Teardrop caravans are making a comeback in a big way! These vintage campers have been around since the 1930s, and provide an ideal option for a couple looking to spend some time in the great outdoors. These lightweight caravans are easily towable by a range of vehicles. With new models offered by manufacturers and plenty of DIY build plans, teardrop caravans can fit a variety of lifestyles and budgets.
What is a teardrop caravan?
A teardrop caravan is a small, lightweight camper that has a characteristic “teardrop” shape, with a round front end of the trailer that curves into a narrower end at the rear. Teardrop caravans are built atop a trailer with two wheels and can be towed behind most vehicles using a ball and hitch mount. Teardrop caravans are compact and streamlined, and usually feature very basic amenities such as a miniature kitchen (usually positioned in the rear of the caravan to allow easy access) and enough sleeping space for two adults. Most storage available in a teardrop caravan is found on the exterior.
How big is a teardrop caravan inside?
In general, the interior of a teardrop caravan is built to sleep two adults. In fact, most of the interior space is occupied by a double-sized bed. Sleeping space is maximised by having the kitchen setup in the rear of the caravan. However many newer teardrop caravans pack in a range of features into the tiny space, depending on make, model, and builder. Larger caravans may have a teardrop shape, but may include additional facilities or upgraded components, such as seating and bathrooms.
What are the average external dimensions of a teardrop caravan?
Teardrop caravans are meant to be compact and the external dimesions are as follows:
- Length – 3900mm
- Width – 2040mm
- Height – 1725mm
- Weight – 445kg
The small size of a teardrop camper makes it easy to fit in a variety of camping areas. The light weight of the teardrop camper makes it ideal for travellers that have smaller vehicles and who travel solo.
How heavy is a teardrop caravan?
Teardrop campers are famous for how little they weigh. The average weight of teardrop caravans is 445kg or less. As long as the vehicle has a ball and hitch system in place, teardrop caravans can be hauled by regular vehicles, even small cars and motorcycles.
How many people can sleep in a teardrop caravan?
Due to their compact size, most teardrop caravans are meant to sleep two adults. This means that family travellers may need larger caravan space to ensure everyone is comfortable. Some teardrops have a feature that allows for a tent to be attached to the body of the caravan to increase how many sleepers can be accommodated.
Many caravans may have the teardrop design, but have a larger interior space that is better suited to groups of more than two. Some even feature bunk beds, which can be ideal for families traveling with children.
Do teardrop caravans have bathrooms?
Most tradtional teardrop caravans do not have bathrooms integrated into the caravan layout. However, there are some larger and more modern caravans that maintain the characteristic teardrop shape that may have the interior space to include a wet room and toilet.
Generally speaking, most teardrop caravans will not have a bathroom on board. If a teardrop camper does have a bathroom on board, the toilet is usually a chemical or compost toilet. However, if the caravan does not have bathroom facilities, there are a variety of portable toilets and camp showers available for purchase by campers.
Do teardrop caravans have kitchens?
Teardrop caravans come equipped with a minimal kitchen setup. The kitchen galley is positioned towards the rear of the caravan that is accessible via a built in hatch. This galley type setup usually has a sink, faucet, plenty of storage, as well as a camping stove or other cooking appliances.
Some may even have a built-in mini fridge. Since teardrop caravans often have batteries or electric hook-ups, many small kitchen gadgets can be used, especially at camping sites that have electricity. Other teardrop may just have a kitchen storage area, making it easy to bring along a portable stove and cooler for a simpler set up. Many caravan kitchen set ups allow for fresh water storage as well.
What are the advantages of a teardrop caravan?
There are many advantages to using a teardrop caravan for your outdoor adventures. Some of these advantages include high portability, fuel efficiency (as compared to other types of caravans or motorhomes), and being much more comfortable than tent camping.
Teardrop caravans are one of the most portable options of caravans. Their small size makes them easy to tow, park, hitch, and manoeuvre. They easily fit in even the smallest camp sites and parking lots. Since teardrops are easily unhitched, campers are free to set up their caravan at their site, leaving the tow vehicle unencumbered for trips if needed.
Teardrop caravans are well-suited to travel off traditional roads and highways, due to their lightweight yet durable construction. For travellers hoping to enjoy more rugged country, a teardrop caravan can go many places that larger caravans cannot.
