Why spend $10,000 to $20,000 on a teardrop trailer when you can build one for a fraction of the cost? Check out these 7 very good DIY teardrop camper projects you can build in your spare time.
Historically, we’ve rented motorhomes for our camping trips, but now that our kids are older, we can seriously consider something smaller and less expensive.
Like many people, I don’t wish to buy a $60,000 truck that can tow a 5,500 lb. RV trailer. I’d much rather get a camper that is smaller and lighter that we can tow with our crossover.
The teardrop solution is something we’re considering. I’ve been spending loads of time looking into new, used and DIY teardrop trailer options, projects and kits.
This post sets out some of the better homemade teardrop camper projects.
Table of Contents
- Why buy or build a teardrop trailer?
- How much does a teardrop camper weight?
- How much does it cost to buy a teardrop camper?
- How much does it cost to build a teardrop camper?
- DIY Teardrop Trailer Projects
Why buy or build a teardrop trailer?
The main reasons other than it may be better than sleeping in a tent is weight.
The problem with most RV trailers is they can’t be towed by many vehicles (especially cars and crossovers) due to being too heavy. The teardop design solves this problem.
As for building one, while not easy, it’s more feasible than building a full-sized RV trailer. With teardrops, you can use wood, which isn’t really possible with a full size RV trailer (again due to weight).
The biggest reason for building one instead of buying is cost. While small, new or even used teardrop campers aren’t cheap. See price ranges below.
How much does a teardrop camper weight?
Many come in under 1,000 pounds, which is important because 1,000 pounds can be towed by many cars and crossovers. For example, the Droplet weighs 950 lbs. If you go for something with a little more height clearance like the Little Guy Mini Max, it weighs 2,000 pounds (which is still very light for an RV trailer).
Here’s a great site to discover the towing capacity of many vehicles. Please please please always check the manufacturer’s listed towing capacity before buying anything you plan on towing.
Also, when planning on towing a trailer of any sort, you must also take into account how much your gear and accessories will weigh. If you toss in 4 bikes on the rear and a kayak on top, that’s another couple of hundred pounds. Gear adds up.
How much does it cost to buy a teardrop camper?
They aren’t cheap. You can buy a new one form $16,950 to $20,000+.
You can buy used ones for under $10,000.
How much does it cost to build a teardrop camper?
Our featured DIY teardrop camper projects below cost $1,500 to $3,000 to build. That’s a small fraction of what it would cost to buy them new.
DIY Teardrop Trailer Projects
1. 8′ Long Silver DIY Teardrop Camper with Kid Bunk
- Cost to build: $1,759
- Weight: 700 lbs. (approximate)
- Sleeps 3 (two adults, 1 child)
- Days to complete: 31 days
- Length: 8 feet
- Camper height: 4 feet
Our first featured DIY teardrop camper is a mid-sized build. It’s long enough for adults to fully stretch out. It’s tall enough inside to sit up (but not stand). There’s also enough height for a small bunk platform for a child that’s 1′ 7″ wide.
Like most teardrops, the kitchen is built into the hatch and is 1′ 7″ deep (which leaves approximately 6′ 4″ sleeping length. The kitchen is basic, but includes sink, stove and plenty of storage.
2. Aluminum DIY Teardrop Trailer
- Weight: 1,400 lbs.
- Sleeps 2 adults
- Sleeping area length: 7 feet
- Trailer length: 15 feet
- Width: 6 feet
- Camper height: 4 feet
This particular project uses a trailer built to haul ATVs, which means it’s a tough trailer. As you can see, the trailer is longer than the camper, which allows for hauling additional gear etc.
The interior is wired for lighting and a TV. The builder of this unit is tall (6′ 3″) hence he built it a decent size, although he mentions if he were to do it again, he’d build it a bit larger.
3. Solar-Powered DIY Birch Wood Teardrop Camper
Another interesting feature to note is the roof has solar panels which provides electricity for this unit. I think that’s pretty cool.
4. White DIY Teardrop Travel Tailer
- Weight: 910 lbs.
- Length: 8 feet
- Sleeps 2 adults
- Cabin height: 45″
- Approximate cost: $2,000
This is our first featured white exterior homemade teardrop camper. It looks professional with the white exterior. This is a fairly tall design, which I like. I would want to be able to sit up while inside. The interior includes a bookshelf.
5. Homemade Teardrop Camper with Sofa
This homemade teardrop camper by automationjackson has several very cool features.
First, it has large wheels so is a rugged design that can handle some terrain. Of course, you can’t go too crazy off-roading because the camper is only so strong, but the trailer itself is heavy duty.
Second, and I think this is very clever, the owner/builder found a trifold mattress that converts from sleeping mattress into a sofa. I love that idea.
Finally, the degree of craftsmanship in the design and construction of the hatch kitchenette is exceptional. Check it out above. I could never build something so intricate and polished as that.
6. Grey Homemade Teardrop Camper with Red Interior
I love the paint job inside and out for this camper. I think the trailer wheels are a bit small, but the builder (Brian) was given the trailer and it was only then he decided to build a teardrop trailer.
If you look carefully at the photo above, you’ll notice that there is about 1 foot width of storage on the trailer. In other words, the camper doesn’t extend the full width of the trailer. I imagine the additional trailer storage comes in handy.