Mink teardrop trailers bring style and comfort to the Icelandic wilds
A teardrop with some serious top-of-world flair, the Mink trailer offers a warm, cozy rolling home for those looking to explore Iceland's rippled glaciers, explosive geysers and steamy hot springs. Roll to camp in the car or 4x4 of your choice, lie down inside the extra-curvy Mink cabin and enjoy views of the northern lights through the generously sized skylight above. What better way to venture through one of the world's most beautiful and surreal landscapes?
There's clearly something romantic about camping trailers inspired by the world's northernmost lands. Not long ago, we looked at a Scandinavian-inspired teardrop from North America. The Mink is guided by a similar simple-but-functional design ethos, albeit fully Nordic, a collaboration between the Icelandic company and Sweden's Jordi Hans Design.
As Mink co-founder and CEO Kolbeinn Björnsson tells it, the Mink team didn't set out to design a product so much as create new opportunities for touring Iceland's gorgeous but isolated landscapes. What it wanted was to offer a comfortable, affordable means of exploring everything the country has to offer, including regions that remain pristine and unblemished by even the world's most remote hotels.
Teardrop trailer rental was identified as the perfect solution, but not just any teardrop would do. It'd have to be tough enough to travel off pavement, warm and robust enough to stand up to the harsh local climate, and stylish and luxurious enough to attract the type of adventurous souls looking to see the distant reaches of Iceland but maybe without trekking miles by foot or sleeping on the cold ground. Björnsson sums the feel up as "the intimacy of camping with a dash of luxury travel."
So Mink set to designing its own trailer back in 2015, giving the teardrop a touch of signature flair without losing the timeless, unmistakable form that makes the teardrop so beloved in the first place. The design team replaced the crisp corners with bulging, bright-yellow edges that are every bit as round as the roofline. In place of the typical rectangular doors, round doors with porthole-style windows add to the ultra-curvy design. The updates are quite simple, but they make the trailer immediately recognizable as a Mink.
The Mink's distinctive body is secured to a tough, overbuilt steel chassis and its 15-in alloy wheels cushioned by a leaf-spring suspension. The trailer measures 8.9 feet (270 cm) in length, stands about a foot (30 cm) over the ground below and weighs in around 1,100-lb (500-kg).
The Mink interior is as simple as you'd expect from a teardrop, but with a few additions to help it thrive in the Icelandic backcountry. Heat is an important commodity when traveling around the near-Arctic, and the Mink comes equipped with a thermostat-controlled Webasto heater. A large skylight panel opens up the scenery above, whether it's the famed northern lights or just a starry night sky.
The queen-size mattress is dressed in Scandinavian linen, a duvet, blanket and pillows, and a shelf offers some indoor storage space. An integrated Wi-Fi antenna keeps travelers connected while a portable Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth speaker plays music inside or out.
The Mink's simple, functional spirit flows right into the tailgate galley, which feels quite open and spacious despite its compact size. In place of the portable fridge-freezers or removable iceboxes seen on other teardrops, the Mink carries an illuminated ice chest below its countertop, with a wood cutting board serving as a lid. A gas single-burner stove stands user's right, just past some free countertop, and the rear cabinetry and storage bins keep tools, dishes and utensils at the ready. To keep things simple and rental-friendly, Mink uses removable 3-liter canisters for water storage in place of a built-in tank. A set of table and chairs is included for open-air dining.
The Mink includes LED lighting throughout and USB charging ports. A roof-mounted solar panel keeps the battery topped off during off-grid wanderings, and a GPS tracker provides a safety net.
After putting its pre-production trailer through plenty of hard, real-world testing and coming away satisfied, Mink began renting it out through Avis last summer, enjoying immediate success. It's currently investigating the winter market, with an emphasis on shorter trips. Rental pricing runs €119 (approx. US$150) per night for the trailer, but Mink hopes to bring that down as it expands its operation, perhaps even cutting it in half. Avis, of course, also rents vehicles that will serve as the towing muscle.
Mink also offers its own direct rentals and is hoping to franchise out to other tour and rental operators, both in Iceland and in countries with their own networks of scenic, lodging-free roads and dirt. Norway, Canada and the Western United States are among its targets.
The Mink Camper is also available for purchase in Iceland for €14,000 (approx. US$17,400). Mink plans to expand sales to select European markets in the future.
You can get a better feel for the full Mink experience and layout in the three-minute (not 30-second) video below.