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A teardrop camper is a small, towable camper shaped like a teardrop that has been tipped on its side. Lightweight and compact, a teardrop camper is an ideal option for one or two campers. Two can sleep in relative comfort in even the smallest of models, and because they are lightweight they use much less gas than their full-sized counterparts.
First appearing in the United States in the 1930s, the popularity of small teardrop campers rose significantly following World War II. Returning soldiers looking for economical vacation alternatives embraced the concept. Roadway systems had improved, no special vehicles were required to tow teardrop campers, and the trailers themselves were modestly priced. At that time, many teardrop trailers were made from salvaged wartime materials such as wheels from Jeeps and airplane wings. The use of airplane wings from dismantled World War II bombers in the construction of the exterior gave rise to the iconic, shiny exterior of the teardrop camper.
As economic recovery took hold of the United States in the 1950s, the popularity of the small teardrop camper waned. With more money to spend on nonessential items, people interested in outdoor vacations sought bigger and more luxurious campers. Manufacturers responded to consumer demands, and by the mid-70s there were only a handful of teardrop trailer manufacturers left.
As gas prices and conspicuous consumerism have become greater concerns in the first decade of the 21st century, the teardrop camper has experienced resurgence in popularity. There are several manufacturers, but most interest lies in the restoration of vintage teardrop campers from the post-World War II era and in the construction of modern, custom-built models. Although the small size and classic teardrop shape of the campers are maintained in custom-built models, the interiors are quite modern. Some custom models are equipped with AC power and have scaled-down versions of modern kitchen appliances installed, as well as fine woods used for interior paneling and cabinetry.
Little Guy Worldwide, based in Canton, Ohio, is the world's largest teardrop camper manufacturer and distribution outlet. Along with mass-producing teardrop trailers, Little Guy Worldwide also offers many optional add-ons and accessories for teardrop camper enthusiasts. Two of their popular options are side-mounted gas grills with beverage dispensers, which are very popular with sporting event "tailgate" attendees, and camouflage exteriors for hunters.
Unlike many full-sized campers, a teardrop camper can be towed with virtually any street-legal vehicle. Many models are even small and light enough to be towed by a motorcycle. With concerns of high fuel prices and the maintenance expenses associated with towing a full-sized camper or driving a motor home, a teardrop camper can be a fun, lower-cost option for singles and couples to fully enjoy the camping experience.