Introduction: Kristins Teardrop

Picture of Kristins Teardrop

My name is Brian I am a retired union electrician. I was given a old snowmobile trailer that i had no real use for. So decided to build my daughter a camper.

Step 1: Fixing Trailer

Picture of Fixing Trailer

Trailer came with bent tongue, first was to replace that and put new tires on. Had to break down tires twice. I forgot to put in new valve stems.

Step 2: Shape

Picture of Shape

After getting trailer sanded and painted I used cardboard to figure a shape out.

Step 3: Floor

Picture of Floor

I decided on a size. Trailer is 8x6 I went 4x8 for compartment. I used 1/2 inch plywood for top and bottom and 2x4s for bracing. I live in upstate N.Y. so insulation will help in cool weather. I sealed edges with metal tape and painted with elastomeric roof paint. I secured the floor to trailer with 8 3/8th in. bolts.

Step 4: Side Walls

Picture of Side Walls

For side walls I used 1/2 in. plywood on the outside and 1/4 in. luan plywood for inside walls. I put alot of bracing to try and keep plywood from warping and to use as support. I used a little heavier bracing on the door side. I used foam insulation in side walls.

Step 5: Setting Walls

Picture of Setting Walls

After getting walls upright I tied them together with 1x2 boards and L brackets. Foam insulation for the roof. I wanted a vent fan so put opening.

Step 6:

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Next I slid the Luan into place on the inside and used construction adhesive to adhere it to the cross members.

Step 7: Window

Picture of Window

I had a old window out of a pickup truck so I used it. Trimmed with scrap walnut. I had some leftover oak flooring for the floor.

Step 8:

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Next I worked on the tailgate area more plywood and bracing. Foam and fiberglass insulation. I had to use 2 pieces of Luan for the roof. Inside area is 4 foot wide so outside walls are 4ft.3in. wide. I tried to get the seam smooth with light body filler.

Step 9: Galley

Picture of Galley

On the rear I put a spot for stove and a small cupboard. Still thinking if I want more back here. I want to keep it simple. I used scrap butternut,mahogany and walnut for cupboard and most trim.

Step 10: Lift Gate

Picture of Lift Gate

This gave me some trouble. First attempt didn't work out. I had used bent strips glued together, but they opened up some over the winter so I cut the arch from plywood and sandwiched 3 pieces together. Covered with Luan.

Step 11: Porch

Picture of Porch

This trailer is wider than most so I decided to put a porch or spot to strap bicycles or what ever on the side. I also put the battery box here.

Step 12: Lighting

Picture of Lighting

Lights and fan from Amazon. I bought what I thought would work. Lot's to choose from. Lights are 12volt LED. Porch side light is switched at light. Door side and double fixture are switched from inside trailer. Single inside light is switched at light. There is a power outlet near the shelf for powering phone or tablet.

Step 13: Jacks

Picture of Jacks

Thought I would try and make some stabilizer jacks. They work ok but need bigger base on the ground. Will weld a pad to the bottom of them. I had to purchase a wheel jack for the tongue.

Step 14: Outside Finish

Picture of Outside Finish

I used faux wood boards. I got a roll of brown wrapping paper and cut into strips and painted with Sealskin color paint and used a faux wood tool to get the grain. Soaked them in glue and water and pasted them on. I sealed the outside with 4 coats of spar varnish for uv protection and waterproofing.

Step 15: Fun

Picture of Fun

First trip out camping.


BrianT1 (author)2017-09-19

I admit that the teardrop shape is cute, but on a practical note I can never grasp the sacrifice of the space imposed by the curved roof compared to what a box trailer would provide on the same frame base (to say nothing of the added difficulties of construction with the curves). I've illustrated this with yellow lines in this picture. (Please, someone, don't say it's more aerodynamic. On trailers this size that really isn't a consideration.) Especially with small trailers, every cubic inch of space is precious with none to waste (in my opinion), especially if you contemplate ever using it to bug out and see you through an emergency..

AlistairW7 (author)BrianT12017-09-21

The "original" tear drops were designed as a build the yourself camper trailer and there is really only one curve which is not that hard to do. The curve is due to the fact that it is easy to bend ply and made for a more waterproof roof before current materials were available. The lack of space is due to the fact that it is not a full caravan, but a dry bed space to sleep in. Living and cooking is aimed to be outside. The low profile and light weight do make a difference for older and smaller cars - plus IT'S GOT THE LOOK.

scooters2 (author)BrianT12017-09-19

you are correct there is a big loss of space. Were this a work trailer it would matter. When my kids were little I had a chuck wagon I would pull behind the wagoneer for camping. I found all those little compartments were just a place for spiders to collect. Also this trailer has small tires I would worry about cross winds on the highway were it big and square.

