People are always keen to hear about how life in my Hiker Trailer is going and now another milestone has come and gone. The end of December marked one year of living in my 5′ x 8′ teardrop trailer (or squaredrop, really), so it feels time for another update.
In case you missed it, my six month review of tiny trailer living came out last summer, and it goes into the pluses and minuses of this particular setup and why I chose it. I won’t be going back over those points, so read that article if you want the full scoop.
This article is reserved for one rather big realization I’ve had about why I enjoy the simplicity of a teardrop.
While socializing with other RVers over Christmas and New Years, again and again the common RVing banter would come up: how long could everyone stretch their tanks while boondocking, who was having trouble with what on their rig, everyone’s battery capacity and solar setup, plans and progress on future or current rig purchases or builds.
Basically, all the specific little pieces of the puzzle that make the RV lifestyle possible. And I realized that none of that stuff pertained to me or interested me anymore. I’d moved past all that. I’d discussed all those things at length over the seven plus years I’ve been on the road, I’d answered all those questions.
The things I love best about RVing have little to do with the rig itself. It’s about how that motorhome, trailer, van, whatever, enables me to live.
I’ve been saying since I picked up the Hiker Trailer that I enjoy how simple it is, but December really drove home why that simplicity matters so much to me. I love not having to worry about how big my holding tanks are or the specifics of my battery capacity or about all the little nitpicky maintenance things that seem to always need doing on a large or more complex rig.
I don’t have a lot of comforts in the Hiker Trailer, but I do save time. Time I can spend hiking, reading, learning, exploring, and pursuing other interests and hobbies. And right now, I’m really valuing having all that free time. I imagine at some point the tables will turn and I’ll be craving more comfort, but for now, life in a tiny trailer continues to suit me very well.
It takes a certain kind of person to make tiny trailer living work.
Not many choose to travel full-time in something as small as Tribble, and the majority of people who do won’t stick with it for long. Every now and then a reader will write in wondering whether teardrop living could work for them, and I’ve given some thought to what qualities might suggest compatibility. For the most part they’re common sense things really.
- Not attached to stuff
- Care more about the adventure than the adventure vehicle
- Mobile enough to maneuver pain free in a small space
- Comfort is not a high value
- Enjoy living primarily outdoors/ out of the “house”
- Flexible enough to plan the day around the weather
- Minimal need for personal space
No matter what your needs, no RV is going to perfectly meet them all.
Rig selection is less about finding the absolute perfect rig, and more about learning what negatives you can live with and which you can’t. That last item on the list above is the biggest negative for me, because I am a rather private person and I like having my own space. And this one is a bit less intuitive than the other items on that list, so let me explain.
In the RVing world, being outside your rig is like an open invitation for other RVers to come talk to you. People who travel in teardrops are going to have people dropping by to talk because we spend so much time outside, and because tiny trailers are something of a novelty and attract a lot of attention.
But as with many of the negatives of RVing, there are workarounds. To increase privacy I park on the edge of gatherings, and when I’m boondocking alone I travel farther out and look for camping spots that can only fit one rig. It’s not a perfect solution, but it works well enough to keep this a negative I can deal with.
And one last thing on tiny trailers, from a purchasing perspective.
Usually, my favorite piece of advice for any prospective full-timer looking to buy their first RV is to buy used and stay well under budget, since RVs depreciate so quickly and there’s no real way to know for sure how well this lifestyle (or any particular RV for that matter) will fit until you’ve tried it. (Statistically, over 50% of people buying their first RV will be in a different one in two years.)
With teardrops though, this advice falls a little flat.
Many hold their value better and are cheaper to purchase new than a larger, more conventional RV. Still stay within your budget of course, but new might not be out of the question. If you are going to buy new and want the best value for your money, you’ll want to be looking at smaller companies or home-built units, over the big name brand teardrops which all tend to be pricier. (And another interesting quirk I noticed when shopping for mine, the traditional teardrop shaped brands tended to be pricier than more square shaped ones. I’m not sure if the curved look is genuinely more expensive to produce, or if it’s just perceived as more expensive.)
Building your own is also an option. Teardrop Facebook groups are full of people who built or are building their own, and most find it very rewarding as you can make it exactly to your specifications. I’d say the biggest consideration here is time. Many expect to finish such a project in a few weeks, when in reality it often takes a few months. If you go this route, connect with other builders for advice, and allow enough time for the project.
And speaking of time, I’m running out of time to finish this post.
So in conclusion, yes, I’m still enjoying tiny trailer living. I’m loving the simplicity of this living arrangement, and the positives are continuing to outweigh the negatives. If you yourself are thinking of getting a tiny trailer, I hope this article helps you in some small way to come to a conclusion on whether it’s right for you.
Thank you for reading!
Teardrop Trailer Living series:
- Six months in a Hiker Trailer
- Living space and storage solutions
- Bathroom and kitchen solutions
- Bed solutions
- How to avoid going stir crazy while living in a teardrop
Looking for more information on small RV living? Check out my book, Solo Full-time RVing On A Budget!
Other Articles You Might Enjoy
Tuesday, December 23 We skirt around north of San Francisco today, but there is still traffic naturally. This part of the state is highly populated. I80 is left behind for a smaller highway, and then a smaller road, and then a smaller road – the now infamous Bear Creek Road. Oh, Bear Creek Road. Our…Read More
Ahh, health insurance as a pre-medicare full-time traveler. To me, this is the #1 hardest thing about this lifestyle, even harder than the question of how to earn money on the road. And spoiler alert: I don’t have a perfect solution. But as with the question of internet on the road, I’ve done enough research…Read More
Last month, while Julie and I were volunteering in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in TX, a couple pulled into the park with the neatest teardrop trailer I’d ever seen. It was aluminum skinned like an Airstream, had panoramic windows in front and old-fashioned white-wall tires and fancy curved fenders. I pulled the golf cart…Read More