During our teardrop camping trips I like to bring along a small rug to throw down in front of my side of the trailer. It's a great place to put on and take off shoes and keep dirt out of the trailer. There's nothing worse than stepping out of the trailer in the morning and putting bare feet or socks right onto the dirt or cold pavement.
On the other side, my husband doesn't like to have a rug, stating that it gets in his way, blows away in the wind and gets dirty. Fair enough...as you can tell my rug does get a little dirty. What do you think? Rug or no rug?
Each time we drive on I-80 through California, we pass by the massive and tempting Camping World, but have never stopped. Camping World (with locations around the country) touts a multitude of camping accessories, tools, supplies and sometimes large RV and trailer sales lots. When we finally pulled off the highway to check it out, I was really excited and that excitement soon turned to disappointment.
Camping World does not cater to teardrop trailer owners. Sure, they've got everything from camping furniture and grills to GPS and satellite systems, but everything is geared toward the large RV or trailer. I mean REALLY large trailers. Beyond 30 feet seems to be the norm for this store, which even had an interior design and upholstery department in the back.
Granted the store did have a few cool items for teardropping including cast iron pots and small lanterns, fans and heaters, but many of their items are only available online and can't be viewed in the store. Suffice it to say, I was in and out of the store in about 15 minutes—empty handed.
The funny thing is, many of their items proudly display logos and icons with the quintessential teardrop or tiny standy trailer on them. I don't think anyone wants to drive around with a 45 foot, white fifth-wheel bumper sticker on their tow vehicle.
The Sunflower lit up at night. One of the best things about owning a trailer is having a battery and lights to cook and read by. When we were tent camping, it did get a little old having to depend solely on a headlamp in order to see.
Memorial Day is coming up and the beloved three-day weekend is the official kickoff of the summer camping season. To plan out our summer teardrop camping trips (and some future trips), I've been playing around with the CampingRoadTrip website. This site lets you do refined or broad searches for campgrounds in your chosen city or area of the country.
The site is clean, uncluttered and easy to use. You can search for campgrounds by state, city or by campground name. You can also define your search to a specific mile radius of a city or town. The site also has a review area where you can add your personal review about a campground. The breakdown of each campground gives you the location, photos, basic descriptions, price and ratings. The detail page of each campground gives you everything including weather in the area, larger photos, reviews, electrical hookup details, and facility and service information.
The website also has a forum that has topics on everything related to camping including workamping, types of trailers (teardroppers need to represent!), things to see and do in various regions and the best road trips. CampingRoadTrip also includes tips and articles on attractions and events all over the country.
Washing my hair while teardrop camping last weekend.
If we're not camping near a shower, I'll sometimes wash up in our dish pans. It seems gross, but I'm fastidious about washing out our pans after washing dishes and body parts. We use these versatile little containers to not only wash dishes, clothes and hair, but to hold dish cloths, pans and our garbage bags in the back of the galley.
If you are going to wash your hair in a dish pan while camping, it does help to have shorter hair.
AnetaCuse has been a reader and helpful commenter of the Tiny Yellow Teardrop blog for a while now and is in the process of purchasing her first teardrop trailer, a Camp-Inn 550 Special. Aneta is documenting the building of the trailer on her Polish-language blog, but she also answered a few of questions about becoming a new teardrop owner.
Can you tell me a little about yourself and when and how you became interested in teardrop trailers?
My husband Robert and I were always the outdoorsy types, but it wasn't until we took up kayaking that we started to camp. We live in Central New York where there are plenty of bodies of water and the nearby Adirondack Mountains, so in order to kayak further and further from home, we started to tent camp.
First there was car camping, then kayak touring (living out of your boat for a few days is quite awesome), then backpacking. However, we never really got to love tent camping, it was always a means to something else: being in beautiful remote places and the physical challenge of our endeavors. Tent camping presented a large overhead effort for us for two reasons. First, setting up, breaking down and then having to dry all the gear at home is always so much work, that it sometimes deters us from going.
Second, we have a dog and a parrot, which prevents us from being spontaneous - we can't just leave whenever we want, we have to arrange for animal care every time, which is costly and time consuming. We do take our dog camping, but you obviously can't leave him in a tent unattended for any duration of time, so kayaking is out of the question when we camp with the dog unless we take turns or go hiking instead. Here comes the trailer part.
A few of years ago we saw a teardrop on a highway passing by and were immediately in love. We had never heard of teardrops or seen one before then, and we thought it was awesome. We googled it and decided this is what we wanted some day. Last year we went camping and found that one of our friends got herself a Little Guy teardrop. That reignited our "some day" dream and off we went shopping.
