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Old 04-14-2014, 01:16 PM   #1
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Any teardrop camper owners?

I'm looking to get a teardrop and wanted to see if anyone had opinions/experience with any of the ones I'm kicking around. Looking for an overall lightweight/small footprint but expandable trailer that can survive being dragged on a beach/moderate trails.

In no particular order here are my top choices (so far.)

Moby1


Alto**


Cricket


T@B


If anyone has experience with the above or would have alternative choices please chime in.

**The Alto is in Canada so unless I'm willing to travel that one may be out. Though the pop up is appealing.

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Old 04-14-2014, 03:20 PM   #2
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No experience, but this one looks awesome:

Airstream Basecamp small travel trailer review - Roaming Times

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Old 04-14-2014, 03:29 PM   #3
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You may want to get a set of wide tires for the beach unless its hard packed like Daytona. The beaches I drive on are pretty loose
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:38 PM   #4
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Welcome to the complex world of teardrop camping!

I've got one of these:
So-Cal Teardrops - Teardrop Models - Krawler - Offroad Teardrop

This photo is before we upgraded the rear springs to handle the weight:



It's basically a custom build to specs.

Instead of giving you my choices for my situation, I'll instead post the questions I asked myself that lead to the choices...

Some questions for you to ponder:
  • To what extent are you going offroad with your trailer?
    • Will you take it anyplace where you need high clearance or to air down the tow vehicle? If so then you don't want trailer tires. Of your choices, only the Moby can take regular tires. The rest take trailer tires.
    • It is currently an open area of debate if standard axle-less or torsion axle design holds up off-road. Some manufacturers hate these designs when offroad, others swear by them. Given this, I chose to go with a more traditional heavy-duty offroad axle setup since I don't want my vacations to be a lab experiment. The Alto, Cricket, and T@B models all use either axle-less or torsion axle design. The Moby uses real a axle/suspension.
    • Tongue length: you want a longer one. Make sure you can turn with the wheel at the stop without the trailer hitting your bumper. The T@B and Alto is too short.
    • Connection type: Make sure the trailer has a 2" receiver in the front so you can replace the ball/hitch joint when it wears out. Washboard roads wear out those parts fast. If you get a trailer with them welded in place you will wish you didn't.
    • Overall length: Smaller is better for this. Navigating a sharp turn on a trail is much easier with a 15' trailer then it is with a 25'.
    • Is there a recovery point on the rear of the trailer?
    • Center of gravity: Just like the Jeep, don't put heavy stuff up high. Don't get a trailer with a generator on the roof unless you want to watch it roll over when off-camber.
  • How long do you plan to stay out for?
    • The amounts of everything you bring is really dependent on how long you stay.
    • Consider capacities for things like food, fuel, water, and trash storage.
    • Smaller teardrops are more complicated for this. I have a roof rack on my teardrop for extra storage.
  • How far away from help will you be?
    • If this is a secluded beach that nobody ever goes to that does not have cell coverage, then planning is different then if you are going to a busy public beach.
    • You might want to consider things like "can you pull yourself out of mud with the trailer attached" if you are going secluded. This requires a tougher built trailer. I've seen LittleGuy trailers in person and they are really wimpy (1/2" tubing frame, mine has 3").
The rest of my things to think about are less important, but still things to consider:

  • Do you need refrigeration? It makes camping super comfy, but the fridge is $800 and needs power...
  • Do you need power? Where will you get your power? Remember that there generally isn't any room for a generator on a teardrop.... Mine runs from a deep cycle and solar panels that I have to set up when we reach our destination.
  • How much water do you need? Where do you want to put it? Do you need hot water?
  • What do you do for a spare tire for your trailer? Many of the teardrops don't have spares so save on space. If you use offroad tires you can put the same tires/rims on the trailer that you use on the Jeep and share the spare.
  • Do you need a bathroom? If yes, then this really limits your choices.
  • Do you want to cook indoors or outdoors? Most teardrops have the cooking on the outside (I prefer this), but a small number of the bigger ones have indoor cooking in case it rains.
  • Does the trailer come with controllable electronic trailer brakes? Going slow in 4-lo down a steep downgrade without trailer brakes is really scary!
  • What is your budget when compared to your desires? We went "nuts" and spent $20k on our teardrop. The folks at socal make a $60k version. I've seen a crazy Australian one that is $150k, sleeps 6, and comes with satellite internet, air conditioning and some insane motor driven solar panel fold out mechanism. If you want to be super cheap I've seen folks that build their own that can make a basic teardrop sturdy enough to go offroad for <$5k in parts (where $2k is the axle/suspension)
  • Is there someone nearby who knows how to work on it? Everything taken off the road will eventually break. Plan ahead of time on figuring out how you will get it fixed. Most RV dealerships have no idea how to fix the things they are selling.
  • Will you ever camp in an RV park? If so then you need to worry about security (locks!), otherwise not-so-much.
  • Will you ever be out in the rain? Most of the time if you are in a popup while it's both a little windy and raining then you will get wet. Can you go inside while it is not popped?
If done right, a teardrop can get you here:
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:16 PM   #5
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I had a T@B. It was great for tailgating (with the clamshell kitchen). I missed the bathroom a bit too much and sold it. They are pretty sweet though!
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkjeeper06 View Post
You may want to get a set of wide tires for the beach unless its hard packed like Daytona. The beaches I drive on are pretty loose
Yup...the beaches on the third coast are a mixed bag of loose/compact. If I'm truly to use it on the beach then Moby is really my only option.

