By Tony Barthel
There’s a secret that the RV industry doesn’t always want you to know. Very, very few RV decision-makers actually ever go RVing. Seriously. So the fact that Steve Russel, who, with his wife, Amberly, spent six months living in one of his company’s trailers, makes Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers really unusual.
In fact, Rustic Trailer Teardrop Campers are unusual in a number of ways. The company is family-owned by Steve and Amberly, along with her brother Derrek and his wife, Meredith. The whole company started building trailers in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, in 2012. Steve is the guy who did the company’s website. When the founder decided to retire he offered Steve first crack at the business. Since Derrek had experience in the logistics of production, the whole family jumped in and now are in the RV business.
Rustic Trail Teardrops
The company specializes in building small trailers with four different models to choose from: the Koala Bear, the Papa Bear, the Grizzly Bear and the Kodiak Stealth. All four models share the fact that they are relatively simple single-axle trailers with no plumbing system whatsoever. There are available air conditioners and advanced battery systems, but that’s just about it.
Essentially, the campers are a bedroom on wheels, although the larger Grizzly, Papa and Kodiak models do have enough space to add a portable toilet, but Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers doesn’t offer one.
Nor do they offer a kitchen. Nor any water. There is no propane. At all. Again, the idea is to remain very simple. As such, the most expensive base model is the Kodiak Stealth starting at $10,950.
Advantages of the Rustic Trail Teardrop
Essentially they’re an upgrade from a tent – and that’s how the company likes it, as do their customers, whose orders are months out. I spoke with Derrek, who said, “Many of our customers are upgrading from tent camping.” But he also noted that an equal number are downsizing from larger RVs and appreciate these for their sheer simplicity.
For example, you just don’t have to worry about winterization when there’s no water aboard.
All Rustic Trailer Teardrop trailers are sold factory-direct. They sit on a 3,500 lb. axle. Their largest trailer, the Kodiak Stealth, weighs in at 1,525 lbs., giving you plenty of reserve for your stuff.
The grand tour
Inside the Kodiak Stealth, you’ll find a set of cabinets at the front. To the rear of the trailer is a U-shaped dinette which you can have outfitted with a Lagun table if you choose. This is a good choice, as these things are slick.
That dinette is also the bed, so the tabletop becomes the remainder of the bed platform. Under the bed is storage, which is accessible from inside the trailer or outside. There is a window on either side of the dinette. That’s your entire tour.
Interior height is just five feet and the width is also five feet. The overall interior length is ten feet. It’s certainly a small space. But the real wood finishes on the cabinets and dinette base give it a warm, inviting nature.
You can opt for an air conditioner in the trailer, which is a window-style unit in the front. This leaves the overall exterior height at under 81 inches, so it could be parked in a regular residential garage. Another plus.
If the interior storage doesn’t provide enough space, Rustic Teardrops can outfit your trailer with either a front open rack or a front rack toolbox. It’s made of the same diamond plate material as the lower front of the trailer. There are also roof racks available for things like kayaks and an awning.
Furthermore, there’s a receiver hitch at the back if you want to add a bike rack or other convenience for carrying stuff.
I can hear the questions now.
Oh, and on that, if you do want a restroom outside the trailer there are a number of folks who make small stand-up tents.
You can probably find more gadgets
Tent camping is much more sophisticated than it used to be with some fancy gadgets, if that’s your thing, to improve the tent camping experience. So, by extension, if your Rustic Trail Teardrop isn’t outfitted from the factory with something you want, I’m sure someone out there probably makes it to add on. And you can read about those gadgets in our gadget reviews.
We’ve talked about other trailers in the past that were very simple, but I absolutely love the story about this family and their RV adventure. One of the interesting things, to me, is how young the family is. But you can also see that in the design and style of these trailers.
There are no swooshy graphics and the cabinetry is all real wood. It’s a nice change from some RVs.
From the company’s blog
Furthermore, from the company’s blog, “As you can imagine, living in a tiny camper for a long period of time gets one thinking about what kinds of changes and enhancements could be made to our line of campers. During this time, we redesigned the dinette for 2021 giving greater ease of use. We also created a new optional front cabinet layout for the Kodiak that provides added storage and flexibility. One of our favorite innovations was the sliding RV queen-size bed…which gave our customers the ability to sleep on an elevated platform instead of the floor.
“In total, over a dozen changes and improvements were implemented to our line of campers throughout the summer. We are thankful for our hard-working builders Levi, Zach and Jonathan, who are not only committed to constructing each camper to the highest quality possible but also aid in the constant innovation of the trailers.”
I would think the RV industry would do well to require that anybody who is a decision-maker be required to use the company’s RVs. It certainly works for Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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