Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Setting Up Camp

So many things about Teardrop Camping are baffling to the uninitiated.

 "Where's the bathroom?"
 "How do I change clothes?"
 "Where do I keep my suitcase?"

 Seriously?  Use some imagination, people!

Last weekend (February 16, 2019) was the Arkansas RV Show in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Several thousand folks entered the Statehouse Convention Center to find one of our awesome little teardrop campers greeting them in the atrium.  It stood alone in that giant room because it was the only camper that would fit through the pedestrian entryway.  It was just a tiny taste of what awaited those visitors down the escalator inside the giant exhibit hall.

Visitors that took a left turn inside the double doors savored the smell of roasting almonds and feasted their eyes on the star of the show - the Gateway Teardrops G-Model tiny camper.   Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic but our little red camper did get a lot of attention.  We were the least expensive camper in the place by several thousand dollars and we were - by far - the cutest camper there.  Lots of people told us so.

The thing that was the most surprising to us was the kind of questions that people asked.  It was as if the giant Class A, Class C and 5th Wheel campers had taken away all their imagination on how to actually camp.  One comment we got was that with a teardrop you WOULD HAVE TO COOK OUTSIDE.  All I could add was that it was .... LIKE WHEN YOU GO CAMPING!

So, where's the bathroom?  How do I change clothes?  Where do I keep my suitcase?

Here's what we showed them:

The freestanding 12x12 canopy covers the teardrop - both side doors and the hatch.  It allows us to keep the vent open even if it rains.  It also provides a nice spot for our changing tent.  The changing tent means we don't have to change clothes lying down in the camper and we have a nice spot for a porta-potty in the middle of the night.  And the suitcase?  It can be left in the tow vehicle.  You pull out the clothes you need for the next day and that's all that goes into the teardrop with you.

And their response?  "Aaaah, that's SOOO smart!"

One of the coolest things about teardrop camping is learning what works for you.  It's about being outdoors and enjoying what nature has to offer.  It is definitely not about sitting inside and watching reruns of Jeopardy.  But if that's what you want, we can tell you exactly where to find one of those 5th Wheels.

You can learn more about our campers at


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Gateway Teardrops: Make Camping Great Again!

We build simple campers at Gateway Teardrops.

Simple campers don't cost a lot to maintain.  Simple campers don't ruin a camping trip when something breaks.  Simple campers are easy to maneuver, easy to hookup, easy to pull, and easy to setup and take down.

Quite simply, simple campers don't cause headaches.

We currently build two models of teardrop campers at Gateway Teardrops and both could be described using our favorite word - "minimalist."  Our SG-Model has the popular teardrop shape first introduced decades ago.  It does not have a rear galley but offers the user the most interior space possible in a teardrop.  It is simply a bed on wheels.  It comes with one side door and enough floorspace to accommodate a standard 60" x 80" queen-sized mattress.

Our G-Model offers the same interior floor space - enough for a queen mattress - and a galley arrangement in the back of the traditional teardrop shape.  Open the rear hatch and you'll find a generously sized stainless steel countertop and a variety of storage spaces ready for all your camp cooking gear.

Neither of our campers has a built-in sink or water system.  We think that a jug full of water and a plastic tub for dishwashing makes a lot more sense.  If your jug leaks you can replace it.  If a waterline under your countertop leaks you could be looking at all kinds of damage and replacement expense.

Neither of our campers has a built-in stove.  Camp stoves available at the local sporting goods store make a lot more sense.  They are replaceable and they can be left at home when we don't need them.  Having a portable stove - instead of a built-in stove - gives us the option of moving our culinary efforts to a campsite picnic table or to a portable table that we might carry along.

Our G-Model teardrop comes equipped with an electrical system that is common to the industry.  A 12-volt battery runs the DC lights and roof vent.  Our AC electrical system is powered through a cord that runs to an external power source like a generator or a campsite electrical plug-in.  The AC system also includes a battery charger that keeps the 12-volt battery ready to go.

Our SG-Model teardrop has no built-in electrical system at all.  Instead, we offer a convenient access port on the side of the unit to allow you to run your own extension cord to the campsite plug-in.  A power strip on the inside provides all the outlets you should really need.  For lighting we can show you dozens of economical LED lanterns, reading lights, and rope lights that all run off AA or AAA batteries that weigh a lot less than a deep cycle 12-volt battery.  You can buy a lot of little batteries for the cost of a 12-volt and a built-in electrical system.

