What Is A Teardrop Camper? All You Need To Know About Teardrop Trailers
By Marshall Wendler
Last Updated: August 4, 2022
Looking for an RV that is easy to tow, lightweight, and affordable? A teardrop camper might be exactly what you need.
As one of the smallest recreational vehicles available, teardrop style trailers come in various sizes and feature sets, from a bare-bones tiny trailer to a rig that can sleep a family of four.
What is a teardrop camper, and is it the right choice for you? Will one make you a happy camper as you explore the great outdoors, or are there other types of travel trailers that would better suit your camping style?
Let's get to it, starting with the basics.
What Is A Teardrop Trailer?
A teardrop trailer gets its name from the distinctive teardrop shape of the exterior - fatter in the front and tapering back to the rear.
Teardrop-style campers range in size, weight, and shape to fit various needs and a price tag to suit most budgets.
A classic tear drop trailer is little more than a bed enclosed with hard-sided walls. These tiny trailers have few niceties other than a comfortable, dry place to sleep as you are adventuring.
If you are looking for something more than what is essentially a tent on wheels, there are larger versions that you can stand up in, have a full RV kitchen, a complete bathroom, and separate sleeping space and seating areas.
These teardrop RVs offer all the features and comforts of traditional travel trailers but with a unique shape that sets them apart from every other tow behind available.
Pros and Cons:
- Length: 10 to 21 feet
- Sleeping Capacity: Up to 4 people
- Slides: 0
- Gross Vehicle Weight: 2,000 to 4,000 pounds
- Retail Price: $3,000 to $40,000+
*Above stats are approximate ranges to give you a general idea
Who Makes Teardrop Trailers? Which Teardrop Is The Best?
Available In Many Sizes
A teardrop camp trailer is an exciting type of recreational vehicle for a couple of reasons.
First off, they have a unique exterior shape that looks (and is) aerodynamic and is where they get their name from.
Also, these campers cover the widest variety of sizes and available amenities of any other style of RV. They range from tiny, incredibly basic trailer designs to completely self-contained, full-sized rigs that sport the signature tear drop shape.
Below we describe three basic sizes that a teardrop RV camper can come in.
The Classic Teardrop Trailer
A traditional teardrop camper is a tiny, lightweight trailer that can be towed by virtually any sized vehicle that you can put a stabilizer hitch on.
These models don't require a big truck to tow - almost any car can haul a lightweight teardrop camper trailer.
They weigh very little and offer even less comfort in the interior living space.
They are simply a place for up to two people to sleep on a mattress out of the rain.
Due to the low roof height, the interior headroom is minimal - you will be lucky if you can sit up while on the bed.
They don't take up much room with their narrow width and low overall height, easily storing them in a typical residential garage.
The next step up in the RV teardrop category is slightly larger with a basic kitchenette in addition to the sleeping space.
A popular way to do this is to have a hatch in the rear that opens upwards to reveal an area for cooking. This style is commonly called a clamshell camper.
This rear galley area is only accessible from the outside, so if the weather is crappy, you get to 'enjoy' it while you cook.
This outdoor kitchen may have a tiny fridge, a sink with a small freshwater tank, a cooktop, and a little food prep space.
But nothing much else.
Don't expect to find a bathroom in these tiny trailers. Look for a shower and toilet elsewhere.
Storage space will be minimal.
There should be plenty of sitting headroom inside, but standing up is out of the question.
You'll find a couple of windows to bring natural light to the space and doors on either side for easy access.
The Timberleaf Kestrel is an example of this size.
Larger Teardrop Camping Trailers
When you go a little larger, you have a teardrop RV trailer that you can stand up in, may have an inside kitchen, but probably doesn't have a bathroom (though they can).
There won't be any separate seating area. The seating (dinette) area converts into a sleeping area, using the seat cushions as a mattress. Can you say, not so comfy?
You will need to be doing this dinette to a bed conversion every day as it's a dual-purpose seating/sleeping area.
This will probably get old, but it may not be too much of a hassle if you take the occasional weekend trip.
The nuCamp Tab 400 is an example of this size.
Teardrop Travel Trailers
At the top of the teardrop camper trailer hierarchy is a longer trailer that will have all the benefits and design features of a 'real' recreational vehicle.
These include a galley kitchen with a microwave, a full bath, an actual trailer mattress, a separate sleeping area, and a dedicated place to sit (that can most likely be converted into a second sleeping area).
You will have decent storage space for what you need to have a good camping experience, with room for at least two adults.
Heck, you can even find a 4 person teardrop camper perfect for a family.
There will be a propane tank to provide fuel for certain appliances such as the stove, refrigerator, and furnace, and a battery to power things such as your TV and the 12-volt electrical system.
It may be a bit on the cramped side if you have a family you like to bring along on your adventures, but it may be doable for shorter road trips to your favorite campgrounds.
These models offer everything a comparably sized travel trailer does, just with a unique exterior shape.
A tear drop camper with the same amenities as full-sized RVs will also be self-contained with freshwater tanks and a trailer holding tank for gray and black water.
The Little Guy Max is an example of this size.
Stand-Out Features Of Teardrop Travel Trailers
The most distinct design feature of teardrop camping trailers is the shape.
They have an aerodynamic 'flow' to the cabin, fatter in the front and tapering in the back.
