DIY RV Solutions
Stitches n Things
The secret to enjoying camping of any sort is to have the the
right attitude, right gear and a few tips and tricks up your sleeve.
Keep it simple
|To camp well, you don't need to
recreate a mini home. It's camping. You are going away to get away
from it all. You need somewhere to sleep, somewhere to make a
cuppa and serve up food and somewhere to relax. The easier it is to get out
there, the more often you will go.
A teardrop has a comfy bed. The kitchenette at the
back can be accessed anytime and food smells are kept out of the bedroom.
Best of all you have as much room to cook and relax as the campsite you have
picked allows. As one teardropper says, he loves his kitchen, "...
There is so much room to move. Acres in fact!"
|I have seen a motorhome drive
into the caravan park at one of Australia's most glorious coastal points.
It stayed for two nights and drove away again, but I never saw the
people who were living in it. They had their air conditioning and TV
running and used their own facilities and I had to wonder why on earth they
bothered? They didn't get out and smell the coastal breeze. They
weren't down on the beach drinking wine at sunset and they didn't enjoy a
barbeque under the stars, listening to the soothing roll of the waves
Camping is about being outside, soaking up
the wonders of Mother Nature. Get out there and enjoy it.
|Travel the road less travelled.
One of the beauties of teardrops is that they are lightweight and compact
enough that you can pretty well ignore those signs that say "road not
suitable for caravans." The offroad version can take you all sorts of
places and who said you can only use your teardrop for camping? Camp in
the back yard. Take your own bed to a party. Use it as a spare room
when kids are over to stay the night, it feels like a cubby house, even for
|Just because we advocate
simplicity, doesn't mean we don't care about looks. On the contrary.
Simplicity is the ultimate in classic style and a teardrop is the perfect
accessory for any classic or vintage car.
Every detail of an Aussie Teardrop Camper is focused on
smooth lines, classic finishes and long lasting craftsmanship, so it is
important that you take care of you and your tow vehicle. You can't camp in a teardrop in your nastiest 20 year old
painting track pants and not shower for a week. (Ok, so we won't send the fashion
police after you for wearing trackpants, but teardrops really do
look great behind a classic car... and personal hygiene keeps everyone
|Well, you are on a teardrop
website, what did you expect?
|This doesn't have to be fitted
to the teardrop, although the A-frame is a perfect spot for one. Many
people keep their esky inside the car for cool snacks on the road.
Some keep it in the boot. The thing to remember is that there is nothing worse than warm beer, so even
on a one night stop over, you probably need something.
People have asked us if we can fit a 12v fridge on the
teardrop. The answer is, "Sure". You can customise your teardrop as
much as you like. Just remember one of the core principles of teardrop
camping is "Keep it Simple". So don't go overboard. 12V fridges and especially fridge/freezers use a fair
amount of power and can easily flatten a standard car battery in 24 hours. So if you choose to go this way, you will need to
watch your batteries or only stay where you can get 240v power to
We use Evakool eskies,
which are top of the range. They keep things cold for a good couple of
days without needing a change of ice, especially if you use a mix of solid
blocks and crushed ice. We tend to also put a wet towel or insulated
cover over the esky to keep the sun off it. If we do need to top it up, we can pick up ice in most places
with the morning bread and milk and
we certainly aren't reliant on being able to find a powered site.
|One of the stand out features of
a teardrop is that you don't have to do any setup. If you come in late
at night and intend on leaving first thing next day, just hop in and sleep
and off you go.
If you are planning to stay, even for a day, we suggest
up a tarp or something similar for a bit of shade. The best solution is one that covers the
whole teardrop and kitchen as you would be surprised at how much cooler it is,
especially up here in the Queensland sun.
The simplest solution that we use is a 4mx6m tarp with 4
poles. Very quick and easy to set up. Another option is the
teardrop annex. The advantage of this
is that it is made of canvas (which is less noisy than plastic on a windy
night) and you can attach as many walls as you need if the sun or wind is
pushing in from the side. A friend of ours in a wheel chair tends to
put his tarp on the side of the teardrop and a few teardroppers further
north of here use the gazebos that people use for markets - showing that every teardrop and
teardrop owner have their own character and you need to think about what
works for you.
So does this still meet the "Keep it Simple" principle?
We think it does, because you only put up shade if you need it, and if it is
wet, you are not folding down canvas on top of your bed.
|Our standard teardrops run
12Vpower from their tow vehicle. If you are using gas stoves and only
running the occasional light and music in the teardrop, this is all you
need. It is handy, but not necessary, to
add an extra battery for your teardrop to draw power from, with no chance of
flattening the car's battery. This is particularly important if you
intend to run appliances such as a 12V fridge. If we fit a
battery pack, we include a battery charger so the battery can be recharged
in a powered site.
It is also possible to have a licensed electrician fit 240V,
or to have an auto electrician run wires so that the spare battery can be
recharged from the running of the car. We will be using this second option
in the heavy duty offroad version, but it isn't necessary for everyone. It's that "Keep it Simple"
|Adding a second entry door is
probably the most popular upgrade on our standard model, which has a door on
one side and a window on the other. We don't fit them standard because
we try not to include options, and therefore costs, to the standard model
that not everyone needs. There are plenty of singles out there who
don't need, or want the second door, but it is definitely handy to be able
to hop out at night on either side.
