Monday, August 22, 2016

Interview with Aero Teardrops

Brian Seeley and his wife own Aero Teardrops, LLC, a small company in Portland, Ore. Their company not only builds stylish teardrop trailers, but they also just became the Portland dealer for Adventure Sole Rooftop Tents. Seeley's company offers the 5x10 "Steel" model ($11,500) and the 5x8 "Broadway" ($9,500) model and both can be ordered directly from their website.


Brian was kind to answer a few questions about Aero Teardrops for the Tiny Yellow Teardrop and the latest issue of Tiny House Magazine.


Tell us a little about Aero Teardrops and why you think they are unique.

Our trailers are a blend of ‘50’s nostalgia with just the right amount of modern features. They’re a great mix of vintage diner meets modern technology and comfort. Inside, the cabin of our teardrops feel nice and airy—not like an old, dark, wooden boat cabin. 

Our goal is to create a room where people can spend time relaxing. By using a mattress that folds into a couch, it allows the cabin to be multi-functional. If it’s raining, windy, or you just want some time alone, you can sit on the couch and read. With the addition of our interior table, you can easily play a board game or enjoy a meal no matter what the weather’s doing. This also allows you to expand the months you feel comfortable camping!

Part of what our family always enjoys while camping is cooking. To make this easier, we designed almost a full-depth countertop in our galleys, like you have in your kitchen at home. We’ve found that having a nice big area to prep meals in without having to shuffle stuff around is a lot less stressful. 



A few other great features we offer that our family loves:
  • A children's bunk in our 5x10 model that allows a child under 5’ tall to sleep comfortably inside the teardrop
  • USB ports and a small phone/glasses shelf near the head of the bed for you to easily charge your phone while sleeping
  • Stereo speakers both inside the cabin and in the galley

Why do you think teardrops have become so popular?

Teardrops have become popular because people are thirsty for adventure but are tired of tent-camping. At the same time, they don’t want to be tied down by a large RV and all of the payments and maintenance that comes with them. Teardrops are lightweight and can be towed with most cars, which means that they don’t have to buy a separate, larger vehicle to tow with. 

The nostalgic look of the teardrop camper makes them popular as well. So many people have come up to us in campgrounds and at trade shows and told me about the teardrop their grandparents had when they were kids. It hearkens back to a simpler era, where extravagant wasn’t necessary for great family fun.



Can you tell me the different ways that your customers configure their galley?

Our galleys can be configured many different ways. We tend to leave the upper cabinets the same in most of our builds to make sure that there is plenty of storage. Under the counter, in addition to the large standard drawers, customers can add a sliding stove drawer with a built-in two burner stove. We can also add a pull-out cooler drawer for a 50 quart cooler. All of our galleys also come standard with a pull-out drawer for a five gallon water jug that tucks inside a cabinet, although customers can request that this be just a regular cabinet instead. Our galley design allows us to be pretty flexible with custom requests.





What other requests do customers have when ordering their trailer?

One of the most surprising requests that I have had was to leave out the Bluetooth stereo system. A Pioneer Bluetooth stereo system is a standard option on both of our models and has no additional cost. I have also had requests for a sink in the galley. Although this isn’t an item on our option equipment list, we will quote and install sinks on a case-by-case basis. Another item that customers request is a plug-in refrigerator. 


What do you like about teardrop trailers?

I like how they make camping easier for “regular” people. My wife and I love that we can keep our camping gear in the teardrop and just load food and clothes in it and hit the road. For us, it’s really brought the enjoyment and relaxation back to camping.


Where do you like to go camping and what location is on your bucket list?


We often go camping on the Oregon coast and the high desert of Central Oregon. We love the beautiful scenery. Our favorite Central Oregon campground is located in The Cove Palisades State Park near Madras. One of my bucket list trips is to take a road trip around the continental U.S. Part of that trip would include a long stop at the Grand Canyon. Another trip on my bucket list is a trip through Alaska. We’re currently developing an off-road/overlanding version of our 5x8 model and a trip to Alaska would be just the thing to test the durability! Once it’s proven itself on the rugged terrain of Alaska, we may have to take a trip to South America too. 

