If you missed Tuesday’s big announcements about the rig purchase and Amazon Affiliate account termination, read that first!
Given our love in this day and age for solutions that are practical and orderly, I’m sure everyone would like a nice, sound, scientific reason why I chose a teardrop over other RV types when I decided to change rigs. There is certainly research and reasoning behind my decision.
Writing out the positives and negatives for the RV types that you’re interested in a good way to narrow it down.
I like how a teardrop still lets me keep my house separate from my vehicle. That a teardrop will be able to get to more remote boondocking locations than my larger trailer can. That being both mechanically challenged, and not finding any joy in the learning of how to not be mechanically challenged, that a teardrop is so much simpler and less likely to have issues than larger or more complex campers. That being on a budget, a teardrop is something that I can actually afford new without debt.
On the other hand, I will not be able to stand upright in the Hiker Trailer. It does not have a built-in toilet (I’ll be getting a port a-potty). To access much of the galley in back, I’ll have to be exposed to the elements. Some pretty hefty negatives, but for me the pluses outweigh the minuses.
But there’s an emotional element to the decision too that is hard to put into words.
For me, the teardrop seems right for this stage of my life. And while I can state the positives in the second paragraph as my reasoning for why this is so, it’s not entirely a logical choice, it’s an emotional one as well. The logical brain can look at the pros and cons of every RV type laid out in neat little lists, and not come up with an obvious solution.
Because there isn’t one.
As someone who does a lot of writing about going RVing, who likes to help newbies to the lifestyle make informed decisions, it can be frustrating to not be able to come up with a proven formula that’ll always lead people to their ideal RV. Thorough research of the options is very, very important. But listening to your intuition plays a role as well.
The best I can say is, when I think about picking up my teardrop in September, it makes me very excited. Much like how the idea to go full-timing in the first place felt like something I had to do, trying teardrop life for a while feels like something I have to do. Maybe I won’t end up doing it for as long as I’ve lived in Cas, but that doesn’t matter. The teardrop just feels correct right now. And I have a suspicion that every RV owner out there used more than just cold logic to come to their decision. I don’t know, if you’re an RV owner, feel free to chime in on this one.
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Switching gears, I know everyone is curious to know about the brand of teardrop I chose, Hiker Trailer.
So, there are a surprising number of teardrop manufacturers out there. I started by looking at the big names such as Little Guy and nuCamp, but in the process discovered numerous small family-run operations making teardrops. I’m guessing teardrops are small and simple enough to make that it’s feasible for smaller businesses to compete in the market, unlike with the larger trailer brands.
Once I got serious about researching it didn’t take long to discover that, size and features being the same, the traditional teardrop shaped trailers cost more than the box shaped ones on average. I’m not sure if this is a build issue where it takes more money to get those curved lines, or if it’s a marketing thing where it’s known that people will pay more for the aesthetics. I suspect it’s probably some of both.
Aesthetics matter to me to some extent, but getting the most bang for my buck was more important, so pretty quickly I discarded options like the T@G, Camp-Inn, Teardrops NW, Moby1, and Rustic Trail to focus on the less expensive boxy brands.
Even then, there were still a few options. Near the end I was between Hiker Trailer and Runaway, both of which start cheap and allow for a lot of customization. For first-time owners, the high customization might be seen as a negative, because they wouldn’t know exactly what they wanted in a trailer and would be overwhelmed by the options and afraid of making a mistake, but having lived in mine for five years, I had a good sense of what I did and didn’t want. While impossible to do an exact price comparison because their options are a little different, I believe Runaway comes out to be slightly less expensive.
Runaway had A/C standard on second-tier models, Hiker Trailer had simple cabinetry standard on second-tier models (and a vent instead of A/C). For sizes, Runaway had 4×8, 6×8, motorcycle (3.87’x6.5′), and a stand-up model. Hiker had 4×8, 5×8, 5×9, and 5×10 sizes. For the longest time, Hiker had a high-end (and pricier) off-road model with a heftier axle, bigger wheels, and suspension. But recently Runaway announced a new model with similar specs.
In the end, I decided that I liked the 5×8 size best, so Hiker it was. It also didn’t hurt that the Hiker factory was more conveniently located to where I was camping.
As for options, I’m going to wait a bit to release all that because I haven’t finalized the build yet. When I placed my order I was told to have the finalized build in within one month (which would be November 24th) as Hiker batch orders parts well ahead of the actual building to keep costs down. It only takes a few weeks to build a trailer this size, but the brand is popular enough that there’s a backlog of trailers waiting to be built, hence the 10 month wait. For options I know for sure I’m having a roof rack, electric system (110 and 12volt), Fantastic Fan, electric brakes, and LED tail lights added, but there are a couple things I’m still working out.
No, I didn’t order the crazy off-road model. I’ll admit they’re pretty cool looking, but out of my price range and I don’t have an interest in extreme off-roading.
Which brings me to Bertha. She’s worth so little at this point that financially it makes the most sense to hang onto her for as long as she’s running well. When it’s time to replace her (which will come at some point after I’ve switched trailers with any luck) I will be switching to a smaller tow vehicle that has 4-wheel drive, as that’s one thing I’ve really found myself wishing I had since I started boondocking.
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Next up: Leaving Colorado and an underground journey!