A lot of people have asked me what I think some of the pros and cons are of owning a teardrop camper. I usually tell them all the same thing. It really depends on what you want to get out of camping (either as a trip, or as a lifestyle).
In short, the pros of owning a teardrop camper are simplicity, and the cons are space. And even though space is a con, it is also one of the top 3 things that turned me on to the whole idea of these tiny campers.
If you are the type of camper that likes to go to a campground and use your camper as a jumping off point for adventure in and around the park then your needs will be different from, say, the person who wants to go to a campground to escape the hustle and bustle of normal everyday life (e.g. the person who wants to sit in their camper and chill).
Pros of Teardrop Campers
The first pro that I tell people about teardrop camping is the portability, and the ease of being able to load up and leave the house. Everything that we need to take on a camping trip is packed in the galley of our camper. When we get ready to go on a trip the first thing we have to do is decide what we’re going to eat (some of those things stay in the camper full time), and that really depends on how long we’re going to stay where we’re going or the length of the trip that we’re going to be embarking on overall. Other than that, it’s basically to grab a few clothes and hit the road. We could have a much bigger camper for this, but the speed and ease of travel is all achievable in a teardrop.
Ease of Setup and Breakdown
The second pro about teardrop camping is the ease and speed of setup. From the time we back the camper in, until we are ready to sit down and relax, on average, is about 15 minutes. Yep! in 15 minutes we can kick back with a cold one, and many times, watch our neighbors struggle to get their monstrosity backed in, unhooked, leveled up, slid out and unpacked. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, but having been in a teardrop, it’s VERY simple and easy to setup. Breakdown on “D” day (that’s the day we have to go home), is just as easy.
Stop Over Camping / Overnight Parking
The third pro is that we can stop over (if necessary) and camp when traveling to an eventual camping destination. Now, there is a lot of controversy about parking or camping in truck stop parking lots, or car camping in roadside pull-offs, or rest areas; but this is definitely a perk of a teardrop camper. We literally can park the tow vehicle, get out, crawl in the camper, and go to sleep. There really is no setup required. Our teardrop camper has a 12 volt battery that we can run buy only flicking two switches. It is nice to be able to travel a long day (while heading to a destination) and stop off for five or six hours of sleep. Then, in the morning we can get up and in about 5 minutes be headed to the end destination.
Garage Parking and Home Storage
So, they say that size matters, and in teardrop campers, it is especially true. Do you have enough space to store your camper at your home? It can be a big deal for some people, especially if you live in an area with an H O A, to have a camper that can fit in your garage. For that matter, just the idea of being able to keep the camper out of the weather can be a major factor. If you can fit the camper in your garage (and with a teardrop, you can) then you don’t have to worry about the elements affecting your home on wheels.
Because they are so small, there are fewer systems on board for you to worry about breaking. Really the only thing you have to worry about is the battery, and the tires and axle. I check the bearings on my axle once a year and the tires before every trip. The battery stays plugged into the charger while in the garage and it keeps it charged to full capacity. (I do of course wash it every now and then when necessary.)
So really, this should probably be number one on the list of pros. Nearly every time we stop to get gas I have someone asked me about our teardrop camper. Usually, they want a tour and I gladly give them one! I will say that as the popularity of teardrop camping has grown though, you do see more and more of them on the road.
Weight and towing
One cool aspect is that you can tow a teardrop with just about any vehicle. Given that the weight is normally less than a thousand pounds most vehicles on the road have the towing capacity to tow a teardrop camper.
Cost and DIY
So, because they are small, they are cheaper, right? Well, maybe. This really depends. If you have the know-how (or can watch youtube) and the desire, you ARE capable of building your own teardrop camper. Building your own camper with likely cut the price of the camper by 1/2 or more than what a commercially manufactured camper will cost. This is probably one of the neatest aspects to me, at least from a do-it-yourself point of view. Find a design, figure out the construction, and build it yourself.
On the other side of a DIY camper is that you can build decked out, top-of-the-line model and probably still spend less that a much lesser commercial model. So if you want to go all in, you certainly can.
Let’s Talk about the Cons of Teardrop Campers
So, for some people this can be a big deal. This really depends on how you camp. If you are a person who likes to stay in the camper then obviously a teardrop camper might not be for you. Although, there are options for some teardrop campers that allow for one or two people to sit up at a table, most of them are only usable in the lying down position. However, if you are a person that likes the outdoors, doesn’t mind cooking in the rain every now and then, and can adapt to the weather when needed, then this might not be an issue in a teardrop camper.
Well, where do we start. There is the obvious thing of washing your hands and taking a shower which can be taken care of in other ways and then there’s well, yeah, the other stuff. There are portal lets, porta potties, buckets, and even trees for that. Most places we camp have bath houses and restrooms. But, there obviously is not room for a typical bathroom inside of a teardrop camper. So, if that’s an absolute must for you then you might want to consider other travel trailer options.
No Indoor Kitchen
So some folks like to take their entire kitchen sink with them when they camp. Literally! They want all the luxuries of an at-home kitchen in an on-the-road setup. This simply is not practical in a teardrop camper.
One big advantage (I know, I’m jumping backwards) of the teardrop camper galley is that everything that you do need can be stored there if you take a practical and compact approach to what you pack, and how you arrange it.
What’s the cost of a teardrop camper. I talked about this in depth in a recent article. You can really get a lot for a your money if you build one yourself, or even if you build a starter model, you can get into the hobby for a modest amount of money. It’s really up to you as to what you want to spend.
If you aren’t into building a camper, purchasing one used is for sure a good way to go as well. Just be sure to do your research and make sure you are purchasing a solid camper with no leaks and good “bones”.