Interview with Aero Teardrops

Brian Seeley and his wife own Aero Teardrops, LLC, a small company in Portland, Ore. Their company not only builds stylish teardrop trailers, but they also just became the Portland dealer for Adventure Sole Rooftop Tents. Seeley's company offers the 5x10 "Steel" model ($11,500) and the 5x8 "Broadway" ($9,500) model and both can be ordered directly from their website.


Brian was kind to answer a few questions about Aero Teardrops for the Tiny Yellow Teardrop and the latest issue of Tiny House Magazine.


Tell us a little about Aero Teardrops and why you think they are unique.

Our trailers are a blend of ‘50’s nostalgia with just the right amount of modern features. They’re a great mix of vintage diner meets modern technology and comfort. Inside, the cabin of our teardrops feel nice and airy—not like an old, dark, wooden boat cabin. 

Our goal is to create a room where people can spend time relaxing. By using a mattress that folds into a couch, it allows the cabin to be multi-functional. If it’s raining, windy, or you just want some time alone, you can sit on the couch and read. With the addition of our interior table, you can easily play a board game or enjoy a meal no matter what the weather’s doing. This also allows you to expand the months you feel comfortable camping!

Part of what our family always enjoys while camping is cooking. To make this easier, we designed almost a full-depth countertop in our galleys, like you have in your kitchen at home. We’ve found that having a nice big area to prep meals in without having to shuffle stuff around is a lot less stressful. 



A few other great features we offer that our family loves:
  • A children's bunk in our 5x10 model that allows a child under 5’ tall to sleep comfortably inside the teardrop
  • USB ports and a small phone/glasses shelf near the head of the bed for you to easily charge your phone while sleeping
  • Stereo speakers both inside the cabin and in the galley

Why do you think teardrops have become so popular?

Teardrops have become popular because people are thirsty for adventure but are tired of tent-camping. At the same time, they don’t want to be tied down by a large RV and all of the payments and maintenance that comes with them. Teardrops are lightweight and can be towed with most cars, which means that they don’t have to buy a separate, larger vehicle to tow with. 

The nostalgic look of the teardrop camper makes them popular as well. So many people have come up to us in campgrounds and at trade shows and told me about the teardrop their grandparents had when they were kids. It hearkens back to a simpler era, where extravagant wasn’t necessary for great family fun.



Can you tell me the different ways that your customers configure their galley?

Our galleys can be configured many different ways. We tend to leave the upper cabinets the same in most of our builds to make sure that there is plenty of storage. Under the counter, in addition to the large standard drawers, customers can add a sliding stove drawer with a built-in two burner stove. We can also add a pull-out cooler drawer for a 50 quart cooler. All of our galleys also come standard with a pull-out drawer for a five gallon water jug that tucks inside a cabinet, although customers can request that this be just a regular cabinet instead. Our galley design allows us to be pretty flexible with custom requests.





What other requests do customers have when ordering their trailer?

One of the most surprising requests that I have had was to leave out the Bluetooth stereo system. A Pioneer Bluetooth stereo system is a standard option on both of our models and has no additional cost. I have also had requests for a sink in the galley. Although this isn’t an item on our option equipment list, we will quote and install sinks on a case-by-case basis. Another item that customers request is a plug-in refrigerator. 


What do you like about teardrop trailers?

I like how they make camping easier for “regular” people. My wife and I love that we can keep our camping gear in the teardrop and just load food and clothes in it and hit the road. For us, it’s really brought the enjoyment and relaxation back to camping.


Where do you like to go camping and what location is on your bucket list?


We often go camping on the Oregon coast and the high desert of Central Oregon. We love the beautiful scenery. Our favorite Central Oregon campground is located in The Cove Palisades State Park near Madras. One of my bucket list trips is to take a road trip around the continental U.S. Part of that trip would include a long stop at the Grand Canyon. Another trip on my bucket list is a trip through Alaska. We’re currently developing an off-road/overlanding version of our 5x8 model and a trip to Alaska would be just the thing to test the durability! Once it’s proven itself on the rugged terrain of Alaska, we may have to take a trip to South America too. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Monday, August 15, 2016

Teardrop Camping in Glacier National Park

The Sunflower and her crew recently returned from a trip to Glacier National Park in northern Montana. This amazing park has been on our camping bucket list for some time. We stayed at the St. Mary KOA in the small town of St. Mary on the east side of the park—both for their KOA cabins for our two friends, Nelly and Andres, and for the convenience to both the St. Mary and Many Glacier entrances to the park.


