Teardrop caravans are definitely not a common sight here at Horton Common. Though I have had a couple of guests arrive with them in the past. While we have fully serviced pitches we have no on-site toiler/shower facilities. So while its possible to erect a pop-up tent/awning for toilet/shower facilities which our guests have done with their teardrop caravans, that doesnt appeal to everyone. Though the owners of teardrop caravans I have met have stated the appeal of their micro caravan is to go to more remote locations. I’ve also asked them what else they find appealing about teardrop caravans. However, I have also heard comments from guests with traditional caravans and motorhomes confused by their appeal. Making comments such as, ‘why not just buy a tent?’.
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One of the reasons I’m making this post is because while there are several other websites out there with ‘best teardrop caravans’ posts, many are not actually available to purchase here in the UK. Also, some websites are referencing UK teardrop manufacturers who have gone out of business (Carapods). With regards to US or Australian teardrop caravans, you obviously could import one. However, you would be pretty brave to do so. First, you would have minimal if any after-sales support. Therefore any warranty would have minimal value. Secondly, its possible a US or Australian made teardrop caravan would not meet UK law for trailers.
Through browsing the internet you will find many teardrop caravans from the US and Australia. The reason being they are primarily targeted a younger demographic interested in ‘adventures!’. Hence, visiting very remote locations. Examples of such teardrop caravans are in the video below:
Warning: This is quite a long post, therefore if you want to quickly jump to the best teardrop caravans currently available in the UK please use the Table of Contents below.
Introduction to Teardrop Caravans
So briefly, the basic concept of teardrop caravan is a small lightweight trailer which commonly just features a bed inside. The design is rather round/bulbous at the front of the trailer near the caravan hitch and it tappers off to the rear of the camper. Hence the teardrop shape. While the interior of a typical teardrop caravan only features a bed, the exterior has various lockers and storage space. Its also common for a rear door on a teardrop caravan to lift up to reveal a kitchen space. However, there are also larger caravans which still have the teardrop shape but feature kitchen utilities and seating inside the caravan.
While the modern term of ‘teardrop caravan’ accurately describes the general design of these micro caravan/campers, the concept of a micro caravan/camper is pretty old. Most of the original caravans towed behind the first cars were small and of a similar teardrop design. And very small campers have been made ever since.
For instance, you may or may not be aware of Eriba caravans. They are a German manufacturer of caravans which started way back in the 1950’s. Eriba caravans are generally smaller than many examples of common touring caravans you will find today, especially those offering 8-foot wide caravans. They commonly employ a pop-up roof to reduce the height of these micro caravans when towing. I once had a guest turn up to Horton Common with an Eriba Puck. This is easily the smallest caravan I’ve had visit us. It was actually shorter (while a little taller) than the modern teardrop caravans I’ve had to visit us here at Horton Common.
The Eriba Puck micro caravan has been produced since the 1960’s. I believe Eriba stopped manufacturing the puck in the mid-2000s. However, with the growing popularity of teardrop caravans, they might want to reconsider that decision. I see the Eriba Puck as the spiritual successor to the modern iteration which is the teardrop caravan. The Eriba Puck shares much of the same appeal of modern teardrop caravans. Essentially a stylish micro caravan/camper that can be towed (efficiently) by a wide range of small vehicles and go to locations which would be unwise with a larger caravan.
What is the Appeal of Teardrop Caravans?
So obviously anyone who is interested in or considering a teardrop caravan is not primarily focused on the size of the internal living space. Hence, a tradition touring caravan from the likes of Swift or Bailey is not what they are looking for. If we put the difference in exterior design between traditional touring caravans and teardrop caravans to one side for a moment, let’s consider the other factors of appeal.
Teardrop Caravans are Generally Targeted at a Younger Demographic
I believe teardrop caravans are generally targeted at a younger demographic for a couple of reasons. I also believe they appeal to people who do/did enjoy camping but are looking for additional space, utility and security. Finally, younger people due to lower-incomes and other factors generally own smaller cars. Small cars which are efficient to run but are very limited in their towing abilities, potentially even an electric car.
Let’s take the example then of someone who enjoys camping, but tents obviously have their downsides. When you arrive at a site you have to erect the tent. Now while blow up air tents are growing in popularity for their convenience and speed to put, its no fun putting up any type of tent in poor weather conditions. Hence, the first appeal of teardrop caravan over a tent is once you arrive on-site you instantly have somewhere to sleep.
