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#194153 - 01/22/10 06:24 PM Building a teardrop trailer
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
Ok, this is something I have been contemplating for about 6 months or so now. But, it has gone from "considering" to "I WANT one". I have done some research online, but, it seems, in my area anyway, these are scarce (New England). I was hoping to simply purchase one, but it seems the only manufacturers are on the left coast, so that likely will not happen.
I also notice that a LOT of folks BUILD there own. Now, I am not NOT handy with tools, but I am wondering what the difficulty level of one of these builds is? I have access to likely every tool thats needed. My father is a carpenter, electrician, mechanic, welder...he has done pretty much all when it comes to trades. He is retirement age now, but likely would love to help build something like this. Besides, I'd need a place to store it, as I live in an apt complex.
So, to get to my question; does anyone here own one? If so, what are the good/bad features? This, for me, is for long weekend trips, as an alternative to hotels. I am intrigued with these, as they are spartan by design, and I like that-it will limit my gear. I have looked at several models and amenities, but would be quite happy with a basic design (I like the ones with the internal shelving though).
So, if you use one, how do you like it? What are some of the things to look out for? Did you buy, or build? What made you decide to go this route? How difficult is it to build one (based on rudimentary skills)? Do you regret going this route?

I know its a lot to ask, but, if I am going to go this route, and dump money into it, I want to make sure this isnt a worthless investment for me.
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my adventures

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#194154 - 01/22/10 06:34 PM Re: Building a teardrop trailer [Re: oldsoldier]
Stu Offline
I am not a P.P.o.W.
Old Hand

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 1058
Loc: Finger Lakes of NY State
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Our most important survival tool is our brain, and for many, that tool is way underused! SBRaider
Head Cat Herder

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#194162 - 01/22/10 07:51 PM Re: Building a teardrop trailer [Re: Stu]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1913
Loc: Washington, DC
For a tent camper, a teardrop trailer is revolutionary. At least it was for me. What I love about it:

1) permanently packed (everything but food)
2) fast setup and breakdown (I often don't even unhook it)
3) comfort (sleeping on a bed)
4) security (hard-sided safety, locked doors)
5) fun - teardrops aren't for the unsocial, people flock to see what they are and get a tour.

Mine is a "Little Guy" brand "6-wide platform" model. I had it painted to match my Honda Element (4-cylinder engine).

If I had it to do again, I'd probably get a 5'-wide (queen-size bed). My 6-wide is kept in a 10'-wide storage unit (20' long) and it's a pretty tight fit through the door.

Little Guy also has a new "Silver Shadow" line which is more of a traditional profile and has a very nice kitchen galley. Again, buying today I'd prefer that to my basic model.

Little Guy has dealers all over the country, you can look on their website. They do have dealers in the northeast. I bought mine direct from Little Guy and they delivered it to the storage unit where I keep it near the mountains where we usually camp (about 100 miles from my home).

Teardrops typically have a kitchen galley in the back, accessible by the rear hatch. I had mine built without the galley because I preferred the open space and just as soon cook on the picnic table or on the trailer's tongue box where I can access the cooler in the back of my Element and lounge comfortably on the tailgate under a canopy.

Here's the link to my manufacturer. They are based in Canton, Ohio. The teardrops are actually built in the RV Capital of America: Elkhart, Indiana.

Mine weighs around 900 pounds empty. The Element hardly feels it, except on the steep climb up the Shenandoah mountains.

http://www.golittleguy.com/teardrops/


If I'd been more patient, I'd have gone with a "Camp-Inn" built in Wisconsin. These are widely regarded as the Cadillac or Rolls Royce of teardrops. Yet the basic model is not that much more than a Little Guy. They used to have a year-long wait-list but today's economy has shortened that considerably.

http://www.tinycamper.com/


Teardrops -- manufactured and home-built -- are for sale on the Teardrops & Tiny Travel Trailers forum that Stu referenced. You may want to post a note there that you are in the market to buy.

http://www.mikenchell.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=18

I'm going to post more photos in a few minutes.

There are usually several teardrops for sale on e-bay. Some brand-new.



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#194163 - 01/22/10 08:06 PM Re: Building a teardrop trailer [Re: Dagny]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1913
Loc: Washington, DC
More pics:

The side walls are 3/4" plywood.



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Edited by Dagny (01/22/10 10:48 PM)

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#194164 - 01/22/10 08:11 PM Re: Building a teardrop trailer [Re: Dagny]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1913
Loc: Washington, DC
And more pics:

By the way, just about anyone with a teardrop will strongly recommend getting a Fantastic roof vent fan with it.

If I lived in Massachusetts I'd be up at Acadia NP every chance I got.


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#194165 - 01/22/10 08:19 PM Re: Building a teardrop trailer [Re: Dagny]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1913
Loc: Washington, DC
Your dad would have a blast, I'll bet. If my grandfather were still alive when I learned about teadrops I would have loved to build one with him. He always had a well-equipped shop and built a few houses in his time and most of my college furniture.

Spend the next few weeks scouring the Teardrops & Tiny Travel Trailers forum. There is a wealth of information there and all manner of skill levels -- from the most rudimentary to artisans.

A lot of those folks who've built (the emphasis at that forum is on building but lots of manufactured info, too) find themselves building one after another.

T&TTT has a library of building plans that you can download, for free.

If you go to the T&TTT for sale section and the Newbie section and say in both that you are in the market to buy as well as being interested in building, you could get a great deal.

Best wishes. My first year with the teardrop we camped over 50 nights. Last year about 30 nights. A heck of a lot cheaper, and more fun, than renting a cabin or hotel/lodge room.

And my teardrop is dog-friendly so it gets Gidget's vote!


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#194167 - 01/22/10 08:22 PM Re: Building a teardrop trailer [Re: Dagny]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1913
Loc: Washington, DC
Seems most people who home-build put around $2k into them. But some have come in under $1k.

The first big decision is the frame. Unless you are a welder or know someone who is, you'll want a pre-fab or perhaps an old pop-trailer or some such trailer than you can tear down and re-use that frame.




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#194174 - 01/22/10 10:13 PM Re: Building a teardrop trailer [Re: Dagny]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2806
Loc: La-USA
Check out the forum at Hoodswoods. In the 2nd section, go to the DIY Projects, about page 3, you will find a forum about teardrop trailers that one of the Hoods has built.

It includes many graphic photos of various stages of the exterior shell.

The construction appears to be much easier and common sense than I ever suspected it could be.
_________________________
QMC, USCG (Ret)
The best luck is what you make yourself!

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#194175 - 01/22/10 10:36 PM Re: Building a teardrop trailer [Re: wildman800]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4710
Loc: SOCAL
Here's a direct link to the Hoodlum Teardrop Trailer Build thread. Wildman just bumped it so it was easy to find.

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#194185 - 01/23/10 12:12 AM Re: Building a teardrop trailer [Re: Russ]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2806
Loc: La-USA
I forgot that I had bumped it!!! This getting old really sucks!!!
_________________________
QMC, USCG (Ret)
The best luck is what you make yourself!

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