Trailer campers are available in sizes large and small, from the big daddy 5th wheelers down to the baby of the family, teardrop campers. These teardrop campers are small, lightweight, economical and growing in popularity. Distinctive in their appearance, rounded in front and tapering to the rear, teardrop campers were first built after World War II and became popular in the 1950’s. The postwar economy boomed and veterans and others took advantage of the improved highway system to tour the country and take vacations.
Another factor in the growth of teardrop campers was the availability of inexpensive war surplus supplies. Many chose to build their own small campers based on instructions found in magazines like Popular Mechanics. Campers were thrown together with jeep tires becoming camper tires and airplane wings becoming parts of the exteriors. Soon some commercial manufactures like Airstream joined the market. These small campers stayed popular into the 1970’s when tastes turned to larger campers with more amenities. Teardrop campers began to regain some popularity when car enthusiasts began to restore some of these vintage campers.
The growth in these campers popularity has much to do with their advantages and unique appeal. Typically teardrop campers are about 4 feet wide and 8 feet long. The small size is large enough to contain a bed large enough for two and a small galley style cooking area. Those basics are enough for many that want the fun and adventure of camping without the high cost of purchasing a much larger trailer. A teardrop is also small and light enough that it can be towed by most vehicles that are capable of towing trailers. Be sure and check with your vehicle manufacturer or get a tow analysis. Many find that the low weight and small size less easy to tow and park when arriving at a destination. At home a teardrop camper will fit easily in a garage. With gas as expensive as it has been the low cost of towing a small trailer is another large advantage.
The small size of the older more traditional teardrop camper’s interior is not for everyone of course. The small sleeping area may cause them to feel cramped and uncomfortable. The amenities for the old style tear drop, vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and though many have kitchen facilities, many do not have tables for dining. The older units also lack an onboard bathroom which has in the past been a deal breaker.
As teardrop campers popularity has grown some manufacturers have worked to address each of these disadvantages. So along came Forest River who manufactured the R-pod, and it has slide out and other expansions to increase usable space as well as built in toilet and holding tanks. They even have a shower/wet bath and flat screen TV with DVD, CD, AM/FM all in a compact unit with swivel screen. The R-pods have a variety of floorplans to choose from and all of them have air conditioning and heating. Some units have bunks for the kiddos and some have expandable popout beds similar to hybrid trailers like the Shamrock by Forest River which is bigger than the Rpod. Bottom line, the old tear drop concept has been modernized in appearance and function, coming alive again with the R-Pod by Forest River.