Traveling in teardrop trailers and mini-campers…comfy and fun!

Our reproduction '58 Scotty teardrop in Harper's Ferry, W. VA; we immediately added a receiver on back so we could haul our bicycles.

This vintage ’63 Metzendorf is a rare find, recently for sale on eBay!
This “woody” teardrop was happily camping out in central British Columbia.
We spotted this almost new Campmore teardrop on the Oregon coast.
One can still find vintage Westfalia campers (Volkswagen) for sale for $5 to $10K!
We spied this rental mini-van with rooftop tent camper in Sequoia National Park.

Susan and I have both been retired and traveling for about 10 months.  We have done most of our travels towing a teardrop travel trailer, all of 4′ wide, 4′ tall and 8′ long, weighing just 700 pounds.  Years before retirement, we made a pact to do a lot of traveling in the US and Canada the next several years, emphasizing seeing the country and not spending a ton of money.

We have toured all the way across the US to Long Island, NY; later a trip up the CA/Oregon/WA coasts to Vancouver, British Columbia, across B.C. and down to Spokane and recently, a trip to Death Valley, Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Parks – and many shorter trips. 

Along the way we have seen a goodly number of other “mini-campers”; small trailers, tiny vans and the like that make traveling both comfortable while keeping it economical.  All of these vehicles, or trailers being towed, allow one to maintain good gas mileage, sleep in comfort (even on cold or rainy days), save a bundle on motel fees, and allow your spouse to sleep without worrying about bear attacks!

We are working to perfect our style of frugal travel.  It includes a number of methods to save money; first, we don’t head out thinking “we’re cheap”; merely that we want good value for our money.  Hence, we employ several tactics.

We purchased a new 2013 Ford Focus – on a trip to Southern California it will get 38 MPG on the road (that’s almost twice what we once got with our primary conveyance).  On a long trip, that means half the gas, and savings of $350 on a recent trip up to Montana and Wyoming.  And, the Focus is surprisingly comfortable and fun to drive!

If we are off on a several day trip, we search out efficient, inexpensive motels as a break from our teardrop trailer.   As an example, we have found a very nice Super 8 motel in San Francisco, just 12 blocks from the Marina District, that goes for about $84/night (that’s about half what most folks would think they might have to pay in SF).

For meals, we do breakfast at our campsite, or, if moteling, rely on the continental breakfast at such a motel.  We will do a simple lunch along the way.  For our main meal, we don’t “go cheap”, for we like nice restaurants and appreciate a quality meal.  But, about 12 years ago (both of us feeling like we eat too much and desiring to lose a few pounds) we began sharing a salad and a main entry.  We have never been hungry afterwards; we can add an inexpensive bottle of wine, and get out with a bill in the $50-$70 range.  Perfect!

Here are pictures of other little campers we have seen on recent travels. Most of these small trailers weigh little, sleep two comfortably, store easily in a garage and can be pulled by the smallest of vehicles (our first teardrop was towed by both a Mini-Cooper and our Nissan 300 ZX).  You can find a variety for sale on either Craig’s List or eBay!

We currently own two small trailers, a three-year old 58 Serro Scotty teardrop reproduction, and an original 64 Scotty Sportsman, a bit larger though needing a fairly extensive rebuild.  We can tow the teardrop with our Ford, and we get lots of comments in the campgrounds, parked among the “big boys” – giant fifth-wheels towed by huge diesel pickups.  Guess who gets four-times better milage?

So, in all but the coldest months, we will usually attach our teardrop trailer.  We can often find a national park or federal campground near our destination – and with our federal Senior pass, a $35 campground’s cost is cut in half.  That same Senior Pass gets one into any national park free!

For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog:; or contact me,  Happy travels in the west!

This entry was posted in Central California, East Coast US, Midwest US, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southeast US, Southern California, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County, Teardrop and tiny travel trailers, United States beyond! and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Categories

  • Archives