Most of our time was spent in the park: hiking, exploring, watching grizzlies, mountain goats, big horn sheep, and (my favorite) the American dipper bird. We hiked over 37 miles of the park's trails and even jumped into both Grinnell Glacier Lake and Iceberg Lake for an icy afternoon dip.


The weather was all over the place, which I heard is typical of this area. In the same day we would get cold temps, hot and humid hiking weather, lightning, rain and wind. If you decide to go, prepare for anything and don't put up an EZ-Up over your teardrop. We came back from a hike and ours had blown away in an afternoon wind storm.


Trailers are discouraged on the main road through the park, Going to the Sun Road. Any vehicle driven along the road and over Logan Pass can only be 21 feet long. I spoke to another teardrop owner at the KOA who had towed his new teardrop over the pass the day before. The ranger smiled about the tiny trailer traversing the steep, winding road, but still gave him a warning.


Since the teardrop was not quite next door to our friends' cabin, we used our galley for storing the cooking gear and their porch and "front yard" to cook our meals. This meant some running back and forth between the two camps, and for some reason, we were the only campers in the RV area who were cooking outside. The weather held up most of the time and it only rained on us once or twice.


The wildflowers were in full bloom at the end of July and we asked a park ranger when the leaves start to change: mid-September. Camping time in Glacier is short and sweet.








Monday, July 25, 2016

Off to Glacier!


The Sunflower is currently traveling in Montana and Glacier National Park. While the park's iconic red tour buses are not teardrop trailers, wouldn't it be fun if they towed them around?

See you soon!

Photo by Glacier National Park Lodges

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Teardrop Photo


This wonderful teardrop camp setup is courtesy of Brian Seeley of Aero Teardrops in Portland, Ore. His interview will be coming to the Tiny Yellow Teardrop blog soon.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Don’t Rely on Your GPS

The other day, a friend was coming to my house so we could go hiking. I gave her the address, but warned her that some GPS units and phones like to take people on a dirt access road behind my house and told her to follow my directions. She ended up on the dirt road behind my house with her GPS unit chiming, “You have arrived.”


I’m morbidly fascinated with dumb GPS mistakes. Lately there have been an influx of deaths (many in Death Valley, of course) of people blindly following their GPS units or Siri's voice onto dangerous dirt roads, into lakes and mud holes and nearly off the sides of cliffs. GPS is a wonderful tool, but just like any tool (that can break) don’t rely solely on it if you are traveling in unfamiliar locations.

If you have a medical question, you usually don’t go with one source or one piece of advice. You ask several medical experts, do some of your own research and maybe read some books or articles. Do the same when you are traveling. If you have to get to a specific location, use several sources and compare how the information is given to you.

1. Google Maps and Google Earth:

Before you leave on your trip, use Google Maps to see the various routes that you can take to your destination. Another problem with relying on a GPS is that you blindly follow one route (usually the shortest, but not always the best) without knowing what else is around. 

I’ve met people who have become so reliant on their GPS that they don’t even know how to read a map anymore. They don’t know which way is north, south, east and west and they don’t recognize the difference between a secondary road and topographic line.

Google Maps at least allows you get a feeling for directions, time, surrounding terrain and various obstacles. It shows you nearby towns, services and other attractions. The 3D options of Google Earth shows road types, canyons, mountains and tall buildings that don’t translate well to paper or GPS.

2. Paper Maps: 

Since some remote areas are not always mapped by GPS, always take a paper map of your desired location. Some of the best maps are the Rand McNally Road Atlas, Benchmarks Maps & Atlases and specific trail and park maps offered by REI. I’m a paper map junkie and love to pore over them before, during and after a trip. I love to see where we are going and what we will see and experience on the way to and from our destination. A GPS can’t give you that holistic satisfaction.

The best thing about paper? You can write all over it. Mark your location, any special notes or issues you have noticed on Google Maps.

3. Ask the locals: 

No matter if you are going to New York City or Oatmeal, Texas, there will be a local who knows more about the area than you do. Ask for directions and about attractions from cops, coffee shop owners, grocery clerks, librarians, RV hosts and adventurous teens. You might make a new friend and won’t have to contend with Siri’s annoying voice for miles of unending dirt roads.