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THE STORY OF ONE MAN'S EFFORT
TO BUILD A TEARDROP TRAILER

 
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THE CROCODILE TEAR STORY

ONCE UPON A TIME
When I was a kid in Colorado, the lady who lived up the mountain from us had a tiny trailer. It was a “teardrop” trailer. I liked it. But I never saw anything like it during the next half century. After Hurricane Rita blew through, I thought about all the people who were forced to evacuate with nothing but the clothes on their backs. I decided to build a “bug-out” trailer that I could use as a travel trailer besides. (See “72-Hour Kit” section for more information.)
I set these priorities for building my “bug-out” trailer:
  1 - Get the most possible trailer in the least possible space.
  2 - Use materials available, buy as little as possible.
  3 - Modify teardrop shape to get the most interior height.
  4 - Build in plenty of storage space.
  5 - Build in electrical outlets, lights, fans, etc.
  6 - Build to last; don’t worry about weight.

USE INTERNET FOR RESEARCH
I spent two months looking at teardrop trailers on the Internet. I decided what I liked and didn’t like. Many of my questions had already been asked and discussed on the Teardrops and Tiny Trailers Forum. Then I got together all the accessories I wanted to include in the trailer. These included a porta-potty, small air conditioner, propane tank, Rubbermaid plastic storage boxes, a 7-gallon Aquatainer water jug from Wal-Mart, dishpans for the sink, interior lights and fans, a CB radio, etc. If it’s your teardrop trailer, you make your own list. I didn’t add the cost of the accessories into the trailer building cost because they were removable and might be used elsewhere. Once I decided the accessories I wanted in my teardrop trailer, I put a piece of 4’ x 8’ plywood on the floor. I put the accessories on the plywood and designed the trailer around them. I even put me on the plywood to be sure there would be enough length to sleep comfortably!

SCROUNGE WHAT YOU CAN
Do you know the word “scrounge?” I’m a good scrounger. I’m cheap, and I have more time than money. I used a welded metal frame from an old motorcycle trailer and wood left over from building my house. I got a spool of 14-gage wire, clearance lights, propane stove, and lights and fans from garage sales. Friends gave me the door, sheets of plywood for sidewalls, diamond plate for the front and rear, and tires and wheels. I had to buy glue, caulk, hardware, plywood for the floor and under-floor boxes, Styrofoam and other insulation, two windows, and metal to go on the outside of the trailer. The big scrounger paid $593 for the stuff needed to build the Crocodile Tear teardrop trailer.

DIMENSIONS
The Crocodile Tear’s body is 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 8 feet 8 inches long. With the trailer tongue added, overall length is 10 feet 8 inches. It has an empty weight of about 1,000 pounds. Almost any vehicle can tow it. It has 16 square feet of frontal area, just like the originals. It has rounded curves that smooth off the square front. The roof is flat, the hatch behind the roof is flat, and the rear end is flat. If it’s shaped like this, is it really a teardrop trailer? I think so, but I care more about comfort and storage space than making pretty curves. Other people see the outside; I live on the inside.

MUCH BETTER THAN A TENT
The Crocodile Tear is a tremendous improvement over the tents I have slept in for the last 50 years! There’s room for a thick, soft mattress. I sleep off the ground, warm in the winter and not too hot in summer. I have lights inside, fans to move the air, electrical outlets for a radio, and even a closet to hang up my clothes. When it’s time to cook, I don’t have to start a campfire. My trusty two-burner propane stove is ready in the galley, with 7 gallons of fresh water and a sink, and food that doesn’t have ants in it. I keep food cool in an ice cooler.

BUILD TIME
I estimated it would take 3 months to build the trailer. I started on January 1, 2006. Just 9-1/2 months later, on Oct. 26, 2006, the license plates went on. It took me 469 hours to finish the trailer. Overall, I enjoyed it.

NAMING MY TRAILER
The “Crocodile Tear” is a unique name, I believe. It came about when I saw how much money people spent to buy a trailer they would use a few weekends each year. They’d gripe about the price. Being a talented scrounger, I designed and built my own trailer for $593. When I’d hear them gripe, all I had for them was a crocodile tear! Aha, great name!

 


Copyright 2006 CrocodileTear.com All rights reserved. The information, photos, and graphics on this website may not be reproduced, republished, copied, or mirrored onto another website or forum, or offered on CD, DVD, or printed material without written permission of the owner of CrocodileTear.com. No commercial use allowed. Permission to print information and photos from this website for educational, noncommercial purposes is granted to any individual who wants to build his own teardrop trailer.

Website designed by Tim Civick

 


 

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

"When I hear people gripe about how much money they spend on a trailer, all I have is a crocodile tear!"

WHAT'S IN A PICTURE?

Look at Planning, and Construction Photos to see about 70 pictures taken during construction.

CONTACT THE BUILDER

Want to ask a question or just say hi? Contact the Builder.