How To Build A Teardrop Camper: A Detailed Guide

A teardrop trailer is a tiny, lightweight camping trailer. It can easily be towed with any car, this type of trailer can only accommodate two people with storage and a kitchen galley under a rear hatch. The beautiful thing about this trailer is that it doesn’t have to be configured this way.

Since you build it yourself, you can create and install just about any option you want. From extra bunk space to entertainment centers, it’s your trailer. So, have it your way.

You can build a teardrop camper, provided you have all the right tools and equipment. As a camper enthusiast, building a teardrop camper is one of the necessary things you should learn how to do.

With a small budget, you can start the project, but you may require some assistance if you’re working under a deadline.

First, you need to build the walls.

Having teardrop trailer plans is the right way to go. But first, you need to build the trailer base or foundation, and then install the framing meticulously to fit your preplanned measurements.

It is important to follow the right measurements from the go because mistakes can easily seep throughout your project. As far as framing is concerned, you need a perfect balance between the woodcuts and the precise measurements.

For beginners, if you want to enjoy cost savings, you can use a measurement of two-by-three on the framing. And while this means more time to cut the boards into the right sizes, you will enjoy cost savings over time.

If you really want to make every penny count, then you should find someone to help you cut the wood boards for the framing.

But before you start on framing, there are a few things you need to consider. First, you need to determine the right size for the doors and windows; this is commonly referred to as rough-opening when framing. 

Nonetheless, unlike most of the windows you have in your house, the windows you need to install on the frame should have circular edges. But this can make the framing somewhat tricky to some extent.

Visit the salvage yard.

A teardrop camper parked in a camp ground

As a suggestion, you can salvage local yards to look for doors and windows if you want to save a few bucks. This way, you can save some money instead of buying new windows and doors.

For example, new windows and doors will cost you about $900. As you can see, this is pretty steep if you are working on a low budget. If you want to slash the price for the project, buying a $200 door is adequate.

Installing plywood at the interior

You need to buy quality plywood to install in the interior of the camper trailer. After you have installed the plywood, your camper should have solid stability.

It should stand up uprightly without the use of clamps. After that, you need to install a hard foam to insulate the framing. Each pocket on your framing should be appropriately insulated.

More importantly, ensure you cut the foam sheets into the specific size that you desire.

Next, you should build a trim out for the electrical wiring. After you complete this process, you need to cover the pockets with proper foam insulation.

Ensure all the pockets are appropriately insulated on the frame to ensure the camper keeps you warm.

While this project might feel intensive, it absolutely worth it! Understand that minor imperfections can easily crop up on your design during construction.

But this is expected, don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t strive for perfection when building the teardrop camper and work with what you have.


You should install the vent at the top of your camper; this will promote air circulation when you have closed your doors and windows.

After you complete installing the vents, you can fix porch lights above the doors to provide the much-needed light at night when camping off-grid.

As your teardrop camper slowly takes shape, ensure its weight is evenly distributed. The camper should have the right weight so that it can connect properly on the tongue.

You can space out the tires properly on your teardrop trailer to distribute the weight evenly. You may have to do extensive welding to align the wheels on the trailer.

If you have an assistant, this should be fairly easy to accomplish without difficulty. Most of the time, the back hatch may pose a challenge during construction.

In fact, you might have to make the design more robust to ensure the back hatch is aligned in place correctly. Subsequently, determine the type of skin you want to install on the exterior.

What is the most inexpensive way to install quality exterior skin on your camper? There are many options you can consider. If you’re confused about how to go about it, you might want to check the video below.

While there are many teardrop camper designs, here are some of the best designs you can try, complete with detailed instructions and engineering plans.

1. The egg-shaped design

the egg shaped teardrop camper

This teardrop camper trailer is smaller than the typical 8-foot trailer. For that reason, you need to ensure you have adequate sleeping space when designing the interior.

For people who are vulnerable to claustrophobia, this isn’t the best design for them. Since the trailer design is quite small, you should create a sketch of the trailer on cardboard before you start to build it.

However, this design doesn’t allow you to add all the creature comforts you desire. Working on limited space, you only need to pack a few items.

Although this camper is not spacious, it’s an essential utility when camping. More importantly, all vehicle types can easily tow this small trailer.

2. The Widget

The widget of a teardrop camper

This teardrop trailer is suitable for camping during winter. When compared to the typical teardrop trailer, this camper is somewhat different.

Moreover, it includes a galley and footwell that provide a headroom space of about five feet. You can also install the Widget to complement your onboard toilet.

3. 2 + 2 design

How can you build a customized teardrop camper if you have kids?

Not spacious enough, you say? The teardrop camper shown above can accommodate two kids and two adults. The sleeping quarters are well-engineered.

You can design the kids sleeping quarters as demonstrated above, and the parents can sleep below.

Cut two portholes where the kids can out peep through the cabin while still in their sleeping position. Additionally, you can even design hidden storage compartments next to the wheels beneath the sleeping bunks.

4. A simple design

a simple teardrop camper design

To minimize the cost when building a teardrop camper, you can sacrifice comfort and trailer and build a utility trailer. Using a simple and straightforward teardrop trailer design, you can use 4-by-8 measurements.

This utility trailer is popular among DIY camping enthusiasts. Some of the materials you can use for construction include ¾ inch plywood on the floor, ½ plywood on the frame and the sides, and ¼ plywood at the back, top, and front.

You can make the camper more lightweight by using heavier or thinner plywood sheets. Also, consider less or more ribbing during construction.

This design has simple wooden doors and plastic windows. It’s, therefore, light, cheap, and easy to build. No matter the design you decide to implement, you need to factor in the cost.

Choose a design that is economical and straightforward. And though you may have great ideas for your design, remember you can’t take any step without cash.

Therefore, prioritize what’s important and stick to your budget. Create a list of wants and needs in separate categories to determine the amount of money you can allocate for each.

However, remember that plans don’t always work out to your expectation and hence avoid perfection when building your teardrop camper.

Persevere to conquer

When building your teardrop camper, you might easily feel discouraged when you are unable to meet your deadlines. What’s more, what happens if you run out of money? How can you stay motivated to finish the project? 

It’s always advisable to stay motivated in anything you set out to do, especially when you enjoy camping. Take a break and pat yourself on the back for all the progress you have made.

After working on the trailer camper the entire day, you definitely deserve a break, as this will help you figure out what you need to do to complete the project. It is okay to feel discouraged but keep heart.

You have come so far to give up, right? What could go wrong? Put simply, believing in yourself is the only way to ensure you complete the project successfully. Push forward, and don’t let anything distract you from your goals.

After you complete working on the interior, install the electrical wiring, and then insulate accordingly. Once you are done, your teardrop trailer will start to take shape. You can install 4-by-8 sheets that are 1 inch thick. 

Measure the sheets to fit and cut to the desired specifications.

When you install the sheets, you can use blue skin – a powerful adhesive that consists of an effective SBS asphalt compound. It is then laminated on the high-density self-adhering film.

This membrane will perfectly adhere to the substrate, providing an excellent waterproofing barrier. In addition to supplying the insulation needed, it will also help to keep you warm.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *