Blonde Coyote’s Teardrop Trailer

The Blonde Coyote travels the backroads of the American West with a pair of trusty canines, a Subaru named “Raven” and a handcrafted teardrop trailer named “Rattler”. Mary Caperton Morton (aka The Blonde Coyote) is a freelance science and travel writer, photographer and a professional housesitter who has spent the past couple of years moving around the country every four to six months. Mary used to live out of her car in between housesitting jobs and carried her camping gear on the car’s roof rack – until she fell in love with teardrop trailers.

“I saw my first teardrop at a campground at Guadalupe National Park in Texas and fell instantly in love,” Mary said. “Less than a month later, I bought my own. I had been casting about for the next iteration of my life on the road. After 7 years of living out of my car in between housesitting gigs, I was craving some personal space, but I wasn’t willing to settle in one place. The teardrop was the perfect solution!”

Mary purchased her 5×10 foot teardrop for $4,000 from an “octogenarian craftsman” in Nebraska who builds one teardrop trailer a year. The 550 lb. trailer has a full-sized bed with a memory foam mattress and storage space underneath, a fold-up table, two feet of floor space, drawers, cabinets and counter space. Outside, in the back, is a slide out kitchen/galley area with plenty of storage space for pots, pans and food and a propane burner for cooking. The trailer is insulated and has a large skylight above the bed.

Mary said that she loves the freedom of being able to go anywhere at any time and still have her own bed to sleep in. However, living almost full-time in a tiny trailer does have some drawbacks.

“Not having a shower might be the most obvious, but the hardest part for me is not having a refrigerator!” she said. “I lived for a year in a off grid cabin in Oregon without a fridge and I swore never again. But here I am, buying ice and avoiding perishables and leftovers. It’s annoying, but totally worth it.”

The road stretches on for the Blonde Coyote. This summer she will roam from New Mexico to Alaska with the Rattler and her dogs in tow. She recently turned 30 and has no intention of settling down soon.

“This world is too big and beautiful to stay in one place,” she said.

 

Photos by Mary Caperton Morton/The Blonde Coyote

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

54 Comments Blonde Coyote’s Teardrop Trailer

  1. Pingback: My Teardrop on the Tiny House Blog! « Travels with the Blonde Coyote

  2. Linda Mason

    She could get a small plug in fridge, an inverter and a battery and even a small solar set up and go with it. The battery could be mounted on the tongue of the rig, the solar panel on the top of the rig, the fridge could sit on her little counter and she is ready to refrigerate what ever.

    Reply
    1. The Blonde Coyote

      Thanks everybody! I’m in Wyoming, land of little internet so I’m sorry I haven’t been able to respond to all your lovely comments and suggestions!

      I’m looking into getting a solar set up for the Teardrop, but it’ll be to run my laptop. Keeping things cold takes a lot of power and I just don’t have the roof space to run a fridge and make a living at the keyboard. :)

      Reply
      1. Court Kizer

        Blonde Coyote, have you ever considered a traveling companion? I live in San Francisco, and have promised myself this is the year I get out and travel. I’ve stocked up on camping gear. I considered buying a small RV, but honestly I’m nervous about going it completely alone at first. I spent two years in new mexico and loved it. I think for me it would also be nice to switch off driving with someone.

        The refrigerator solution you are looking for is called “Propane Refigerator”, they are super small mini fridges that allow you to power them with a propane tank that you can put on the front of your teardrop trailer! The best part is they last a long time on propane and you can easily turn it on/off, so you don’t use up the propane when on the road. About $10 to run for an entire month.

        If you ever consider taking on the right travel companion for the summer, I’d be willing to fund the trip… kizer at me dot com

        Cheers and good luck!

        Reply
    2. Zer0

      A very small dorm fridge may use as little as 90 watts. You could run that only part of the day and use it as a partially powered cooler. You can also put a bottle of frozen water or other item in it as a cooling thermal mass.

      Reply
  3. Cookie

    This 3-way compact cooler is less than 24″ wide, so would fit in the “two feet of floor space”. Propane, 120V AC or 12V DC and small enough to tuck under the table while travelling.

    http://gasrefrigerator.net/gas_refrigerator_dometic_rc4000.htm

    The price says $1,450, but I think that’s a typo. I see it elsewhere on the site for $449. Same on eBay.