The second most popular upgrade is to the security doors.
We have sold a few teardrops to single women who like the lock up safety of the
teardrop and like the additional security these split screen doors offer. They are
also popular because they have a full door of air space, as opposed to the
sliding window which is quite a bit smaller. Having said that, the
standard doors have their advantages too, as the window can easily be opened
and closed from the inside.
door with sliding window
split screen security doors
Tips n Tricks
|We don't generally
carry a spare tyre specifically for the teardrop. We recommend you
match your stud pattern to your car so you can carry one spare for both.
We also carry a puncture repair kit, including a tyre foam can and we
practiced using them at home to make sure we knew how to use them in the
case of an emergency. This should be sufficient for most people who
are travelling in towns where getting to a garage for a proper replacement
isn't too much trouble. When we travelled to Birdsville, on the other
hand, we carried two spares for the Landcruiser and two for the teardrop,
even though they had the same stud pattern. It pays to be prepared
when you are travelling the road less travelled.
Where to set up
|The teardrop camper
is compact enough that there aren't many places you can't get in to, and it
is light enough that if you are really cramped for space or get stuck trying
to maneuver it, you can unhook it from the car and push it around. There is
only one proviso on this:
DON'T park on a hill and unhook the teardrop from the
tow vehicle with no chocks under the wheels.
We tend to leave the teardrop hooked up to the car unless
we are taking a short drive to the shops or somewhere during the day and
want to leave the campsite setup. Ok, so part of this is laziness, we
just don't bother unhooking it, but it also necessary if you want to run the
lights from the car battery. For the security conscious, you can buy
tow ball locks to keep the teardrop safe, but we have never bothered with
this or had any hassles.
The teardrop is more comfy if it is level, or slightly
raised at the front, so think about this when you are setting up your site.
You can adjust the level with the jockey wheel if you run into strife.
Custom built kitchen
trailers offer some great advantages for food prep, in that you can pull up
on the side of the road to make a quick snack and cup of coffee with no fuss
and no rummaging under mattresses. The standard teardrop doesn't have
a stove and sink permanently fitted as this limits you to how you use your
space, although we are putting together a deluxe version for those who
prefer the idea of a fixed kitchen.
It all comes down to personal style and I am yet to see
two teardrop owners with the same kitchen layout... some are only looking
for the absolute basics as they tend to eat out at the local pub or
restaurant, while others see camping as a travelling foodathon, as passionate about their cooking as they are about
being out and about. Most people already have their favourite camp cooking gear
and most are happy with a plastic basin for washing up. The added
bonus of the plastic basin is you can take it away from the teardrop when
you are washing up so
there is no fear of spills or leaks into the camper.
How do we set up? We use a few plastic or cane boxes as draws to keep things
neat and tidy and the plastic container doubles as a washing basin. We tend to carry a basic single or two burner cooker in the kitchenette with a
Cobb Cooker in the boot of
the car. The single burner is great for most occasions, for making a
quick coffee or heating up a meal, while the Cobb is ideal when you are
relaxing by the campsite and want to finish off the day with something special.
There is nothing nicer than a Cobb cooked roast.
|Some people have
asked, "If you can't stand up, where do you get changed?" We often
stay in a caravan park, or at a friends place, so we have a backpack each
sitting on the top shelf of the kitchenette and just take that down to the
facilities to get changed. If sleeping "a la naturale" it is easy
enough to shuffle in and out of pajamas or shorts and a t-shirt inside the
camper, as there is plenty of head room on top of the bed. And if we
are out in the middle of no where, we just change under the stars. If
you are really shy, and need to stand up, you can use one of the many shower
tents that are available, or set up a dome tent next to the camper as a
change room. As with all things in a teardrop, the beauty is you only
need to set this up if you really need it.
|Bugs can wreck a
good camping trip. Check your proposed site for ant nests before you
set up. Keep the teardrop shut as much as possible from just before
dusk to stop bugs entering. Hang your light slightly away from where
you are sitting so the they don't hover above you. Make sure you pack
sandalwood or citronella sticks and personal bug repellant.
Make sure your camping pack includes toilet paper, paper
towel, alfoil and storage bags, they come in handy for all sorts of reasons.
Freeze drinks, meats and other items to help boost the
effectiveness of your cooler. Keep all cooler items in water proof
containers, preferably vacuum packed, to stop cross-contamination and to
better use the the space you have available.
Tips aren't always fun. Some are even a little
boring, but well worth thinking about. For example:
Let someone know where you are going, and when you are
expected back and carry a first aid kit. Find out if your phone will
work where you are going.
Be fire aware. Do not leave camp fires unattended
or smoldering. Keep gas canisters upright, sealed and well
ventilated. Make sure you use fire proof cooking equipment (fires
aren't controlled liked home stoves.)
Last, but not least... be considerate. We are all out
camping to enjoy life and natures wonders. Dispose of all rubbish
thoughtfully and in many cases, this means take it with you. Ensure all
rubbish and food cannot be reached by the local wildlife. Be
thoughtful of the noise you are making, especially at night.
|The best way to
learn about camping is to get out there, talk to other campers and find out
what works for you. Take a note pad so you can jot down your own tips
n ticks to try out next time. Enjoy!
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