You might be surprised at all the things you have to think about when you live full time in a tiny teardrop trailer. Jordan of the blog, My Teardroppin’ Life, has not only DIY’d many of her own solutions, but she does it while living a simple and beautiful life in a 5×10 rolling home.
Jordan of “My Teardroppin’ Life” lives full time in a 5×10 teardrop trailer.
After years of living in a home with a garage full of things, Jordan began to feel trapped and wanted to bring clarity back to her life.
I didn’t want my shelter, food and basic necessities to be dependent on an unstable economy and employment with incompetent management. By simplifying my life, I now own my shelter and can move it easily wherever I need to be, and I am working on creating my own businesses to support myself and that will also feed my soul. Living out of a teardrop trailer allows me to live simply and deliberately, providing a home that is easily and inexpensively transported and maintained.
The teardrop has a kitchen that rolls out from under the bed rather than the typical galley.
She researched many RV options, but wanted to stay small and tow with her existing vehicle. She learned about teardrop trailers from the Blonde Coyote, another teardrop owner, and contacted the builder who made her trailer. The builder had a very similar one available and said it could be hers. Jordan bought the trailer, named it Zelda, moved into her full-time and hit the American Southwest.
The interior has a pop-up “prairie dog” roof and dropped floor for more headroom.
The green 5×10 trailer has a bed, a dropped floor and a pop-up for extra headroom (Jordan calls it her “prairie dog window”) a counter with cabinets, a flip-up table, a bench that can be used to extend the bed into a double-size bed, and storage under the bed. The kitchen pulls out from under the bed and contains a stove, storage, counter space and a light.
Jordan sleeps in a bed that is just short of full length, giving her extra floor space.
Zelda didn’t have 120 V electricity until recently. Jordan just had a full solar system installed that provides her with all she needs and even some to share with fellow campers. Creating her own power is also great peace of mind.
If I was able to just kick back and relax with retirement funds to live off of it wouldn’t be as big a deal to not have power, but since I’m a ways away from having that yet, I need to create my own sources of income. Having a consistent source of power will now allow me to achieve those goals.
One of her DIY tricks is a wind screen made from roof flashing.
Full time living in a teardrop has its benefits and challenges. Jordan said that as an educational educator she loves to live simply with little impact on the earth. She also likes to challenge her brain with unique solutions to small living. A few of her “MacGyvered” tips can be seen below.
I love traveling and discovering new places. Since I’ve only just started my full-time road warrior life, I haven’t gotten to discover too many new places yet, but I have so many on my list and I know I will also find even more by happy accident.
A small solar charger is used for electronics.
Her challenges have included the frustrations of living in a small space, the slow creep of items taking over both her trailer and car and bad weather. Pesky El Niño has been a challenge this year as well.
El Nino! That kid has wreaked so much havoc on my maiden voyage! I was prepared for some colder days and nights but not for the entire three months I’ve been out in the Southwest. A lack of heat, plus an outdoor kitchen and outdoor bathroom make life very challenging, especially when the sun goes down by 5:30 along with a plummet in temperature.
To make her life a little easier, Jordan has come up with some pretty ingenious little tricks. One of the best purchases she made was a Thermos container. Hot water poured into the Thermos in the morning is still warm in the evening. She also has a Coleman butane stove to heat up water and food inside the trailer and a much-appreciated plastic Adirondack chair. Her other DIY tricks include:
Solar hot water heater.
To heat water for washing I colored an empty two liter bottle with a black permanent marker and then took the box from a fire extinguisher, cut it open and covered the inside with aluminum foil. I clip the bottom of the box together with small binder clips to hold it in an arc around the bottle then place them in the sun to heat up. I reuse squirt top water bottles or poke holes in the bottle tops to wash my hair. It saves a lot of water but still gives me some water pressure to rinse my hair.
DIY cooler compartments.
I use a cooler for my refrigerated items but they can be messy to work with and hard to fit your food items into. I was using plastic storage containers to put my food in to keep from getting all wet, but I spent more time digging around for everything and trying to balance stuff to keep it out of the melt water. Then I decided to use bigger bins that would stay above the melt water to keep my food in and it has worked so much better. I picked up two plastic containers for $1 each and I already had a small tray that worked great. Now everything stays out of the water, which I drain into jugs and reuse, and I can get to things much easier.
Kitty litter gray water tank.
Since I boondock and don’t have tanks on my teardrop, I needed something for holding my gray water. I use a kitty litter jug which works perfectly. When I have dirty water with food particles in it I use a funnel lined with a coffee filter to strain out the food and any grease, then just toss the coffee filter in the garbage. This helps contain food smells that may attract wildlife and it helps tremendously with keeping the jug from getting all nasty inside. I would even recommend doing this if you have an RV with a gray water tank.
Smart and simple brake stick (why didn’t I think of this?)
One of the most useful items is my brake stick. As a solo camper with a trailer, the one thing I can’t do by myself is check the brake lights on my trailer. I just wedge the stick between the brake pedal and seat cushion and instant brake lights. I know this probably isn’t anything revolutionary, but mine is special to me because it was made from a repurposed piece of scrap molding by my brother.
Photos by Jordan O./My Teardroppin’ Life