Hindsight is 20/20. This trailer build lasts to this day but it isn’t without its problems and quirks. It really is a decent trailer. Not bad for a first attempt made in a time when there wasn’t nearly as much information and there is available now. Yet, there are some major material, process, and design ideas I’d change if I did it again.
Learn From My Mistakes
I cover some of my biggest mistakes with this trailer build & the most important components to focus on in a teardrop build in the Jumpstart Your Build video lesson.
After more than a decade and a half of teardrop trailer production, I know so much more that I wish I had known in 2007. Learn from my mistakes.
The Short List that I'd do differently with the jPod:
- Buy a Torsion Axle that was rated for 1200 lbs. – the spring axle & shock combo was just too much for the trailer body. Everything bounced around in there too much. Plus, I relied on a shock combo that was no future-proofed. It went out of production – I should have seen that it was being scaled back by the manufacturer. Another costly time and money mistake so I could save some cash up front. Not worth it.
- Interior cabinetry should have been taller. It worked alright but an extra 6 inches in height was completely possible and would have made a big difference for storage.
- I would put a full time sleep futon mattress in my trailer. The foam didn’t last long and was replaced many times. Too much time and money spent on that.
- ABSOLUTELY – I would have put a sheet finish on the outside of the trailer instead of the fiberglass (either a metal sheet or filon sheet). Actually, I ended up wrapping the entire trailer in aluminum. The maintenance on the trailer’s finish was nearly constant. So much for saving time and money…
- Change the Body profile. I ended up tearing the galley hatch off, tearing off about 1 foot of the roof and reshaping the profile of the trailer to make the transition from roof to galley hatch a smoother radius. That eliminated binding in the hinge. I also had to move the roof down into the galley because it didn’t fit the dimensions of the sheet aluminum I was finishing the exterior of the galley hatch.
- I would COMPLETELY rely on much more experience to build my galley hatch. This trailer ended up having 3 different hatches built for it. It took a while to get the strength, weight, and sealing ability of the hatch that many tries before it worked pretty well.
- Add rock-guards around trailer lights. This is a good suggestion as other teardrop trailers are getting little nicks and cracks from rocks (on the mikenchell forum), I’m going to fabricate some steel shields for the trailer lights.
- This teardrop trailer frame is WAY overbuilt and channel steel would be plenty for off-road use. I’d use this Teardrop Trailer Frame if I were to do it again.
- For stability, I’d go with an A-frame-style tongue. Plus it increases the area for storage when towing.
- SO SO SO Many trips to the hardware store – When I built this trailer, there were no available kits for teardrop trailers. I would have saved hours and money just by purchasing several small or complete DIY Teardrop Trailer kits.
Why I’d Get DIY Teardrop Trailer Plans
If I were to do it again, I’d get some solid plans and then get creative on that good foundation.
In one sentence: “You can get all of the right information from someone who’s already figured it out.”
A good set of teardrop camper plans:
- SAVE TIME – Figuring out how raw materials will fit together and which ones are the best is time-consuming. It shouldn’t take hours and many websites to find the most important things you need to know before building!
- SAVE MONEY – Minimize building material waste with cut lists that efficiently use as little material as possible. Get just the right parts to build it right and build it once.
- MORE CONFIDENCE – peace of mind that the trailer you build is watertight and made for a lot of use.
DIY Teardrop Trailer Plans by Overland Trailer
The Overland Teardrop Trailer DIY Plans are the exact plans we’ve built our commercial trailers from since 2008.
It is unlikely that a first DIY build produces a great set of plans but plans that are in regular use for years make a really great teardrop trailer build.
Our Plans for DIY Teardrop Campers are optimized for minimum waste and cost. The build processes are streamlined for efficient use of time – while keeping the high-quality outcome that we’re known for in our commercial teardrops.
Mark (Owner at Overland Trailer) is a 14-year experienced educator who is a master at explaining difficult topics to people (Pre-Calculus, analytical geometry, US Government). That “teacher” skill set is fully present in these plans.
Take Your First Step
Get your first set of Overland Teardrop Trailer Plans and start building your own teardrop camper. We suggest starting with the teardrop trailer frame.
View all of the Overland Teardrop Trailer Plans
Your Success as a Teardrop Builder
Keep it simple – that’s what teardrop camping is all about. Save time, money, and build confidence with a great set of plans. Put your fingerprints all over these plans with all of your creative camping wants built-in.
Confidently drive away from home with your own teardrop trailer knowing that it is pre-tested through real plans, and still has all of your creative touches.