    I’ve also seen mention that it’s been discontinued, but that info is recent enough that there should still be some left in the retail chain.

    Reply
  4. stephen

    You could make a Zeer Pot (no power supply needed). It’s basically one clay pot inside of another(both unglazed), with wet sand in between. As the water evaporates thru the outer pot, it takes heat with it. Just keep the top covered and soak the sand every twelve hours…that’s it! Will keep parishable for about three days or so and awesome for cold drinks.

    Reply
      1. Rebecca

        Great tip Stephen. In Mexico, I saw people using huge unglazed pots (4′ tall) to hold water since the city water didn’t work all the time. The evaporation kept the water cold and also cooled the house in the high, dry desert where they lived. They were always put in a corner away from direct sun.

        Reply
  5. Matt

    Mary,

    I would suggest a 12 Volt Travel Cooler you can plug in the car. Nothing fancy (I would suggest a cooling unit ONLY instead of a dual heat/cool model)…size is up to you.

    My girlfriend and I have hit 10 states in the last year and the trick is that all you need to do to get a head start on cooling is to drive by hotels/motels that have Ice Machines located outside. A couple of cups in the bottom and you are set for the day.

    Good luck on your adventures, be safe and enjoy the time you have…the world is yours!

    Matt

    Reply
  6. juli

    Wow, what a unique teardrop design. Having the kitchen pull out gives you a lot more space inside. Traditionally the kitchen area shares space with the sleeping area, even though you access it from outside. Great little trailer. We have one that we built from the ground up, you can’t even tell you’re towing anything, they’re so small and aerodynamic.

    Reply
  7. Kendall

    Blonde Coyote,

    Do you have a blog or a website where we can view more pictures and hear more about your adventures? How did you come about being a professional housesitter? Very curious!

    Reply
  8. GraceinAZ

    Great little teardrop! It looks perfect for you…except for the fridge. Have fun, stay safe..and I look forward to your posts about your travels!
    Hugs, GraceinAZ

    Reply
  9. Randy

    The little camper is way cool! I love the counter along the hitch side and the slide-out kitchenette is very unique. More than anything I am pea-green with envy! I’d love to know how she finances this awesome lifestyle? Groceries, dog food and automobile gas don’t grow on trees (not in Atlanta anyway) so I’d love to know her secret! :)

    Reply
    1. The Blonde Coyote

      Hey Randy, I make my living as a freelance writer and photographer. I write a lot for EARTH magazine. Here’s a link to one of my stories: http://www.earthmagazine.org/article/volcanoes-sparked-and-prolonged-little-ice-age

      Freelancing is no way to get rich, but time and freedom are priceless. Anywat, it’s actually not that expensive to travel the way I do. Here’s a link to a post on cheap road tripping: http://theblondecoyote.com/2011/06/25/how-to-plan-a-killer-road-trip-part-2/

      Reply
  10. Mark Frost

    I would like more details on the teardrop. I like to build stuff and I think this teardrop would be ideal ! How can I find out more about the builder ? Does the builder have plans for sale?
    Let me know if you have any information that could help me build a similar teardrop trailer.

    Cheers,

    Mark Frost.

    Reply
      1. S. Mayfield

        I think the teardrop you buildt for the Blonde Coyote is just what I have been searching for. My husband is disabled with MS so the extra room inside would really work for us. Would you consider building one for us? If so please email me the details at mysticladylady1125@yahoo.com. As I am now retired we can take off and see all of the places he has dreamed about for years. A teardrop would be easy for me to pull and set up so let us know please. Thanks, Sandy Mayfield

        Reply
  11. dingo208

    It is indeed a typo on the fridge posting…its $499usd, still a bit spendy, but well worth it in my opinion for a 3 way

    Reply
  12. MJ

    Hooray for you! Great teardrop, great life, even minus a fridge; there are always compromises to following our bliss, we just have to choose which ones we’re okay with!

    Reply
  13. Shawn

    Another idea is to have a plugged in cooler with the car jack. There are tons of them out there and it will keep your perishables from spoiling. I don’t think I could live without milk.

    Reply
  14. Haley

    I love it!!! I have been wanting a tear drop too. I haven’t seen one with the layout inside that your’s has with the floor space. That is way cool! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  15. Dennis

    Love he teardrop. I am curious, is the interior photo side to side or front to back. Can you set up comfortably inside while working on the computer? Just seemed to me there is more room than I can picture. Thanks and safe happy travels.

