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Earth Traveler Makes World’s Lightest Teardrop Trailer


Earth traveler teardrop trailer setup at camp.

Earth Traveler Makes World’s Lightest Teardrop Trailer 

Earth Traveler, a New Mexico-based startup, recently showcased its new T250LX teardrop trailer. This custom-built unit weighs 298 pounds, compared to the heavier 300-pound T300 standard model, making it the lightest RV available on the market.

Ultra-lightweight, expandable, and organic-inspired, this little unit is tough enough for an off-road excursion but light enough to be pulled by an array of small vehicles. The secret behind this compact innovation on wheels involves a Fiat 500, a hot camping trip, and chicken feathers.

Teardrop travel trailer with attached side tents.
Courtesy of Earth Traveler

The story behind the teardrop trailer

Earth Traveler founder and artist Angel Irlanda told the backstory on how Earth Traveler teardrop trailers came into existence.

“The genesis of the idea to design and build an ultra-light trailer was conceived during a camping trip in New Mexico in 2014 when the excitement of our first summer camping trip turned to dismay when we faced the reality that the tent was extremely hot during the day, and at night the wind was causing the tent to collapse on us.

Our car at the time was a Fiat 500, so I decided to find an RV that our small car would be able to tow, but none were available on the market. Thus, I decided to design and create our own ultra-light RV with similar sleek curves and stylish design as our Fiat 500.”

Teardrop camper fully extended to standing height.
Courtesy of Earth Traveler

Lightweight construction: From chicken feathers to carbon fiber

To minimize weight, Irlanda turned to experts at Los Alamos National Lab SBA for ideas. Together they came up with utilizing a chicken feather-based material for all non-structural parts in the T300 model. Fiberglass and resin helped reinforce the feathers, creating a lightweight but effective layer of weather protection and insulation.

Fast forward to the T250LX flagship model.  With this new and improved unit, Irlanda substituted the feathers for 100% carbon fiber. This, combined with Kevlar and Corecell, helped create an ultra-lightweight protective layering. The structural components of both teardrop models were made of load-bearing traditional composite materials.  

…And off-road capabilities

For a smoother off-road experience, Irlanda included Timbren axle-less suspension and SumoSprings Trailer Helpers. Both components work together to remove sway and enhance load carrying ability. This improves overall driver control and ride comfort when towing.

Earth Travler Teardrop trailer Interior view.
Courtesy of Earth Traveler

Other teardrop trailer specifications and add-ons

An Earth Traveler teardrop trailer is considered a hybrid between teardrop and pop-up trailer. It can comfortably sleep up to 4 people. In travel mode, the teardrop measures 5 feet wide by 5 feet high by 11 feet long. When settled at a campsite and expanded, the teardrop measures 11 feet wide by 7 feet high by 11 feet long. 

The unit has pop-out side walls and a pop-up roof with mosquito mesh. Storage compartments can be found underneath the trailer’s flooring. Five interior LED lights can help campers find items at night.

Upgrades like kitchen amenities, flexible solar panels, a backup battery, additional room with attachable tents, and off-road components are available. Add-ons are all dependent upon the vehicle capacity of the owner. 

“Since cars vary significantly in their power and tow capacity, I designed the Teardrop Trailer interior with a semi-modular concept for the planned amenities to keep the weight at a minimum and avoid unnecessary add-ons that could compromise the weight. In this way, customers could customize their Teardrop Trailers according to the capacity of their vehicles,” Irlanda said.

Take the Earth Traveler teardrop trailer camping off-grid

Earth Traveler teardrop trailers are available for purchase online. The standard teardrop (T300) starts at $10,000, and the newest model (T250LX) has a base price of $31,000. Once an order has been submitted, it can take up to 7 months until delivery as these are hand-built, customized units.

The video below gives a sneak peek of the Earth Traveler teardrop trailer, including possible upgrades.

Looking for places to experience off-grid camping with your teardrop trailer or off-road RV? You can find a slew of boondocking sites in locations like national forests and BLM land on Campground Reviews. Plus, RV Trip Wizard helps you plan out your trip to one or more of these places using RV-friendly routes.  