I wish I could take options from all of the above as each have something I want in a single trailer.
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:32 PM   #7
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We're looking at one of these r-pods, they weigh just under 3k lbs. My wife's future unlimited would be the tow vehicle, not my 2dr.
r-pod Travel Trailers by Forest River
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:39 PM   #8
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This was awesome and thank you. Some of these I've already thought of but there were a few I definitely didn't.

To generalize/answer most of the questions...
  • I do prefer a trailer that accepts full sized tire (was not sure if I could modify the others to do this)
  • Axle and tongue never really entered my thoughts
  • Some places on the beach are pretty remote that we go to
  • Normally we spend 1 week out on the beach
  • Additionally, would like to use it for road trips to other places/beaches/rv parks
  • My budget is in the $20k range.
  • Weather...we have been in all kinds of weather from sunny 100*+ to 40*/windy/raining.

Luckily I just started this and gathering requirements. If I had to pick one today the Moby sounds to be the closest to my needs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by unusedusername View Post
Welcome to the complex world of teardrop camping!

I've got one of these:
So-Cal Teardrops - Teardrop Models - Krawler - Offroad Teardrop

This photo is before we upgraded the rear springs to handle the weight:



It's basically a custom build to specs.

Instead of giving you my choices for my situation, I'll instead post the questions I asked myself that lead to the choices...

Some questions for you to ponder:
  • To what extent are you going offroad with your trailer?
    • Will you take it anyplace where you need high clearance or to air down the tow vehicle? If so then you don't want trailer tires. Of your choices, only the Moby can take regular tires. The rest take trailer tires.
    • It is currently an open area of debate if standard axle-less or torsion axle design holds up off-road. Some manufacturers hate these designs when offroad, others swear by them. Given this, I chose to go with a more traditional heavy-duty offroad axle setup since I don't want my vacations to be a lab experiment. The Alto, Cricket, and T@B models all use either axle-less or torsion axle design. The Moby uses real a axle/suspension.
    • Tongue length: you want a longer one. Make sure you can turn with the wheel at the stop without the trailer hitting your bumper. The T@B and Alto is too short.
    • Connection type: Make sure the trailer has a 2" receiver in the front so you can replace the ball/hitch joint when it wears out. Washboard roads wear out those parts fast. If you get a trailer with them welded in place you will wish you didn't.
    • Overall length: Smaller is better for this. Navigating a sharp turn on a trail is much easier with a 15' trailer then it is with a 25'.
    • Is there a recovery point on the rear of the trailer?
    • Center of gravity: Just like the Jeep, don't put heavy stuff up high. Don't get a trailer with a generator on the roof unless you want to watch it roll over when off-camber.
  • How long do you plan to stay out for?
    • The amounts of everything you bring is really dependent on how long you stay.
    • Consider capacities for things like food, fuel, water, and trash storage.
    • Smaller teardrops are more complicated for this. I have a roof rack on my teardrop for extra storage.
  • How far away from help will you be?
    • If this is a secluded beach that nobody ever goes to that does not have cell coverage, then planning is different then if you are going to a busy public beach.
    • You might want to consider things like "can you pull yourself out of mud with the trailer attached" if you are going secluded. This requires a tougher built trailer. I've seen LittleGuy trailers in person and they are really wimpy (1/2" tubing frame, mine has 3").
The rest of my things to think about are less important, but still things to consider:

