DIY Teardrop Trailer Design

To keep this blog clean, I’ll be posting all teardrop trailer posts to the following new blog:  DIY Teardrop Trailer Design

Now that Skiff America is built, I’m wondering what to build next.  I thought long and hard about building another Scamp sailboat, which I would really like to do…at some point.  But, my wife suggested I wait a year before diving back into another boat build.  I think this is good advise.  This allows time for John Welsford’s Long Steps design to more fully develop.  It also allows Scamp to possibly evolve based on Howard’s experiences through the Straits of Magellan.  I love the Scamp design, but think the boat could stand a few changes to make it even better.  I’m happy watching others for a year and seeing how the design plays out.

So, let’s transition to Teardrop trailers.  I’ve always wanted a teardrop trailer and watched their popularity grow over the past few years.  Now there are dozens of good manufactures producing qualify teardrops.  I’ve also watched the prices of these small practical trailers hit $10,000 – 15,000.  This seems steep for what they provide:  Which for me is essentially a hard walled backpacking tent.  The industry has turned these simple trailers into complex units with showers, refrigerators, sinks, water pumps, holding tanks, colored mood lighting, the sky’s the limit…always in the name of being better.  But, we all know simpler is better.  My design criteria for a practical teardrop trailer would be a skosh better than a backpacking tent…more in line with a Scamp or Skiff America.


  1. Trailer Dimensions comparable to a 2 person backpacking tent:  54″W x 80″L x 44″H
  2. Ventilation through both doors (no roof vent, they always end up broken).
  3. Roof rack for hauling bicycles and kayaks.
  4. Good ground clearance:  15″:  think off road usage
  5. 14″ wheels:  for smoothing out the gravel roads
  6. Cooking off the back:  think basic single burner with one pot and one fry pan.
  7. Awning off either side or the back:  canvas tarp 54″ x 80″ with 2 poles.
  8. Light weight:  700 -800 lb. all in fully loaded travel weight.
  9. Easily pulled behind any vehicle.
  10. Torsion axel for smooth independent ride:  1,200 lb. rating

Teardrop Trailer Design

That’s the overall design criteria.  Now let’s build one 

Most manufactures build either 4′ or 5′ teardrops.  To me both widths seem wrong.  The 4′ width is just too tight to sleep with anyone other than your wife for 30 minutes.  The 5′ width seems too wide, especially if you plan to access mountain switch backs gravel roads. So, this forces you into ordering a custom axel exactly how you want it.  This is actually a blessing.  You get to build your trailer exactly how you want it…just like your boat.


I’ve ordered a Dexter torsion axel that will be custom built to the above specifications.  I can provide the technical details if anyone is interested.  These are not overly expensive ($263) and provide the foundation to your teardrop.  I’m not sure how this build will go…but I’m excited about trying to create a simple, practical, strong teardrop.  It’ll come in very handy with all my outdoor adventures.