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How to Make a Motorcycle Teardrop Camper

How to Make a Motorcycle Teardrop Camper

Motorcycle teardrop campers can make camping out in the wilderness more comfortable. So much so that motorcycle camping often is referred to as “teardrop camping.” This term refers to how motorcyclists pull a compact teardrop camper trailer to explore nature trails.

Motorcycle teardrop campers are quite useful but expensive, meaning they are not affordable for all riders. Luckily, it is possible to build a motorcycle teardrop camper at home.

1. Benefits of Building a Motorcycle Teardrop Camper

Besides affordability and comfort, building a motorcycle teardrop camper can have the following benefits:

1.1 Reliable Electric Supply

Many motorcycle campers often plan last-minute camping trips and end up pitching a tent at a campsite with no electric hookups. If built right, teardrop campers can provide electricity in remote places that lack facilities. Your motorcycle camper can provide electricity from the following sources:

Solar Panels

You can install solar panels on the roof of the camper based on how much electricity you need.

Power Inlets at Campsite

Some campsites allow you to plug your camper into electric hookups at RV sites and motorcycle tent campsites. If you are unable to reserve sites that offer electricity, you can still get power for air conditioning, kitchen appliances, phone and laptop chargers, etc.

Batteries

AGM batteries can be recharged quickly to ensure your motorcycle camper always has electricity.

Gas Generators

Gas generators are another source of electricity when traveling to remote campsites. However, they are not as safe as solar panels, batteries, and electrical inlets.

1.2 Weather Protection

It is not unlikely to encounter unpredictable weather at motorcycle campsites. Heavy rainfall, strong winds, sweltering heat, and snow can spoil your camping trip. A teardrop camper can be a reliable shelter for the following reasons:

Waterproof

Tents and hammocks have waterproof rain flies but they become less effective over time and can result in leakage. Moreover, sleeping on wet, muddy ground with water pooling under the tent can be uncomfortable and spoil your camping experience. If you apply silicone around the windows, door, roof, and between the walls, this will help prevent leaks.

Wind-Resistant

High winds can blow away tents and damage hammock attachments. Meanwhile, teardrop campers can withstand strong winds, keeping you safe and comfortable.

Air-Conditioning

It is best to go motorcycle camping in the summer since you can relax in your air-conditioned camper when it gets too hot or humid. You can install a designated A/C port in your camper or use an A/C mount to raise the A/C up to window level. Rechargeable, portable air conditioners are readily available on the market and can cost around $300-$700, depending on the brand and specifications.

Electric Heating

For motorcycle camping in frigid weather, you can carry a portable electric heater in your camper to create a cozy sleeping area. Also, electric heating will keep you from catching hypothermia.

1.3 Theft Protection

Campers are safer than hammocks and tents because you can install lock systems and security alarms for added safety. You can also install tracking devices and GPS to locate your camper if stolen. Moreover, if you get lost or need help, the tracking system will help your family and friends locate you.

1.4 Food Storage & Waste Management

Some campsites are visited by bears that can be attracted by food you leave out. Luckily, a motorcycle camper provides ample food storage and allows you to carry portable refrigerators to store perishables. Moreover, it keeps the smell of food from traveling around the area. This makes it easier to manage waste and comply with the “leave no trace” policy at campsites.

1.5 Carry Portable Showers and Toilets

Your DIY motorcycle teardrop camper cannot fit a built-in shower or toilet. To have access to these facilities, you will need to reserve a campsite with a shower and restroom or you can carry a portable shower and toilet.

1.6 Small Kitchen

Most motorcycle campers buy frozen meals, canned food, nuts, granola bars, etc. However, thanks to portable stoves, grills, utensils, and cutlery, riders can cook nutritious meals in your camper. If the camper has a built-in galley kitchen, it is possible to carry water, groceries, and cookware.

1.7 Glamping

With a teardrop camper, you can go glamping on a budget. Glamping sites have electric hookups, laundry facilities, luxurious accommodations, fancy restaurants, clean showers and washrooms, internet, heating, and air-conditioning. But glamping can be an expensive recreational activity. A camper provides all the facilities listed above without the high cost.

1.8 Best for Camping with Company

Not everyone can handle roughing it out in the wilderness. If you are traveling with a group, consider that your partners may better enjoy the camping experience if you tow a camper. However, make sure that the weight of you, your passengers, the camper trailer, and the camping gear does not exceed your motorcycle’s weight capacity.

Also Read: Best Foods to Bring on Motorcycle Camping Trips

2. Steps to Make a Motorcycle Teardrop Camper

Building a motorcycle teardrop camper can be a time-consuming and challenging process. You can buy pre-designed teardrop camper plans for motorcycles, watch YouTube videos, or ask for advice from other riders. This step-by-step guide will help you create a motorcycle teardrop camper.

