Home » This Fun $15,000 Teardrop Camper Is So Lightweight You Can Tow It With Almost Any Car

This Fun $15,000 Teardrop Camper Is So Lightweight You Can Tow It With Almost Any Car

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Each year, countless Americans drive home in crossovers of all shapes and largely monochrome colors. Others buy one of the increasing numbers of EVs out there. Regardless of what you drive, there are a lot of vehicles that are unable tow behemoth trailers, if you can even afford one. Thankfully, the options for cheap camping continue to open up. Vistabule has launched its latest trailer, the DayTripper, and it’s a 900-pound $14,995 minimalist teardrop solution for people who want something better than a tent.

It’s no secret that RVs are expensive purchases. My parents spent $62,800 on a gargantuan 37-foot 7,746-pound trailer and as I’ve written about before, it was broken from the factory and continues to be broken today. Some commentators like attorney Steve Lehto advise against buying a new RV because of the kinds of nightmares my parents are experiencing. I wouldn’t go as far as to say you should never buy new, but it pays to research what units are worth a look and the ones you should run far and fast from.

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Another route is just buying a camper so simple that there’s not much to go wrong. That’s what Vistabule wants to offer with the DayTripper. It’s a 900-pound teardrop trailer that’s so minimalist that it doesn’t even have any doors. Ok, it has one, but it’s a hatch.

Airy Teardrops

Daytrp3

Vistabule is just one of many manufacturers building lightweight teardrop trailers. While it’s not a name with a lot of history, it’s not exactly a fresh startup that sprouted out of the blue.

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Vistabule was founded by Bert Taylor and his brother Dave. In the years before the founding of Vistabule, Taylor built handcrafted furniture in Minneapolis. Over a decade ago, a friend told Taylor to Google “teardrop campers” and he was hooked from that moment on. As the Twin Cities Pioneer writes, Taylor had been a fan of vintage trailers like Airstreams and figured that as he aged, he’d feel more comfortable in a trailer than in a tent on the ground. But he also didn’t want a giant RV. Taylor quickly found himself disappointed. Teardrop trailers back then, much like many are today, do not give their occupants an expansive view of the world outside. Many small teardrop owners are lucky if they get more than the small windows on the doors of their units. Taylor compared those trailers to being in a cave.

The Daytripper Teardrop Is The V (1)

Taylor started researching teardrop trailers and figured out that the trailers weren’t much bigger than the furniture he was already building. He then bought plans for a DIY teardrop and got to work. However, Taylor didn’t like the design as it called for building something “claustrophobic” inside. His trailers would be a little different by being big on lots of windows to look out of. About a year later, Taylor built his first trailer. Vistabule is a portmanteau of vista and vestibule. The former is a reference to the large windows of Taylor’s trailers and the latter is to remind you of a comfortable space.

Taylor took his first handbuilt trailer to the Grand Canyon and after it proved to be a fun little camper, he rallied his family together to put the trailer into production. The very first Vistabule was sold through a Craiglist ad.

The Daytripper Teardrop Is The V

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Taylor has been selling the Vistabule ever since and reportedly, customers love the trailers for its use of glass to create an airy cabin. They also like how the trailer has a front and rear window large enough so that the driver of the tow vehicle can see through the trailer.

Vistabules look like fantastic teardrops, but they also come with a price to match their design. The flagship Vistabule trailer starts at $23,995, which places it into the luxury end of this niche. Taylor, like many camper builders, has decided to cut the price, drop the weight, and build trailers for a cheaper end of the market. That brings us to the DayTripper.

Yes, Like The Beatles Song

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Minnesota Teardrop Trailers, the company doing business as Vistabule, published a press release that gets right to the point. Bert Taylor is a fan of the Beatles, and he drew inspiration from the band’s catalog for his next trailer. The DayTripper trailer isn’t just a light camping option, but an homage to the Beatles and their song Day Tripper.

Despite the link to the band from Liverpool, the DayTripper trailer is still supposed to be a nod to the American teardrop trailers of decades past. It’s also built to cater to a younger generation of campers, people who may not have 24 grand to put into an RV or may not even own a vehicle large enough to tow a typical travel trailer. Or, maybe you own an EV, where trailers larger than a teardrop just kill your range. Either way, smaller campers are in right now and Taylor designed the new Vistabule DayTripper for those people.

