Move Over Vanlife, Teardrop Campers are IN!

Once upon a time, everyone was all about vanlife. That romantic idea that you could sell all of your belongings, buy a beat-up work van and transform it into an adventuring machine took the outdoors world by storm. Now there’s a new way to explore outside with a little luxury with a bed on wheels, the teardrop camper. Here’s a few tips to maximize your teardrop camper experience.

Keep Your Friends Close and Your Campsite Closer

What happens when you leave your campsite in a van? Well, you may leave that campsite for good. No one wants to leave their site to hike all day only to return in the evening to find that someone has bogarted that picture-perfect spot. When you rock the teardrop camper, you simply unhook your mini house and keep your campsite reserved while you play.

There Is No Check Engine Light

When I finally decided to treat myself to the luxuries of teardrop camper life, I heavily debated getting a van. One go-to adventure vehicle seemed better than towing a camper. But then I remembered, engines cost money, lots of money. Not to mention, teardrops are cheaper to insure and register.

Teardrop camper maintenance is minimal. There very few moving parts aside from a few door hinges and they cost significantly less to insure and register. When it comes down to the bottom a teardrop camper is much more affordable than a van.

teardrop camper tips

Plenty of Room to Grow

Teardrop campers come in a variety of sizes, but most of them hold a queen sized mattress on the inside with a pop-out kitchen in the back. If you’ve got more than just two people in your adventure party, it’s simple to fit out a teardrop camper with a rooftop tent system. This means more fun for the whole family. Unlike a van, the kids can have their own “room” upstairs while the adults get a slice of privacy below.

No Road, No Problem!

A lot of people assume that campers can’t travel on the dirt. The compact shape of the teardrop enables it to handle most four-wheel drive roads with ease. If you have a high-clearance vehicle, combined with 15-inch tires on your teardrop camper, you will be able to handle anything the dirt throws your way. Since vans tend to be top-heavy, they aren’t quite as lucky.

tips for owning a teardrop camper

How to Find a Teardrop Camper

There are three options when it comes to scoring a bed on wheels. First, you can buy a used camper. With a little insider knowledge, you can score a great deal on a used teardrop camper. Be sure to fully inspect the camper prior to purchase. Note the conditions of the caulking, flooring, undercarriage and tires. Also, never purchase a camper without working exterior lights, it’s illegal to drive a trailer without working brake and signal lights.

Tips for Buying a New Camper

New campers come with high price tags. These types of campers are largely built to order, which explains their big price tag. Once you have a budget, think carefully about the features you’d like to have. Remember, some things are easy to change, such as adding some simple shelving. Other features, like wheel sizing, can be a bit trickier to alter.

After you’ve decided what you want, now it’s time to shop. Spend time in the space. Move around, set things up, take things down. Think about the logistics of your space and where to store any big gear items, such as skis or a bike.

teardrop camper tips

Building Your Own Teardrop Camper

Are you handy with a saw? Do you know the ins and outs of framing and electrical work? Then you are likely capable of building your own teardrop camper. Keep in mind, building something on this scale requires a lot of skill, patience, and money. When you factor in the time you spend, your costs will be similar to buying a used teardrop camper, but you will have a brand new, fully-customized adventure wagon at your disposal.

Rent a Teardrop Camper

Not ready to commit, no problem! There are several outfits that allow you to rent your wheels. Most models come fully stocked with your adventure essentials. All you’ve got to do is grab groceries and go. Often times, this is cheaper than renting a van. Indulge in your next roadtrip and tow a tiny teardrop.

Get ready to rock the road this year with a teardrop camper. When you tow your bed, it costs less, keeps your basecamp in tip-top shape and opens up a whole world of adventures that #vanlife just can’t touch. Get out there and adventure and tag #hikerchat to show us your best photos of living the teardrop dream!

About the Author


Meg Atteberry

Meg ditched the 9-5 world as an architect in pursuit of adventure. Now a freelance writer for the outdoor industry, she’s made it her life’s work to inspire others to say “yes” to adventure. From the remote wilderness areas of Colorado, to exploring a foreign country, Meg specializes in off-beat destinations for the intrepid soul. You can find her in the backcountry searching for the perfect camp spot in her home of Colorado.