For outdoor enthusiasts looking for an eco-friendly choice, teardrop caravans are the most low impact caravan. They are fuel efficient because they do not require a petrol-hungry truck to haul the caravan. Teardrop campers are low impact in terms of waste generated as well, particular when compared to fully kitted out motorhomes, which must periodically dump waste water. These caravans are low impact on your petrol budget too!
Going Off Grid/Trail
The small size of teardrop caravans makes them especially versatile. This is obvious when compared to larger caravans and motorhomes, which can be challenging to manoeuvre in tight spaces or in rough terrain. The minimal design features high ground clearance that will do better on dirt trails than a larger caravan.
Because of how the teardrop trailer is designed, even rough trails are unlikely to damage gear inside the caravan. Many modern teardrop caravans are outfitted with accessories like spare wheel brackets and larger tyres to better handle off-trail travel.
Teardrop caravans are a big step up from traditional tent camping. The caravan provides much more protection from the elements than a tent. For one thing, caravan doors and windows lock and are much more secure than a fabric tent.
The caravan’s hard outer shell protects from rain and is much more stable in windy conditions than a fabric tent. Campers with a teardrop caravan have a sleeping surface that is raised off the ground, which can protect them from wet or rocky terrain, biting insects, and curious critters. Additionally, the sleeping surface is usually a high quality mattress rather than a sleeping pad and sleeping bag.
Teardrop caravans often have venting fans and windows to provide temperature comfort, as well as lighting. For travellers used to tent camping, a teardrop caravan can feel downright luxurious. Another feature that greatly enhances comfort is electric power, either through the camper’s battery or external hook-ups found at some camp sites. Many teardrop caravans use batteries or solar power that can power lighting, chargers, and small appliances like a mini refrigerator.
The affordability of a teardrop caravan is a very attractive feature, especially when compared to luxury motorhomes or large caravans. As the most budget friendly pick in the caravan market, teardrop caravans can significantly increase the comfort of a camping trip without breaking the bank. Price is even more reduced when one considers the robust secondhand market for caravans.
Another way to reduce the costs of a teardrop caravan is to renovate, design and construct your own. There are many existing construction plans, ranging from simple to complex, retro to modern, and everything in between. A DIY teardrop caravan can be made with exact needs and specifications in mind, not to mention a fun project that shows off your unique style and personality.
What are the disadvantages of a teardrop caravan?
Whilst teardrop caravans have many perks, there are still some downsides. The small size tends to be a big disadvantage for many campers.
Teardrop caravans are small, therefore they will lack the amount of storage that larger vehicles and caravans have. There are many potential solutions to this dilemma, which can include vehicle cargo boxes or bags, attached to the tow vehicle. Many teardrop campers may not be able to accommodate kayaks, bicycles, or surfboards because the way the roof of the teardrop caravan slopes.
Not for long-term camping trips
Because of the small size, teardrops are better suited to short camping trips. For one thing, the average adult will not have any room to stand when inside a teardrop caravan. The lack of a toilet or shower means that campers are at the mercy of using publicly available facilities or temporary solutions such as camp showers or portable toilets. Campers who travel a lot and for long time periods would be better suited in a larger camp vehicle.
Lack of Privacy
Whilst they are much more private than a tent, teardrop campers do not offer the same level of privacy that is afforded to larger caravans and motorhomes. Because of the tight interior space, most fully grown adults will feel cramped and should not expect to spend all their time inside the teardrop as it is set up primarily as a place to sleep. Teardrop caravan kitchens are also located on the exterior of the caravan. Remember, a teardrop caravan is more akin to an upgraded tent camping setup rather than a motorhome.
Very Limited Seating and Amenities
Teardrop caravans are basic and will not feature many of the amenities of larger caravans. The interior of a teardrop caravan is limited to sleeping, and generally does not have a separate seating area or bathroom on board. Teardrop caravans can only accommodate two adults, making them a great choice for couples but not so great for large groups or families with young children.
What factors should be considered when buying a teardrop caravan?