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Daytrp

Each Vistabule DayTripper starts as an aluminum frame with a torsion axle. On top of it is a box made out of handcrafted wood. The exterior of the trailer features 1 mm thick painted aluminum. It’s a simple design and isn’t an all-metal bear-spraying off-road rig, but it should be fine as a little trailer to pull behind your Subaru.

A regular Vistabule is 14 feet long with a 10-foot box. To create the DayTripper, Taylor and his team deleted the galley that is found on the Vistabule. This results in an 8-foot box and a 12-foot total length. It’s also partly responsible for the weight loss from 1,420 pounds empty to 900 pounds empty.

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As I noted above, the chopped-off length came from the removal of the galley. This means the trailer’s interior didn’t get any smaller. Vistabule indicates that the DayTripper isn’t just a smaller Vistabule, either. The company says that the removal of the galley allowed the team to make the interior of the DayTripper bigger than the Vistabule. The DayTripper is the same 58.5 inches wide, but stretches to 92 inches long compared to the Vistabule’s 78-inch long interior. The interior height is also 44 inches, or an inch taller than a Vistabule’s interior. The company says if you’re 6’4″ or taller, the DayTripper will be better for you than a Vistabule.

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The biggest change, aside from deleting the galley, is how you enter and exit the DayTripper. Most teardrop trailers are entered through side doors. Those doors have been deleted here and your entry point is the hatch, which would normally reveal a kitchen. This hatch still features a window, which will allow you to see through the trailer, depending on your tow vehicle.

Daytrp1

You don’t get much in terms of features. You get a handcrafted wood interior, LED lighting, a two-way MaxxFan ceiling fan, a bed, and some storage spaces, and that’s about it. Vistabule mentions shore power connectivity and a hookup for solar panels, but you’re on your own for a Jackery, EcoFlow, Goal Zero, or similar power station for off-grid power. The trailer is minimalist in every sense of the word.

If you want to cook something, heat or cool yourself, shower, use the bathroom, or have any entertainment, all of that is on you. The company figures you’ll either use the trailer as its name implies, a trailer for a day trip, or that you already have the gear you’ll want to bring:

A DayTripperer (hmm…not quite there yet) is someone who has all of the camping gear they need—the camp stove, the camp chairs, the water canisters, etc. They don’t need a kitchen galley, they don’t need a fresh water system, or a working sofa (all great things, but they all come at a premium, both in terms of cost and space). They want a comfy, safe place to lay their head, and the freedom to decide how they want to do the rest. It’s a tabula rasa, a blank slate.

Daytrp2

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Obviously, this trailer is not for the kind of person who wants their camper to provide them with a shower, at least, not in its base form. For now, options include eye hooks for anchoring a dog leash, a hitch table, and a tent room that deploys from the hatch. Vistabule indicates that the trailer has only just soft launched and a proper options list, as well as a configurator, will be coming soon. With that said, I would not expect to get a DayTripper right away. Vistabule currently quotes a four-month lead time just for the flagship model.

If you’re interested, the DayTripper carries a starting price of $14,995. That price makes this trailer a bit more expensive than those rock-bottom $13,000 Coleman trailers I wrote about earlier this year. Those Colemans are also fully equipped. At the same time, those Colemans are aggressively cheap, and I’d be willing to bet these teardrops would last long. Either way, I love that Vistabule is giving consumers another choice for an affordable camper. I’m always in favor of more lower-cost options.

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SoCoFoMoCo
SoCoFoMoCo
21 days ago

That’s a lot of cash for a glorified tent on wheels.

Quasar Erazar
Quasar Erazar
21 days ago

how about instead- get the small size harbor freight utility trailer, put a roof pod on it, or just get one of those hitch cargo carrier baskets and put a waterproof carrier on it.
in it bring
-inflatable cabin size tent,
-kitchen supplies
-airmatress
-food
-portapotty
I mean, not a bear proof sleeping pod, but also a heck of a lot cheaper.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
21 days ago

I’d rather have that $3500 limo from that article or any other one of them that were listed. Now I wonder why no one (that I’m aware of) uses limos for camping. I’m guessing the space, but if it’s one of the shorter limos it would work at a campground. Also the stereotypes of limos but I don’t care about that. Makes me want to try it someday. More room than this thing to sleep in, hang out comfortably during the day, etc. What I really want is one of the old Toyota RV’s like the Dolphin, etc and make it to where it has enough power. Also love the GMC Motorhomes of course. The old Dodge RV’s are neat too

Green_NGold
Green_NGold
21 days ago

What are these little trailers speed rated for? My buddy had a small boat trailer, and we’re on our way to the lake doing 50 mph in the right lane. I ask him why we’re going so slow. He said that’s all the trailer was rated for.

Can I do 75 with this thing in tow?

Ben
Ben
22 days ago

My big question would be whether teardrop campers are spending enough time inside the trailer to care if it has expansive windows. My understanding is that if you camp in a teardrop it’s basically a weatherproof bed to sleep in. You aren’t hanging out in it during daylight hours so there’s nothing really to see.

Green_NGold
Green_NGold
21 days ago
Reply to  Ben

Although those “windows” on the roof look amazing for star gazing, ideally with your SO.

Ron888
Ron888
21 days ago
Reply to  Green_NGold

That would be great

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
22 days ago

I like this concept. One of the problems with teardrop trailers is that when you reach the empty-nest, tents-aren’t-comfortable-enough stage, you also aren’t necessarily limber-enough to dress on a bed and crawl through little doors. With the porch attachment shown at the end, one could actually stand up to get dressed (assuming privacy door). It also probably makes for easier changing of bedding. Just tug the mattress back and you could do the bottom half hanging off the back and then push it back in.

With LED lighting and portable batteries these days, electricity in the trailer is unnecessary. Heck, one could even pull out the mattress and insert a custom cargo tray if they wanted!

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
22 days ago

I don’t know, it’s nice and all but I’d have a very hard time paying more than like $6,000 for this.

Toobs-N-Stuff
Toobs-N-Stuff
22 days ago

why are all teardrop trailers so hilariously overpriced?

they cost more than a 19′ travel trailer. the trailer frame they sit on, _RETAIL_ is under $1k, so wholesale is like $500.

this one has zero plumbing, is literally 2 walls and a roof.

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
22 days ago
Reply to  Toobs-N-Stuff

I think it is because a) they are lower volume, so economies of scale don’t drive out costs and b) they are often not junky crap.

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
22 days ago

This picture looks like this is a timeout box for doing something bad
https://images-stag.jazelc.com/uploads/theautopian-m2en/daytrp2.jpg

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
22 days ago
Reply to  Pat Rich

That’s the penalty box edition. Popular among NHL enforcers.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
22 days ago

Solid as a good desk and attention to detail? In a camper?!? No wonder it’s $15k. Labor and good materials aren’t cheap.

And, some of the comments: “Campers are junk, why doesn’t anyone build a nice camper?”

Also commenters when a nicely built camper is featured: “Why is it so expensive for such a little camper?”

Hint: labor costs and material costs. Good stuff costs more and skilled folks cost more. Either pay more for smaller/lighter/better (did exactly this with an Aliner, zero regrets) or get a flimsy box on wheels that is rotting out in 5 years.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
22 days ago

A tiny camper does not need to cost $15k to be well built. Remember that you can buy an entire Mitsubishi Mirage for $15k, and it doesn’t disintegrate itself AND has a drivetrain.

People complain because the value is TERRIBLE in the camper market. You spend 50% more than what it should cost and it disintegrates. You spend 200% more than what it should cost to get something that actually holds together.

Last edited 22 days ago by Rust Buckets
NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
22 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

How many engineering hours are put into that Mirage divided by how many they sell world wide?

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
22 days ago
Reply to  NosrednaNod

Are you seriously suggesting that developing a box that doesn’t disintegrate costs more than an ENGINE?

Not to mention that there are tons of 8×12 enclosed trailers in the $5-6k range that, you know, dont disintegrate.

Last edited 22 days ago by Rust Buckets
NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
20 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

No, I am suggesting that the 6th Generation Mirage sold 228,000 units, generating over $3 Billion in revenue in the US and Canada alone and leveraged the engineering might of a large organization to do so.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
20 days ago
Reply to  NosrednaNod

Right. And that certainly reduced the engineering cost per unit of making the body in white of a Mitsubishi Mirage. However, it should not cost even a small organization much to develop a box. Certainly not as much as the drivetrain of a Mitsubishi Mirage, right?

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
15 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Clearly it does cost them more to do it on a per-piece basis. This small organization, relatively new, sets their price based on what they put into it and what they need to get out of it. Just like Mitsubishi does. I doubt they have a significantly greater desire to profit from their efforts than Mitsubishi’s employees do or profit from their investment than Mitsu’s stockholders have.

