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.

teardrop-trailer-roadtrip
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.

teardrop-trailer-organize

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.

teardrop-trailer-clothing

“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.

teardrop-trailer-food-storage

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.

 

NicoleAustinBarkis

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.

light trailer

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.

firefly-camper

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.

firefly-camper-truckflirefly-camper-trailerfirefly-camper-interior firefly-camper-interior3 firefly-camper2

Photos by TaxaFireFly

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

 

Tina Larkin and her Purple HarpMobile

by Tiny Larkin

I’m a musician, visual artist, traveler and dog lover. As long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested on living simply and having a small carbon print upon the Earth. I always wanted some sort of teardrop or small RV in order to have a home on wheels.

trailer exterior

The 2008 economic crash and continued downturn of our economy prompted my decision to stop paying rent. I have bought and sold about a dozen houses, flipping them after living in then for a year or two. The current economy precludes my ability to keep doing this. After several years of research and touring as a musician, I made two important decisions…

  1. As a harpist, fiddler, and composer,my talent is best appreciated on the west coast. So to be musically focused on the area of San Francisco to Vancouver, I need
  2. A portable tiny home,which must be towable by my current car,which is a 4-cylinder Hyundai.

I designed a tiny, almost tear-droppy like trailer to go atop a 4 x 8 ft. Harbor Freight trailer chassis. I chose this model because it weighs only 230 pounds and was inexpensive. I decided that the entire trailer needed to weigh less than 600 pounds. I based this on the tiny trailers built by Abel Zimmerman and the Whittled Down folks, and others, all of whom designed their trailers to be used with 4 cylinder cars. I chose 1?4 inch plywood and 2×2’s for my building materials. I decided to use exterior grade silicone for all joints and edges, and a rubber spray coating for the roof, which might also get another cover as the summer progresses. The lavender color is wood stain, not paint.

interior

Before I even got my trailer hitch installed on my car, the naysayers pounced. Most, but not all, were men.

“You can’t tow anything in that car! The owners manual says so!”
“You’ll destroy your transmission!”

“You better use 2×4’s and 3?4 inch plywood! Otherwise that thing is gonna explode going down the highway!!!”
“It’s not safe! You’re just a woman, and travelling alone! You’re nuts!”

It is a good thing that I never listen to the naysayers. I did my homework, so knew what I did know and did not know, and I knew where to find the info I still required. I was able to recognize when others spoke out of their own fear or envy. My online and in-person homework showed me that this venture was, and is possible.

harpmobile

A Seattle friend, Brad Maas, helped greatly in the building of this PurpleHarpMobile, as I have named her. He lent his yard space, tools and knowledge in this venture. Many thanks to him.

The PurpleHarpmobile has more windows now, (that I made after theses photos were taken) and is fragrant with natural wood inside and my favorite essential oils. I live in it full time and can cook inside or out. There is neither real heat, nor electricity, but I have a Mexican terra cotta planter. Four tea light candles inside and a metal bowl over it create a small and charming heat source. I will purchase a solar panel this summer. I am going to custom decorate the exterior this month.

Tina and trailer

So far, I have performed in Seattle, and have done a bit of camp hosting in Oregon. I am about to begin exploring the music scene and tiny house community in Portland. My plan is to use this HarpMobile for Music Festivals, and maybe sell it down the road, and then build a tiny house! Tiny House Blog, and other online info, has been a huge help in making my dreams a reality. Thanks for reading!

email: tinalarkinmusic@live.com
Website: tinalarkin.com

harpmobile at Lake Trillium

Wanted: Home for our Custom Woody Teardrop

by Lynn & Don Ventura

Sold!

Our “tiny home” isn’t your standard, however, it is a “tiny (temporary) home!” My husband and I built our custom woody teardrop (Benroy model) three years ago and have enjoyed every minute since. We can’t go anywhere without sometimes literally hundreds of folks coming by to check it out! In August we took it, with our 1951 Chevy pickup, from Florida to Michigan, Canada, & New York and even shared it with a bus of Japanese tourists in the Shenandoah National Park on the way home! (Needless to say they’d never seen anything quite like it in their country and had to take pictures of it (and us) to take home.)

woody teardrop

While this is based on the original, it has modern upgrades including:

  • 5’x8′ base to accommodate a queen size air mattress
  • door on both sides for easy ingress/egress
  • open/close windows complete with screens
  • custom square tube frame for durability
  • larger tires than typical with “store-bought” frames
  • outlets/lights inside & out
  • wired for TV
  • A/C (hidden in the trunk on the tongue)
  • completely oak wrapped, including fenders (regular metal fenders underneath for durability)
  • etc.

Unfortunately we are now moving on and need to find it a good home with someone who will treasure it the way we have.

interior teardrop

We live in Central Florida, just west of Daytona Beach in the little “town” of Barberville.

Sold!

Check out our blog showing how it was built! http://dlvent-teardropper.blogspot.com/

Oh yes – the price! $6,000 and I’ll cry all the way out the driveway! We really have enjoyed it that much!

interior 2

kitchen

kitchen closed

oak covered fender

teardrop and truck