This post is a rebirthing of the old Teardrop Camper Plans website by Andrew Gibbens that disappeared from the internet a few years ago. I am in the process of updating these plans and creating a modern 3D Sketchup version of each of them.
These plans are provided as is, without any support or guidance from us if you decide to take on one of these projects. Many people have followed these exact plans to build their own teardrop campers, you will find examples of some of those builds along with each of the plans in downloadable PDF format below.
11 Free Teardrop Camper Plans
The Wanderer 8/10
The Wanderer design is intended as the largest trailer body that can be safely mounted on a Harbor Freight 4×8 utility trailer kit. The name comes from two designs that inspired it, the Wander Bug and Wander Pup, both in the T&TTT Vintage Plans.
Multiple Layouts Options
These plans include multiple layout options for both 4×8 and 4×10 foot trailers.
The Pico-Light (Suitable as a Motorcycle Teardrop Camper)
The Pico-Light design aims to be the smallest, lightest trailer that can sleep two people. It is even smaller than a ‘normal’ 8ftx4ft teardrop and doesn’t have a galley or any cupboards.
However its size and weight make it suitable for the smallest tow vehicles, including large motorcycles. A detailed weight estimate suggests an empty weight of 280 pounds.
This design was inspired by the Eis Piccolo made in Germany in the 1950s and that explains the ‘Pico’ in its name. Some may also recognise that Pico- is the prefix for a very small measure – it means 10^ -12.
The Ultralight Chassis
These are some designs for a simple home-made chassis suitable for the Ultralight and other very lightweight teardrop trailers. All have the same basic layout of an angle A-frame tongue connected to short pieces of angle to which the axle and body mount. The designs use only rubber torsion axles as a leaf sprung axle would require more transverse strength.
There are four versions of the plans to suit body wdiths of 48 and 60 inches, and to suit bolted or welded construction.
The Grumman 2 Teardrop Trailer Plans
The Grumman is one of the finest-looking teardrop designs and that would be reason enough to want to copy it. But it also is a very sensible design – the way the front and back curves are not too far from the vertical at the bottom of the trailer gives the trailer plenty of internal volume.
Rather than attempt to produce a perfect copy, this design follows the style of the original, but with a few differences: in particular, 5×10 and 5×8 plans are below.
This design started out as a winter version of a previous design, but got modified to put the galley inside, became a bit longer and ended up as a different design. This set of plans comes as multiple downloads:
This size of the Compact camper trailer is very handy – easy to store, easy to tow but spacious for two people – and several people have expressed an interest in building the versions of this design that have been on this web site. However there is a fair bit more to this size of trailer than to a teardrop, so the plans need to have quite a lot more detail.
The 2 + 2
Several people have described teardrop camping with their children – generally by putting them in a tent. Perhaps some might prefer to have space for their children inside their trailer, particularly when they are younger. This trailer design aims to do that.
The trailer body is 12ft x 6ft x 4ft, and its profile is loosely based on the Cub/Modernistic.
The Campster 12
The Campster 12 is a design by Grant Whipp.
The Campster sleeps two adults and two (large) children. It has a double dinette for eating inside and the upper bunk can be folded down to make a settee. A full-width dropped footwell gives 65″ headroom – enough for crouching – while still providing 9″ ground clearance. There is room for a small closet on the end of the bunks – or the closet can be dropped and the bunks made longer.
The idea behind the Simple trailer was to design the simplest 4ft x 8ft trailer to be built on a Harbor Freight utility trailer kit. There are two alternative profiles shown with either a square back or with a partial sloping back like a Grasshopper.
The Lightweight New Cub
Tools to help you with your design
An ellipse is a squashed circle – it has been distorted so that its diameter in one direction is less than in the other.
An ellipse can be drawn by using its focuses – the two blue dots in the diagram.
(And, yes, the plural of focus is correctly spelt ‘foci’.)
- Drawing the Ellipse
There are two methods for drawing an ellipse. Both involve using a couple of small nails and some string. Regular string is not ideal, as it is too ‘stretchy’ – try to get some stiff ‘string’ – heavier fishing line might be ideal, though I haven’t tried it.
Put a small nail at the position of each focus.
Tie one end of a piece of string around one nail. Lead the string around the point of a pencil (or pen) and then back to the second nail.
Tie the string to the second nail, adjusting the length of the string to get the pencil to start exactly on the end of the minor axis.
Now sweep the pencil from the minor axis round to the major axis – in this example from the top clockwise round to the right.
The only problem with this method is that you can only draw a quarter of the ellipse before the string from one nail gets wrapped around the other nail.Method 2
This method is similar to method 1, except the string is not tied to either nail – instead it passes around both nails and the two ends are tied together.
Again adjust the length of the string so the pencil falls on a correct start point.
Now you can sweep the pencil right around the whole ellipse in one go, if you want.
An ellipse can also be drawn using a batten and two straight edges – I saw this used by Norm Abram on TV and he said he got the idea from the internet.
- Finding the Focuses by Drawing
Draw a circle around the centre from the major axis (that is, with a radius equal to ‘a’) until it reaches a line drawn through the end of the minor axis
Now drop a second line, from the point where the circle met the first line, down to the major axis.
This gives the position of one of the focuses and so also its distance ‘c’ from the middle of the major axis.
Locate the second focus by going the same distance ‘c’ on the other side of the minor axis.
That’s all there is – you are now ready to draw the ellipse.
Trailer Balance Spreadsheet
Below you can download an Excel spreadsheet that will calculate the hitch weight of your trailer design, working from data that you provide.
But please note that the spreadsheet cannot estimate the weight of your trailer – you have to do that for yourself! However it will let you work with just actual dimensions and weights expressed as a percentage of the total trailer weight.
The spreadsheet allows the following weights:
- a main body weight;
- a tongue weight;
- an axle weight (ie, wheels, axle, suspension, etc);
- up to three extra weights for galley weights, etc, which can be at any position.
To make it easier to do initial estimating, the spreadsheet uses a ‘basic trailer weight’ – this is the total of the body, tongue and axle weights (but does not include any of the extra weights). The tongue and axle weights are input as percentages of the basic trailer weight and, if you don’t have any better data, you can use these default values which are already in the spreadsheet:
- tongue weight = 5% of basic trailer weight;
- axle weight = 12% of basic trailer weight.
These percentages are suggestions – satisfy yourself that they are appropriate before you use them.
You can use from zero to three extra weights. In the diagram above, extra weight 1 is representing weight in the galley, extra weight 2 is representing a tongue box and extra weight 3 is not shown – the possibility to use a third extra weight has been included because if it isn’t someone is bound to ask for it! For each one, you need the extra weight in pounds and its distance from the rear of the trailer in inches.
The diagram below shows where the measurements are taken from. If you prefer to use metric units (eg, kg and cm or mm), you can use the spreadsheet just as it is, but you may want to alter the number of decimal places in some cells.
Hopefully you find these camper trailer plans useful. We may expand this page with more designs and build ideas if there is enough interest.
If anybody knows or has heard from Andrew Gibbens, please contact us so we can get in touch, it seems many of us have tried and nobody has been able to get a response from him.