If you’ve always dreamed of hitting the scenic highways, but don’t have the driving confidence, the big ol’ truck, or the big ol’ budget for a full-scale mobile home, a teeny-weeny trailer might just change your life.
The A-Liner. (Photo: Joe Scuba)
It all started in the 1940s, kids … yes, your grandparents might have been the proud owners of an original teardrop, which sold back then for about $500. They were lightweight, economical, sturdy, and they could be assembled from DIY kits.
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Lemonade trailer at Rendezvous Market in Eagar, Arizona. (Photo: Bluebird Vintage)
In fact, they still can be. But most people these days either purchase them new and fully finished, or buy used models with the specific intent of customizing them in inventive ways. Pictured, two adorable versions of the T&G teardrop model by Little Guy Worldwide — the leading manufacturer, who “resurrected” teardrop trailers from discontinuation in 2002.
T@B Teardrops. (Photo: Tab-RV.com)
Boutique manufacturer So-Cal Teardrops builds its own tiny trailers models, customized from scratch. In general, the trailers share the original lines from the old days, as well as the idea of having a galley, but with modern 21st century parts and material. Pictured, a Woody-inspired teardrop towed by an awesome vintage pickup.
Woody trailer. (Photo: So-Cal Teardrops)
They can be economically towed behind small cars (even a Camry). And still they are cute enough to belong in a parade.
So-Cal Teadrops at Ontario Independence Day Parade. (Photo: So-Cal Teardrops)
Krawler is an offroad trailer model by So Cal Teardrops — tow it by truck or Jeep. If don't live nearby and you’re getting jealous, please note that Great Lakes Teardrops, based in Lowell, Michigan, is ready to take your order. And the owner owns a Krawler.
The Night Krawler. (Photo: David Druck)
The DIY crowd of enthusiasts now buy up original vintage tiny trailers and refurbish them in all sorts of inventive ways. Just like hotrods or antique trucks, tiny trailer enthusiasts might collect up to 20 or 30 trailers and take them around to different meet-ups. If you want to go deeper down the tiny trailer rabbit hole, visit the forum at Tiny Travel Trailers and Teardrops.
The Hobbit Hole. (Photo: Flickr/Samm1t)
Unlike a lot of auto and home renovation niches, tiny trailers are just as appealing of a DIY project to women as men. One of our favorites is The Glampette, owned by Bay Area blogger Stacie Tamaki of IFoundthePlace.com/The Flirty Blog. Check out the snazzy/sexy/cozy interior.
Glampette, (Photo: IFoundthePlace.com)
If you want to rent, it can be done — but know that most tiny trailer enthusiasts get attached to them, kind of as though they were pets. Small rental shops can be found online in many destinations — just ask for user testimonials before you plunk down money. The most famous is Vacations in a Can in Sonoma County, California, which was featured in Sunset Magazine in 2012.
Chili Pepper Rental Teardrop. (Photo: Vacations in a Can)
Little Guy Trailers is a large dealer of Little Guy and other models in the Southern California area. While primarily retail, they will rent as a precursor to a buying decision. One of the most awesome models they sell is the Cricket, designed for outdoorsy types.
The Cricket. (Photo: Taxa Inc)
Little Guy Trailers in Southern California also has designed their own tiny trailer model, called the Meerkat because “it kinda pops up everywhere” and its side windows look like a meerkat’s facial markings. Behold the logo.
Meerkat logo. (Photo: Little Guy Trailers)
And here’s the Meerkat driving off into a bright blue day. Endless summer, here we come!
Meerkat on the road. (Photo: Ian Matthews)
Lena Katz is a writer, sometime book author and development producer for unscripted TV. She goes cuckoo for big characters and stories that seem too wild to be true. She’s never where you think she is.