As explained above, these teardrop style trailers come in all different sizes.
The interior amenities vary wildly depending on the overall size of the rig and the cost of the unit.
Here are some highlights of what you can expect:
If you are looking for a place to sleep that is a step up from a tent but don't need any other facilities, you can get a small teardrop mini camper. These are little more than an enclosed bed area, allowing you to get away from the weather while camping.
Moving up to a larger rig, you can get a dedicated bed area with the ability to sleep up to 4 people in specific models.
Many mid-sized floorplans will have a seating area that converts into a bed. Dinette by day where you can eat, socialize, or work and bed at night. The downside of this setup is that it becomes a daily chore to change from one mode to the other and then back again.
If you are in love with the exterior shape but don't want to go without a bathroom or a kitchen you can use comfortably, there is a larger teardrop camper trailer that fits this bill.
A teardrop camper with bathroom may be a wet bath configuration because it's space-saving, combing the toilet and shower area.
Or it may even be a portable camping potty tucked under a seating area or inside a closet.
If going in the woods (or using a campground's bathhouse) is more your style, there are plenty of these tiny trailers that don't have a toilet.
Hate to cook? There's a teardrop-style camper that is right for you, one without any kitchen facilities.
Building on the lack of cooking facilities, plenty of models offer an exterior kitchen that requires you to be outside in all weather conditions when it's mealtime. These clamshell camping trailers have a rear hatch that reveals all you need to prepare a meal.
Larger (longer) versions will have a fully equipped galley inside, just like other RV types. No roughing it here! Microwave? Yep! Fridge? Of course! Cooktop? You bet! Sink? Duh! Room to prepare a meal? Yes, but don't expect residential-sized counter space.
Because of their compact size and aerodynamic shape, teardrop campers can be towed by most vehicles that can pull a trailer. No monster pickup truck is necessary!
A lightweight teardrop trailer can even be towed by many cars, which opens up the world of RVing to many people without needing to purchase a new vehicle.
Ease of towing is a hallmark of the best teardrop campers due to their weight and shape. While no RV trailer is entirely effortless to tow, these campers are among the easiest.
No matter what the size, all will have a single axle. Some have a higher ground clearance to allow moderate off-road capability (found mainly in small teardrop trailers).
Affordability and simplicity are traits of a small teardrop camper.
They let you camp in something more than a tent without going all-in with a full-featured RV, keeping costs down.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Do Teardrop Campers Cost?
Retail pricing of new teardrop campers is all over the place because the amenities vary widely.
You can purchase a bare-bones small teardrop camper for a few thousand dollars that are nothing more than a place to sleep.
Or, you can purchase a rather large (in comparison) teardrop RV that has a separate bed, seating area, full kitchen, and a full bathroom for $40,000+.
Can You Suffocate In A Teardrop Trailer?
Just because the smallest teardrop trailer has minimal interior space doesn't mean you will suffocate while sleeping in it. There will be a vent you can open for fresh air, plus a window or two.
Can You Live Full-Time In A Teardrop Trailer?
Yes, you can live full-time in a teardrop trailer. We know several people that do just that.
Keep in mind that this kind of RV ranges in size from nothing more than a bed (yes, we know someone that lived full-time in one this small) to larger rigs fully equipped with everything you need for life on the road.
Can You Sleep In A Teardrop Trailer?
Yes, you can sleep in a teardrop trailer. What is the point of them otherwise?
You sleep on either a dedicated bed (the smallest versions are only a bed or larger models with a separate bed area) or a seating area made into a sleeping space.
Can You Sleep 4 In A Teardrop Trailer?
You can sleep 4 people in some of the larger teardrop trailers. These will have a dedicated sleeping area for 2 and then a dinette/seating area that can be converted into a sleeping area (typically for smaller-sized people, so great for kids).
Do Teardrop Campers Have Kitchens?
Larger-sized teardrop campers will have kitchens, either on the inside or accessible via an exterior hatch (so you will be cooking standing outside).
The smallest models won't have a kitchen area as there isn't any room. In this case, you will need to bring a stand-alone stove and a surface you can set up for meal preparation.
Can You Stand Up In A Teardrop Camper?
You can stand up in larger teardrop campers, while the smaller ones don't have nearly enough headroom (but do allow you to sit up).
This is a case where size does matter, so go bigger if standing up is important to you.
How Much Towing Capacity Do I Need For A Teardrop Camper?
The smallest teardrop campers require a towing capacity of under 1,000 pounds, whereas larger models will require 4,000+ pounds towing capacity.
A car can pull a teardrop trailer as long as the vehicle's towing capacity matches up with how heavy the trailer is.
Teardrop camper models come in a size and amenity level to match any camping style.
With options that include little more than a hard-sided shelter for a bed to sleep two people to a fully-equipped model, the teardrop camping trailer is an RV that appeals to a wide variety of campers.
No matter the destinations you have in mind or the type of adventure you are seeking, teardrop campers offer many a way to enjoy nature anywhere they want to go.
Author: Marshall Wendler
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing from April 2014 - December 2020 (now RVing about 50% of the time), Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle. Marshall spends the majority of his RVing life boondocking. He is the part of Camp Addict that knows 'all the things'. He's good at sharing his technical knowledge so you can benefit.