The popularity of teardrop campers has skyrocketed in recent years. From national parks to high-end RV resorts, you’ll see them everywhere. But there are so many designs out there that it begs the question: which teardrop camper is right for you?
What is a Teardrop Camper?
Teardrop trailers are named for their iconic shape. From a profile view, the teardrop begins wider at the front of the trailer and tapers off towards the rear. They are also known to be lightweight and compact, but they can vary dramatically in size, weight, and shape.
Teardrop campers are an excellent first step into the RV world for those who are tired of tent camping. While most aren’t fully self-contained like larger RVs, they will eliminate the hassle of dealing with a wet tent first thing in the morning.
Without investing in a massive RV or travel trailer, teardrops get you off the ground and provide a more sturdy hard shell exterior to protect you from wildlife and the elements. Dealing with rain, snow, and other inclement weather is much easier in a teardrop than in a tent.
The Pros and Cons of Teardrop Campers
It helps to know if a teardrop camper is the right RV choice for you at all. The debate over towable versus motorized RVs has raged on for years, but teardrops have specific advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Teardrop Campers
- Easier to tow. Many teardrops can be towed by smaller SUVs, eliminating the need for a large tow vehicle.
- Require less storage space. You might not need a dedicated RV storage facility like you’d need for a larger motorhome.
- Comfortable sleeping area. Many feature queen-sized RV mattresses that don’t require the kind of setup and breakdown you’d do when tent camping.
- Easier access to remote camping locations. Teardrops with bulked-up suspension and larger tires can access remote boondocking areas that other RVs can’t access.
- Fuel efficiency. Teardrops are more aerodynamic than other RVs, which reduces drag and makes them
Disadvantages of Teardrop Campers
- Best for individuals or couples. They don’t offer a ton of interior living space if you’re looking for a camper for you, your partner, a dog, and more.
- Minimal room for guests. Your guests must bring a tent or their own trailer to camp alongside your teardrop.
- Limited storage space. You won’t have much underneath storage like you’d have in a class A RV.
- Minimal bathroom facilities. You’ll probably need to rely on campground facilities or responsible restroom practices in natural settings.
- Outdoor cooking is usually a must. Teardrop kitchen facilities are almost always outdoors, although some can be covered by an included awning.
If you’re a first-time RV buyer, make a list of your must-haves and your nice-to-haves. This list will help you decide whether a teardrop camper is a good choice for you. And, if it is, it will also help you determine which make and model best fits your needs.
How Much is a Teardrop Camper?
You can spend anywhere from about $5,000 to more than $50,000 on a teardrop camper. On average, new teardrops range from $15,000 to $35,000, depending on their features. Teardrop trailers can be broken into small, mid-size, and large categories.
As you might imagine, larger models that can sleep up to four people regularly exceed $35,000. Mid-size teardrop campers average between $20,000 and $35,000 and small teardrop trailers typically range from $15,000 to $25,000.
But you can find used teardrop campers for less. Because many teardrop manufacturers take custom orders for their models, your final cost will largely depend on how many add-ons or build alterations you choose.
How to Choose a Teardrop Camper
Let’s look at the most critical factors to consider when you’re comparing teardrop makes and models.
Your first order of business is to determine how much your vehicle can tow. That information is located in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, but you can also use Camping World’s towing guide to calculate the towing capacity of your vehicle.
The great thing about teardrop campers is their ability to be towed by almost any vehicle. But if you simply look at an RV’s dry weight, you can get yourself into trouble. You’ll need to consider dry, cargo, passenger, and liquid weight when determining how much your vehicle will tow.
Estimating how much weight you’ll be carrying in cargo, passengers, and liquids will help you determine the maximum allowable dry weight for your RV when you’re shopping for a new or used teardrop camper.
Storage space can be limited inside teardrop trailers, but some compensate for that with unique designs that feature roof racks or tongue-mounted cargo carriers. Depending on the model, these features may be standard or available as an add-on.
Roof racks might be necessary if you intend to carry oversized recreation items like kayaks. But if you’re only getting away for weekend camping trips to explore new trails on foot, you can get away with less storage space.
Outdoor Living Comfort
The reality of teardrop campers is that you’ll still spend most of your camping time outside. That’s a good thing in most cases, but it also means you should look closely at each model’s outdoor amenities.
Some come with slide-out outdoor kitchens with stovetops connected to your onboard propane tanks. Others feature small refrigerator coolers hooked up to your RV batteries, and still, others offer 270-degree awnings that provide ample shade when you’re boondocking in the desert.
Those kinds of add-ons can go a long way toward making your camping experience more comfortable. If you’re transitioning from tent camping, you’ll love opening up an awning and sliding out a stovetop rather than setting up a portable camp stove on a wobbly picnic table or dealing with a heavy canopy tent.
At the end of the day, your teardrop should offer a cozy, comfortable place to retreat and rest your head. Most simply include a bed, but the size and layout of the sleeping area will vary from model to model.
