What’s the Difference Between a Camper and a Teardrop Trailer?

I’m interested in camping, but I haven’t done much of it in my life. When I heard about the types of vehicles available, like a camper or a teardrop trailer, I wanted to figure out the difference.

What is the difference between a camper and a teardrop trailer? A teardrop is a type of camper trailer that is much smaller than a traditional box-shaped camper. A teardrop gets its name from the small raindrop-shape of the exterior which makes it more aerodynamic so it can be pulled by a smaller vehicle.

Teardrop TrailerTraditional Camper Trailer
CostAvg. $5,000- $15,000Avg. $7,000-$30,000
VersatileYesYes
Sleeping spaceTiny (1-2 people)Large (4-10 people)
Tow weight1,000 – 3,000 pounds3,000 to 15,000 pounds
Storage SpaceLittle or noneMuch more
BathroomsGenerally notYes
RepairsLess, very simpleMore systems to fail
KitchenSometimesYes

Besides size and space, there are still more differences between campers and teardrop trailers. In this article, I will explain some of these differences, and the advantages and disadvantages of each, in more detail.

What are the Advantages of a Teardrop Trailer?

There are several benefits to getting a teardrop trailer. Listed below are some of these advantages, which can then be compared to those of camper trailers.

  • They are easily stored: Many teardrop trailers can fit in garages or driveways, with an average of five to seven feet in width. They will fit in nearly all campgrounds, and won’t put as much pressure on a vehicle to drive around. They are easy to tow around and to store. Teardrop trailers have all more space than camper trailers and are still slightly more spacious.
  • They are low cost: Because teardrop trailers are so much smaller than other forms of camping vehicles, they are much cheaper as well. Unlike large trailers with a lot of amenities and extras, these don’t have a lot, and so they cost a lot less as well. That’s a great advantage if you want to camp on a budget.
  • They have a great aesthetic: These trailers are not bulky, and the teardrop shape gives them a great aesthetic. They can also have things like wooden exteriors and retro paint designs to bring out the personality of the owner. Many people like this type of trailer purely because of the ways it looks!
  • They are versatile: Because of their light weight and the ease in which they can be towed, these trailers can go to a numerous amount of places. They can go offroading and in tighter spots than perhaps a camping vehicle of a larger size.
  • They are easy to tow: Unlike¬†camper¬†trailers, these are a bit easier to tow around. This is because they are heavier, and so don’t swing around as much, making backing up and turning a bit easier for the driver.

What are the Disadvantages of a Teardrop Trailer?

Teardrop trailers seem great, but they do also come with some disadvantages that are important to consider.

  • They are pretty small: Teardrop trailers are of the smallest type of camping trailer. This means that if you have a large family or simply want a lot of space, you might not get that with this kind of trailer. This also means that there is limited storage, so it could be difficult for long road trips.
  • They generally don’t have bathrooms: This can be a huge disadvantage for people who need a little luxury in their camping. Teardrop trailers don’t always have the space or capability to have bathrooms. However, pop-up and portable toilets and showers are still an option.
  • They don’t always have kitchens: Again, because of their size, these types of trailers don’t often have room for fully functional indoor kitchens. Most do, however, have a clamshell back that opens and can hold kitchen gear, and many campsites have cooking areas available outdoors.

What are the Advantages of a Camper Trailer?

Campers have many differences in size, style, and function to each other, but there are some advantages that they have in general.

  • Far more room: You can sleep many more people, have space for a kitchen, multiple beds, a bathroom and shower, etc.
  • They are more versatile: With a teardrop, you have few options. Want to bring an atv that you later acquire? Sorry, no place for that (unless you have a large enough truck bed, which most aren’t big enough since you’d have to put the tailgate down which gets in the way of towing). Have a child and need one more sleeping space? Sorry, no more room. Want to camp for a week and need a shower and bathroom? Sorry. With a teardrop, your options are limited. A camper trailer allows much more versatility.

What are the Disadvantages of a Camper Trailer?

Camper trailers also, unfortunately, come with a few disadvantages, especially when compared with teardrop trailers.

  • They need more repairs: If you’re buying your first camper, get used to the fact that ALL campers require REGULAR repairs. Campers are very complicated systems. They have lots of electrical, plumbing, furniture and cabinets, etc. It’s an entire house shrunk down into a towable. Things break regularly no matter if you get a new one or a good brand. On a teardrop things can obviously break too, but the system is much more simplified so there are fewer things to go wrong.
  • They need to be set up: Unlike teardrop trailers that typically come ready to go, larger traditional camper trailers require a few more minutes of setup. This can take up time, and while it may not be extremely difficult, it can still be one more thing to do.
  • Drivers need to be careful: Of course, drivers should always be careful, but with camper trailers, it’s important so that the trailer does not get damaged or create a hazardous situation for the driver. It can be less maneuverable and more apt to swing around when being towed than a teardrop trailer, and so the driver must be cautious and pay attention when making turns or if it’s windy so the camper trailer makes it to the destination safely.

Is One Better than the Other?

When it comes to camping, everyone is different. How much space you want, or how much storage, can vary. If you want a more authentic experience or if you don’t mind setting up your campsite can affect what type of trailer you may want to get.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both, it all just depends on the camping style that you feel is best for you.

Related Questions:

Do you need a license to tow a trailer? If you have a regular car license, you can tow trailers weighing no more than 750kg. You can also tow heavier trailers with a car as long as the total weight of vehicle and trailer isn’t more than 3,500kg.

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