general thoughts on offroad teardrops? Think I might need a little more room.

Hey folks, I'm nomadic currently and sort of halfway living in my 2019 4runner TRD ORP with my big ol dog. We just finished the AZBDR and are currently in Flagstaff visiting a lady friend that lives here. I say halfway because when I'm not on out on the trail, we've been staying with friends or in motels. We're heading out to do the NMBDR somewhere between today and Monday.

My current setup is: Yakima 21 skybox on top, half of the back seat permanently down, seat bottom removed for more length, with my bed roll on that half. The up half is for my dog while driving (she does better with a seatback to lean against), and to compartmentalize the storage so stuff doesn't go flying all over the place while offroading. The front passenger seat and all remaining space in the rear (including on top of my bed) is storage while driving. When we reach camp, I have to unpack about half of the truck to have my sleeping space. Today I'm taking a lot of my stuff to a ministorage unit here in Flagstaff, as I've found that I'm not using a lot of it. The cargo box is killing my MPG's, and the weight of the stuff is reducing my trail clearance significantly. Plus, since I have a lady friend here, I don't mind coming back.

I'm considering a teardrop so I have a little more room and don't have to unpack my truck to sleep, with the added benefit of having some food prep space/functionality. I think I could get most of it on top if I got a better rack/cargo system (the yakima and stock rack is not an ideal setup for offroad), but I keep my very expensive mountain bike in the truck and don't think I'll stop doing that, due to the inevitability of theft if I put it on a rack on the outside. so it seems having a teardrop would let me have dedicated storage space in the truck and dedicated sleeping space elsewhere.

so...general thoughts on offroad teardrops? How is driving with them on and off road? Effect on MPG? How do they sleep? Things to consider? Alternatives? In the future, I may go back to having a 4x4 van, but am not in the position to do that at the moment.
 

SoCal_80

Explorer
I love my SoCal Teardrops teardrop. It’s absolutely perfect for my needs


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billiebob

My Uncle drove a government issued Jeep in Europe
Teardrops are perfect. Fully made bed all the time. Fully packed and ready to go in minutes.
I made mine to have room to store my Jeep doors, lots of options for a bike.
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calicamper

Expedition Leader
I rented two different styles
It sounds like your 4runner has larger tires and the typical big chunky roof rack? Or is it stock with a box on the roof? The reason I ask is the lifted or up sized chunky tires and chunky roof racks tend to be a much bigger hit to highway performance than the small to mid sized tear drops. That will give you a sense regarding towing experience on those long pavement hauls.

its easy to rent these rigs too which would be a no brainer before going all in and buying one.

There are the bigger sort of hybrid tear drop trailers that aren’t quite full on big travel trailers that offer more room and even some space for inside gear stowage that would start to become a heavier slog for the 4runner to drag around and be more base camp type rigs vs dragging it along everywhere etc.
 
oh i should add that while I'm mostly on fire roads on this trip, I generally do a lot of offroading up to about a 7 out of 10 difficulty rating, and would love to be able to take whatever setup I get out to the most remote areas down gnarly trails and setup as a base camp there.
 
I rented two different styles
It sounds like your 4runner has larger tires and the typical big chunky roof rack? Or is it stock with a box on the roof? The reason I ask is the lifted or up sized chunky tires and chunky roof racks tend to be a much bigger hit to highway performance than the small to mid sized tear drops. That will give you a sense regarding towing experience on those long pavement hauls.

its easy to rent these rigs too which would be a no brainer before going all in and buying one.

There are the bigger sort of hybrid tear drop trailers that aren’t quite full on big travel trailers that offer more room and even some space for inside gear stowage that would start to become a heavier slog for the 4runner to drag around and be more base camp type rigs vs dragging it along everywhere etc.

thanks, I didn't even think of renting. No, my 4runner is stock at the moment. Just some A/T tires and the Yakima. stock wheel size, stock height, stock rack. It's kind of ridiculous how capable a stock TRD 4runner is. I will be lifting it in the future, as I've bashed the **** out of my skid plates more than a few times already.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
thanks, I didn't even think of renting. No, my 4runner is stock at the moment. Just some A/T tires and the Yakima. stock wheel size, stock height, stock rack. It's kind of ridiculous how capable a stock TRD 4runner is. I will be lifting it in the future, as I've bashed the **** out of my skid plates more than a few times already.
So the small 6ft wide tear drops are typically less than 1500lbs empty and aren’t very draggy. My experience was the tear drop has less of an impact on the pavement experience than the lift and bigger tires and draggy roof stuff beyond the nakid roof box. They are there but not much of a factor. Which is 👍

Go rent one some people really like them for good reason other people find them too tight and don’t like sleeping in them which makes it an obvious no go.

