- Travel and Places
Anatomy of a Teardrop Trailer
Is this a teardrop trailer?
There are two rules regarding teardrop trailers.
1. The galley (kitchen) has to be in the back.
2. You can't stand up in it.
At the 1st Annual International Teardrop Gathering held in Minden, Nebraska, my teardrop was the subject of this conversation. My teardrop is quite different so I will show you and then you decide if it meets the criteria.
The SnoozeBox - Built by Gene Gallipeau in 1989
This unique little trailer has a long history and although we think of it as a new trailer, it is older than I think. When we take it camping we always are stopped by people who want to know what it is. We give visitors what we call the $.10 tour and our child has now taken over. He does the whole talk himself.
We believe that Mr. Gallipeau is a genius and has created a treasure that is unmatched. Many people have taken pictures vowing to recreate some or all of the features but we have not seen them yet. Now, for the first time, I am sharing this on-line. This is the coolest teardrop trailer around.
Ready to start the tour?
Plan to spend some time looking at the pictures. At any trailer rally, teardrop and vintage trailer owners will corral you to look at their pictures.
Some basic information
The trailer weighs 900 pounds and is completely balanced. That means that my husband can grab the tongue and move it anywhere he wants like a small wagon.
We tow it with the 1967 Ford Ranch Wagon. Because the steering in the car is old and sloppy, we can't haul the larger trailer but the teardrop behaves nicely with the wagon.
Because it does not feel like you are hauling a trailer, it is easy to forget that it is there. That means that sometimes (almost always) I exceed the speed limit for towing a trailer and always have to make myself drop the speed to 55 mph.
The trailer is built more like the interior of a boat and has a dropped floor for storage. Wherever you see a cushion, the portion either comes up for another function or has storage underneath.
The tent was made just for the teardrop. The outside windows covering the screens close downward to shed water when it rains. The fabric is duck and not canvas so it is even more effective in rainy situations.
The interior windows are portholes with black out foam so the trailer can be really dark.
It is a 5-wide. You will hear that term bandied about but what it means that it is not a standard width. A standard teardrop is 4x8 feet. Mine is 5 feet wide. In the teardrop world, 5 feet is acceptable and there is even a teardrop group that calls itself the "5-wide".
Most teardrops have side doors for entry and the hatch that opens in the back for the galley. Our trailer does not have side doors and the entry is though the back.
Remember the rule?
It's not a teardrop if you can stand up in it.
With the hatch down there are two ways to stand in this trailer.The first is something that any teardropper can add to their trailer should they choose. The vent not only cranks up for ventalation, it also opens out all the way, allowing one to stand on the floor and up through the vent. This way, we can put on our pants without having to scoot around.
Standing up through the vent
Helpful handy hint here - If you are female, this is not a great place to change your shirt. Just saying....
The floor in
Mr. Gallipeau was a fisherman. In order to keep the trailer clean, he made an opening in the floor to take off his boots before climbing into the trailer itself. This opening has served us in many ways. When my knees won't make the whole step up, we take out the floor which gives me both side cabinets to use for leverage. It is also convenient to stand at the stove with the floor out which puts it at the correct height for cooking.
We leave our shoes outside at night under the floor board. If it rains, they stay dry and we only have to remember to check each morning before sliding our feet into them. Camping includes creepy crawlies so this is a standard practice.
The floor out
Remember the other rule? - The kitchen has to be in the back
The galley is in the back with the stove on the right and the sink on the left. It is just slightly different here because the sink is not visible until you want it to be. Under the sink is the storage for the pots and pans and the gray water tank. Under the stove, there is room for an ice chest.
The drawer that the sink is in also has a small utility drawer where we store knives and other long handled cooking utensils and duct tape that we never leave home without.
Sink in the drawer
The sink is in the drawer which keeps it out of the way when not in use. This is also the location of the utility drawer.
Even a teardrop has a junk drawer - Should have cleaned it out before photographing it
We also keep adapters here for the different voltages in the campgrounds.
Your chance to vote
Does this qualify as a teardrop trailer?
Teardrop stuff you might like
Douglas Keister has some mighty fine photos of teardrop trailers. Mine isn't in there but I know all the rest of them. Teardroppers are a close knit community and there are some really clever trailers. None of course, are better than mine but they come close.
Someone has figured out that teardroppers will buy anything that looks like a teardrop. Although I don't have this yet, it's a pretty good bet that I will someday acquire it.
You've seen where it is possible to stand in the trailer and the kitchen in the back. You've had a chance to vote. What else makes this trailer unique?
This was a great mystery. We saw the wings in the pictures but didn't really understand what they were for. As you can see in the pictures, they store the dishes, silverware and food items. We also keep aluminum foil, trash bags, potholders, and dish towels too. It took a while to realize that the cabinets were shaped like teardrop trailers but they are unique and very useful.
Indoor plumbing (well sort-of)
This is the bathroom portion of the tour.
While this may seem icky to some, having a bathroom is a luxury many older vintage trailers and teardrops do not have. Most clever teardroppers construct a shelter outside where the porta-potty has its own space. In our trailer, it is possible to take care of business without leaving the trailer.
As you can see from the photo, it is in the center of the trailer.
On the $.10 tour, my husband likes to show the bathroom in the trailer and even points out the newspaper he keeps on the side to read while he is there.
I jump in at this point and tell people that he had never ever ask me to move my feet to use the bathroom. Still, it is handy when traveling. If we are somewhere in the middle of nowhere, we only need to pull over and we have a safe, clean place to take care of business.
It has come in handy several times although we do not use it when other family members are sleeping there.
Yes, we take showers
Get a shower of your very own - they are handy
We do a lot of dry camping - no bathrooms or running water. This really is a necessity.
Tables for two
By now, you have seen that the bed can be configured into several different positions so here is another feature. The two end pieces of the bed can be used to make tables. With the hatch up or down, cooking is done in the back with comfortable seating for eating the meal as well.
A place for bedding and electronics
Under the cushions are places for storage. There are two long areas on either side of the trailer where we store the tent and the bedding. The trailer stays clean and can be used during the day without moving all the bedding to use the tables or for just reading or relaxing. In the evening, the sleeping bags, pillows and blankets reappear.
The trailer has a battery that is charged as we drive or can be plugged in to charge. This operates the lights and the stove which has electronic ignition. The trailer is also equipped to run off the electricity in the campground which is handy when we pull out the microwave (don't tell anyone that we travel with it) and for charging our phones. The inverter is at the front of the trailer and the storage area is under our heads.
Here is another great view of our bathroom.