If you don’t have the budget, space or towing capacity for a traditional touring caravan then you could consider a teardrop caravan. The streamlined design first became popular in the 1950’s in America as part of the DIY scene, but the design has become popular in recent years.
So what is a teardrop caravan? A teardrop caravan is a small (typically less than 14 feet long) and lightweight touring caravan suitable for 2 adults. Kitchen facilities are provided by a small, basic kitchen accessible from the rear of the trailer. Teardrop caravans can be towed by smaller vehicles usually unsuitable for towing large caravans.
A teardrop caravan can be a fantastic alternative to a traditional caravan – we’ve pulled together some information so you can make an informed decision if a teardrop caravan is for you!
How Big Are Teardrop Caravans?
- 1 How Big Are Teardrop Caravans?
- 2 What Cars Can Tow A Teardrop Caravan?
- 3 What’s Inside A Typical Teardrop Caravan?
- 4 Does A Teardrop Caravan Have A Kitchen?
- 5 How Much Does A Teardrop Caravan Cost?
- 6 Pros and Cons of a Teardrop Caravan
- 7 Can You Build A DIY Teardrop Caravan?
- 8 Our Recommendations
Teardrop caravans are far smaller than traditional caravans in every dimension. Looking at a typical teardrop caravan, the Caretta 1500 by Teardrop Trailers we can see that it’s far more streamlined, compact and lightweight than what you’d expect from a full size camper.
- Length – 3900mm
- Width – 2040mm
- Height – 1725mm
- Weight – 445kg
What Cars Can Tow A Teardrop Caravan?
As teardrop caravans are far smaller and lighter than a traditional touring caravan, a lower level of towing capacity is needed. This means that smaller cars and vans are able to tow the teardrop caravan safely.
Weight comparison – teardrop to standard caravan
|Sprite Major 4 SB (Standard Caravan)||1259|
|Caretta 1500 (Teardrop)||445|
Looking at our example Teardrop caravan, the Caretta 1500 – the braked weight of the caravan is 445kg unladen – this means that you have a greater choice of towing vechicles that from a standard caravan.
We’ve put together a quick list of hatchbacks that would never be able to safely tow a standard sized caravan below:
Example Hatchback Towing Capacity
|Name||Braked Towing Capacity (kg)|
|Ford Fiesta 1.4 Titanium 3dr hatchback||800|
|Peugeot 208 Hatchback 1.4 VTi Allure 5d||1150|
|Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 SE 5dr Auto||800|
As a general rule of thumb, most hatchbacks or supermini’s should be able to pull a teardrop caravan safely although there are a few exceptions to this rule, typically smaller engined hatchbacks. The best way to check would be to check your car manual, contact the manufacturer or use a towing calculator such as:
What’s Inside A Typical Teardrop Caravan?
Due to the limited size and space saving nature of a teardrop caravan, you do sacrifice some (but not all) of the amenities and comforts of a larger caravan.
You can expect room for a double bed that fill out the interior floor space and plenty of overhead storage. Depending on the model you choose you can also find interior lighting via battery power or 230v pickup (these are typically stored in the front locker box, near the tow bar), room for a combined TV and DVD player and a heater for those colder nights.
Ventilation is usually provided by a ceiling mounted vent, similar to the type you’d find in larger cabins – although we’d recommend one with an integrated mosquito net, especially if your camping in the summer months.
Depending on the specifics of your teardrop caravan, you may have an underfloor storage locker, accessible from the outside of the caravan for a cassette toilet, although you may want to pack a toilet tent if you wish to use it in the wild.
Does A Teardrop Caravan Have A Kitchen?
Most teardrop caravans come equipped with a compact, yet fully featured cabin style kitchen under the rear hatch.
In our example of the Caretta 1500, the caravan comes with a perfectly functional cabin kitchen consisting of the following:
- Propane Stove
- Combined Sink and Shower
- 35L 12v/220v Cool Box
- 45L Fresh water tank
- Solid Worktops
- Overhead Storage
This kitchen design is perfectly functional for short to medium trips although the reduced storage space over an standard designed van will mean more frequent trips to the shops for supplied.
The sink also doubles up as a rudimentary shower which is ideal when washing down from trips to the beach or to clean muddy boots but you might want to use onsite facilities if you value your privacy.
Although in our specific example we have looked at the design and layout of the Caretta, this kitchen layout is typical of most purchased or self built teardrops.
How Much Does A Teardrop Caravan Cost?
If you are interested in a brand new teardrop caravan, then you can expect to pay between £5000 and £15000 depending on the finish and included equipment.
Off road examples will cost significantly more than the on-road versions and other added extras will, of course, bump up the price.
Second hand models are available online via eBay etc, and you can look to pay upwards of £2000 depending on the condition, and age, of the caravan.
Of course, if you have the inclination or the skills to self build, then you can save yourself a lot of money – see below for more info.
Pros and Cons of a Teardrop Caravan
- Cost – Typically much cheaper than a full size caravan
- Size and Weight – greater choice of towing vehicles
- Kitchen is fairly exposed to the elements
- Reduced interior space – an awning would be a great investment.
When looking at the pros and cons, obviously the small size can fit into both sides of the argument. You get the benefit of being able to tow it with pretty much any vehicle out there, but at the cost of living space and onboard storage.
Can You Build A DIY Teardrop Caravan?
You certainly can, although it’s quite an advanced project and not for the faint hearted. If you are looking to build your own from scratch, then we’d suggest checking out the following videos as a starting point.
We think that a teardrop caravan is a great investment for a couple who are looking to get into the Caravanning scene but find the cost of a standard caravan out of reach. Depending on the model you pick you can look at paying a third of the cost of even a standard touring caravan, as long as you accept the limitations of the small size and weight.
A teardrop caravan is ideal for someone with a smaller, less powerful car as the reduced towing requirement means you have a greater choice of towing vehicles over a standard size caravan.
We also think that the design is great for those with kids and already have a camper van. Why not tow the teardrop caravan and use it as an extra bedroom for the kids – that way everyone has privacy.
The exposed kitchen can also be a problem in inclement weather (and we get plenty of that in the UK) – so we’d recommend you look to pick up a decent awning at the same time – that way you get the benefit of extra outside space for not much additional weight.