Teardrop USA & Minimizing for Life

Issue 25 of the Tiny House Magazine has an article about Austin and Nicole Barkis, a Southern California couple who sold nearly all their belongings, purchased a teardrop trailer from Craigslist and hit the road with Bowser and Yoshi—their rescued Pomeranian Chihuahuas. All four of them are now enjoying life in 4×9 trailer towed by a Mini Cooper S.

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While you can find out more about the couple and their teardrop trailer life from the magazine article or from their website and Tumblr blog, this post covers their minimizing and simplification process and how they live their life out of 36 square feet—with a few thousand miles as their backyard.

Austin and Nicole decided to simplify after questioning their lives in Southern California. High rent and bills were draining and unused stuff was piling up. After viewing a TEDx video by Adam Baker of Man Vs. Debt, the couple put their personal belongings on Craigslist and looked for a trailer that could be towed by their Mini. Austin runs his own business and Nicole telecommutes for her software job, so both knew they could make money on the road.

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When minimizing their belongings to maximize their lives, the couple realized that the process of getting rid of things had to have a forced deadline. Storage units and cabinets were still full until the very last second before hitting the highway. That’s when the virtual fire was lit and stuff began to get tossed.

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“When we first began, we had a ton of stuff sitting in the teardrop trailer (which is just the bed inside) and we had bags and little boxes of stuff overflowing everywhere,” Nicole wrote on their blog. “It got to the point that when we were loading the last few things, we just started throwing stuff away in the nearby Dumpster of our old apartment complex. It’s fascinating, you plan and you plan, but once it’s finally there and you have your trailer and you see the reality of the space vs. what you thought you could keep, you stop caring. All you want at that moment is to get on the road.”

It only took until the second night to realize what they really wanted to keep on their journeys. Along the way nonessential items like throw pillows, extra shoes and even a potted plant were given away.  They kept a few items for comfort and fun, tools for the teardrop and Mini (located in a storage box on the front of the trailer), computers, food and cooking items, and some bins of clothes that will be minimized even further. The Mini trunk and a storage area under the teardrop bed hold items not immediately needed.

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Austin and Nicole’s mission is to live minimally yet to the absolute fullest degree possible. If you are struggling to minimize your life, just imagine having to pack it all away into a teardrop trailer and a Mini Cooper.

 

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Photos by Teardrop USA

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Tiny Trailer Camper from Casual Turtle Campers

hatchling

by Peter Pavlowich

Here’s a new model that I’ve been wanting to build for a while. It’s in the size and tradition of a teardrop, but in Casual Turtle Campers style – dead simple, cedar, domed roof, with lots of windows. In fact, it’s quite a bit roomier than most teardrops – and by leaving the entire trailer area as living space, the cabin feels damn near palatial! Not really, but it is a nice little space that two people and a couple dogs could be perfectly comfortable in.

As an unsolicited build, I had planned to insulate and finish out the interior myself – but then I thought it might appeal to someone looking for either a dead simple, lightweight little camper, or someone looking for a project. One could add nothing to it and have a very comfortable, capable, simple camper – or features could easily be added to their desires – storage, gear hooks, bed platform, etc. And I’m perfectly happy to discuss building out an interior for someone.

Peter inside of it

Here are some of details… It’s built on a very nice, custom 5’x8′, fully boxed trailer frame with 13″ tires from a great manufacturer here in northern Colorado. The cabin’s frame is mostly western Hemlock (1.5″x1.5″), with Western red cedar siding. The bottom of the cabin has a 90 mil PVC membrane covering, and the roofing is a fully adhered, 60 mil, ivory-colored TPO membrane – thermally welded at the seams. It has four opening windows with screens, and two large fixed windows (forward bulkhead and door) for pretty good through-visibility. It weighs 840 lbs, with about 110 lbs of tongue weight. There are more specifications/details on the website -casualturtlecampers.com.

I really like this camper, and I can see using it just as it is – or with a more developed interior. Either way, its a great platform for someone looking to get into a very easily towed, comfortable, unique little camper. At 840 lbs, this model could work with a wide variety of tow vehicles. The forward bulkhead is short enough (66″) to tuck in well behind most crossover and small SUVs. I even towed it around town with our little Subaru Impreza.

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I’ve included a couple photos of the camper with my big ass in it for scale. I’m 6’2″ and 195 lbs. As a shell version, the walls and roof assembly are left open, showing the OSB roof deck’s bottom side – though it could easily be insulated and closed in. If anyone has any thoughts/ideas/questions please email me at casualturtlecampers@gmail.com. I’d be happy to discuss this camper or something similar/different that you might be interested in. And I’m also happy to discuss full or partial delivery from Fort Collins, CO for a rather nominal mileage-based fee.

Thanks for having a look – and please share it with anyone you think might find it interesting. I’m tentatively calling this model the Hatchling, but any other ideas for a model name would be welcome, too!

Price – $6,250

Peter Pavlowich
Casual Turtle Campers
casualturtlecampers.com

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FireFly Trailer

For fans of the stylish Cricket trailer and the cult television show, the new FireFly prototype camping trailer by designer Garret Finney brings together aerospace technology and the desire to be sustainable while off-roading. According to the NASA designer the FireFly is actually a habitation module designed to fit into the bed of a pickup truck or towed by a small car.

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The 600 lb. trailer is minimal and includes folding bench tops for sleeping and lounging surfaces with room for storage underneath. The FireFly is supported by four legs and can be moved easily to various locations. In fact, it was originally designed to be used for disaster relief or as a temporary basecamp. The lightweight camper has welded square tube sections, highly insulative composite panels made of aluminum and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam.

The protoype was created in only three weeks after several months of sketching and design work.

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Photos by TaxaFireFly

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]