What is a Teardrop Trailer?

Malcolm Tatum

Teardrop trailers are classic campers dating from the early years of the 20th century. Compact yet functional, a teardrop trailer is small enough to be towed by just about any motor vehicle but large enough to provide a comfortable place to sleep while on the road. A trailer of this type is a great alternative to the more expensive recreational vehicle options available today.

Man with a backpack
Man with a backpack

The fanciful name for the trailer is indicative of the general shape of the trailer shell. With a body that has the look of a single teardrop turned on its side and mounted on wheels, the teardrop trailer works very well for weekend camping trips as well as cross country jaunts. One advantage of the unusual body design is the aerodynamic qualities of the trailer. Because of the graceful lines, a teardrop trailer does not create much in the way of wing lag when on the open road.

Most models of this type of camping trailer were intentionally constructed to be compact and easy to use. Typically, the body would not rise higher than five feet or 1.52 meters, while the length was usually no more than ten feet or 3.05 meters. Because the teardrop trailer is relatively small and light, just about any car or truck can tow the device with ease and not experience a great deal of impact on the average gasoline mileage.

Inside the trailer, the traditional design allows room for two sleeping bunkers as well as a room for storing clothing, camping gear and other dry goods. A tiny kitchenette area is located on the exterior of the trailer, concealed under a hatch. Over the years, the kitchen section has undergone changes that make the trailer even more user friendly. Because the teardrop trailer is equipped with water and power hookups, it is possible to make use of a tiny range and oven to cook with, as well as enjoy running water for washing dishes and other tasks.

Teardrop trailers were extremely popular from the 1930’s through the middle of the 1960’s. As larger camper models with more amenities became affordable, production of the teardrop trailer dropped significantly. However, interest in the vintage trailer design began to mount in the 1990’s as do-it-yourself plans for building the trailers appeared online. Soon, manufacturers were offering new and improved teardrop trailers as well as prefabricated kits for assembly. Consumers today often consider the trailer to be an ideal travel option when the larger RV is not desirable.

As in times past, the teardrop trailer is an affordable and relatively inexpensive way to enjoy camping and different types of road trips. The simplistic and compact design makes it easy to store the trailer when not in use. Best of all, the trailers of today are very easy to maintain, which means the consumer is likely to get many years of service before replacement is needed.

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