Teardrop Trailer vs Campervan – Which is Better?

teardrop trailer

Since teardrop trailers and camper vans both offer a limited amount of living space, someone who is interested in one may be also interested in the other. Both have similar characteristics but yet they are both vastly different.

I looked extensively at both options on my search for the perfect camper for myself. I was intrigued by a teardrop trailer because I already have a small truck that would easily tow one.

I would only need to purchase the trailer which would not be as expensive as purchasing a camper van. Teardrop trailers are one of the least expensive offerings in livable campers.

The only problem is that the size of a teardrop trailer is extremely small and can be quite claustrophobic if you are not very keen on small enclosed spaces.

Because of this, I ultimately chose the camper van as my choice of camper because I wanted more space than what the teardrop trailers I looked at had to offer.

There are also other reasons that I wanted a camper van and I will discuss this later in the pros and cons of each one.

First, let’s look at what a teardrop trailer is and then we’ll look at the cost of ownership for each of these types of offerings.

What Is A Teardrop Trailer?

A teardrop trailer is a small travel trailer that is often in the shape of a teardrop, hence the name teardrop. These travel trailers are very small and typically offer only a sleeping area.

Many are so small that you cannot stand up inside them and can only lay or sit down on the mattress area that is inside. The mattress typically covers the entire floor area so when you step into the trailer, you step right onto the mattress.

Some teardrop trailers are larger and do allow for walking and moving around space. However, the idea of a teardrop trailer is to provide a small camper for those who want or need minimal space and want the ease of towing a small camper.

towing a teardrop trailer

Most of them have some kind of kitchen unit installed, although it is typically located on the outside of the camper. This can both good and bad depending on how you look at it.

Most small teardrop trailers do not have a bathroom but many of the larger sized ones do.

Most all of them come equipped with amenities like air ventilation, AC, heat, windows with shades, storage areas and power hookups. Some of them have solar installed or offer it as an upgrade option.

With rising popularity, companies have been innovative with designs and have created very livable areas out of teardrop trailers. They can be quite useable and cozy.

They can serve well as a home base for someone who wants a small, comfortable and safe place to sleep but doesn’t intend on spending a lot of time inside.

It’s like having a tent that has a hard shell and is loaded with amenities. Although they are much nicer than a tent, it has the same feel as far as the space it provides and the way you enter and move around inside.

What Is The Cost Of A Teardrop Trailer? (10 Examples)

A teardrop trailer is among the least expensive types of campers that you will find. These are very attractive to those who do not want to spend a lot of money but want a nice safe place to lay their head while camping in the woods.

Although they do not offer a lot of space, they do provide campers with an essential shelter that is easy to travel with. Unlike larger travel trailers, the cost of a teardrop trailer can be very minimal.

Let’s look at the MSRP price of some of the popular teardrop trailers below.

ModelDry WeightNew Price
Vintage Overland Great Escape750 lbs$15,000
Colorado Teardrops Summit1750 lbs$25,700+
Timberleaf Pika970 lbs$13,200+
Mean Bean1850 lbs$16,895+
Oregon Trailer Frontear1100 lbs$14,000+
Vistabule Teardrop Trailer1200 lbs$19,995+
Escapod TOPO1650 lbs$16,995+
Polydrop K-20 Trailer900 – 1150 lbs$17,995+
Colorado Teardrops Basedrop1000 lbs$13,900+
NuCamp [email protected] Max XL1418 lbs$20,581+

If you don’t want to buy a teardrop trailer, you can also opt to build your own using plans from Big Woody Campers. If you have the time, patience and skill level, you can build a teardrop trailer yourself and pay less than you would for a manufactured one.

As you can see, the cost of a teardrop trailer is less than a large travel trailer but it is still a significant amount of money to spend.

Of course, these are the new MSRP prices and you can likely get them for much less if you opt for a used model. Most dealerships sell for less than MSRP as well so keep that in mind.

The average price of the 10 trailers listed above is around $17,426+. This price is for a base model and you would pay more for options and upgrades.

