Seriously considering building a camper. How do you like yours?
May 8, 2019 at 5:41 pm #2488
Hello everybody. I’m seriously considering building a CLC Teardrop and wanted to get feedback from those who have been there. It looks like a really fun build. My wife thinks I’m nuts but I think I’ve convinced her to go along with it if I jump in.
A little description of my situation: I live in Southern California and there are tons of nice places to camp around here. I haven’t camped in quite a few years. My wife isn’t fond of camping, mostly because she prefers a more comfortable bed and a hot shower in the morning. I can’t say I blame her – I’ve never slept that well in tents either, and now that I’m quite a bit older I may not enjoy it as much as I did way back then. She also “doesn’t want to have to do all the cooking and cleaning when she’s on a getaway.” Ok, I get that too. We also aren’t a “sit around a campsite all day” sort of family. If we go somewhere we’re usually out doing things.
My thought is we could do short (1 – 3 night) mini-getaways where we sort of “pseudo camp.” By that I mean we do limited cooking – probably have breakfast at the campsite, pack a picnic lunch (which we usually do if we’re out in a National Park anyway), and plan on dinner out – unless there’s nowhere good to eat out in the area, in which case we cook at the campsite. This really simplifies the galley setup too – and by simplifying the galley it also simplifies the electrical system quite a bit. I ‘d probably go with just a 12-V system for powering lights and fans and charging phones. I would probably just pack a portable gas grill rather than trying to install any kind of cooking device. We’d probably go mostly to state beach campgrounds in California. That’s a lot of camping within 2 hours or less from home, and those campgrounds are all very well equipped with hot showers and everything.
It seems to me the CLC is the ideal solution. There’s a comfy bed, not much to clean (pretty much just make the bed and stow the dishes), and we could still do our normal sightseeing and go out to eat at restaurants for some meals.
Oh, I forgot to mention, my wife is claustrophobic. She’s seen the pictures of the CLC and is concerned about not being able to sleep in a confined space. To me, it looks tight in there, but not that tight. I’ve seen the pictures of the Waterlust couple sleeping in there with the two of them and a large dog. I’d need to find a place for my 13-year old daughter to sleep but we can cross that bridge when we come to it. She’d be fine sleeping in a separate tent, and if I got one tall enough to stand up in it provides a place for changing clothes and so on.
Anyway, after all that, I’d love to hear what you all think of your teardrops after camping in them a few times. Are they as comfy as they look? Sleep well? Does it feel “tight” inside or is it roomy enough? How’s the airflow in there? (I know there’s a lot of options for bulkhead fans, roof vent fans, etc.) Any other feedback or things I should think about before diving in?
Thanks in advance!May 9, 2019 at 10:03 pm #2489
You need to check out ARB. I have their awning and getting ready to purchase their tent . The tent connects to the awning and has both roof and floor great buy. (Part # ARB813108A (this is the tent). You will have fun and frustration building the teardrop. I completed the shell , heart decided it would like four new arteries, hospital three months (everything that could go wrong went wrong) back working on the trailer great. Wife just let me know I am needed to go to the store good luck.May 10, 2019 at 11:00 am #2490
I think any “fun” home build project is going to have its frustrating moments. If it was that easy then everyone would do it and it would lose some of the cool factor.
I’ve looked at the ARB awning rooms. They’re pretty nice but I see two problems with them. First of all, they require a roof rack. If you’re only adding the roof rack for the purpose of installing the awning, it becomes a very expensive side room solution – $1000+ between the cost of the rack and the cost of the awning and room. The second issue is that there isn’t a “seamless” interface between the camper and the side room. There’s that sidewall entrance that “sort of” butts up against the trailer and zips down for access. It would be much nicer if that sidewall could somehow be modified to match up exactly with the door. That way you could sleep with the trailer door open and still keep bugs out, and when you wake up in the morning you can step right from your camper into the side room. This isn’t as much of a concern as the first issue because there really is no “seamless” solution for this camper as of yet.
We would probably only camp for 1 or 2 days at a time, and therefore wouldn’t have a ton of gear with us, so spending nearly $500 on a roof rack isn’t a practical option. I could of course use it to mount a solar panel if I choose to have solar on the rig, but I could just as easily build a tongue box and mount a solar panel there and it would be much less expensive.
