Outdoors

Polydrops finds a new angle in the teardrop camping trailer market

Butterfly/gullwing doors on each side create a dramatic entry
Butterfly/gullwing doors on each side create a dramatic entry
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Polydrop designers tested the insulated shell in Big Bear, California, finding that the interior (heater off) maintained a temperature near 60° F (15° C) while the outside was down near 35° F (2° C)
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Polydrop designers tested the insulated shell in Big Bear, California, finding that the interior (heater off) maintained a temperature near 60° F (15° C) while the outside was down near 35° F (2° C)
The Polydrop cabin has a mattress, storage shelves, LED lighting, an electrical control center and a roof vent
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The Polydrop cabin has a mattress, storage shelves, LED lighting, an electrical control center and a roof vent
No stove or fridge/freezer here; the Polydrop's tailgate galley is an empty canvas
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No stove or fridge/freezer here; the Polydrop's tailgate galley is an empty canvas
The interior has polyurethaned plywood walls and black leather trim
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The interior has polyurethaned plywood walls and black leather trim
Polydrop says the interior was inspired by a spaceship
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Polydrop says the interior was inspired by a spaceship
Butterfly/gullwing doors on each side create a dramatic entry
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Butterfly/gullwing doors on each side create a dramatic entry
LA's Polydrops carves some angles into the classic teardrop trailer
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LA's Polydrops carves some angles into the classic teardrop trailer
At just 760 lb, the Polydrop trailer is designed to be towed by small cars
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At just 760 lb, the Polydrop trailer is designed to be towed by small cars
A comfy "portable private space" for two
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A comfy "portable private space" for two
A very different look for a tiny trailer
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A very different look for a tiny trailer
The spacecraft closing in on the car ... 
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The spacecraft closing in on the car ... 
Polydrops Inc. has launched its limited edition trailer for $9,000 
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Polydrops Inc. has launched its limited edition trailer for $9,000 
The Polydrop trailer escapes the city
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The Polydrop trailer escapes the city
The Polydrop looks both natural and foreign amidst a backdrop of jagged rock
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The Polydrop looks both natural and foreign amidst a backdrop of jagged rock
Polydrops uses a Titan hydraulic braking system
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Polydrops uses a Titan hydraulic braking system
The cooler will have to go in your car, but the Polydrop kitchen does have room for a portable camping stove
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The cooler will have to go in your car, but the Polydrop kitchen does have room for a portable camping stove

America's major RV makers have been slowly complementing larger products with light, versatile small trailers, but startups continue to lead the way when it comes to innovating smart, stylish teardrop trailers and small caravans. California's Polydrops Inc. is the latest, revealing a very polygonal take on the classic teardrop. Built from wood and skinned in aluminum, the Polydrop trailer moves seamlessly from city to mountains, whether you're towing it with an electric minicar or the orange C4 Corvette in Polydrop's photos.

Seeing the Polydrop trailer for the first time is a bit like seeing a blurry version of something familiar in a dream – you know what it is you're looking at, but it just doesn't seem quite right. With the Polydrop, it feels very much like you're looking at a teardrop, but what are those angles and creases? They're what puts the "poly" in the Polydrop and make this LA-designed trailer a highly effective visual piece that's both novel and familiar at the same time.

The 12.4-foot (3.8-m) Polydrop trailer looks like a project that started when creator Kyung-Hyun Lew, an architectural designer, connected a few points on a sketch of a teardrop trailer. Scratch a teardrop on paper and you could probably come up with a similar profile by sketching a couple of lines inside the drop. Polydrop adds facets to bring the flat teardrop sides into three dimensions.

Polydrops Inc. has launched its limited edition trailer for $9,000 
Polydrops Inc. has launched its limited edition trailer for $9,000 

Lew doesn't think of the Polydrop trailer as a camper so much as a portable personal space, giving its owner the freedom to get in the car and go, staying wherever his or her heart desires. In fact, Lew developed the prototype trailer as his very own space, traveling with it hitched to his wife's compact 4-cylinder car. The couple used it not only as a hotel alternative, but also as an office and mobile study area.

The Polydrop trailer would undoubtedly appeal to design-minded individuals even if it were only a stationary sculpture. But the trailer also boasts some performance-oriented construction that starts with its 4 x 8-foot (1.2 x 2.4-m) aluminum chassis, which combines with the light wood structure and aluminum skin for a very low 760-lb (345-kg) dry weight. That's not quite motorcycle trailer-light, but it's extremely light for a car trailer, giving the owner plenty of flexibility in selecting a tow vehicle. The 80-lb (36-kg) tongue weight makes it easy to handle when not hitched to that vehicle.

Braking shouldn't be a big concern with such a lightweight trailer, but Polydrop has added a hydraulic disc brake system for sure stopping power. A 1,200-lb (544-kg) Timbren independent suspension cushions the 13-in trailer wheels.

The Polydrop opens with stylish strut-assisted butterfly doors, revealing a very simply laid out cabin filled with 48 x 75-in (122 x 191-cm) mattress. The bare pine walls and ceiling feel like a warm fiery center inside the icy aluminum shell, a visual reminder of the EPS foam and polyiso insulation separating the cold outdoors from the cozy interior.

Polydrop says the interior was inspired by a spaceship
Polydrop says the interior was inspired by a spaceship

The Polydrop cabin also includes a roof vent, LED lighting, three storage cubbies, leather trim, and a command panel with controls for the included electric heater, lighting, USB and 12V outlets, and battery monitoring. The 12V battery is wired to a 100W solar panel.

The tailgate galley is more of a storage trunk, lacking any form of built-in fixtures. It includes two drawers for storage and a shelf/worktop. While an empty, bring-your-own-equipment galley is a way of keeping things light, simple and affordable, one key trailer element that's conspicuously missing is a cooler cabinet. Even in a "portable private space" that's not merely a camping trailer, a cooler seems like the type of thing owners will want to have on hand.

The cooler will have to go in your car, but the Polydrop kitchen does have room for a portable camping stove
The cooler will have to go in your car, but the Polydrop kitchen does have room for a portable camping stove

Polydrop is currently offering 20 limited edition 2019 launch models for US$9,000 each, before shipping, which is a significant break on the planned $13,000 standard retail price. A pre-order reservation requires a $6,000 deposit.

You can see the Polydrop in smooth-rolling, sharp-maneuvering urban action in the 30-second video clip below, and get a closer look at the details in the photo gallery.

Polydrop Trailer in Los Angeles

Source: Polydrops

2 comments
MartinVoelker
Nifty, especially at the intro price. But I wonder how one could also transport a bicycle or two along with the trailer.
jerryd
While cool looking and lighter, it gives that advantage up by such bad aero greatly increasing the towing load, cutting gas mileage, increasing engine power needed on a small car. Had they instead went made it aero it would have little drag as it could clean up the towing car aero, cutting drag and barely budging mpg. Especially important towing with an EV. I'd make the kitchen a portable unit and open the rear so it can be used as a trailer to carry other things, be more useful than just a wheeled tent.