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Teardrop Campers: What You Need to Know

Teardrop campers are a popular RV choice. They’re light enough to tow with a smaller vehicle but have many of the perks of a larger RV. If you want to go places a big rig can’t, a teardrop is the way to go! Let’s see why…

What Is A Teardrop Camper? 

It’s easy to recognize teardrop campers because of their teardrop shape–hence the name! While it’s common to see brand-new teardrops on the road these trailers have been around from the beginning of towable campers.

After World War Two, they became quite a popular camper for DIY enthusiasts to build from surplus military parts. The aluminum skin was commonly used from old aircraft and gave them a shiny exterior.

vintage teardrop trailer
This 1947 teardrop trailer was built from surplus military parts

They come in many sizes, and the rig’s amenities vary accordingly. Some have a bathroom and a full kitchen, while others are essentially just a bed. 

There are many options, so you might find one that fits your needs. These campers often come in bright, fun colors, which is another feature that sets teardrop trailers apart from other RV types

Are Teardrop Campers Aerodynamic?

If you guessed that the teardrop camper is more aerodynamic you would be right. The teardrop design of these campers cuts the wind better than a flat front and helps reduce turbulence with the tapered tail. Many teardrop trailers keep accessories on the roof to a minimum with also helps reduce wind drag.

This reduced wind resistance means better fuel economy for the tow vehicle and less strain on the engine and drivetrain. This is especially important at higher speeds as the force of drag is proportional to the square of the velocity.

This means that the faster you go the drag gets exponentially worse. This correlates directly to the power required from the vehicle and hence worse fuel economy the faster you go. An aerodynamic car and trailer however can make towing much better.

teardrop aerodynamic
Aircraft almost always use a teardrop design to reduce drag and enable them to reach higher speeds and conserve fuel.

How Much Do Teardrop Campers Cost? 

Prices vary significantly depending on what you want. You can purchase a new model for as little as $5,000. Larger campers with more amenities could cost upwards of $40,000. 

A used teardrop camper could be a couple of thousand dollars for a basic model or $20,000 for a model that’s more customized. 

Because you can find a teardrop trailer to fit almost any budget and lifestyle, they’re among the most popular campers for budget travelers. 

How Much Do Teardrop Campers Weigh? 

Campers love that teardrops are so lightweight and easy to tow. Manufacturers measure most campers in terms of dry weight, meaning the weight before adding any gear, food, water, and so on. 

Keep this in mind when deciding if your existing vehicle can tow a teardrop camper. That being said, most teardrop trailers weigh less than 4,000 pounds. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can find many even lighter options. 

Do Teardrop Campers Have Toilets or Bathrooms? 

It depends! Some teardrop campers have bathrooms with toilets and showers. Others might have an outdoor shower but no toilet.

As you might guess, the inside of a teardrop camper can be very small. Therefore, the layouts need to be smart and creative. In order to fit a toilet or bathroom, something else must be smaller or multi-purpose.

Many teardrop owners are content to camp without a bathroom. Often there are campground bathrooms with toilets and showers available, or they manage their needs in other ways.

The Tab400 has a separate bathroom

If you want a full bathroom, you’ll need a larger trailer. Although, some teardrop campers have wet baths (a bathroom shower combo). If this feature isn’t as important, you can always bring along a portable toilet

The 2021 TAB 320 Teardrop Camper by nuCamp

Can You Stand In A Teardrop Camper? 

You can stand in some teardrop campers depending on the interior height and how tall you are, of course. Unfortunately for those of you over 6 feet, you’ll have more limitations. But even then, you can find a teardrop trailer you can stand up in if you know where to look. 

Standing room in a trailer is a must if you plan to spend extended time in it. For weekend adventures, a smaller trailer would work. But if you plan to RV for weeks or months at a time, do yourself a favor and make sure you have enough room to stand. 

What Kind of Vehicle Do You Need to Pull a Teardrop Camper?

There are some ultralight teardrop campers out there. You might be able to tow some models with a car, but you’ll need at least a small truck or SUV for most. Still, these lightweights are much more accessible for many campers than larger rigs, which require heavy-duty diesel trucks to tow them. 

→ Here are the best SUVs for towing campers. Does yours make the list?

A teardrop camper is more affordable than many other RVs. The added benefit of towing with a smaller, more affordable tow vehicle makes it even more sensible.

Before purchasing any trailer, check your vehicle’s tow capacity to ensure your vehicle can handle the weight. You can usually find this on the manufacturer’s website or in your owner’s manual.

Benefits of Teardrop Campers

Teardrop campers make sense for many as one of the most affordable RV choices. And since they’re so light, you probably won’t have to upgrade your vehicle if it has a tow package. You’ll also get better gas mileage with a lightweight trailer. 

Their small size also makes towing much more manageable. If you haven’t pulled a trailer before, a teardrop camper is a great entry-level RV. And if you’re an experienced RVer, a teardrop can let you travel to places most other rigs can’t go. There are even some teardrop campers specifically for off-road, off-grid travel. 

Teardrop campers are also usually more affordable to insure than larger, more costly RVs. Besides the cost-benefit, their small size means less upkeep–and you won’t have to worry about as many things that could break. 

→ People also love these campers because they can build their own! Learn about these teardrop camper kits.

Some smaller teardrops have an outdoor kitchen at the back.

Are Teardrop Campers Worth It? 

A teardrop camper can be a fantastic RV choice, depending on your preference. We think they’re usually worth it, though, especially for casual or beginning RVers. Having a teardrop trailer lets you get out and enjoy the great outdoors while bringing along many amenities. No more sleeping on the hard ground in the cold!

The lack of bells and whistles that many other RVs have makes them more budget-friendly. It’s a great way to enjoy RVing without the cost. Teardrop campers are a wonderful choice for solo travelers or couples without kids. 

Keep in mind; it would probably be tough to go full-time in a teardrop camper. But many people do it successfully. Again, it depends on your travel style! 

teardrop campers

A Smart Way to Go Camping?

Having a teardrop camper will make your camping adventures so much more pleasant compared to a tent. It’s a fabulous way to see the country without the cost and hassle of a large rig. You’ll make some sacrifices compared to other RV choices. But for many people, these small, classy campers are the smartest way to RV.

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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