I would probably go the boxy mini toy hauler type route given those offer more flexibility in use types over the traditional Tear drop. Plus they are more awning friendly. As long as you stick to 12-14ft hitch to bumper and under 1500lbs those trailers will pretty much follow you everywhere. 12-13ft you can fit in two parking spots at the grocery store via length. Any longer it starts to impact where you can park when making stops on the road.
 

Series1Rangie

Adventurer
Our thought process has revolved around if we’re dragging a trailer, it should be comfortable when the weather sucks and we want a place to hunker down. Most tear drops don’t fit this for us. I like the previous posters trailer, the utility based “hybrid” tear drops and something like the tiger moth to fit this category.

Since your solo you may be happy sitting inside a tear drop, my family isn’t.

Keep enjoying what you have!


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alia176

Explorer
People tend to underestimate the need to stand up like a homosapien inside a trailer for changing clothes or whatever 🤣. This isn't a big deal to some but it is to me for the times when the weather turns to crap and I have to cook and exist indoors for a while. Regardless of the weather, I like to stand up inside my living quarters. Sitting on a mattress and hanging out for hours may not be everyone's thing but the OP has plethora of trailer choices these days.

Good luck with the hunt, amigo.
 

billiebob

My Uncle drove a government issued Jeep in Europe
Personally I hate sitting in a trailer. I prefer the teardrop to sit outside under an awning, cook outside, even dress outside.
Otherwise I'd stay home. I do like a full size bed and mattress tho.
 

taliv

Observer
I don't like them. a few feet to stand up is critical for me. even if it's literally just a 2' x 3' rectangle it makes a lot of difference. IME, if you bring lady friends you'll want a PETT style toilet and I think it would be really annoying to try to use one of those in a typical teardrop.
also the kitchen sticks into the living space in a way that goes from cozy to claustrophobic. and the kitchen setups on most of them seem very inefficient. it's like they're replicating the look and feel of a kitchen in a normal house with wood drawers and stuff instead of doing hyper efficient space saving designs.

as a group, i don't think the construction is the same quality as most of the box style trailers. obviously some exceptions, but i doubt they'd stand up to your offroading as well.
 

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calicamper

Expedition Leader
Personally I hate sitting in a trailer. I prefer the teardrop to sit outside under an awning, cook outside, even dress outside.
Otherwise I'd stay home. I do like a full size bed and mattress tho.
That works till the weather gets crappy then your awnings get stowed so they don’t get destroyed or you don’t set them up due to time and not feeling like dealing with it.

Last few big trips I’ve done you find that often times private RV resorts are a good alternative option and not having interior space can be a little awkward in those locations. My current rig is a tall tent on a trailer think jumping jack trailer with two Queen beds and 6ft 7 standing room. It worked fine in the RV resorts except Moab winds no bueno. Even with my upgraded 2019 SUV with 9300lb capability I think 18-19ft max is the largest I’d ever want to go. My 12ft goes anywhere with a foot or two easily to spare. 16-18ft with really thoughtful interior layout would probably be ideal, especially if I could toss bikes, kayak etc in a back door and close it up.
 

SoCal_80

Explorer
Personally I hate sitting in a trailer. I prefer the teardrop to sit outside under an awning, cook outside, even dress outside.
Otherwise I'd stay home. I do like a full size bed and mattress tho.
That is the EXACT reason i got my SoCal Teardrop 459....Enough room to sleep but I didn’t want to sit inside and spend time inside...I go camping to be outside, not sit in my trailer. That said at night and if the weather is bad we have a built in TV/DVD player and stereo to pass the time...

We also have a Hannibal Awning with sides to build out a room...This helps in bad weather as well

I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!



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