Furthermore, in the scenario above of purely going camping in a small car, you have very limited storage space. You have to fit into the vehicle the tent as well as all your belongings. Hence, a teardrop caravan removes the need for a tent. This opens up more storage space in a small car, not to mention the storage space within the teardrop caravan itself.
Driving Licences Obtained After January 1st 1997
Something that is important to note about my generation and anyone who has passed their driving test after January 1st 1997 is we have limitations on our category B driving licence. It states the following:
“You can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) with up to 8 passenger seats (with a trailer up to 750kg). You can also tow heavier trailers if the total MAM of the vehicle and trailer is not more than 3,500kg.” – Quote: Gov.uk
So with a standard category B licence obtained after January 1st 1997 the holder is restricted to car and caravan under 3,500kg. Now, just to clarify this point as I discuss in my post on caravan weights, there are many car and caravan combinations applicable with larger caravans than a teardrop. However, the point remains without upgrading to a B+E driving licence, anyone with a post-1997 licence is restricted to lighter weight/smaller caravans.
Towing a Teardrop Caravan With a Small Car
What teardrop caravans offer due to their small size and low weight is the ability for a small car to tow them. This includes many small cars which would normally not come close to the power, weight and chassis requirements to tow a larger touring caravan. Now, that’s not to say every small car is capable of towing a teardrop caravan. First, not every small car has suitable mounting points for a tow bar. Secondly, some cars (particularly small electric cars) cannot tow without voiding the warranty. However, the point remains that a teardrop caravan can be towed by a huge range of small cars. There is also a less of debate around the benefits of 2WD vs 4WD for towing with small teardrop caravans.
Another scenario is if you already own (or wish to own) a campervan but you are looking for additional space. You want a campervan due to the benefits of campervans vs motorhomes. Therefore, towing a teardrop caravan behind a campervan is an option. However, I have actually seen full-sized motorhomes towing teardrop caravans as well for additional storage/sleeping space.
The Lower Cost of Towing a Teardrop Caravan
Due to the general low height of a teardrop caravan compared to most touring caravans seen on UK roads today the more efficient towing performance is to be expected. When towing a caravan the general rule of thumb is a 50 reduction in MPG with an internal combustion car. Likewise, an electric car will commonly see around a 50% reduction in range when towing a caravan.
Its not just the weight of the caravan which causes this impact on efficiency, its the increased air resistance when towing. Therefore, as a teardrop caravan is not only lighter but generally shorter in height, less of an impact on MPG/Range is to be expected. Unfortunately, I don’t have something to hand which I can reference on the specific towing performance of teardrop caravans. I’m also not sure of how much of an impact the actual teardrop shape makes.
Manoeuvring and Storing a Teardrop Caravan
The weight of teardrop caravans varies, however as a general rule they are up to or below 750kg. For instance, in my section below on the best teardrop caravans/campers currently available in the UK one example has an unladen weight just 245kg! With such lightweight trailers, you avoid many of the issues that can scare people off towing a ‘full-sized’ touring caravan. For instance, you don’t really need to be concerned about caravan reversing with a teardrop on the open road. Also its unlikely a caravan stabiliser will be required. Most people even on their own if they got really stuck could just uncouple and push a teardrop caravan to a turning spot.
Furthermore, due to the small size of a teardrop caravan its more likely you would be able to store it on your driveway apposed to a storage yard. While insurance is not a legal requirement for caravans, its still not a bad idea to insure a teardrop caravan. Teardrop caravan insurance would also be much less than for any standard full-sized touring caravan. However, you would also still want to consider security devices such as a hitch lock and wheel lock.
DIY Teardrop Trailers
Now I like a bit of DIY, however, I would never consider trying to design/build a full-sized touring caravan. Though it is reasonably possible to buy a good quality/legal small trailer chassis and design/build your own teardrop caravan. Some are built from scratch following the instructions from books such as the example below. However, others such as the image of the Eriba Puck above are conversations of old camping trailers. For me, its easy to see the appeal of designing and building your own teardrop caravan.
If you are into DIY such as myself I can imagine designing and building your own teardrop caravan as a very rewarding project: Image – Amazon.co.uk
Best Teardrop Caravans (Available in the UK)
I’ve researched the list of companies below as of January 2020. I’m not going to preview every single product/offering from each company. I think the best way to provide a general overview of their product offerings is to highlight their lowest cost/budget teardrop camper and their highest priced/premium product.