There are many factors to consider when in the market for a teardrop caravan, however the most important criteria should be where are you planning to take the caravan and who will be going. Determining the scope of a typical camping trip and who needs to be acommodated will help determine what features are necessary versus optional. For example, teardrop campers are best suited to couples, so if your travel plans involve extended family or several children, a larger caravan may be necessary to ensure everyone is safe and comfortable.
Teardrop caravans are very portable and can be towed places that larger camping vehicles cannot. So if you are looking to go off the beaten path, teardrop trailers are easy to take along for the ride and usually do not require a larger vehicle to haul it. They are also fuel efficient as compared to larger recreational vehicles. Teardrop caravans are very light, making them easy to park and manoeuvre.
How much does a teardrop camper cost?
The price of a teardrop caravan can vary greatly, depending on condition (new or used), make, model, size, amenities, and more. New teardrop caravans can cost around £3,200 on the basic end, and can be as expensive as £10,995 for more deluxe teardrops. Larger caravans routinely cost nearly three times the amount of a teardrop caravan, and may even require the additional expense of purchasing an appropriate tow vehicle. With the lightweight teardrop caravan, a simple hitch system can be installed to your existing vehicle rather inexpensively.
What vehicle is the best for hauling a teardrop caravan?
Teardrop caravans are lightweight and can be towed be just about any vehicle, including small cars and motorcycles, as long as it has the proper hitching system in place. However, teardrop caravans cannot be towed by electric vehicles due to towing limitations set by electric car manufacturers. Towing a teardrop caravan with an electric vehicle can damage both the caravan and car, and may void any service or repair warranty for both the vehicle and caravan.
Can you build your own teardrop caravan?
Building your own teardrop caravan can be a rewarding and fun project. There are hundreds of designs and layouts available and there is a large community of teardrop caravan enthusiasts who have plenty of advice for newbies who may be interested in tackling a teardrop camper build. Many DIY teardrop caravans can be renovated from a second-hand caravan, further reducing costs. Depending on your own expertise and how much work the caravan needs, the budget for a “build your own” teardrop caravan can be as low as £2400. Another advantage of DIY teardrop builds is how easily the caravan can be customised for your own unique needs and preferences.
What are the best accessories for a teardrop caravan?
Most caravans, including teardrops, come standard with certain features, while offering additional amenities as accessories. This can include upgraded features, such as higher quality batteries, additional storage, and other comforts that increase the caravan’s utility.
Awnings provide protection from the sun and rain, increasing the living space by extending it outside. Large awnings (rolling out to at least 200cm) ensure a measure of privacy as well. Some desirable traits of caravan awnings include: ease of setup, retractable/easy to store, weather and water resistant, locking system, support legs, and the ability to add sides and fronts to the awning for additional privacy if desired. Awnings should also be made of material that is easy to clean.
Fender boxes provide additional storage in a way that seamlessly matches the camper’s fenders. Fender boxes are durable, secure, and easy to use. They are a great way to provide external storage for gear.
Bicycles are a fun way to explore nature and campgrounds, but are not easily stored or can be damaged if stored or transported improperly. Bicycle racks can be added to either the towing vehicle or the caravan. Bicycle racks usually can transport at least two bikes
Spare Wheels and Brackets
Nothing ruins a holiday more quickly than a flat tyre. A spare wheel bracket allows the extra tyre to be stored, either underneath the caravan or installed on the side. Some brackets allow the spare wheel to be displayed for both easy access and an added tough aesthetic.
Batteries and Energy sources
Some campers want to go totally off-grid in their caravan, while others may need to stay connected and plugged in while on holiday. Upgraded batteries, electrical systems and other sources of energy (such as solar panels) can be a significant upgrade for travellers who have high power needs. Most manufacturers offer a range of batteries and chargers, solar panels, and inverter packages.
Tents can be a savvy addition to a teardrop caravan. Not only does it increase how many travellers can be accommodated by the caravan, tents can be used to provide privacy. Many caravan manufacturers make special tents that can be attached to the body of the caravan, or even placed atop the towing vehicle or caravan.
A lightweight yet durable cover can protect a teardrop caravan from the elements when not in use. Fiberglass exteriors in particular can become brittle when exposed to harsh climates. Covering your caravan regularly is a cost-effective way to extend its life, just make sure the cover is the correct size.