The video below shows the Escapod TOPO teardrop trailer which is one of my favorites and one that I might choose if I was set on having a trailer of this type.

What Is The Cost Of A Camper Van? (10 Examples)

The cost of a camper van varies depending on the type, size, and model. A DIY camper van will likely be the most affordable option.

Many class B motorhomes are well above $100,000. This is a great deal of money to spend on a van with such limited space.

Let’s look at the cost of some of the popular camper vans on the market as well as what you could expect to pay for a DIY van.

ModelNew Price
2020 Roadtrek Zion$101,681+
2020 Winnebago Solis$100,000+
2020 ModVans CV1$99,418+
2020 Winnebago Travato$125,000+
2020 Carado Axion$71,833+
2020 Winnebago Revel$167,000+
2020 Pleasure Way Tofino$70,850 +
2020 Carado Banff$71,625+
2020 Roadtrek SS Agile$142,518+
2020 Carado Axion Studio$83,305+

As you can see, Class B motorhomes can get quite ridiculous with their pricing. It’s a lot to pay for the little amount that you are getting.

The average pricing in the chart above is $103,323 and these are among the more popular Class B rigs on the road.

The video below shows the features and what you can expect from the Carado Axion which is priced on the lower end of the vans I have included in the chart.

You can find used models for much less than the MSRP and although not cheap, it’s a great way to get a better deal on one.

If you don’t want to purchase a pre-made Class B, there is an alternative. You can choose to do what I did and build your own Class B out of a cargo van.

If you are somewhat knowledgable with construction, you can create a masterpiece for yourself at a fraction of the cost.

If you want to go the most affordable route, you can purchase a used cargo van and then convert it to a camper. Depending on how old and how many miles are on the used van you purchase, you could be looking at a total build cost of $20,000 or less. Some have done it for way less.

I spent $33,000 on my total van build including the cost of the van and everything that went into it. My van was nearly brand new when I purchased it.

If you don’t want to take on the challenge yourself, many companies can do it for you. They will take a standard cargo van chassis and make it into a useable camper van for you. Companies like GTRV can make this happen.

Teardrop Trailer Pros And Cons

Since you know what a teardrop trailer is and how it can be used, you probably want to know what the pros and cons of having something like this are. Some are obvious but others may not be. The following list is concerned with the pros and cons versus a camper van.

Pros

  • Small and lightweight. Having a small and lightweight travel trailer allows you to use nearly any vehicle to pull it and also be able to take it nearly anywhere. It’s easy to maneuver and you don’t have to worry about small roads like you would with a larger trailer.
  • Easy to tow. You won’t even notice a teardrop trailer behind your vehicle it is so small. They weigh very little compared to larger trailers and they are easy to tow even for people who are not used to towing trailers.
  • Easy to store. A teardrop trailer will fit in most garages since they are so small. This makes it easy to store if you want to keep it out of the weather. Even if you don’t want to store it in your garage, it is so small that it can be easily parked on your property and covered during the off-season.
  • Easy to park. Since teardrop trailers are so small and easy to tow, they are also easy to park. You won’t have to work too hard to get it perfectly lined up in a parking spot.
  • Low insurance costs. Insuring a teardrop trailer is going to be cheaper than insuring an entire drivable motorhome.
  • Affordable. As we’ve seen above, teardrop trailers can be among the most affordable RV camping option available. Although they can still be expensive, a good used one can be had at an affordable price.
  • Easy to sell. If you ever decide to sell your teardrop trailer, you will have an easier time selling it at the lower price tag than you would a more expensive RV. Buyers are more willing to buy something more affordable than something that they may consider overpriced.
  • Easy to maintain. There aren’t many moving parts on a teardrop trailer so they are very easy to maintain. Not only that, everything is easy to get to since it is so small. Even routine maintenance can be a breeze with a trailer as small as this.

