I built this teardrop trailer because I love creative spaces for compact living – which is quite a claim, considering I am 6’6″ tall. I owned my first camping trailer back in 2003, and I even lived in it for a month when I was airbrushing down in the little tourist beach side town of Seaside, Oregon.
At some point, I became aware of the teardrop trailer, which is a tiny little camper that is meant only for sleeping, and offers some accommodation for fairly comfortable food prep and outdoor cooking.
My intent, in this series of posts, is to offer free ideas for you in your plans for building a teardrop trailer.
I figured building a teardrop trailer was a project I felt I could pull off from design to finish by myself, so I started by searching the internet for more info. Some of the best came in the form of an online forum at Mike and Chell’s Teardrop and Tiny Travel Trailer Website. The folks on that forum are some of the most knowledgeable and helpful folks out there, and they gave me the courage to try my hand at building my own teardrop camping trailer.
I decided to make a traditional style of teardrop – one with a removable galley for easy loading, and two doors. Here is a photo of my initial design idea, done in Google Sketchup – a free program offered by Google. The truck is my GMC Sonoma – a V6 capable of towing a tiny trailer, but not much else. (UPDATE: I recently sold my little truck and bought a Honda CR-V. This trailer is small and light enough to be pulled by the Honda or even by a car!)
The Teardrop Design
First, I drew a quick sketch of what I wanted it to be. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel (my first time around), so I went with a traditional route. In Sketchup, I downloaded a trailer base (because I knew I wanted a roughly 4X8 bed on the trailer).
I also knew I wanted to just put a couple sheets of 3/4″ plywood as a floor and building base for the rest of the trailer.
When I build another one (a larger, “canned ham” type), I will be building it with a 2X4 framed floor and use the plywood as a subfloor, but that isn’t really diminishing the stability of this one, because it is attached to solid steel.
Beginning the Build
Next thing I did was sandwich two sheets of 1/2″ thick plywood and two sheets of 1/4″ plywood (or luan) all together and cut out the teardrop profile outline with a quality jigsaw (mine is a Bosch Jigsaw). Take your time with this, and keep your cuts nice, clean, and vertical, and it will save you a ton of time cutting the outline.
Next thing I did was add a 2×2 wooden rail down the length of the plywood bed of the trailer. This was the “tack strip” for holding up the plywood exterior outline.