SL Industries – Derby, Derbyshire
SL Industries started to make teardrop caravans in 2013. However, the owners have more than 30 years of experience in boat building. Therefore, many of the same manufacturing skills are transferable to making teardrop campers. There are currently only a couple of reviews on Google and Facebook. However, at the time of writing this article, they are all positive.
Budget Option – The Original Pod-E (Starting at £3,200)
You may be looking for a very simple/basic camping trailer at an affordable price, and that’s what the Pod-E offers. Its built on a 50mm steel box section chassis with 750kg rated Avon suspension. The side panels are made from aluminium & thermoplastic, with an aluminium roof and Birch plywood interior with a satin finish. Various options can be added such as bike rack storage and additional storage doors.
- The Original Pod-E Key Specs
- Length = 3.46m
- Width to the outside of the wheel arches = 1.7m
- Height = 1.62m
- Unladen Weight =245kg
Premium Option – The Pod-E Eyas (Starting – £4,750)
Currently, the premium product offered by SL industries is the Pod-E Eyas. Granted its still a budget option compared to some of the camping trailers/caravans below. However, I feel such low-cost camping trailers can offer a lot of utility and function. The main difference with the Eyas over the basic Pod-E is the lockable rear compartment. Typically, as seen in the images above this rear compartment could potentially be used as a kitchen/food prep area.
- The Pod-E Eyas Key Specs
- Length = 3.60m or 3.83m
- Width to the outside of the wheel arches = 1.7m or 1.95m
- Height = 1.62m
- Unladen Weight = 270kg
Teardrop Trailers.co.uk – Radcliffe, Greater Manchester
Ok, while their website is teardroptrailers.co.uk, the actual company is called TMC Motorhomes. They offer a couple of different models including a portable shop with a pop-up roof (very clever, like it) and a cargo trailer. They also offer an off-road focused camping trailer for those looking for a proper adventure. As our guests/readers are primarily interested in leisure vehicles I’m going to focus on the Carretta 1500 as their budget offering and their off-road camping trailer as their premium option.
Budget Option – Caretta 1500 (Starting – £9,495)
The Caretta 1500 features a 1500mm wide bed with internal storage lockers and a rear door with kitchen/food prep facilities. The Caretta 1500 features a stove, sink, fridge (coolbox) and water supply. It also features a 40A leisure battery. Notably, as standard, the Caretta comes with an AL-KO braked axle rated at 1000kg. Though an unbraked version of this camping trailer is available.
- Caretta 1500 Key Specs
- Length = 3.90m
- Width = 2.04m
- Height = 1.73m
- Weight = 445 kg
Premium Option – Caretta Off-Road (Starting – £14,995)
The interior living space is very similar to that of the Caretta 1500, with similar storage and a 1500mm bed. However, the differences between the 1500 and the Off-Road as you would expect come down to the chassis, brakes, shocks and wheels. For instance, the off-road comes with a higher capacity AL-KO braked axle rated at 1,500kg. The bottom of the chassis also has protective bars for off-roading. As you can see from the image below the tyres fitted are pretty chunky. Currently, I don’t have the specific details on the wheels/tyres but I’ll try and get them.
- Caretta Off-Road Key Specs
- Length = 4.2m
- Width = 2.14m
- Height = 1.9m
- Weight = 560 kg
Henki Pod – Ripon, Yorkshire
I don’t think a post on the best teardrop caravans would be complete without a retro option. So that’s where Henki Pod comes in. Henki state that some customers describe their camping trailers as “the most luxurious rolling tent”. I think the description of teardrop caravans as ‘rolling tents’ is quite appropriate. The Henki Pod is marketed as a ‘cool’ option, focusing on a perceived stylish and iconic exterior. Its stated that Henki Pods have been ‘re-engineered using SMART technology’. I don’t currently have details on their SMART construction technology, but I’ll try and find out more.
Pure, Impulse and Nomad Henki Pods (Starting – £6,995, £9,995 and £14,995)
Purely from information their website I’m unable to provide a summary of the specific differences between their budget option the Pure and the premium trailer the Nomad. All of the Henki Pods are constructed from a one-piece composite shell which comes with a 5-year warranty. Henki Pods do appear to be available in a range of colours and bespoke models are available. Therefore, purely from the information on their website, I’m unable to tell which colour options are standard and which images are of bespoke models. Therefore, if you are interested in a retro teardrop camping trailer such as this best just to contact them through their website in the link below.