If you live in a region of the country where air conditioning is a way of life then we have you covered.  Both our SG and G-model teardrop campers can be outfitted with a portable air conditioner that can serve you in the summertime or stay at home in the winter when you won't need it.  Part of our "minimalist" philosophy is to never carry something you won't be using.

Travel light and keep it simple.  Make Camping Great Again!

If our ideas appeal to you, check out our website at  We can build you a camper that you will simply love.  



Saturday, December 31, 2016

Is a Teardrop Camper Right for YOU?

Even though teardrop campers have been around for a long time, lots of people have no idea if teardrop camping would be right for them.  In this blog post I'll try to cover one of the most common questions that gets raised.

Can I fit in a teardrop camper?  

The floorspace available for a mattress in the Gateway Teardrops camper is 60" wide by 80" long.  That is the exact size of a standard Queen-sized mattress.  Once you are in and lying down, the bed may even seem a little larger than a standard queen because you can lean against the sidewalls and doors.  You can't do that in a regular bed or you would fall out so that's why it will seem larger.  

There are doors on both sides of the camper so two people don't have to crawl over each other to get in or out.  However, the biggest challenge for a person getting in or out will be their flexibility.  To get in you must back INTO the doorway and sit down onto the bed.  Then you scoot yourself back into the camper until you can draw your knees up to your chest and rotate your entire body so that you can then sit back against the front wall inside the cabin.  From there you will have to scoot down toward the foot of the bed in order to lie down.

If this sounds complicated then maybe you should try a little experiment:  

You can try this on your own bed by pretending your headboard is the front wall of the cabin.  Measure about 14" from the headboard and then another 26" from there.  That 26" space is the door of the teardrop.  Sit yourself down on the edge of the bed in the middle of the 26" space.  (Use a stool if it helps you get farther onto the bed.)  Then using only your hands on the top of the bed, scoot yourself all the way onto the bed, pull your knees up to your chest and then spin around on your butt and rest your back against the headboard.    

The second issue with a teardrop is dressing.  Again, you can try another experiment out in your own bed.  See if you can change clothes while sitting in the middle of your bed with only the headboard and the mattress to push against.  Here's a hint:  Pullovers are easier than buttons and zippers; slip-on shoes are easier than lace-up shoes.        

I'm about 5'11" and weigh 225 pounds.  I'm certainly not as flexible as I used to be but I've learned to get in and out pretty easily.  The best thing to do if you really want to know is to try one out.  Come see us at Gateway Teardrops in Conway, Arkansas, and we will let you crawl in and out as long as it takes to see if it works for you too.  

James Albritton

Saturday, December 24, 2016

How to Sleep in a Gateway Teardrops Camper

     One of the fun things about camping is that there is always something new to learn.  You'll always find people with great ideas about how to do this or that - and usually they'll be very happy to share their knowledge and wisdom with you.  

     Here's what I've learned about camping in a teardrop so far:

     Less is more.  Specifically, the less you have inside the camper with you, the more room you'll have for YOU inside the camper.

    When it's time to turn in after a hard day on the trail, I open my duffle bag and pull out my PJ's (sometimes) and the clothes I plan to wear the next day.  These go into the cabin with me and get placed on the open shelf above the lower part of the bed.  I also change out of my hiking boots trading them for some convenient slip-on shoes.  The duffle bag and the hiking boots stay in the vehicle.  Depending on the weather, I may also leave my jacket in the vehicle.  It's a lot easier to take it off outside the cabin right before I go in than inside where things are a bit tighter.

     I try to make sure that I have everything inside the cabin that I will need during the night and when I first awake the next morning.  If I don't need it for those specific times then I leave it in the vehicle.  The vehicle is my staging area;  the camper is for sleeping.

     Once I climb into the cabin, I can easily pull off my slip-on shoes and place them on the shelf.  They'll be handy if I need them and I don't have to worry about some raccoon absconding with them in the middle of the night.  I peel off the clothes from the day and "slip into something more comfortable" and sit back with a good book or check the responses to my latest blogpost.  The next morning is easy:  my clean clothes are on the shelf alongside my shoes and my glasses are right there where I left them the night before.

     Here's another tip:  Pullovers.  Buttons and zippers are great but pulling a sweatshirt or t-shirt off in a teardrop is a lot easier and it doesn't really require that much planning.