2.1 Tools Required

  • Dimensional Lumber
  • Plywood
  • Jigsaw Machine
  • Silicone
  • Weatherstripping
  • Measuring Tape & Pencil
  • Wood Glue
  • Canvas Cloth
  • Bolts
  • Door Hinges
  • Paint
  • Paint Roller
  • Tight Bond Glue
  • Metal Blade
  • Drill Machine
  • Exacto Knife/Cutter

2.2 Procedure

  1. Measure the size of the trailer base using measuring tape. Then cut a plywood sheet about the same length as the frame. Place this sheet on a large table and connect the lumber on all four sides of the plywood floor to complete the frame. You will need screws and a drill for this step. Next, fasten the sheet of plywood to the frame with ⅜” bolts. 
  2. If you don’t own a trailer, buy or build a trailer before you cut the camper floor. If the base of your motorcycle camper trailer is 8 ft long and 5 ft wide, then make sure your camper has the same dimensions. 
  3. Cut the walls in a teardrop shape with the dimensions provided on the camper plan. Use a jigsaw machine with a metal blade to make a smooth cut.
  4. Trace the outlines of the windows on the walls. Hold the windows against the walls or follow the dimensions mentioned in the camper plan. 
  5. Next, trace the outline of the door on one of the walls and cut an opening with a jigsaw machine. 
  6. Assemble the camper. First, place the floor on the trailer, then set up the walls. Use bolts, a drill, and wood glue to connect the walls. Afterwards, apply white silicone at the corners to prevent leaking. 
  7. Create the roof by measuring the distance between the walls or following the instructions in the teardrop camper plan. 
  8. Place the roof atop the side walls. 
  9. Paint the camper using a paint roller and leave it to dry or apply tight bond glue to stick canvas cloth onto the camper before painting. Cut off the extra cloth covering the door and window holes with a cutter or an exacto knife, then glue or tape the overlapping canvas inwards to create a smooth finish.  
  10. Install the windows and door in the camper walls. You also need hinges, a door knob, and a latch system for the door. Make sure you apply silicone or weathering stripping around the windows to prevent leaks. 
  11. Finally, furnish it with a mattress, quilts, and pillows. For electricity, install solar panels on the roof.  

3. How Much Does It Cost to Make a Motorcycle Teardrop Camper

The cost of making a motorcycle teardrop camper depends on the materials you use, the price of the materials in your area, and whether you seek professional help. A basic motorcycle teardrop camper costs around $1,500-$2,500. If you add electricity, buy a trailer, apply waterproof sealants, install RV windows, include a kitchen, and a small storage space, then the cost can increase up to $2,200. Here is a quick overview of the factors and their costs when making a motorcycle camper:

Cost of Making a Teardrop Camper for Motorcycle 
Camper Roof  $100-$130 
Camper Floor  $50-$75
Camper Walls  $100-150 
Camper Trailer  $300-$400 - used trailers cost even less 
Camper Windows & Doors  $400-$600  
Electricity (converter, battery fuse box, wires, LED lights, power outlets and inlet, etc) $200-$400
Exhaust Fan  $150-$200
Pine Plywood Sheets  $5-$35 per sheet (negotiable) 
Hitch System & Rear Light Wiring  $150-$500 
Total Cost  $1,455-$2,490

4. How Much a Motorcycle Teardrop Camper Weigh

A motorcycle camper should weigh about 300 lbs with a trailer attached. Before you start building your teardrop camper, make sure to check the weight limit, storage capacity, towing capacity, and other specifications of your bike to ensure it can safely pull a teardrop camper.

5. Where to Go Camping with a Motorcycle Teardrop Camper

There are several scenic destinations throughout the United States to go camping with a motorcycle teardrop camper. Whether local campgrounds, remote BLM lands, national forests, national parks, state parks, and private farmlands, you can park your motorcycle camper trailer almost anywhere.

Related: Best Non-Reservation First Come, First Serve Motorcycle Camping Spots Across America
Best Motorcycle-Only Campgrounds in the United States
How to Find the Best Motorcycle Campgrounds
Are Motorcycles Allowed in National Parks in the United States?

6. How to Maintain a Motorcycle Teardrop Camper

  • When not in use, store your motorcycle teardrop camper indoors. If you don't have enough space in your garage, then cover it with a waterproof sheet or tarp.
  • Fully recharge the batteries, then remove them from the camper and store them indoors. Check the battery voltage every month to ensure it remains charged when not in use.
  • Lubricate the axles and apply ball grease on the hitch system to prevent rust. You can also increase the lifespan of the hitch system by removing it from the camper trailer and storing it indoors.

7. Alternatives to Motorcycle Teardrop Campers

If you cannot afford to buy or build a teardrop camper trailer, then you can install a couple of budget-friendly motorcycle parts that will provide adequate storage for your camping gear. These include saddlebags, handlebar bags, motorcycle backpacks, sissy bars, luggage racks, and other luggage bags. Compared to a camper, these accessories are much cheaper and just as durable if you buy them from a high-quality brand. Plus, they can carry all the camping essentials you need for a comfortable outdoor experience. You cannot convert them into a comfortable sleeping setup but you can pack a comfy sleeping bag and mat.

8. Takeaway

Building a motorcycle teardrop camper can be a fun experience. It takes about 3-6 months to complete this project. If it is your first time building a motorcycle camper, it is recommended you research and look for easy-to-follow camper design plans. This will ensure the camper is the right size without spending too much money, time, and materials. By building your own camper, you can save money that can be used to buy a portable air-conditioner, refrigerator, heater, and other essentials.

Also Read: 101 Guide on How to Choose a Motorcycle Pop-up Camper

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