Best Teardrop Caravans
If you are in the market for a new teardrop caravan, check out these five caravans. Each caravan varies in specifications and amenities, as well as price. Price may fluctuate depending on make, model, dealer, condition, and any accessories added to the caravan at the request of the purchaser.
The budget option from Teardrop Trailer, the Turtle Cargo is designed with storage in mind. Weighing in at 293 kg, this mini caravan can double as a storage garage for bicycles, kayaks, or surfboards. With the addition of mattresses, the Turtle can also become a 2-berth camper. In terms of materials and construction, the Cargo Turtle has an insulated and galvanized steel frame trailer that is about 3.4m in length. Total width inside is 1.2m and maximum height is 1.75m.
Interior features are very basic. A small storage cabinet complements the mattress and sleeping space. A small electronic panel is tucked away and allows travellers to control lighting and audio connections. To increase headroom, the Turtle features a tilting sunroof. On the exterior is the kitchen area, which comes standard with locking cabinets, table-top, mini fridge and a one burner electric camping stove. In larger Turtle caravans, there may even be a small separate closet for a chemical or compost toilet.
The Original Pod-E
Simple, basic and affordable, the Pod-E is one of the most popular teardrop caravans in the UK. Weighing in at only 245kg, the Pod-E comes built upon a sturdy, 50mm steel box section chassis. This resilient base is the foundation for solid aluminum side panels that can withstand severe weather and road damage. Aluminum also ensures ease in cleaning the caravan with a simple hosing down.
The 750kg rated suspension ensures a smooth tow, even on steep hills or rocky terrain. With a width of about 1.7m and a height of 1.62m, The 13″ rims feature 145 trailer tyres with durable, high quality 4 stud, 100mm PCD hubs. With a trailer length of 3.46m, this stylish teardrop caravan comes standard with many features that include: poplar ply satin finish interior, rear prop stands, thermoplastic and aluminum insulated side panels, opening windows with screens/curtains, and lockable doors.
The Pod-E is completely IVA certified and has many options for add-ons, such as rack storage, doors for storage cabinets, and spare wheels. The Pod-E comes in a variety of colors.
The Caretta 1500 has been hailed as the new generation of teardrop caravans. Well-respected in the industry with a reputation for craftsmanship, the Caretta 1500 boasts a clever and stylish ergonomic design and lightweight and robust fiberglass construction.
The Caretta 1500 measures a spacious Width/Length/Height of 2050 x 4180 x 1740 mm. The Caretta 1500 weighs 480kg. Created with two campers in mind, each side of the caravan has a door and window. In terms of construction, the Caretta 1500 is built atop a galvanized chassis and has an impressive AL-KO braked axle system that is rated at 1000kg. The chassis and high quality braking system makes this caravan easy to manuever and handle in a variety of driving and road conditions. Additionally, the Caretta is easily towed by smaller vehicles, such as hatchbacks or motorcycles. The Caretta 1500 is easily parked into parked position and does not require reversing.
More campers can be acommodated with the addition of a side mounted tent, if traveling in a party larger than two. A galley hob is found at the rear for kitchen facilities, which includes a stove, sink, mini fridge, and potable water storage/supply under a lifting hatch. A 40A battery can offer power when hookups are not provided at the camp site. The Caretta 1500 is covered under a full one year warranty by the manufacturer.
The Go-Pod Standard has an innovative design that starts with the exterior, which is constructed from a single GRP shell. This shell allows the Go-Pod to maintain its light weight of 540kg without compromising insulation and protection from leaks. The Go-Pod Standard can be pulled by any car that has a towing capacity of 750kg. It is built atop a fully galvinised steel chassis that is rated to 1000kg with AL-KO brakes, running gear, as well as a hitch.
The interior is designed with clever use of space, offering far more living space than teardrops of similar size. The Go-Pod is 4.2m in length and 1.85m in width, and yet it manages to squeeze in a dining area and seating that converts to a king sized bed. The bed measures 1.57m wide and 1.95m long, comfortably sleeping two adults. The Go-Pod features a pop-up roof that increases head height from 2.05 to an additional 30cm.
Unlike other teardrop caravans, the kitchen on the Go-Pod is internal and features a dual gas stove, sink and a mini fridge. Cupboard storage is found throughout the caravan, as well as storage under seating. The Go-Pod comes standard with a full size awning to increase living space. Select models also feature a camping toilet.