  • Do you need refrigeration? It makes camping super comfy, but the fridge is $800 and needs power...
  • Do you need power? Where will you get your power? Remember that there generally isn't any room for a generator on a teardrop.... Mine runs from a deep cycle and solar panels that I have to set up when we reach our destination.
  • How much water do you need? Where do you want to put it? Do you need hot water?
  • What do you do for a spare tire for your trailer? Many of the teardrops don't have spares so save on space. If you use offroad tires you can put the same tires/rims on the trailer that you use on the Jeep and share the spare.
  • Do you need a bathroom? If yes, then this really limits your choices.
  • Do you want to cook indoors or outdoors? Most teardrops have the cooking on the outside (I prefer this), but a small number of the bigger ones have indoor cooking in case it rains.
  • Does the trailer come with controllable electronic trailer brakes? Going slow in 4-lo down a steep downgrade without trailer brakes is really scary!
  • What is your budget when compared to your desires? We went "nuts" and spent $20k on our teardrop. The folks at socal make a $60k version. I've seen a crazy Australian one that is $150k, sleeps 6, and comes with satellite internet, air conditioning and some insane motor driven solar panel fold out mechanism. If you want to be super cheap I've seen folks that build their own that can make a basic teardrop sturdy enough to go offroad for <$5k in parts (where $2k is the axle/suspension)
  • Is there someone nearby who knows how to work on it? Everything taken off the road will eventually break. Plan ahead of time on figuring out how you will get it fixed. Most RV dealerships have no idea how to fix the things they are selling.
  • Will you ever camp in an RV park? If so then you need to worry about security (locks!), otherwise not-so-much.
  • Will you ever be out in the rain? Most of the time if you are in a popup while it's both a little windy and raining then you will get wet. Can you go inside while it is not popped?
If done right, a teardrop can get you here:
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h00kemh0rns View Post
This was awesome and thank you. Some of these I've already thought of but there were a few I definitely didn't.

To generalize/answer most of the questions...
..
Luckily I just started this and gathering requirements. If I had to pick one today the Moby sounds to be the closest to my needs.
It's no problem

Based on this I agree that of those choices, the Moby is your only real choice. 1 week out is good length of time for a teardrop.

That's ~20gals of water at 2gals/person/day*2 people*7days + reserve and 28 meal-servings of food at 2 meals/day. Consider low center-of-gravity on-board water in the trailer if you tow with a 2-door JK and have passengers. I found out one trip that water on a roof rack is not fun... I wound up having to dump all my water so I didn't lose the trailer down the side of a hill. Anyways I digress...

For $20k, as long as you don't need onboard heating or AC you can get a full-custom build in that price range where they pre-match your tires and have nearly all the "hard stuff" figured out for you. All you have to do is learn how to use it.

At least that was my experience.

Also Moby1 is in UT, so maybe you want to consider these guys also since the driving distance is similar from TX...
Teardrop | AT Overland

They are use the same components made by SoCal teardrops to make their trailers.
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:55 AM   #10
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so what did you upgrade the rear springs to
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unusedusername View Post
Welcome to the complex world of teardrop camping!

I've got one of these:
So-Cal Teardrops - Teardrop Models - Krawler - Offroad Teardrop

This photo is before we upgraded the rear springs to handle the weight:



It's basically a custom build to specs.

Instead of giving you my choices for my situation, I'll instead post the questions I asked myself that lead to the choices...

Some questions for you to ponder:
  • To what extent are you going offroad with your trailer?
    • Will you take it anyplace where you need high clearance or to air down the tow vehicle? If so then you don't want trailer tires. Of your choices, only the Moby can take regular tires. The rest take trailer tires.
    • It is currently an open area of debate if standard axle-less or torsion axle design holds up off-road. Some manufacturers hate these designs when offroad, others swear by them. Given this, I chose to go with a more traditional heavy-duty offroad axle setup since I don't want my vacations to be a lab experiment. The Alto, Cricket, and T@B models all use either axle-less or torsion axle design. The Moby uses real a axle/suspension.
    • Tongue length: you want a longer one. Make sure you can turn with the wheel at the stop without the trailer hitting your bumper. The T@B and Alto is too short.
    • Connection type: Make sure the trailer has a 2" receiver in the front so you can replace the ball/hitch joint when it wears out. Washboard roads wear out those parts fast. If you get a trailer with them welded in place you will wish you didn't.
    • Overall length: Smaller is better for this. Navigating a sharp turn on a trail is much easier with a 15' trailer then it is with a 25'.
    • Is there a recovery point on the rear of the trailer?
    • Center of gravity: Just like the Jeep, don't put heavy stuff up high. Don't get a trailer with a generator on the roof unless you want to watch it roll over when off-camber.
  • How long do you plan to stay out for?
    • The amounts of everything you bring is really dependent on how long you stay.
    • Consider capacities for things like food, fuel, water, and trash storage.
    • Smaller teardrops are more complicated for this. I have a roof rack on my teardrop for extra storage.
  • How far away from help will you be?
    • If this is a secluded beach that nobody ever goes to that does not have cell coverage, then planning is different then if you are going to a busy public beach.
    • You might want to consider things like "can you pull yourself out of mud with the trailer attached" if you are going secluded. This requires a tougher built trailer. I've seen LittleGuy trailers in person and they are really wimpy (1/2" tubing frame, mine has 3").
The rest of my things to think about are less important, but still things to consider:

