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One man’s junk becomes another man’s treas...camper

- by Bob Phillips -

Here’s proof that a serviceable teardrop camper doesn’t require a big bundle of cash. D. Derek Drury built his cheap but stylish little teardrop with mostly discarded materials. It’s built on a small “folding” trailer with a frame tailored from PVC pipe that he found discarded in a dumpster. Weighing just 605 pounds, it is light enough to remove from the trailer, if it’s needed for hauling.

The idea for a small camper came to Derek a couple of years ago when he no longer needed the trailer to haul a lawn tractor. He thought his idea was unique, unaware at the time that tiny trailers were in vogue and that their popularity is growing.

“I thought my idea to create a micro-camper was original until the Internet informed me that folks have been doing this for years.  They called them “teardrop campers” – and they were cool!

“I hope to someday build a nice teardrop camper like those I see in CoolTears magazine.  But in 2016, if I wanted a camper I had to work within certain constraints. It needed to convert back into a utility trailer (just in case);  it needed to be as close to ‘free’ as possible (I am somewhat renowned for shamelessly re-purposing what my neighbors drag to the curb); and it had to be simple. My work/family commitments left me limited time for a garage side project.

“I began accumulating discarded plywood for a traditional teardrop build. This plan changed the day I noticed that a local church had discarded multiple dry-erase boards. While dumpster-diving for the white-boards, I discovered the church had also thrown away its portable puppet-show stages. I suddenly became the grateful owner of a lot of PVC pipe and fittings.

“After talking with her about the design, she had some issues. She didn’t want a kitchen since all of our cooking stuff was set up for tent camping. Also, she wanted a little floor space for the Porta Potty too. So I threw out the plans for the teardrop and decided on a squaredrop.”