Polydrops finds a new angle in the teardrop camping trailer market
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.
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.
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.
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.