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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Camping in a Teardrop Trailer: Four Tips for a Great Trip

Teardrop trailers are a great option for people who would like to have some of the comforts offered by a trailer but need something nimbler to tow through tight and narrow trails. 

A teardrop trailer is the perfect solution!

However, camping in a teardrop trailer requires a little more planning than simply hooking up to your tow vehicle and heading off into the sunset. In this guide, we’ll discuss four essential teardrop camping trailer tips that will make your trip safer and more comfortable. 

In this guide, we’ll use the XS511 teardrop trailer from So-Cal Teardrops as a great example of what to look for in a capable and comfortable off-road trailer.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

A Great Teardrop Trailer for Your Adventures: The So-Cal Teardrops XS511

so-cal teardrops xs11 8

One of our favorite teardrop trailer manufacturers is So-Cal Teardrops, and the specific model we’d like to recommend is the XS511

This is a trailer for people who love tough trails because it’s built to take the punishment of off-roading. Just take one look underneath the XS511, and you’ll find:

  • A shock reservoir system and airbags (which are built by So-Cal Teardrops and feature dual switches and a gauge mounted in the front battery box)
  • A more robust frame with gusset reinforcement in all corners
  • A straight axle with electric brakes
  • Beefy 30-inch mud tires
  • A flat rack for gear storage

So Cal Teardrops XS511 Rotated

In addition to those features, the XS511 offers 18.5 inches of ground clearance. That’s about as much as a Humvee! Tackling difficult trails won’t be a problem with this trailer! 

Then, we have the weight. At just 2,200 pounds dry, this will be an easy pull for most trucks and SUVs. 

As mentioned above, you also get a strong straight axle, off-road shocks, and even airbags. Granted, the 30-inch tires might be on the smaller side, but there is plenty of wheel arch space for future tire size upgrades, should you choose. 

so-cal teardrops xs11 5 off road teardrop interior

This isn’t just a utilitarian trailer, though…

Inside, you’ll find marine-grade cabinetry, reinforced ribbing, and double-sealed openings. A handy in-floor storage compartment that can be used as a cooler or for storage is also available.

so-cal teardrops xs11 18

At a first glance, the size of the trailer might make you believe that it will lack many amenities. However, that isn’t the case. You can sleep on a 59” x 78” queen bed with a four-inch-thick mattress for a good night’s rest. There’s a Baltic Birch interior and two doors, one on each side of the trailer, as well.

so-cal teardrops xs11 9

The cabin also features a fold-out table and an array of power points to keep all your devices charged up.

Ports for a slide-out fridge and a two-burner stove are also available in the galley. A handy drawer system is in the galley as well, and makes quick work of keeping all your gear tidy. 

So, in other words, the So-Cal Teardrops XS511 is a great choice for anyone who would like to tackle tough trails, but do so with a trailer that offers plenty of creature comforts for a restful and relaxing night after a day full of adventures.

Camping in a Teardrop Trailer – Organization Tips

so-cal teardrops xs11 15

Since a teardrop trailer offers less space than a conventional camper trailer, you will need to choose your gear carefully to save space.

For example, use cooking utensils that fold to save space in the galley, pack multi-tools that pull double (or triple) duty, and learn how to pack your clothing to save space.

Remember that you can also utilize the trunk of your car or SUV and the roof of the trailer for additional storage space. Our suggestion is to divide your gear so frequently needed items are in the trailer or near the back of your vehicle for easy access. Your lesser needed items can go deeper in the vehicle, underneath more frequently used items, or in a rooftop box, if you have one.

Simple packing tips like this can make all the difference when you’re camping in a teardrop trailer. Being able to find what you need without sifting through all your gear will ease your frustration and give you more time to enjoy your adventure! 

Camping in a Teardrop Trailer – Towing

So Cal Teardrops XS511 Towing Rotated

A teardrop is one of the easiest trailers one can tow. It is small, nimble, and lightweight. If you keep an eye on it and stick to the speed limit on the motorway, you should have zero issues with towing.

If your vehicle has a rear-view camera, it might be worth keeping that on so you can have a look at the hitch mechanism every once in a while to ensure that everything is working as it should.

As far as vehicle choice goes, at 2,200 pounds, you won’t have any issues towing the XS511 with most off-road vehicles or trucks on the market. This really is one of the lightest off-road trailer options out there, so you don’t need to invest in a big bruising diesel to pull it!

If this is your first camping adventure with a teardrop trailer, take some time to practice towing it before hitting the open road. Get familiar with how it feels to tow a trailer at different speeds, and also get practice parking with a trailer, particularly backing up with the teardrop. Better to work out the kinks now than late at night in a back-in camping spot! 

Camping in a Teardrop Trailer – Off-Roading

so-cal teardrops xs11 3

Once again, due to its size and weight, this is an easy trailer to navigate off-road. However, there are a few things of which you should be aware when towing a teardrop off-road.

First, pay close attention to the sides of the trailer to avoid any damage. The track of the trailer might not precisely follow the track of your vehicle, so taking wide turns, for example, might be warranted to avoid trees, rocks, and other obstacles.

Second, you will need to keep in mind that your vehicle might struggle for grip more than normal on steep uphills. Even though trailers like the XS511 are super lightweight, it’s still additional weight your vehicle has to pull uphill. Take it slow and steady, avoid wheelspin, and you should be fine.

The aforementioned off-road trailer specs certainly help with your ability to tow on tough trails. The huge 18.5-inch ground clearance, air bag suspension, and beefy tires ensure this trailer is ready for just about anything! 

Camping in a Teardrop Trailer – Finding a Great Campsite

So-Cal Teardrops 510 XS with hood open

One of the perks that come with owning such a capable trailer is that you can camp essentially wherever you want, regardless of the driving needed to get there.

Again, planning ahead is essential. You can use Google maps to scout locations that look good, or you can use applications like GAIA GPS to do the same. If you have friends in the overlanding community, they will be a great resource for great campsites, too.

Heck, if you’re in California, ask the friendly folks at So-Cal Teardrops where they like to camp! With a team that is so dedicated to building quality products and providing an excellent customer service experience, they no doubt have some real gems to recommend for camping in a teardrop trailer.

Camping in a Teardrop Trailer – Final Thoughts

So Cal Teardrops XS511 Towing 2 Rotated

A teardrop trailer offers the freedom of exploration with the added comforts of an enclosed trailer. Since it’s smaller and easier to construct, it’s also cheaper than full-size campers. It is a win-win situation!

And when you partner with a company like So-Cal Teardrops, you know that the product you get is something that will meet your needs and help you explore wild locations now and for many years in the future.

If you have any further teardrop trailer questions, or for anything else off-road or overland-related, head over to the forum section of our page.

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