  • Do you need refrigeration? It makes camping super comfy, but the fridge is $800 and needs power...
  • Do you need power? Where will you get your power? Remember that there generally isn't any room for a generator on a teardrop.... Mine runs from a deep cycle and solar panels that I have to set up when we reach our destination.
  • How much water do you need? Where do you want to put it? Do you need hot water?
  • What do you do for a spare tire for your trailer? Many of the teardrops don't have spares so save on space. If you use offroad tires you can put the same tires/rims on the trailer that you use on the Jeep and share the spare.
  • Do you need a bathroom? If yes, then this really limits your choices.
  • Do you want to cook indoors or outdoors? Most teardrops have the cooking on the outside (I prefer this), but a small number of the bigger ones have indoor cooking in case it rains.
  • Does the trailer come with controllable electronic trailer brakes? Going slow in 4-lo down a steep downgrade without trailer brakes is really scary!
  • What is your budget when compared to your desires? We went "nuts" and spent $20k on our teardrop. The folks at socal make a $60k version. I've seen a crazy Australian one that is $150k, sleeps 6, and comes with satellite internet, air conditioning and some insane motor driven solar panel fold out mechanism. If you want to be super cheap I've seen folks that build their own that can make a basic teardrop sturdy enough to go offroad for <$5k in parts (where $2k is the axle/suspension)
  • Is there someone nearby who knows how to work on it? Everything taken off the road will eventually break. Plan ahead of time on figuring out how you will get it fixed. Most RV dealerships have no idea how to fix the things they are selling.
  • Will you ever camp in an RV park? If so then you need to worry about security (locks!), otherwise not-so-much.
  • Will you ever be out in the rain? Most of the time if you are in a popup while it's both a little windy and raining then you will get wet. Can you go inside while it is not popped?
If done right, a teardrop can get you here:
I live not to far from this company and have been considering a teardrop. Overall have you been happy with the trailer and is there anything you would have done different now that you've had it for a while?
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Old 08-25-2014, 04:50 PM   #12
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The teardrop has been, and still is, awesome. We did take it back in earlier this year to have a few more goodies added to it.

Since the top photo was taken, we have done a bunch of stuff.

The stock Jeep suspension had some trouble with the trailer. You can see in the photo above that the rear springs were sagging quite a bit when fully loaded. The math (hitch weight, trailer weight, etc...) told me it wasn't overloaded. It never rubbed and it drove fine, but it "looked" overloaded. The "look" bugged me enough to get it fixed.

Additionally, what you can't see is that I had to use a straight hitch ball to keep the trailer level, and that hitch ball prevented me from opening the tailgate as the top of the locking pin on the hitch cup was higher then the bottom of the tailgate.

We switched out the suspension to a MetalCloak 2.5" "gamechanger arb" lift. Their springs have a much higher load rating so the rear sag been reduced by half. Additionally the extra height allows me to use a drop hitch ball so now the towing stuff is below the tailgate and I can get into the back while towing. It is an extra plus that their suspension has crazy articulation when compared to the stock setup.

We found that the electrical system we initially chose in the trailer (1x 60w panel, 1x battery) didn't give us enough "go" to run both the camping fridge and the CB base station for a 3 night trip without running out. While it is pretty easy to recharge the trailer from the Jeep, just hook it up and turn on the engine and it charges the trailer, we decided to throw some cash at it to fix the issue so we didn't have to carry as much extra gas for the Jeep.

We switched the charging system to one capable of handling dry cells, and put in 2 of them as a dual battery system. We also added a second solar panel. This gave us 4x the AH of a single battery and a ~160w peak incoming charge rate.

While it was in we also put in the onboard water system. That upgrade is worth it's weight in gold if you camp without services. Having pressurized water that you won't trip over is unbelievably useful, and now I don't have to use up the limited space in the back of the Jeep to store water. You do lose a little clearance under the trailer if you do this, so be aware of that if you plan to take your teardrop on really hard trails (Rubicon?).

If you go talk to them, ask Gabe to go into some details on how the trailer is put together. He is a wealth of information.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:18 PM   #13
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Thanks for this great information, I will keep Gabe's name.

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