Tag Archive: Teardrop Camper

My journey from one to five-star camping started in 1986. My husband is an ex-scout so he was used to roughing it while camping, whereas I had never camped in my life. We went camping with friends in an old-fashioned canvas tent. We had hardly any equipment apart from the tent and sleeping bags: I wasn’t impressed. The next time we went away with the same friends, we rented an on-site caravan. Which was fine except they had the bedroom and we had the makeshift bed at the other end of the caravan. We couldn’t sleep for the sound of bottles chinking in the cupboard and ornaments falling off the shelves and onto our heads. Lesson learned: never share a caravan with a frisky couple. I give my first camping experiences one star.

In 1988 we left our frisky friends in the UK and emigrated to Australia. This time we went camping with relatives, again we spent the night in a canvas tent. It leaked, and I didn’t sleep a wink. After that we decided to stay away from canvas and my husband rigged up a false floor in our Liteace van. Simple: mattress on top and storage underneath. This, although cramped, was dry and a step up from sleeping on the ground. Two stars.

In 1990 we started to grow our own small humans and the van was not practical for a growing family. So we stopped camping for a few years. Then came the second-hand camper-trailer, very generously given to us by the rellies. We used it with tarps to protect the canvas from rain and give us an undercover area. This was a huge step up, (literally, a ladder was needed as the bed was on top of the trailer). As our children grew up, they graduated to erecting their own small, dome tents outside of the main trailer tent. With three overlapping tarps to cover everything it was an ace set up. Over the years the list of essentials grew, including a bar fridge and a small portable TV. This configuration evolved from three to four star camping. One star deducted for lengthy set-up and pack down times.

Later on, during the ‘naughties’ our teenage children no longer thought it was cool to camp, and wanted to do their own thing. My husband had a brief dalliance with the idea of renovating a decrepit old caravan, the hideous thing sat in our garden with its insides gutted for a couple of years before we gave it away.

As our children became adults, we decided to go camping as a couple. The trailer tent seemed too big, and putting up tarps too tiresome for quick weekend getaways. Our budget put buying a motor home out of the picture, so we decided to go smaller, my very clever husband built a Teardrop Camper. We now tow it behind our trike or my small car and pop an Event 14 canopy over the top for an undercover area if it’s needed. It only takes about 15 minutes to put up the canopy. Advances in Technology have given us a plug-in that can turn our laptop into a TV, and a stick that gives us mobile Internet. ‘Roughing it’ now means taking an Esky instead of a fridge. Delicate flower that I am, this set up makes me a happy camper. I give it five stars.

Easter at Tawonga 2011. We had a 'lean-to garage' added on to the dome to protect DACAT from the rain.

Whether you want a few weekends away outback with your 4WD, or you plan to cycle around Australia with a swag, there’s something out there to suit your needs. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. It took me 25 years to get to five-star camping but if you want to rough it by bathing in rivers, and digging your own toilet, then that’s fine. If you can’t survive without your hair straightener, that’s fine too. Personally I think it makes no difference whether your hair is straight or frizzy when marveling at the milky way on your way back from the toilet block. In camping there is room for everyone: except Winnebagos and converted coaches. And I mean that literally. Often they have to book ahead as most sites are too small. The only thing funnier than watching someone trying to back a huge vehicle into an awkwardly small site, is watching someone put up a tent for the first time. I highly recommend having a practice run in your garden first. Make it the front garden if you like to entertain your neighbours.


Saturday, 16th April, 2011 – Brisbane to Coffs Harbour

Kilometres traveled: 400

Weather: Started cloudy, then rained, and rained, and rained.

Today was the first day of our two-week road-trip. Early this morning we hooked up the Teardrop to the trike and put on our water-resistant gear. We left home at about 7.45am. It was cloudy but we were quietly confident that at worst we might hit a couple of showers. We were on the road for a couple of hours before our luck ran out.

We stopped at a free ‘stop, revive and survive’ place where two beaming ladies served us tea and biscuits, it was lovely. We took off our wet weather gear as we didn’t think we’d need it any more. But of course as soon as we set off for the next leg of the journey, ominous grey clouds appeared over the horizon.

Trike and Teardrop before the downpour. We are having tea and biscuits.

We stopped to change clothes again, in case we hit a shower or two, and it rained almost non-stop for the rest of the journey.

We had the umbilical cord connecting our helmets and sometimes this is not a good thing. Chris worried me when he kept saying, “I can’t see a thing… my visors fogged up… the tinted visor is too dark in the rain… I can’t see properly.” Eventually he pulled over and changed over to a clear visor. No scary commentary after that, thank goodness.

Eventually there was a break in the weather, but not for long. We took the opportunity to pull over at a rest stop for a tuna sandwich and a cup of tea. And a visit to the delightful (not) rest stop toilet.

As soon as we set off it rained again, this trip was two-thirds wet and one-third dry. I hope the ratio is less than that for the rest of the trip.

More skins on than an onion.We got to the camp site at Coffs Harbour at about 2.30pm. It didn’t take long to set up camp, and after getting out of my damp jeans and into some tracky daks we settled down to some chocolate Digestive biscuits and a cup of tea. Then the layers started going on, first a jacket, then another jacket, then a beanie. I felt freezing, and this is only Coffs! It’s going to be a lot colder than this in Victoria.

Ducks making themselves at home. Chris checked the temperature, it was 16 degrees C. That’s freezing to me.

Although the ducks waddling through our campsite didn’t seem to mind it: it’s good weather for them.

Of course, Chris soon got bored. He can’t sit still for two minutes, so after a bit of faffing around he turned his Macbook Pro into a TV. Clever git.

TV and Internet. Five star camping.

Not long before the sun went down, it actually stopped raining and it stayed dry the rest of the night. We had a rather ungourmet meal of a packet of chips (entrée) and tinned beef stew cooked in the microwave (dinner). Later I sent Chris out to forage at the local petrol station and he came back with butter, strawberry jam and cheese. I made some pikelets for supper and we had them with the butter and jam.

The end of a rather damp day saw us both cosy and warm in the Teardrop, me doing this blog and Chris watching TV on his Macbook. Just like home really. 🙂