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.
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.”
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.
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 RV LIFE Campgrounds. Plus, RV LIFE 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?