Hero Campers are made in Denmark and come in two models, the Ranger and the Traveler. The Ranger features larger tyres and makes an excellent choice for travelers who want to travel off the beaten path, especially those wanting to explore the more rugged side of nature. Measuring at a length of 482cm and a total weight of 900-1200kg, the Hero Ranger is easy to tow with small vehicles and can be easily manuevered, even for beginners. The Ranger is also easy to store in a garage or backyard, as it stands at just 232cm in height.
At the Ranger’s rear, there is a fully equipped camp kitchen with a sink, fresh water tank (holds 22 litres), and cooking facilities. However it does not come standard with a cooking stove or mini fridge.
The insulated cabin measures about 230cm wide and is fitted with a full-size memory foam mattress, shelves, drawers, ambient LED-lighting, USB charging ports and touchscreen integrated control system. A roof window provides additional light and ventilation. There are lots of exterior storage, including the Sky Mount roof rack, which measures 135 cm wide and 208 cm in length, and can hold up to 200kg in additional load.
Hero Campers offer many packages and accessories/features that can be added to these campers for further customisation.
Price: £14,000 to £17,000, depending on model
The Mink 2.0 is designed in Iceland and is a trailer camper meant to epitomise, according to the manufacturer, minimalism and practicality. Like most teardrop caravans, the Mink 2.0 is lightweight, topping the scales at around 520 kg. and easy to tow behind any small engine vehicles, including newer models of electric vehicles, so long as the vehicle’s braked towing capacity exceeds 750kg. The Mink measures 4116 cm in length, 1829 mm in height, and 2080 mm in width.
The caravan itself is constructed from a frameless “Solid Shell Structure” made from ABS plastic and a galvanised chassis to ensure stability and safe to tow. The Mink 2.0 features a built in emergency braking system and has a low center of gravity (road clearance measures 330 mm), ensuring that even new caravan drivers can manuever it comfortably.
The Mink features an open air kitchen in the rear compartment with a built in ice chest and gas stove. Lights, power sources (12v and 220v), and counter space keeps all the cooking essentials organized, with two sizes of storage boxes, under the counter storage compartments, and a 36 L ice chest.
The interior uses space efficiently and features a memory foam queen sized bed. One innovative feature is a small hammock that can be used as a bed for a child or extra storage. The interior is insulated, allowing for four season use. The roof features a panoramic skylight and openable windows are on both sides. LED lighting is found throughout, as well as power outlets.
Price: £19,995.00 OTR including VAT.
Teardrop caravans have made a comeback and for good reasons. They are the perfect balance of comfort and portability for adventurers looking to upgrade the tent camping experience. Teardrop caravans are economical in both fuel efficiency, maintenance, and affordability in initial investment.
A great many manufacturers design and construct teardrop caravans that can fit most budgets, but costs are significantly reduced with a Do-it-Yourself teardrop caravan build. While teardrop caravans are best suited to small groups or couples, these recreational vehicles are a great budget option for anyone hoping to enjoy the great outdoors in both comfort and style.
If you are interested in small caravans, you can check out our blog post all about the best small caravans here – The Best Small Caravans In 2023 Lightweight & Small
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I love everything about travel, from seeing new places, learning about new cultures and trying new foods! I believe that travel is one of the best forms of education you can get, I have learnt so much about myself and about the world from travelling all over. Travel is something I feel so passionately about, and I love the fact that we are now lucky enough to have this opportunity to do what we love as much as we can, it’s a dream come true.
Before we started travelling, I worked in local government in administration. I had been in this job for several years and had reached a complete brick wall where I was so fed up, but didn’t know what else to do. The only thing I knew that I wanted to do was to travel, and had wanted to do that for many years.
There were hundreds and hundreds of places on my wishlist that I wanted to go to, and I knew that going on a weeks holiday maybe twice a year if we were lucky wasn’t going to cut it.
After being in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, and working from home staring at the same 4 walls every day, 2021 seemed like the perfect time for us to take the risk to finally do what we had dreamed of for so long.
It was a hard decision to completely change our lives, but so far it has been the best decision we have ever made!