I did see on the CLC Facebook page that one builder made made his own roof rack out of the trailer bunks that came with the kit. He basically just made four wooden mounting blocks to fit the shell of the trailer and the bunks and glassed them on. It looks really nice and is an almost free option. It’s something I might consider if I get to that point as it would solve the $500 roof rack issue.
I’ve also looked at the EZ Up Camping Cube. For less than $500 you get a 10′ x 10′ space that’s plenty big enough to stand up in, so it could easily be a changing/living/dining room in addition to extra sleeping space. BUT a) EZ Ups are big, heavy, and bulky to travel with, and b) it would also be a completely separate “structure” from the trailer. It’s not an ideal solution, but neither is the ARB.
I can envision a good tailor possibly modifying one of the sidewalls of either the ARB or the EZ Up to create an opening that wraps around the inside of the door and fastens in place with snaps or velcro. That way you would have a true side room where you could keep the camper door open and still keep the bugs and the elements out. I don’t know if it’s practical or cost effective, but something I might eventually look into.May 10, 2019 at 3:40 pm #2491
I love my trailer and enjoyed the process of making it. However, I have had multiple friends get in and immediately comment that it felt claustrophobic. I suspect that it might not be a good choice for your wife. Is clc coming to a show in your area anytime soon so that you could see one in person?May 10, 2019 at 8:24 pm #2492
If you’re happy in a 2-person tent, you won’t have any claustrophobia issues in the Teardrop. Remember, most of the time inside you’ll be either horizontal or asleep or both. When you’re flat on your back, the ceiling is out of reach.
I highly recommend installing every vent and fan option there is. One thing that makes a space quickly feel constrained is lack of air circulation. The 2 fans and 4 vents go a long way towards fixing that. Even better, if you’ve got the skill, is modifying the windows/doors so they can open, or be replaced by screens. I’m looking into doing that with mine since one of the real draws of camping for me is the smell of the outdoors at night.
FWIW, I fell asleep in mine in the middle of the day and didn’t wake up until my wife came out looking for me (and this was just in the back yard).May 12, 2019 at 1:10 pm #2493
It’s a great build and fun to camp inMay 14, 2019 at 1:14 pm #2495
Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I likely will end up building the camper at some point. I have a couple other projects I need to put ahead of this, one of them being de-cluttering the garage so I have a place to build and ultimately store the completed camper. In the meantime I’m having fun researching everything and figuring out how I will do certain things.
As for the sleeping solution for my daughter, I’m thinking a separate tent may actually be a better solution than an attached awning with side room. The problem I see with the awning is that in a lot of the campgrounds around here I’d end up in an RV/trailer space where the camper would be parked on an asphalt pad. No biggie there, but that means I’d be pulling the awning out to an area off the pad to stake it down. Also not a problem, except when you consider there will likely be something between the edge of the asphalt and the awning poles to deal with – either a dropoff of a few inches from the edge of the asphalt, or something like a railroad tie that would poke up through the side room floor. I could just see pulling into certain spots where the side room was pretty much completely unusable, and then it would be a case of “oh great, where does the kid sleep?” Most RV spots seem to indicate they can accommodate one RV or trailer plus a tent, but not necessarily right next to each other. As long as we had a tent big enough to stand up in so it can be a changing room and also double as a screened living room if there’s bugs out, it doesn’t necessarily have to butt right up to the camper. The EZ-Up camping cube looks like a great solution. My only beef with that is it only has one door. If it had two doors I could still set it up right up against the camper door and have an almost seamless side room solution when the site constraints permitted it. Maybe a modification is in order at some point. Hmmm, another project to tackle.
Most of the camping we’d be doing would be at places where mosquitoes aren’t a problem (California State Beaches – bugs tend to not like that salty air). I’d still love to play with some sort of screen solution either for the windows or the doors, just so we could take more of a wilderness/National Park trip if we wanted to where bugs can be more of an issue. I’m also somewhat of a tinkerer so the camper will probably never be “done.”
I’m also very interested in the storage box below. CLC’s website says it would be available this spring, but apparently it isn’t ready yet. Maybe it will be by the time I decide to dive into this project. I’m sure the kit will be fairly expensive though. It seems like building your own would just take some fairly basic carpentry skills. I’m kind of anxious to see where CLC prices the kit once they release it. A small issue there is it will probably raise the door above my wife’s comfort level (she’s barely 5 feet), but that’s easily solved with a stool.
- This reply was modified 4 days, 21 hours ago by panammaniac.
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