Steinzel (author)2017-09-20

Wonderful build! I have been thinking about building one for quite a while. Maybe some day...

wordsnwood (author)2017-09-19

I've never seen a trailer offset to one side like that... how does it pull on the road with the off-center weight?

scooters2 (author)wordsnwood2017-09-19

I know it looks one sided but the deck boards on the porch side weigh close to what the compartment weighs. The trailer was for one or two snowmobiles.

scooters2 (author)scooters22017-09-19

PS. Kristin and I put the hitch and light kit on her Honda Element yesterday. Maiden voyage will be to Sampson State Park. Will let you know how she does.

wordsnwood (author)scooters22017-09-20

ps: I was at that park in 2008... it is surprisingly remote and isolated. Hopefully warm enough to jump off the dock! :-)

wordsnwood (author)scooters22017-09-20

Best wishes! Hope it works out for you.

darklotus (author)2017-09-19

PS As in roadworthy, did you need an engineer's certificate, an official inspection or the like?

scooters2 (author)darklotus2017-09-19

Hi. It just gets a regular utility trailer inspection, they check lights and tires.

darklotus (author)2017-09-19

A great design and build scooter! I don't know what the laws are where you are but if you have to register trailers and caravans and such, is it considered roadworthy?

elaborde (author)2017-09-17

How did you furnish the inside? Where does the bed go and how big a bed did you get into it? How tall is it on the inside? How did you do the door? It sure is cool. I want one. :-)

scooters2 (author)elaborde2017-09-18

hi. I really didn't do alot on the inside. Pretty much just a cave to sleep in, bring your own bedding. It is 4 foot high inside and 7 foot 3 inches long in the sleeping compartment. It is for camping so don't want it to cushy. have a good day.

IngenuityAtWork (author)2017-09-17

Nice build! That would be perfect for kayakers, could get a couple on the side with the addition of a couple pair of brackets.

funny you should mention it that is what my son thinks. He will have to work it out with his sister ha

wesleyfurr (author)2017-09-18

I don't see anything in the photos or notes about venting for the area where the battery is located. When a standard wet cell battery charges, it gives off hydrogen gas when charging, which could be explosive if it builds up and finds a spark...please consider adding some venting to prevent something bad from happening...

I also see comments about weight...the tires should have a weight rating printed on them at maximum inflation. Should be pretty easy to weigh the trailer and find out for sure.

scooters2 (author)wesleyfurr2017-09-18

howdy if you look the bottom of battery box is just deck boards not sealed, venting should not be a problem. I have a deep cell marine battery for it and a 5 watt solar charger. Tires are 4.80x8 rated 750lbs. at 90 pounds of pressure. Trailer was a tilt bed snowmobile trailer.Scale is only couple miles down the road will weigh it at some point. I weighed the trailer empty when i got it 250 pounds.

mebush427 (author)2017-09-18

I hope that Kristin will live long and prosper in the teardrop.

AlisonD (author)2017-09-17

Wow! Your daughter is a very lucky girl! What a wonderful job you have done. She is sure to have a lot of fun and get loads of admiring looks and comments on her unique camper <3

SomervilleDesigns (author)2017-09-17

Beautiful Job! Is she going to be pulling this to campgrounds or is it going to be stationary. The reason why I am asking is that with all that wood it is going to be really heavy to pull I would think. But then again, I do love the beautiful and meticulous Construction you did on it. ;-)

Hi. Paul was correct. the empty trailer weighed 250 lbs. I may have added 200 or so in wood. Well under reg. weight. The little tires take 90 lbs of air so they are pretty tough. thank's for looking.

Oh that is great. It is so hard to tell watching the rebuild as to how heavy it might be. I have a pop up camper that has a weight of 900 lbs dry and it is no where near your beautiful sturdy custom build. They built these very thinly way back when. I was curious to your build and weight as I have to replace a few things in the camper and want to make sure things are done properly. ie cabinets etc. So thank you for the great tutorial and info.

I'm obviously not the original author, but thought I might reply if that's ok... Most of these trailers have a standard 1500lb axle, and those little tires are the same ones used on many pop-up campers. The only heavy wood he used are the 2 sheets of 1/2" plywood on the floor - the rest is 1x2 furrow strips & luan (1/4") paneling, all of which are very lightweight. I'd venture a guess that he's not even anywhere near 1500lbs dry weight - probably more like half that, maybe 800lbs at most. :-)

DodgeD (author)2017-09-17

Great stuff. good idea with the paper pattern, easy to change with a pencil and eraser before you do the cut on the wood. The nice thing about the build it did't break the bank as the saying goes.I live up in Canada and these little teardrops are outrageously expensive ( the Rv centers are laughing all the way to the bank ) I think your daughter will enjoy your work of love.

scooters2 (author)DodgeD2017-09-17

I saved all receipts and I have right around 1000.00 into it. Wood has gotten very pricey.

DodgeD (author)scooters22017-09-17

Thanks for the reply . ya money is money if it was free that would be great. But your investment is low in all reality. As I mentioned these little things can go for $23.000 up here , cough cough! Not for this camper! I think she will enjoy it or does enjoy it.

aunt margie (author)2017-09-17

I just wondered how much of the snowmobile trailer you used. The hitch and the axels and the floor frame?

scooters2 (author)aunt margie2017-09-17

hello, I used the whole trailer. It came with no floor just the steel. It was rough but not rotted through anywhere.

PaulA23 (author)2017-09-17

Beautiful work! My favorite builds are always the "I used what I had" builds, because they're so resourceful! Thanks for posting this!

Two Paddles Design (author)2017-09-16

this looks awesome, thanks for sharing

scwisham (author)2017-09-14

Made in America with Love!! It looks very nice.
About how long did it take you, start to finish?

scooters2 (author)scwisham2017-09-15

Hi, It has been in the garage for 2 years. I worked on it now and then. I should have kept track of the hours now that you mention it.

GrampaDave54 (author)2017-09-15

It looks like the year drops fell when the daughter saw it.

seamster (author)2017-09-15

This turned out really nice!

I like how you took advantage of that side area for some external storage. I imagine that will come in quite handy. Good Instructable!

DavidS1540 (author)2017-09-14

Very cool!

Swansong (author)2017-09-14

That's an awesome gift, I'm sure she loves it! It turned out beautifully :)

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