See also: Do You Need Teardrop Camper Insurance?

Author Natalie Henley Avatar

Natalie Henley

Natalie Flores-Henley and her husband, Levi Henley, workamp around the country in their 26-foot motorhome. Along with writing for RV magazines, they recently published their first book together, Seasonal Workamping for a Living: How We Did It. They share their experiences and RV-related tips on their own blog henleyshappytrails.com as well as videos on their YouTube Channel, also called Henley's Happy Trails.

19 thoughts on “Earth Traveler Makes World’s Lightest Teardrop Trailer

  1. $30K and no kitchen !?!
    Plus, isn’t it pretty much a hard top TENT?

    ANTICIPATING your less expensive improved engineering …

    1. There’s a $10,000 one that weighs 300lbs. Insanely good value. You can’t find a trailer that costs less that doesn’t weigh at least 4x as much.

    2. There is a $10,000 one. You can get many portable kitchen gadgets these days, where you can take either in or out of the trailer, you don’t have to be marry to a full heavy kitchen cabinets that you have to drag everywhere. You might be going on a road trip, no necesarily camping. Modular design is the future.

    1. Why would you need a shower & toilet? This is for rugged individualists, not pampered city pansies.

  2. Interesting concept. As owners of a teardrop who travel and camp as often as possible, we have come to enjoy the small size for ease of pulling and setup as well as we have to keep a minimalist attitude because there isn’t a ton of storage. That said, we do have a/c, heat, wet bath, kitchen, we can stand up in it, and it’s hard sided. While the Earth Traveler is lightweight, as you begin to add those things that anyone might want on a trip; propane for cooking, outdoor chairs/table plus the interior stuff such as clothes, hiking gear, kitchen set, etc., you get the idea, you are going to add weight, especially if you are sleeping four people. The GVW is 1200lbs and UVW is 300. Seems like you have 900lbs of weight to add with options, etc., that you will need for all the essentials. I did not see whether the trailer has independent brakes. Their high end model is $30,000 but for that amount of money there are better options with a/c, showers/ etc.

    1. There’s a $10,000 option that still weighs 300 pounds. Doesn’t come with the side tents. Also the 1200lb gvwr is just for when it’s moving. When it’s parked I think it’s rated for 2000lbs

  3. I keep saying this. But If it’s no bigger than this then a tent is a better deal. Especially since
    this is partly tent already. This has to be towed (tent doesn’t) this has to have new tires every 5 years. This has to be registered every year. This requires a place to store it. This has to be washed and waxed. this takes as long to set up as a tent. And this will lower your gas mileage.

  4. wow!!
    I love this idea alot but start at 10k.
    no thanks…. must be made for yuppies but not middle class families. go figure it’s always too good to be true.
    I will he passing on this New Mexico business.

    regards Army Veteran (retired) New Mexico,
    Rob
    🤙🏼👋🏼🤏🏼

    1. You can’t find a single new trailer for under $10,000 with these options that doesn’t weigh 4x as much or more. The price makes sense for people who don’t want to buy a truck, get that truck titled, insured, and pay for horrible gas mileage. You could tow this with a Prius and still get over 35mpg.

  5. Hopefully larger scale manufacturing outfits adapt to this model, while bringing the overall price down. That’s an absurd list price for a pop up tent with wheelbarrow tires. Meanwhile….. compact, almost equally weighted trailer companies in Florida are selling enclosed, hard-paneled, all season trailers for half that price.

    I live in New Mexico as well so while I’m excited to see a home state based company make something potentially incredible, I’m sad that the pricing is so high, 80% of New Mexico’s population couldn’t even afford one.

    1. where in Florida can you buy a camper that’s 300 pounds for $5000 with fold out front, rear, and sides? It’s fully enclosed when the trailer isn’t unfolded. According to them they can also take them off road. I’d like to see a trailer that’s less 3x the weight of this with the same amount of features under $8000.

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