A teardrop trailer, also known as a teardrop camper trailer, is a streamlined, compact, lightweight travel trailer, which gets its name from its teardrop profile. They usually only have sleeping space for two adults and often have a basic kitchen in the rear.
Teardrop trailers first became popular in the 1930s, when magazines such as Mechanix Illustrated published plans. The first teardrop designs incorporated standard 4 by 8-foot sheets of plywood with hardwood spars. Teardrop trailers remained popular until the mid-1960s, after which they disappeared from mainstream camping. However, in the late 1990s, plans became available on the Internet and in recent years teardrop trailers have made a resurgence and are again growing in popularity.
A teardrop trailer is generally small, ranging from 4 feet (1.2 m) to 6 feet (1.8 m) in width and 8 feet (2.4 m) to 10 feet (3.0 m) in length. They are usually 4 feet (1.2 m) to 5 feet (1.5 m) in height. Wheels and tires are usually outside the body and are covered by fenders. Since teardrop trailers are so light, usually less than 1,000 pounds (450 kg), just about any vehicle can tow one and fuel consumption is minimally affected.
There is room inside a teardrop trailer for two people to sleep, as well as storage for clothes and other items. Outside, in the rear under a hatch, there is usually a galley for cooking. Teardrop trailers tend to have lighting and other electrical power supplied by a storage battery, although some have mains power hookups like regular travel trailers.
Some teardrop trailer owners participate in organized camping events for teardrop trailers, called "gatherings". The teardrop trailer phenomenon is not local to any one country. Builders reside throughout the Americas, Europe, Israel, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. In Australia they are known as teardrop campers. Their popularity has resulted in the establishment of several commercial manufacturing organizations and in the import of some North American models.
- "Trailer For Two", Mechanix Illustrated, September 1947, as archived in 2005
- The New York Times: "Teardrops of Joy for Campers Who Don't Mind Small Spaces"
- "Nostalgia makes a comeback", RVBusiness, volume 59, number 3, June 2008