Tips n Tricks

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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. 

Right Attitude

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!"


Embrace the outdoors


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 nearby.

Camping is about being outside, soaking up the wonders of Mother Nature.  Get out there and enjoy it.

Be adventurous

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 grownups.

Be stylish

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 happy.)


Right Gear


Well, you are on a teardrop website, what did you expect?



esky & stone guard.jpg (77076 bytes)

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 charge up. 

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. 


Tarp/ Annex

7 annexonlykitchenwall.jpg (84557 bytes)

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 you set 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.

beach camping Girraween camping

Battery Backup

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" principle again.


Second Door

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.jpg (56518 bytes)standard door with sliding window

newEurodoor1web.jpg (66539 bytes) split screen security doors

Tips n Tricks

Spare Tyres

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. 


The Kitchenette

Leroy's setup

Custom built kitchen

Teardrop camper 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.


General Tips

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. 


Go Camping

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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