    Reply
  16. Vickie

    Thank you for your sharing your inspiring lifestyle. And, remember, most of the people on this planet live without refrigeration…..

    Reply
  17. Gretagekko

    You are such an inspiration. I admire what you’re doing as a single woman and also how you’re doing it. I too fell in love with the teardrop trailer-it’s an awesome looking trailer, so compact & efficient. I’ve been toting with the idea of doing something similar – I’ve been moving around so much over the last 5 years, I can’t ‘settle’ down.

    Reply
  18. Richard Callaway

    Do you have any contact information for the gentleman who built your trailer?

    Thanks. What you are doing is really neat.

    Reply
  19. M

    Very nice. I live in a 16′ old Layton Camper at the moment, that looks amazingly similar to yours inside – it’s called “The Honey”. There was no fridge in mine when I got it and I find the propane units are very pricey. I use a solar panel and inverter/battery setup for lights, but the small electric fridges draw too much power to leave running continuously. (have also done the housesitting, traveling through the West – but am stationary at the moment.)

    Enjoy your travels, it’s an incredible country out there.

    Reply
  20. Naomi

    I bet that teardrop was paradise after living in your car. Reminds me of the fun I had in the 70s with a 4WD Ford truck with a camper. Got fed up, left Florida and headed west. Wonderful times, awesome places, but please remind people, especially those traveling single with a trusting nature, that there ARE bad places and bad people anywhere you go. I had my scariest experience in a very nice campground. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but Don’t do things that you wouldn’t do in your own neighborhood as far as trust or carelessness. It’s still the same world. There are a lot of RV clubs who have get-togethers and share ideas and stories on the road. Families, singles, women, whatever. I would advise a Newbie to join one of those groups BEFORE committing to an open-road lifestyle. You can still have fun, just be safe.

    Reply
  21. Rosemary

    I, too, would like the info for the gentleman who built your trailer. Thanks so much for posting!

    Reply
  22. Donald Costello

    I wish I knew how to contact the “octogenarian craftsman” in Nebraska that is mentioned in this very good article. The pull out galley and under bunk storage are especially intriguing and would like to see more/better pictures (specifically geared to my interest).

    The pictures in the article are haunting, good, and brings out the obvious feeling of independence she portrays.

    Reply
  23. Donald Costello

    By the way (I forgot this in my previous post) if you have a small generator, a converter (110v to 12v) and a battery, there are 12v “coolers” (fridges) available online or at a major discount store (Walmart) camping stores etc., although they are not cheap they will keep the contents 40 degrees cooler/warmer (yes, some of these coolers have a switch to convert from cooling to warming)than the ambient air temperature.

    A wire can be run from the charging circuit of your car to a circuit on the trailer connected to the battery.

    Finally, a solar panel and inverter could help in maintaining the charge in the battery.

    You go girl ——!

    Reply
  24. Mike in FL

    MCM,
    Very nice trailer. I love Egon’s design changes, as mentioned above by D.C., specifically the pull-out kitchen, under bed storage and open floor, standing room area. Please tell me the inside width of the trailer. Also, from the pic of the TD up on the repair lift, it looks like it has a “footwell” inside the doorway. If so, how deep, wide and long is that?
    Thnx, Mike in FL

    Reply
  25. Nelida Shumaker

    Just to let you know, some states have laws that DO make it mandatory for a power company to pay you, if you end up sending juice back into the grid (aka “producing more energy than you use”).

    Reply
  26. Ray

    Engel 40 Qt. Portable Fridge / Freezer I swear by it low draw less then 4 amps 12 volt add a small solar panel and a deep cycle batt and your good ta go year round ….In the colder mths keep it inside with you it gives off heat while keeping your food cold….ya it’s a bit spend-ee but it’s a bullet proof system …..peace and safe trails

    Reply
  27. Tom

    Wondering what size the side of your teardrop is, and also the dimensions of the door. Your design is somewhat different than most I have seen and I am planning on making one for my wife and I. Thanks for the info. Have a great day,
    Tom

    Reply
      1. Anita

        Hi Egon, do you have your own website or a place where you have your own gallery of your Beautiful Teardrops? Thanks

        Reply
  28. Pingback: Home Sweet Teardrop | Travels with the Blonde Coyote

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