In response to a new user asking, "What is the perfect TD for me", Duane posted the following response. I thought the reply was so good that it deserved a place in the menu! Enjoy! Mike...
Many of us here on the forum have very strong ideas when it comes to designing the perfect teardrop trailer. What you invariably see when you look at everybody's suggestions is that they are describing the trailer they already have or are looking forward to. Most rigs are not fully loaded with stuff because that defeats the weight or size limitation that makes a teardrop so appealing. If you want everything that an RV would normally have, you probably want an RV. That being said, here are a few things that I think make a good teardrop trailer:
1. SIZE. The very cutest teardrops are 8' long. No doubt about it. However, I found I could not fit everything I want in a trailer that short. So I went to 10'. This is the biggest I would want. Any larger and the weight goes up and the cute factor goes down dramatically. As to the width, again smaller is cuter. A 4' wide unit is very sweet, but I am not interested in sleeping that confined. My trailer is 5' wide and fits a queen (or almost queen) bed perfectly. So I have found 5' x 10' to be ideal for me.
2. CONSTRUCTION AND SKIN. Teardrops are built from plywood. Usually it is a high grade of plywood with at least one pretty side. Some place this pretty side facing out because they want a wood grained look to the outside of their rig. This can be fabulous if done properly. Most people place the "pretty" side of their plywood to the inside. The plywood is usually stained or varnished to become the inside walls of the trailer and it is a lot of what makes the inside of a tear so cute. Most are like little cabins on the inside. As to the matter of skin, many cover their rigs with aluminum on the outside. This is not all that difficult to do and it gives a classic look to a trailer. However, many use paint over wood as their skin. Some have even used fiberglass or spray on coatings to completely seal the outside of their trailers and avoid any kind of leaking. These are all fine ideas, but aluminum is still a classic look. It is what attracted me to these trailers in the first place.
3. SLEEPING. There are many creative ideas about how to fit more than two people in a teardrop. I enjoy reading about and seeing pictures of these inventive ideas, however none of them are for me. I see a teardrop as a two person sleeping arrangement -- period. It is the perfect empty nest vehicle. But even though I would never have wanted a teardrop with a bunk bed inside, I do think a side tent is the perfect place to put small children. The door to the trailer could be left open so mom and dad and kids are breathing the same air. But kids should sleep outside the trailer. That being said, a teardrop trailer is the perfect "sleep-over" adventure for children. Kids love sharing a teardrop with their friends and can do so when the trailer is parked at home. If you try to put more than two into a teardrop, they are either going to be real crowded, or the trailer will be so large as to lose the aforementioned "cute factor".
4. COOKING. I see the galley as being the number one appeal of a teardrop. Many folks have commented that they have trouble cooking in the confined space at the rear of a tear and they bring along portable tables to expand the counter space and sometimes even remove their stove and cook on the picnic table available at most campsites. But my wife and I have discovered that it is possible to organize a galley so that two can work together comfortably. We do have extra tables, but they attach to the trailer and keep the self-contained "feel" of the galley. I wouldn't want a sink for three reasons. 1. A sink usually requires a water tank and a holding tank for waste water. Both of these add tow weight, take away cargo space and can be difficult to clean out. After a season or two with a tent trailer, we stopped using the sink inside our rig. 2. A sink is usually too small for more than hand washing or vegetable rinsing. 3. A sink takes up too much valuable countertop space. The only reason I can see to have a sink is because they are real cute. But a sink is one cute item that does not justify itself in any other way. We carry 3 gallon water jugs with spigots on them. Gravity feeds out the water on demand and a large lid is removable at the top of the jug so that it can be easily cleaned.
5. MULTI-MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT. I do not enjoy camping next to someone that is playing their stereo. Unless I have exactly the same musical taste, I can't wait for their music to stop. Music would be nice, but I would only use it on the inside of my trailer at a low volume. As to the matter of video, I would like to be able to play movies at night before bed. However, when camping with friends, I know we would never get to bed early enough to watch a movie. We prefer sitting around a campfire swapping stories. But the movie thing would be great during tour camping. If my wife and I were camping in a different place each night while traveling or if the weather was too wet or cold, a video would be nice. I do not have a video system in my trailer. I keep waiting for the price to come low enough that I can justify the investment. It may be that a portable DVD player will be the answer. It won't be as elegant as the tip down video screen I really want, but it will be okay.
6. DESIGN EXTRAS. I wouldn't want a trailer without two access doors to the sleeping cabin. I wouldn't want a trailer without electric trailer brakes. A 10' rig like mine is just a little under the weight where brakes are required by law, but I like not overworking the tow vehicle brakes when driving in mountain conditions. I wouldn't want a trailer without a nice reading light on each side of the bed. I wouldn't want a trailer without a multi-speed fan to move air in or out. I wouldn't want a trailer without a tongue box. I have one I really like, but it was not part of the original design. It should have been. There are plenty of things to stow there.
7. ONE FINAL THING. Dreaming about something is half the fun. For this reason, I would advise people to not rush into building a trailer overnight. The happiest teardrop owners are those that have either built or purchased a trailer that fits their tastes and needs. It takes a while to figure out what those are. Make a sketch. Build a model. Do a full scale cardboard mock-up of whatever you can't visualize in your head. Talk about it until your friends beg you to stop. And then after all that dreaming, buy building materials and go for it. You will love the adventure. Just don't forget to make it "cute". _________________