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Is a teardrop fit for oldies?


Dear Mr Editor, as a 77-year-young pensioner, I buy and read your wonderful magazine every month. My problem is that I don’t have a caravan and I want to start caravanning again with my wife of 53 years.

In 2017 you featured teardrop trailers twice. What should I do? Buy a teardrop trailer, or maybe a tent trailer? Climbing up and down ladders to a rooftop tent is not for me or my wife!

It seems that I would need to bend down and crawl around inside a teardrop, if I bought one? That is not for us either! Old bones don’t make such contortions easy.

In your November issue, you say that you lived inside a teardrop trailer on the trip to St Lucia, a place I used to know well as I lived in Zululand for 15 years.

As no enclosed side tent was used, I have some questions to ask − I hope not too personal.

If there is only one small door, then climbing over each other would be the norm in going to the ablution. This could be a challenge for older folks.

With no standing room, would all changing of clothes have to be done in a sitting position inside? The gazebo tent shown in the article gives no privacy at all. Once you get out of the door you are exposed to the elements and the public.

Where are clothes stored?

Because the kitchen area at the back is not connected to the sleeping area, this trailer is what I call a “fair weather” trailer: All cooking done outside. It would seem to me, therefore, that a side tent which goes around and covers the kitchen area is essential.

Where is the place for the porta potti??

I know the VW kombi doubled as extra storage for you, but many folks do not have such a luxury, and tow with a small car.

I am really not trying to be critical, but it seems to me that teardrop trailers are “age restricted”!

Having come to the end of this letter, I feel that maybe the answer is to fit out a side tent with a nice double bed, and hanging cupboard, and just use the teardrop trailer for storage.

Please share your experience with us older folks.


Bryan Innes

Ed: Hi Bryan, it’s great to hear that you are still young enough to take up the adventure of caravanning!

Let me answer your questions first, and then I will share some more thoughts.

The teardrop I used on the trip (Jetstream) actually has a door on both sides, so there is no climbing over each other. Other such smaller caravans (not just the classic teardrop designs) might have just one door. But something like the Serai has a big door at the back, with single beds on each side.

Getting dressed inside the caravan would be difficult (even for a young man like me). We did our changing in the ablution blocks.

There are a few storage spaces on the inside of the teardrop.

There is no space inside for a kitchen, so (yes,) all cooking must be done outside. I was able to set up the gazebo to go over the kitchen, which worked well.

Yes, driving a kombi was a real luxury, and since we were just two people, all that space really was a bonus.

Unfortunately, there is no space for a porta potti! I have not come across a teardrop with a bathroom, so your best option would be to buy a privy tent.

So, Bryan, I do not think that a teardrop is what you are looking for. For me, a teardrop is actually just a little comfort when you are going away for a quick weekend trip.

The different manufacturers have different “visions” for their caravans. For instance, the Jetstream was used by the company owner to go to music festivals. This offers more luxury than camping in a tent, with the added benefit of having a comfortable sleeping space, kitchen, storage, etc; and it’s easy to set up and pack up.

The Serai was made with adventure weekends in mind – like being able to transport your mountain bike between the two beds for transport. It’s a get-in-and-go concept.

I’m sure all these manufacturers would be willing to address your concerns and work together to cater to your needs, and maybe design a custom build for you.

I think that what you are looking for might be more in line with the Sherpa or Panther caravans – go check them out!

If you are interested in a tent trailer, then look no further than the Skipper! I have never, ever, heard of anyone who was unhappy about buying a Skipper. Take a look at the Oyster model. The Skipper has optional side tents and multirooms available.

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