Teardrop Revival

Earlier this year I reported that demand for the small and compact teardrop trailer had increased resulting in a recent upswing in sales.

I further reported that homemade teardrop trailers were making a comeback.

Today I report on a manufacturer of custom built teardrop trailers.

Joe and Leslie Kosareff prepare dinner during an overnight camping trip with a teardrop trailer at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, near Kenwood, California. (Credit: Christopher Chung/The Press Democrat)

When Joe and Leslie Kosareff pull into a campground, fellow campers just can’t seem to resist their little tin can of a trailer. With its pudgy little teardrop-shaped body set low on two white sidewall tires, and measuring a mere 9 feet long by 4½ feet wide, it is the anti-RV.

As reported by the Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California, there is just enough space for two people to cuddle up inside at night and cook out during the day from a rear hatch.

What the Kosareffs’ trailer lacks in amenities it makes up for in efficiency, ease, and a cuteness that is fueling a revival of the teardrop trailer, which was a familiar sight on America’s highways back in the ’30s and ’40s when many were home-built. They were popular because of their sleek, aerodynamic design and lightweight materials.

There were some larger-scale manufacturers, such as the collectible Kit Trailers, Gypsy Caravans, Kamp Masters, and Kaycraft Campsters.

But just as houses slowly ballooned in size, so did campers, until the Winnebago ushered in the era of the larger, more luxurious recreational vehicle. The market for teardrop trailers soon dried up, though some survived due to their ease of storage.

Orange Pop Teardrop Trailer, the first teardrop trailer built by Joe Kosareff. (Credit: vacations-in-a-can.com)

“It’s like the best of everything,” says Kosareff, a builder by trade who began making custom teardrops after arthritis made it difficult for him to continue with his fine carpentry. “You’re still camping but you have the convenience of a trailer. You just hook it up and go.”

The couple found themselves tiring of hauling tent gear and sleeping on the ground.

And yet they weren’t ready to succumb to an RV when their goal was to get close to nature.

“We’re not trailer people,” he says. “We’re campers.”

So after seeing a piece on Teardrop “gatherings”—camp-ins with fellow Teardrop aficionados—featured on the PBS show “California’s Gold,” a few years back, Leslie turned to her husband and asked, “Could you build one of those?”

The beauty of the Teardrops is that they’re like a hard-sided tent on wheels. The sleeping compartment includes a full-sized bed and built-in storage and drawers for the necessities of outdoor living and simple travel.

The back, in typical Teardrop fashion, opens up to reveal a galley kitchen with drawers for pots, pans, plates, and flatware, counter space for a cook stove and a deep cabinet for either a refrigerator or big ice chest.

“It just so easy,” says Kosareff, who now custom-builds Teardrop trailers in several sizes starting with a tiny 4- by 8-footer that weights only about 650 pounds. “It’s all set up. All you have to do is pack your clothes. If it’s midnight when you get to your campsite, you just crawl in.”

The Kosareffs spent more than a year designing their little nest on wheels and then another year building it of plywood with a sheath of light aluminum.

Chili Pepper Teardrop Trailer. (Credit: vacations-in-a-can.com)

Joe can now build one in about four months, working out of a workshop in Cotati. Prices start at $7,500 for a simple 4-by-8-foot model with no cabinets.

He sometimes puts in 14-hour days pursuing his passion.

Now they are regulars at gatherings where similar lovers of compact camping—the Kosareffs call their business “Vacations in a Can”—tour and admire each other’s trailers and share camp cuisine like enchiladas and chocolate cake out of a Dutch oven.

They love the freedom of traveling light.

“In the morning you just open up the back, make your coffee, close it up, and off you go,” says Leslie. “It’s really nice.”

Details

Vacations in a Can

Vacations in a Can is a manufacturer of teardrop trailers located in the wine country of Sonoma County just north of San Francisco. They custom builds teardrop trailers to fit your camping lifestyle offering three ways for you to own a custom made teardrop:

  • Order a stock model trailer available in four basic sizes, 4×8, 4½×9, 5×9, or 5×10; add additional options and accessories
  • Begin with a stock teardrop trailer model and customize it to your own camping lifestyle
  • Give them your own design and they will build it for you

Worth Pondering…
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.

—Warren G. Bennis

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