     Clearly, I think the open shelf in the Gateway Teardrops interior design is awesome.  Cabinet doors look great and provide cabinetmakers with fine jobs but when it comes to getting the most out of your teardrop interior, we think the open shelf is a lot more useful.  Everything you have inside a teardrop with you is there temporarily.  Something you plan to wear two days from now or that you wore two days ago is just in the way.  It's all about NOW and shelves work great.... right NOW.

      Maybe some of these tips will help you on your next teardrop camping trip.  If you've got a favorite teardrop camping tip, send it to us.  We might include it in a future blogpost and make you famous in the process!

Happy Camping!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Camping's Next Big Thing

     Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night and wondered why water is dripping on your forehead?

     Have you ever rolled over in your sleeping bag and discovered the one rock you failed to clear out of the way before going to sleep?

     What about that scratching noise on the side of your tent?  Or the sniffing sound you heard on the other side of that mesh screen on that dark, overcast night?

     These are all problems that you might have experienced in a tent....

     Imagine heading out to one of America's great National Parks.  It's fall and the leaves are turning.  The nights are cool and the mornings are chilly.  You wake up in your comfortable queen-sized bed having enjoyed a refreshing night's sleep and you pull on your clean clothes that were folded neatly on the shelf above you.  You pull on your shoes and slip quietly out your side door being careful not to disturb your partner who continues to snooze by the door on her side.

     It's a beautiful morning and your options are endless.  Hiking in the backcountry.  Biking the single-track in that out-of-the-way area.   Or maybe a little kayak-time.  Maybe today you'll see that grizzly that people have been talking about in the drainage above the old ranger cabin.

     First, though, there's breakfast.  You open the hatch on your teardrop and you are reminded of how much easier camping is with a secure place to keep your food and a convenient place to prepare your meals.  Life is good.  And the coffee will be ready in just a few more minutes.  You'll pass a cup through the pass-through cabinet to your partner inside;  you're a hero....and it's still early.

     Fast forward a few hours and you've already worn yourself out on the mountain bike.  A nap sure would be nice.  That reversible vent fan on top of the teardrop is perfection.

     It's the end of another day.  You're exhausted from the afternoon hike, though your exhaustion is tempered by the memories of the brilliant aspen trees and that flash of fur on the switchback below you.  The campfire has burned down and the Milky Way reminds you of your place in the universe.  It's been a good day.  And now it will be a good night as you fall back into your comfy teardrop bed to sleep fast - because tomorrow..... adventure awaits.


       We started Gateway Teardrops last year (2015) and we believe that we have created the perfect get away.  Our camper is simple.  It's lightweight and easy to pull.  It's everything you need and nothing you don't need.  It's camping's next big thing.... all in the most adorable, tiny package.

     Check back here often.  We will update you on our adventures and maybe we'll even convince you that you can do it too.  Gateway Teardrops:  Tiny Campers for Big Adventures!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Gateway Teardrops are on the road!

After countless hours and days of planning, building, re-planning and re-building, our first Teardrop rolled out of the shop last Wednesday, September 16. Last night, Jeff and I finished up the fabrication of two more trailer frames. The shop is starting to look like a production facility. I can hardly wait to get started on more trailers. 

This afternoon I decided it was time to take our first creation out for its maiden voyage, so to speak. I decided a quick overnight trip to a place close to home would be just the thing. It has been quite an evening. At around 4 o'clock I left the house to go pick up the trailer at the shop. A mile and a half from home, my truck quit. I mean quit. Everything was going fine until the engine died. All electrical systems were suddenly gone. I walked home, got in my car and went back to the truck and was able to start it with jumper cables. 

At eight o'clock, after buying a new battery, making a quick trip to the grocery store for some supplies, and retrieving my car, I drove out of town.

I pulled into the Choctaw Campground around nine o'clock and selected a camp site in the dark. I'll see how well I did in the morning. It is close to the bath house. Just dumb luck in the dark. Good for me.

It has been forever, almost, since I went camping in a trailer and never in one this small. I'll have to work on my camping supply list. I remembered to bring a level, but I forgot my pillow. I picked up a few food items and a plate and a bowl, but forgot eating utensils or cooking utensils. I'll have to make a quick trip to town in the morning, or go home. I think I'll go to the store.

I didn't bring a 10 x 10 pop up canopy, but will bring it next time for sure. I really didn't decide to go out until almost 4 o'clock today so it is a wonder that I remembered as much as I did.