Teardrop campers were the perfect option for the Berry family
Cait Berry spent hours and hours on her computer trying to find the ideal camper for her young family and three dogs.
Cait Berry spent hours and hours on her computer trying to find the perfect camper for her young family and three dogs. They have a midsize SUV that doesn’t have high towing capacity, so a big rig was out, as was a camper van, because car seats for her 4- and 2-year-old girls would eat up most of the space.
She finally came across an adorable teardrop camper from Jerry’s Camping Center. They placed an order and originally thought the camper would be ready in 60 days. They started planning trips for July and August 2020, but manufacturing delays squashed those plans. When their camper finally came in October, they headed south. “Our families were not getting together for holidays, we have flexibility in our lives and our careers, so we were like, ‘You know what, let’s take the whole month of December,’ ” says Berry, who works in real estate, as does her husband. They went down through Nashville, making their way to Florida and then to Charleston, North Carolina. The trip back took them through Tennessee and Kentucky.
“We might do that every year,” she says.
The Berry family was not into RV-ing before COVID-19, and Berry says she doesn’t think they would have bought an RV if it weren’t for the pandemic. Besides using it as a safe way to get out of the house for a vacation, the RV gives Berry peace of mind in case there’s ever an emergency.
“Obviously, it’s with great privilege that we have an RV, but it’s nice to know that we have it,” she says. “If we ever really need to just grab our whole family and grab our dogs and grab some of our valuables, we would be able to hit the road and get out of Madison if we needed to.”
Berry doesn’t consider herself a hardcore camper — there’s a full bathroom, shower, stove, microwave, sink, pantry and refrigerator in the teardrop. “It’s definitely not roughing it,” she says. “We have a queen-size bed and a twin-size bed in there so there’s sleeping for all of us.” She’s a self-proclaimed foodie, so they opted mostly to get curbside pickup on the December trip.
But Berry says she’s excited to get a bit more outdoorsy with the teardrop this summer and hopes to check off some national parks. She’s already thinking about her next RV. “I’m already looking at getting an Airstream and upgrading a tow vehicle so we can do something that’s even bigger,” she says. “I think it would be cool, too, to bring my mom and her partner along.”
But her 4-year-old, Olivia, is a fan of the teardrop right now. “She calls it ‘the bus,’” Berry says. “She said, ‘I like the bus better than our house.’ I was like, ‘Burn.’ We just built a new house.”
The Timeless Teardrop
You’ll know the minute you see one how the “teardrop” trailer got its name. Some are small enough that they only fit a bed for two, and may have outdoor kitchen pullouts in the back. Other larger, more modern versions provide a mini house on wheels that fits two adults, two small kids and pets, like the Berry family. The origin of the oblong camper dates back to the appearance of a teardrop trailer design that appeared in a few magazines in the 1930s. It was described as a lightweight, fuel-efficient tow that you could make yourself with plywood and other materials obtained from World War II surplus markets at an affordable price. People were pretty much over teardrops by the late 1950s and 1960s as bigger campers hit the market. But the diminutive campers made a comeback, and today they’re an attractive choice (with endless options and price points) for those who can only tow at low capacity and only need a simple setup.
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