Tough teardrop caravan offers cozy off-road comfort

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Each teardrop provides the makings for a quick and easy get away, offering shelter for two adults or with a few additions even a family of four(Credit: Vintage Overland)

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Colorado-based outdoor enthusiast Britton Purser has teamed up with his two younger brothers to create a series of lightweight teardrop caravans tough enough to take off road. The Vintage Overland teardrops weigh about 700 lb (317.5 kg) and provide the makings for a quick and easy getaway, offering shelter for two adults or, with a few additions, even a family of four.

"I built the first Vintage Overland caravan for myself, my wife Ami and two boys: Alek (7) and Luka (5) to use," Britton Purser tells Gizmag. "I wanted something small, lightweight, unique and vintage looking to pull behind my old Range Rover. One afternoon I drew a teardrop shape with a magic marker on a piece of plywood and literally ended up with a teardrop caravan."

Coming a long way since his first drawing on a piece of plywood, Purser and his two brothers have now accomplished three different teardrop models: the Tuco, Great Escape and T.E. Lawrence. Each caravan is made individually by hand and features an anodized-aluminum outer skin to prevent corrosion, while the interior is built using Baltic Birch, multi-layer plywood and water-resistant clear coat.

"We approach every caravan as if it is a sculpture," says Purser. "Each one slightly different from the previous built by me and my two younger brothers Cody and Cullen. Before we started building caravans I used to design, re-model and reconstruct upper-level loft apartments. Cody had his own company building copper bathtubs by hand and Cullen built guitars, mandolins, and harps. All of our skills now go into each caravan. We cut out, shape and assemble every piece by hand in my studio in Colorado."

Each Vintage Overland teardrop comes equipped with efficient LED lighting, a three-speed fan and ventilation, Goal Zero solar generator and solar panel, memory-foam mattress and a generous sized storage boot. In addition, the Great Escape and T.E. Lawrence models feature a built-in writing desk.

The teardrops can comfortably accommodate two adults, but in Purser's case he added a pop-up roof-top tent to the top of his caravan, which provides a second level that allows room for his two young boys.

The entry-level Tuco is designed as a rough and ready, get out and go anywhere utility-caravan. It features a 4 x 8 foot (1.2 by 2.4 m) cabin, a double-sized mattress and all of the amenities of the other two models, with the exception of a rear hatch. The Great Escape also has a 4 x 8 foot cabin and all of the amenities, but includes a rear hatch. On the upper end, the T.E. Lawrence model features a larger 5 x 8 foot (1.5 by 2.4 m) cabin, a queen-sized mattress and comes with everything included in the other models.

"I spent a lot of time making the tear drop shape look like it continuously flows forward," says Purser. "I also designed the interior to look like a piece of Danish furniture. The cut-outs in the side panels make the inside more comfortable and appear to be more open. I get comments all of the time about how much bigger it feels inside than expected."

The basic entry-level Tuco is priced at US$10,500 and comes with the following specs (which are also found in all of the caravan models):

The Tuco

  • welded steel frame
  • hand-built oversized door
  • hardwood interior
  • UV aluminum exterior
  • exterior utility light
  • solar panel
  • torsion axle
  • powder coated frames and fenders
  • rear receiver hitch
  • vintage style tail lights
  • Baby Moon Hubcaps
  • LED lights (interior and exterior)
  • Accessory Jack (iPhone ready)
  • vent and fan
  • roof rack
  • tinted window with blind
  • memory foam mattress
  • insulation made from re-purposed denim
  • diamond plate reinforcement

So what does the future hold? "We are currently designing a more 'traditional' shaped, slightly larger and more exclusively priced caravan," says Purser. "We are also developing Vintage Overland as a brand and not just a caravan builder. Soon we will be offering everything from waxed-cotton canvas tents, awnings and camp chairs, to woollen blankets, clothing, boots and kitbags, adding to the ultimate Vintage Overland camping experience."

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