adventure greatly. The price of renting these teardrop trailers varies. The average price is typically around $75 a night or about $400 a week.

 

Can you pull a teardrop trailer with a car?

Most teardrop trailers can be pulled by a car, given that the car has the horsepower to do so.

However, keep in mind that larger trailers may need to be pulled by a track. Teardrop trailers that can be pulled by a car are usually smaller in size, as compared to those that are towed by a track. The small-sized trailers that can be pulled by a car make traveling quite easy and more convenient with its incredible features.

Here are some types of teardrop trailers that can be pulled by a car:

  • Aluminum Teardrop Trailer
  • Luna Trailer
  • Huttle Hut Trailer
  • Pika Trailer
  • Little Guy Max Camper
  • Runaway Camper
  • Extreme Tears
  • Oregon Trail’R
  • Retro Camper

 

Can you live in a teardrop trailer?

The answer is yes. You may be surprised about the idea of living in a teardrop trailer, but it is economical, simple, and satisfying. There are more than a million Americans who live in trailers full time and it’s not a bad idea at all.

A lot of people have actually found that it has helped improve their relationships! Living in a trailer frees you from the limitations and burdens that are associated with a typical home. You can explore places and settle in beautiful destinations which makes this way of life beautiful, economical, and satisfying. Living in a trailer full-time can be quite an adventure.

 

Can a motorcycle pull a teardrop trailer?

It’s possible to tow a teardrop trailer with a motorcycle. However, I don’t recommend this without an abundance of caution, as doing this can damage your bike. In order to make sure whether your motorcycle can tow a trailer, first consult with the manufacturer of your vehicle.

Calling them up to find out is relatively easy and can save you a few hundred bucks in damage. You can also look online for an owner’s manual. Companies will usually publish one online with various specifications of what your motorcycle can and can’t tow.

The only way to know if your bike can pull a trailer is if it has been rated by the manufacturer. Only motorcycles designed to haul heavy loads should be used to pull a trailer.

 

Are teardrop trailers worth it?

For those who love the outdoors, a teardrop trailer can be a worthy investment. They provide you with a comfortable place to sleep, wherever you are, and they can also save on hotel costs.

They are way more comfortable than a tent and don’t have extensive set-up times. Since they are lightweight, they are easy to move around without any problems (granted that your vehicle is equipped to pull it, in the first place).

There can also save money on gas if you compare it to towing a full-sized RV.

 

Do you need to register a teardrop trailer?

Registering your teardrop trailer is a must. However, the registration process varies from one state to another. It also depends on whether you are registering a new or used teardrop camper. To register for a new manufactured trailer, you will need a bill of sale.

The bill of sale includes:

  • buyer and seller information
  • price it was purchased for
  • the make & model
  • its year
  • vehicle identification number (VIN)

Licensed dealers must fill-up the area on the application for registration as well as the certificate of the title.

You will also need a certificate of origin, which should be properly assigned from dealer to manufacturer and finally to the new owner. After this, you may continue with the registration process. You’ll have to pay registration, a title, and a safety plate fee.

After successfully registering your teardrop trailer, you can tow it on your car and move to your camping sites without any problem.

 

Do teardrop trailers require license plates?

The answer to this question may vary from state to state. They all have different rules and regulations. It’s only safe to assume that a plate is a requirement and I would look into getting one.

Here are some exceptions in which you will not need a plate:

  • If you have just purchased the trailer: If your trailer is new, you should not worry about driving it home even if it has no plates. You can use your copy of the bill of sale which will serve as a plate for the time being. So ensure that you have your copy of the bill of sale at all times while towing your trailer around.
  • If it’s being used for specific reasons: If a trailer is used primarily for hauling items like farm produce, livestock, etc, it is allowed to be used without a license.
  • If it’s a certain make or model: In some states, like North Carolina, there are exceptions given to certain types of trailers.

 

Do teardrop trailers have bathrooms?

Many teardrop trailers do have bathrooms. Modern trailer bathrooms are made with state-of-the-art engineering principles that have made it possible for teardrop trailers to come with partial or complete bathrooms.

Here are some teardrop trailers that have a bathroom:

  • The Jayco Hummingbird
  • MICRO Minnie by Winnebago
  • The KZ Spree Escape Mini
  • The Happier Camper
  • The Scamp 13-foot Teardrop Trailer
  • iCamp Elite Travel Trailer
  • Timberland Trailer by HomeGrown
  • The Little Guy Max Tear Drop Camper

 

Do teardrops have brakes?

Not all trailers have brakes. Just like most things, it depends on the model. However, I recommend them, as they’ll make your life a whole lot easier. It’ll be easier to park on uneven ground such as slopes, hills, or rocky terrain.

Keep in mind, that it’s best to roll into a long stop before you hit the brakes completely. This will ensure that you don’t damage your car or towing vehicle.

 

Which is the lightest teardrop trailer?

The following teardrop trailers are some of the lightest in the market today:

  • The Vintage Overland. This trailer weighs around 600 pounds and goes for around $12,500.
  • Happier Camper. This trailer weighs around 1,100 pounds. It is available for about $24,950
  • Tigermoth. This trailer weighs around 900 pounds and goes for around $22,000
  • Pika Teardrop Trailer. This trailer weighs around 1,025 pounds and goes for around $11,750
  • Meerkat. This trailer weighs about 1,000 pounds and goes for $17,820

 

What is the best teardrop trailer?

Here’s a list of the best teardrop campers:

  • The Escapod 2019 top series trailer
  • The Polydrop Trailer
  • Earth Traveler T250LX Trailer
  • Hütte Hut Teardrop Trailer
  • Timberleaf Classic Teardrop Trailer. Timberleaf
  • Xtreme Outdoors Little Guy Travel Trailer

 

Final thoughts

If you have a spirit of adventure and love the idea of a home that moves with you, then a teardrop trailer may be right for you. If you found this article interesting, please be sure to check out my other articles. I write all about mobile living spaces and how to manage life on the road!

Victoria Miller

I'm the founder of NTT. I live in Miami, Florida, and enjoy learning everything there is to know about tiny spaces.