Some offer tri-fold beds that can be turned into a sofa lounge during the day. This kind of versatility can be a bonus if you need to retreat inside on a rainy day.
During this process, look at other features like the placement of the television (if applicable) and the security of cabinets and drawers. You’ll need to determine if you’ll be able to organize your belongings (and possibly a partner’s belongings) inside according to your preferences.
Then there’s the question of where you intend to tow your teardrop camper. If you want to access remote locations that larger toy haulers can’t get to, you’ll need a trailer with more ground clearance, larger tires, and off-road suspension.
These features will expand your camping options, but they’re also unrealistic if your tow vehicle isn’t capable of handling rough terrain. So an owner of a lifted Toyota Tacoma can take an off-road teardrop further than the owner of a Subaru Outback, for example.
Remember that these features, while essential for rugged off-road towing, will add to the final price of your teardrop camper. So it helps to be realistic about whether you’ll spend most of your time camping in frontcountry or backcountry settings.
Finally, you’ll have to decide on your budget and RV financing options. While you should know what you want to spend before you start visiting dealerships, speaking with a Camping World Personal RV Shopper can help you determine which models do (or don’t) fit your budget.
Which Teardrop Camper is Right For You?
The right teardrop camper for you depends on how you prioritize the above factors. While teardrops are known for their iconic shape, there are several small campers you should consider, even if they aren’t made in that shape. They can still be towed by the widest variety of vehicles and offer a significant upgrade over a tent.
Here are a few teardrop RV models to consider:
NuCamp Teardrop Trailers
NuCamp’s full line of teardrop trailers features four unique models, and none have a total dry weight exceeding 3,000 pounds. They are currently one of the largest teardrop manufacturers in the world.
Of course, their models have differences, but each includes a cozy sleeping area and a functional kitchenette. Their largest teardrop even features dual sleeping areas, solar panels embedded in the roof, and a spacious wet bath.
Little Guy Trailers
Little Guy Trailers offers four teardrop models weighing less than 3,010 pounds. Their smallest teardrop, the MyPod, is ideal for the smallest of tow vehicles with a dry weight of just 630 pounds.
While you might think teardrop trailers are somewhat new on the scene, some of the earliest designs can be traced back to the late 1930s. In fact, Little Guy Trailers even drew some inspiration from the Runlite teardrop that was hitting American roadways back in 1938.
Coleman Rubicon 1200RK
This is the beginning of our divergence from the iconic teardrop shape, but that divergence has its benefits. The Rubicon offers a dry weight of just 1,636 pounds, and it has the ability to sleep two people.
By going with a more traditional trailer shape, Coleman could utilize the interior space to include a sofa lounger that converts to a bed, an electric fireplace, a wall-mounted air conditioning unit, a small 12-volt refrigerator, a microwave, and more.
Forest River No Boundaries 10.6
Tie-down points on the floor keep your toys secure, and a tri-fold sofa fills the entire cargo area once your gear is unloaded. Outside, this tiny trailer is loaded with a 270-degree awning, a slide-out outdoor kitchen, and a pop-up tent if you need additional sleeping quarters.
Winnebago HIKE 100
Ideal for being towed behind a mid-sized SUV or truck, the Winnebago HIKE 100 is available in five different floorplans with a dry weight that rarely exceeds 3,500 pounds. With a 6’5” interior height, it’s one of the few small campers you can actually stand up inside.
It’s a boondocker’s dream because it’s equipped with a 200-watt solar panel and a side-mount prep for another portable solar panel. Plus, the dual rear doors open to the living/storage space, which sleeps 2-3 people, depending on your chosen floorplan.
Forest River R-Pod 171
The R-Pod 171 offers enough interior sleeping space for a family of four with a convertible dinette that offers a comfortable dining area for the whole family. It has a dry weight of just 2,342 pounds and a power tongue jack that makes it easy to hook up to your tow vehicle.
Inside, you’ll enjoy a full kitchen complete with a three-burner stove, a refrigerator, and a microwave. It also boasts a wet bath and fully-ducted air conditioning for traveling in hotter regions.
Sunset Park Sunray 109
The Sunray 109 offers a very similar floorplan to the Coleman Rubicon. A similar dry weight of just 1,640 pounds makes it easy to tow for small family SUVs. The rear door swings up to reveal the outdoor kitchen, complete with a refrigerator, microwave, sink, stovetop, and storage cabinets.
The main advantages of the Sunray 109 are upgraded tires, suspension, and a roof rack system. This makes it easier to secure kayaks, e-bikes, and other recreation equipment on your trailer instead of your tow vehicle.
Factory Direct Teardrop Campers
Aside from those options, several companies make teardrop trailer models on order. Here are a few of the most popular brands in the United States:
Teardrop campers are a significant upgrade if you’re tired of setting up and breaking down a tent. Whether you’re looking for a teardrop camper or a larger RV, a Camping World Personal Shopper can help you find the perfect model for your next road trip.
And if you want to rent an RV to test it out before you decide to buy, explore RV rentals near you!
What additional questions do you have about teardrop campers? Let us know in the comments below.