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Teardrop Trailer History

The Teardrop trailer, also known as a Teardrop camper trailer, is a streamlined, compact and lightweight caravan, which is named for its distinctive teardrop profile, easily identified due to its large, round front section that tapers towards the back.

The Teardrop has an interesting history; it was introduced as a “honeymoon house trailer” in the 1930’s and became popular in the 1940’s after World War II. When the Great Depression ended, many people in the USA wanted to take holidays, and the Teardrop became their trailer of choice.

Most of the original Teardrop trailers were constructed from surplus WWII materials - the chassis were made from steel U channels or round tubing, and in some cases, the wheels came from salvaged army jeeps. The shiny aluminium exteriors were usually made from the wings of WWII bombers, whilst other models had wood sides.

In the 1940’s, a popular mechanics magazine published do-it-yourself plans, which many hands-on adventurers used to build their own Teardrop trailers. The market soon included a mix of completed models and Teardrop kits, and as they grew in popularity, many manufacturers struggled to keep up with demand; however, during the later years of the decade, Americans wanted bigger, more powerful and luxurious caravans, and demand for the Teardrop trailer started to dwindle. In the 1960’s, the Teardrop all but disappeared from mainstream camping.

This lull in production continued until the Internet explosion of the 1990’s, when everyone could now easily access Teardrop trailer DIY plans. On top of that, building materials had become cheaper and easier to use, so you didn’t need to be an expert to build one of your own.

Today, the Teardrop has definitely made a comeback, even attaining cult status in the caravan world. The Teardrop phenomenon is not local to any one country, and they are now manufactured in many locations around the world. It seems a lot of people still like the idea of a super-lightweight, compact camper, judging by the number of new models hitting the market that are manufactured by small, local start-up businesses, right up to industry leaders in Australia, such as Jayco.

A Teardrop trailer is small in size, ranging from 1.2 m to 1.8 m in width and 2.4 m to 3.0 m in length. They are usually 1.2 m to 1.5 m in height. Since Teardrop trailers are so light - usually less than 450 kg - just about any vehicle (even a motorcycle!) can tow one and fuel consumption is minimally affected.

There is room for 2 people to sleep, as well as storage for clothes and other items. At the back, there is usually a small kitchen for cooking. Teardrop trailers customarily have lighting and other electrical power supplied by a storage battery, although some have power mains like larger caravans.

The “new kid on the block” is the T@B Teardrop travel trailer, which was created over a decade ago, and was inspired by the classic Teardrop trailer of the 1940’s. This unique trailer took the concept of the Teardrop to the next level by adding bright colours, dynamic lines, standing room and many creature comforts not available in typical Teardrops.

T@B Trailers were first produced at the Tabbert Caravan Factory in Jandelsbrunn, Germany, and were introduced to the US market as a joint venture between Tabbert and Dutchmen, an RV manufacturer based in Indiana, USA. The T@B entered the market as a lightweight, lower priced alternative to larger, heavier caravan models.

The T@B has sported its distinctive ABS plastic trim since the beginning. Models include the T2 version with fibreglass sides, rather than aluminium. The @ in the T@B trademark is said to evoke the dot.com era, but one reference claims it means “take America back.”

The ultra-modern T@B has all the features of a larger travel trailer (heating, air conditioning, fan, sink, refrigerator, stove and storage) but can be pulled with a smaller car, making it perfect for families, as well as couples or solo travellers.

You may recognise the T@B’s cute and colourful retro design from our autumn seasonal collection. As you can imagine, the yellow details were just perfect for the range and it was certainly a lot of fun to design, too.

The Teardrop trailer has come and gone, but now, it’s most definitely here to stay.