Cons

  • Small living space. Being small can be a con if you don’t like limited spaces. Living in a cramped space can cause problems for people who are claustrophobic or want to be able to store items, walk around, or just feel like they are in a more roomy environment. A teardrop trailer can feel very small if you have to spend a lot of time in it.
  • No bathrooms or shower. Some people need one and some people don’t. It all depends on what you want. I like to have a bathroom available in my RV and a place to wash up when I am not in a location that offers that amenity.
  • Kitchen is usually outside. Having the kitchen outside can cause problems in inclement weather situations. Although some teardrop trailers have a cover over the kitchen area, it can still be a hassle to have to go outside to cook all the time.
  • You need a vehicle to tow it. While teardrop trailers can be affordable, you still have to have a vehicle to tow it. This can put extra wear and tear on a standard vehicle over the years causing your vehicle to have premature mechanical issues.

Camper Van Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Drive and live in the same space. A camper van makes it convenient to get on the road without any hassles of connecting trailers. You just jump in the van and take off and when you get to your location, you are already in your living space.
  • Easy to store. A camper van is easy to store because it is also a small RV. Although it likely will not fit in a standard garage, it’s easy to store in your driveway, covered up when you are not using it.
  • Easy to park. They are easy to park nearly anywhere and will fit into most standard parking spots. This makes it a breeze to go on trips with and not have to worry about finding a spot to park like you would a larger RV.
  • More living space. Camper vans offer more living space than a teardrop trailer. You can usually walk around in a camper van while you could never do something like this in a small teardrop trailer. Larger teardrop trailers do offer more living space, similar to what you would find in a camper van.
  • More storage space. Since there is more living space, there is also more storage space available. Vans offer quite a bit of storage space and they have more storage areas than a teardrop trailer could offer.
  • Good fuel efficiency. Vans get good gas mileage and can be very fuel-efficient on long trips. I get around 20 miles per gallon with my van. You may or may not get good gas mileage with a teardrop trailer depending on the vehicle you are using to tow it.

Cons

  • Expensive. As shown above, in the chart, vans can get quite expensive, especially if you purchase them new. Purchasing a new van ensures that you will take the brunt of the depreciation.
  • More difficult to sell with a higher price tag. Being expensive makes a van more difficult to sell than a teardrop trailer would be. This is especially true if you have purchased a very expensive class B and expect to get most of your money back. Buyers of this caliber are often difficult to find.
  • Higher insurance costs than a teardrop. You will pay a higher price for insurance on a camper van than you will on a teardrop trailer.

Is A Teardrop Trailer Worth It?

Whether or not a teardrop trailer is worth it will depend entirely upon the person buying it and their expectations of what they want to achieve with it.

For the person who already has a car that is capable of towing a small trailer, it could be a great option.

A small travel trailer is worth the price if you are willing to use it. Many people purchase trailers like this and then they just let them sit. Once the new wears off, they become less interested.

This is true of nearly anything we purchase. We are excited at first but that excitement wanes after a while and then the item becomes something that is just in the way.

Although new teardrop trailers can be costly since they will likely depreciate and you may lose money should you decide to sell, a used teardrop trailer could be a bargain and well worth the cost.

It’s easy enough to find used teardrop trailers or other travel trailers since people get tired of using them and then they decide to sell them.

Just understand that as with any RV, it is not an investment and you should know that you will most likely not earn your money back.

Buy accordingly with the knowledge that you are buying it for the fun and adventure rather than expecting a financial gain out of it.

Conclusion

Both of these options are great if you are interested in camping in a small space. Each of them has pros and each has cons so you just have to figure out what is most important to you.

Each of these options is for different types of people. Likely, the person who is interested in the camper van might not be interested in the teardrop trailer and vice versa.

Although they are both similar in a lot of ways, one has to be set on whether or not they want to tow something or if they want an all-in-one solution like a van would provide.

Overall, either one is a great option and can make a great place to camp or live for those who want to enjoy the adventure of small space camping.

Dan Collins

I consider myself an outdoor enthusiast. I love to travel and go to places that most people don't get a chance to go. I want to see it all and live life to the fullest while I'm alive. My camper van is helping me to do just that. I write about my experiences to help inspire others to do the same.

Recent Content