Go-Pods – Scarisbrick, Southport
Ok, Go-Pods may not be specifically a ‘teardrop caravan’. Even the company behind the Go-Pod describe them as a ‘micro-tourer’. However, my main thoughts here is anyone who is considering a leisure vehicle the size and weight of the teardrop caravans above would also likely be interested in this micro tourer. Now that’s out of the way, let’s look at what this micro touring caravan offers. In terms of their budget and premium offerings there is the same Go-Pod but in different trim levels.
Budget Option – Go-Pod Standard Pack (Starting – £10,995)
Go-Pods are made from a one-piece GRP shell. This, therefore, reduces the chances of water ingress/leaks/damp. Any car with a towing capacity of 750kg or above could tow this caravan. The Go-Pod features a fully galvanised steel chassis rated to 1,000kg with AL-KO brakes, running gear and hitch. Notably, Go-Pods have a pop-up roof to provide a head height of 6′ when up and 5’1″ when down. As someone of above-average height, I’m always curious about the size of the bed in such small campers. With the Go-Pod the bed when set up as a double is 1.57m wide and 1.95m long.
- Go-Pod Key Specs
- Length = 4.2m
- Width = 1.85m
- Height = 2.05m roof down, roof up adds 30cm
- Unladen Weight = 540 kg
Premium Option – Go-Pod Platinium Pack (Starting – £14,495)
As part of the Platinum Pack, there are various upgrades over the standard Go-Pod. For instance, as seen in the image below a Kampa or Khyam awning is included which connects up the back of the Go-Pod where the door is positioned. There is also blown air heating and a 100W solar panel. Many other accessories are also included such as a microwave and a security bundle which appears to include a hitch lock and wheel lock.
Fit Fun Adventure.co.uk
Based in Northumberland offering a wide range of teardrop caravans with an equally wide range of accessories. While the HQ for the company is in Northumberland they do have various ambassadors (previous customers) located around the UK who you can go to see to check out one of their teardrop caravans.
The main range of teardrops that Fun Fit Adventure appear to sell are the Hero Campers which are apparently from Denmark. The Hero Campers come in two main versions, the Ranger or the Traveller. The Ranger being setup with larger wheels/tyres better suited to off-road travel. In terms of price, the Hero Travel currently starts at just over £14,000 with the more heavy-duty ranger starting from just over £17,000. There are lots of accessories/features which can be added to these campers. I’ll let Richard the owner of the company explain in the video below.
Procamp Mini Caravans
The other range of teardrop caravans/mini caravans that Fun Fit Adventure offer are from Procamp a Slovakian based company. The range starts with the Wave which are ultra-portable and very small, they can even be pulled by a motor trike, starting from just under £10,000. Then there is the Escape a mid-range option starting from a bit over £11,000, likely suitable for most peoples on-road needs. The most premium option is the Bushcamp range, the best on or off-road choice with the largest wheels/tyres and accessory options. I’ll let Richard explain more about the Bushcamp range below.
Conclusions on Teardrop Caravans
From reading various websites and watching YouTube videos I believe the range of different makes and models of teardrop caravans globally must have passed triple digits or its pretty close to. The point being, there is a strong demand for this type of leisure vehicle as a bridge between purely camping with a tent and full-sized touring caravan or motorhome. In terms of which type and style of teardrop caravan or micro tourer is going to be best, you need to consider a couple of factors.
Budget obviously being one factor, but there are also many others to consider. For instance, do you want to opt for ‘style over substance’? That is not to say retro-style caravans don’t have their appeal, many of them I personally think are pretty ‘cool’. My point is you need to carefully consider where you want to take a teardrop caravan. One of the appealing factors of such a small trailer to me is you can take it to places where no sensible person would dare take a full-sized caravan. If that’s the case there are circumstances where an off-road spec teardrop caravan would be more suitable than a retro camping trailer. I have another post on the best small caravans besides teardrops if you’re interested.
Thanks for reading my ramblings above. I hope you found this post on teardrop caravans etc informative/useful. I also hope at some point in the near future you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common caravan site. 🙂