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Offroad Teardrop

#1
So when we bought our larger RTT we had discussed possibly moving toward a small camper with walls. We loved the ease of use and easy towing of the M416 with RTT, but the sleeping arrangement was not optimal with our daughter. She needed somewhere separate that was still with us for now. I had always thought about a small teardrop, but I didn’t think it would be any better as most just have a bed on the floor of the camper and some cabinets above. Then I got to thinking one night a few months ago about building a teardrop camper with a perpendicular bunk where the cabinets would be. I started sketching possibilities one night over drinks with the wife and we discussed that this might just be what we need.

At first I decided I would build it myself, but soon realized that designing it was easy, but my freetime is scarce these days. I started looking at camper makers around the US that make custom Teardrops, and I started looking for used teardrops that I could modify. I stumbled upon a few custom tear manufacturers that will pretty much build what you want. I contacted a few and decided on one in Cross Country Teardrops in NC. After talking to the owner for a few hours over a months time we hashed out all the main details.

So now we have decided on most of the options and details, but there are still some I’m trying to work out while they build the frame. Here is where I am.

My first designs involved an RV Queen Size bed, but after testing that size out with the wife we decided against it. I’m just too tall for that short of a mattress. For those that aren’t aware, an RV queen is 75” long, its 5” shorter than a regular queen, and its used in many RVs and Campers out there. So all of my initial designs shown below had to be modified.

3 options.JPG

Then I realized that with the Bunk up there, there wouldn’t really be a need for the rear galley area because the space is so small. So I decided to just use a small RV Luggage Door on each side to access the area.

smallerstorage.JPG

Another option is to have the area only open to the inside of the camper and just access it from under the bunk.

Or We could square up the back of the trailer a bit (losing some of the traditional teardrop shape that I love) and having a large enough flat space to add a long narrow RV door on the back of the camper.

largestorage.JPG

Or we could do a mix of both and allow access to this area from inside or outside.

separeate inside storage.JPG

outsidedesign.JPG

Obviously only having it accessable from the inside poses a few problems. One being you have to drag anything you want to store over your bed. It also means you have to reach under the bunk to access the stuff.
 
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#3
another thing I am debating is fenders. I like the look of round fenders, and I plan to build some rub bars on the side of the camper. but at the same time I may build angular fenders. Any opinions?

fenders.jpg
 

LBarr2002

LIFETIME
SUPPORTER
#4
another thing I am debating is fenders. I like the look of round fenders, and I plan to build some rub bars on the side of the camper. but at the same time I may build angular fenders. Any opinions?

View attachment 7692
I think the round looks better, but I'm assuming they would just be the premade sheet metal like you can buy from Northern? It would be easier to tie it all together (fenders, rub rail, maybe even a little step at the door) if it was all made out of square tube.
 
#6
I'm looking at two of the stamped steel fenders. It depends on how far I space the tire away from the trailer frame and sides as to which fender I need. I would like to keep the entire trailer as narrow as possible. The stock JK wheels and tires I'm running measure about 10.5" wide at the widest point. So if I space the tire out 1" on each side that would mean it will be 11.5" from the edge of the frame and sides.

One of the fender options is 13" wide
http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Fenders/Redline/F13X36-1R.html

My other option is 10.75" wide.
http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Fenders/Redline/F1075X36-1R.html

I dont think the extra .75" of tire sticking out would be a problem, especially considering thats mostly sidewall bulge not tread. I plan to make the rub rails in front of and behind the fender and have angle iron brackets for the metal fender to bolt to. I'm still undecided whether I will actually bolt it to the side of the trailer walls or just silicone it to them. I'm trying to avoid unnecessary holes in the exterior aluminum skin as much as possible.
 
#8
The angular one would provide a better step platform if you plan to run anything on the roof as far as a rack or anything. Would also be easier to repair if you hit the fender against a tree or something and knock the fender into the tire.

I've been trying to pitch something to Melissa about a teardrop for our family within the next few years or so as she likes to camp but doesn't like the ground. I like where your going with this one.


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#10
The angular one would provide a better step platform if you plan to run anything on the roof as far as a rack or anything. Would also be easier to repair if you hit the fender against a tree or something and knock the fender into the tire.

I've been trying to pitch something to Melissa about a teardrop for our family within the next few years or so as she likes to camp but doesn't like the ground. I like where your going with this one.


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I agree, I'm still undecided on the fenders.

I did decide on a shape though. I am going to go with the 3' radius on the back instead of the 4'. It gives a good bit more room for the kids bunk.

3'radius rear.JPG

3'radiusrearinside.JPG
 
#11
If it is really an offroad camper skip the stamped fenders. Go ahead and build a tube fender setup for it. That stamped fender is going mess up the aluminum if you rub up on a tree. Not to mention the potential damage with a blowout.
 
#12
If it is really an offroad camper skip the stamped fenders. Go ahead and build a tube fender setup for it. That stamped fender is going mess up the aluminum if you rub up on a tree. Not to mention the potential damage with a blowout.
Thats a good point. I say offroad, and I guess that could be a problem. I guess i will just build the fenders.
 

LBarr2002

LIFETIME
SUPPORTER
#15
Still undecided if I want to run the 285s or just try to find some stock rubicon sized tires. I think the narrower tire would be nicer on the trailer.
Matching spare is the only way to go! I don't want to have to carry another spare tire. I plan to build my fenders to fit my 35 on jk wheel just in case I need it and if I decide to run them later on.
 
#16
I would agree with that, I'm just worried this thing is going to be 7' wide haha.

I ordered a brake controller for the jeep yesterday, and I found a smoking deal on a used max coupler that made it worth my time.
 
#17
so I rolled these 285s up against my 35s and dang, they are almost as big! I have them so its super tempting to use them. But I just bought some matching wheels to the rubicon and I think the camper would do better with the smaller tires.
 
#19
So, I have been doing a bit more calculating. My original thought was to keep the Height of the whole teardrop at or below 6 feet tall. I’m seriously debating running these 285s since I have them on hand. With a 4’ body height and a 6’ max height, that leaves me with about 20-22” to the bottom of the frame. Which, with 33” tires leaves me with only 3” of clearance between the top of the axle and the bottom of the 2X3” trailer frame.

How much space is needed between the axle and the frame on a trailer like this? I am debating using a spring other than a standard trailer spring, the builder is looking into a few options. I know it really depends on how soft the pack is I guess.

33tires.JPG

this is at 6" to the top of the trailer.
 
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