What kind of trailer are you getting? What factored into your decision?
We’re getting a Camp-Inn 550 Special teardrop. Primary reasons for our selection:
1) More flexibility and freedom: We hope a trailer will solve our animal issue. Since the trailer is insulated and has a fan, we could leave our animals in it for a few hours while we kayak. It is also bear proof. That should enable us to camp more often.
2) Easier: Less overhead / setup time.
3) More comfort, better sleep (hopefully).
4) Towing with a sedan: The reason we picked a teardrop over an RV or a pop-up was the weight. We both are extremely stuck on driving as fuel efficient vehicles as we possibly can to still fit our livestyle, and we didn’t want to buy something that would warrant having to buy a truck. I drive a VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI (4 cylinder diesel), and it can only tow up to 1000 lbs. So our trailer had to be under that weight.
5) Winter storage: We can tuck away a teardrop at the end of our driveway, which we couldn’t do with an RV.
6) Retro look with aluminum finish: We just loved this type of design.
Will you name it? Decorate it?
We will most likely name it, but it doesn’t mean we’d paint the name on it. We always name our cars just to refer to them in a conversation, so I feel the trailer deserves the same. I’m not much for decorating, so we probably won’t be decorating it, although I wouldn’t mind some kind of vanity plate.
Where do you want to take it? What are some of your favorite camping areas?
We love camping in the Adirondacks, we already have two trips scheduled there for June and July, one near Old Forge and the other near Speculator. We’re hoping to get out more for longer trips, drive out to Maine while camping along the way in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire etc. Then there is Canada, especially Quebec and Saguenay Fjord National Park near the estuary of the St. Lawrence River where we kayaked with whales a few years back. Finally, we’d love to go to the west coast, but we’d need a lot of time off for that, so I don’t see that happening any time soon.
What other teardrop trailers do you like or admire?
We like a lot of different teardrop trailers, that’s one of the reasons I love visiting your blog – to look at photos and see different layouts and solutions. I love how creative people get with them, whether they build their own, restore an oldie, or customize a factory model.
This weekend, my husband and I went down to Sonoma County, California to do some camping in the beautiful Cali weather and to visit with Kent Griswold of the Tiny House Blog. A friend of mine shares a large property in the small town of Sebastopol with some family and offered to let us camp in the backyard. The property has redwood trees, cool, funky artwork, chickens and goats and lots of flowers, grapevines and the plants that make up this lush area of coastal California. It's a perfect place to go camping.
There will be times in your teardropping life when you'll be camping in someone's backyard and it's a great way to visit an area for free. However, there are a few things you should take into consideration. My friend's family was very kind in letting us camp for a few days in their yard, so we changed up our camping style and schedule to accommodate that kindness.
Plan out your bathroom visits
Our hosts offered us the back bathroom of their home and we used it once or twice, but tried to utilize public bathrooms as much as possible so we wouldn't bother them or their two dogs.
We did have access to the hose in the backyard to fill up our water container for drinking, cooking and dishes—which was great. However, if you're in a desert or drought area, try to keep your water use at a minimum or purchase water from a store.
Clean up after yourself
Don't leave a mess behind, even if you're going to be back to camp. During our everyday teardrop routines, it can look like a bomb went off in the teardrop and plates, pots, pans, food and clothes will be everywhere. Tidy up and put everything away (especially in a wind-prone area) and keep a clean camp.
Show your appreciation
You are most likely staying at your friend's home for free. Show your appreciation by inviting them to a teardrop trailer breakfast or dinner or offer to do some yard work. Since our hosts were working most of the weekend, we bought them a bottle of organic Mendocino county wine to relax with.
When shopping around at IKEA, I'm always keeping an eye out for various items that we can use in the teardrop trailer. IKEA sells home items that work in smaller homes and spaces and some of their hardware, bathroom items and storage solutions work great for the tiny trailers.
My own IKEA hack is located in the galley. I wanted some hardware items that could contain our Coleman grill pan and the propane tank hoses—so they wouldn't be loose and fly all over the galley as we were on the road. For the grill pan, IKEA had some hinges in their hardware section. I screwed one end to the back of the galley and the larger end folds down and holds the grill pan.
The other hacking solution uses some IKEA dishtowel hooks. I found these in the kitchen section of the store and thought they were lightweight enough (and large enough) to hold the propane distribution tree and the hoses. We carry two hoses, just in case one fails us. The two dishtowel hooks hold up the tree and the hoses just behind the propane tank. This system keeps everything up and out of the way.
Do you have any IKEA hacks in your teardrop trailer? Sometimes you have to take another look at the functionality of an item—and skew it a bit for the world of teardrops.