It is my experience after working in product development that it always takes more to do something than it looks like it should. Nothing is easy. But the bottom line is their product seems to be too expensive to you and that means it isn’t something you are interested in buying. That is a fair decision that you get to make.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
15 days ago
Reply to  NosrednaNod

I understand that things are expensive, and I don’t have to buy it, and if they can trade them at this price that’s great for them, ect. That doesn’t mean it’s not overpriced though.

It’s interesting, because today Mercedes posted an article showcasing a VERY similar trailer that you can buy starting at $6000. Obviously it’s possible to manufacture something like this more cheaply.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
21 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Folks need cars while they don’t need campers. They’re a luxury and priced as such. There are way more cars built than campers. Those supply chains are far deeper than a camper supply chain. Campers also compete with real houses for materials while cars compete with what, appliances?

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
21 days ago

Campers can be made of many different materials, most of which aren’t also used in houses. Cars are made of steel, which is used for EVERYTHING. Boats, trucks, shipping containers, ships, bridges, train tracks, buildings, and a whole lot more

Outofstep
Outofstep
22 days ago

Oooo. This made me think of Xyla Foxlin’s teardrop trailer build. I wish I had the space to house a trailer, and the skills to build one, and a car to tow one. Screw it, I’ll just stick to day trips upstate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIO0FdW_GHo

Segador
Segador
22 days ago

$15k for this is insane

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
22 days ago
Reply to  Segador

It is not mass produced. It’s a custom piece of carpentry. You can make your own if you want to save money.

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
15 days ago
Reply to  SlowCarFast

You should put save money in quotes. Because making it yourself is definitely the way to “save money” (and by that I mean not save any money).

Curtis Loew
Curtis Loew
22 days ago

$15k seems like way too much for what you are getting.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
22 days ago

There’s something disquieting about that bottom image.

The woman (in heels?) standing demurely outside the camper. Hands clasped diffidently behind her back.
The man sitting inside exasperated and clearly worn down by emotions of sadness bordering on rage.
This, nearly faceless, camping couple have clearly just had a terrible argument. Possibly of the relationship ending variety.

Even the shadowing is eery and sad.

Did she lash out in a moment of frustration, angry about his cluelessness as a lover and provider? Did she finally tell him the truth about her and Chad?

Yes she did.
Right after he told her what he paid for that tent on wheels that they will definitely not be sleeping in together.

Not now. Not ever.

https://images-stag.jazelc.com/uploads/theautopian-m2en/daytrp2-768×499.jpg

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
22 days ago

She is wondering how many whacks to the head with the folding camp shovel it would take to end the misery…

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
22 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

The Spetnaz version would work better for that. Trust the Russians to weaponize a shovel

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
21 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Ha ha…yeah, or a hockey stick like referenced in another comment?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
21 days ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

Maybe. Did not see that. But there are lots of comments I don’t bother to read.
Have a nice weekend.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
21 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Yeah, I didn’t write that very well, was actually just adding it to yours since it fit and I thought yours was a lot more hilarious…it fit that pic so well!

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
21 days ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

Hockey stick works for me too. Camp shovel just jumped to mind easy. It reminds me of my Mom being ready to take my old man out on the one and only camping trip we ever took.

She is wondering why she didn’t just stay at home with Juan the pool boy?

Good times. /s

Last edited 21 days ago by Col Lingus
Is Travis
Is Travis
22 days ago

Lotta money for what amounts to a hardsided towable tent.

Gary Lynch
Gary Lynch
22 days ago

I see a lot of useful value in the Vestibule. Nice design. The $15k trailer, not so much.

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
22 days ago

My sibling and their partner LOVE their Vistabule. It’s been quite a few years since we toured the Vistabule facility, but it was very cool to see the attention to detail and passion put into every camper.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
22 days ago

15k?, I say no way!

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour
22 days ago
Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
22 days ago
Reply to  Pisco Sour

I was thinking the same thing

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
22 days ago

900 pounds is very light for a trailer of this size, and I would pull that behind almost anything. But I’m not a fan of the aluminum frame and I’d gladly take the extra 50 or 100 pounds for a steel frame, and a slight price reduction.

Ryan L
Ryan L
22 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

theres a lot of snowmobile trailer manufacturers in MN that make aluminum sled decks for hauling – I wonder perhaps if they partnered with one of them to build the base?

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