Outside of the basic ground tent, the timeless teardrop trailer remains one of the lightest, simplest ways to take a camping trip. While they're small, light and efficient behind your vehicle, teardrops can feel a bit tiny and cramped at camp. The Australian-made Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper packs more livable space by borrowing the idea of a slide-out living module from larger campers like the Bett Mobil and DoubleBack.
Gidget cites a recent resurgence of the teardrop camper driven by the move toward smaller, more efficient four-cylinder automobiles. It's a trend that we've noticed in the camper market, not just in terms of teardrops, but in small, lightweight camper designs of all different shapes and styles. In the past few months alone, we've covered new designs like the ScarabRV, Freespirit Spitfire XT and Mogo Freedom trailers.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
Unlike those other small trailers, the Gidget Retro Teardrop isn't designed for all-out weight savings. Instead, it's a sort of rolling compromise, combining the iconic looks and advantages of the teardrop trailer with a larger, more versatile living space. At as little as 1,213 lb (550 kg) dry, the trailer is still light enough for towing with smaller vehicles, but the internal slide-out obviously adds weight, with the goal of increasing comfort and usability.
Many small teardrop interiors have little more than a cabin-filling bed with some cabinet space and maybe a TV/entertainment system and fan. Gidget's slide-out module gives its trailers the space for a seated lounge, a feature usually reserved for larger camping trailers. The foot of the queen-sized bed folds up, creating a bench with help from the under-bed footwell. The slide-out table completes a lounge area useful for eating, playing games and more.
Gidget's use of sliding hardware isn't limited to the cabin extension. Slides help keep the design of the tailgate galley neat and organized. The main counter of the galley houses only the glass-top sink, while appliances like the two-burner gas cooktop and cooler slide out from underneath the counter behind curved timber drawer faces. The kitchen sink is hooked up to a pressurized cold water system fed by the 80-liter/110-liter (21/29-gal) water tank. The trailer also has a 40-liter (10.6-gal) waste water tank.
Another innovative, space-optimizing feature of the Gidget is its rotating entertainment center. Campers can watch TV inside the cabin or rotate the TV around to watch outside from the galley. One side of the rotating console holds the 24-in HD television/DVD player, while the other has a radio. A set of built-in speakers in the cabin and kitchen finish the entertainment system off.
After building and testing a prototype over the course of a few years, Gidget began ramping up production last year. It currently offers two 2015 trailer models: the compact, 8 x 5.3 x 5.4-ft (2.45 x 1.63 x 1.65-m, Body L x W x H) Bondi and the larger, 9.8 x 5.3 x 5.5-ft (3 x 1.63 x 1.68-m) Noosa. Each trailer features a fiberglass body planted on a steel frame and has a torsion axle and electric brakes.
The Bondi and Noosa each has an impressive list of standard features, including the aforementioned kitchen appliances, water system and rotating entertainment center, 110-watt solar panels, an inverter and deep cycle battery, a central electronic monitor and control panel, a security alarm, and inside and outside LED lighting. The internal woodwork on the trailers is made from a selection of Australian mainland and Tasmanian timbers.
The Noosa "longline" model's larger size allows it to house a compartment with portable toilet and gas-heated shower. Its larger 110-liter (29-gal) fresh water tank supports the increased water demand. The model also has a larger cooler and offers 176 liters (46.5-gal) of kitchen drawer/cabinet storage and 673 liters (177.8 gal) of underfloor/cabinet cabin storage compared to 53/531 liters (14/140 gal) on the Bondi.
The Gidget Bondi is available for order now starting at AUD$17,682 (US$13,125), and the Noosa starts at AUD$22,045 (US$16,365). Gidget does all its manufacturing in Australia and ships both domestically and internationally.
Gidget is also developing the ultra-slim Bells Compact trailer, which will be aimed at small cars and motorcycles. That model will feature the same slide-out design but will be narrower and feature downsized equipment to maintain a smaller, lighter footprint. Gidget's website says the model is planned for 2016/2017 launch.
The company says it has patented its slide-out system worldwide and that its trailers are the only ones to use the design. They are not the only teardrops to feature expandable bodies, however. In the past, we've seen the Safari Condo Alta trailer raise its roof to increase interior space.
The first video below highlights a few of Gidget's features, including the slide-out and the kitchen. The second video shows the lounge area transformation.
Source: Gidget Retro Teardrop Trailer