Most adventurous outdoor parents can tell you what a challenge it can be bringing toddlers along for camping and backpacking trips. Before having kids, cold weather, bad food, and the discomforts of camping and trail life were a part of the romance and pageantry of each outing. With a non-verbal toddler, those minor discomforts can quickly become a big issue. After a few rough nights of winter camping in a tent, I started looking for alternative sleeping options. My goal was to find a trailer that would allow us to enjoy the outdoors without having to brave the cold winter nights and powerful winds we often get here in the California desert.
After looking around online, I discovered a company called Off The Grid Rentals. Poking around on their website, I found that they specialize in providing off-road ready Teardrop trailers and roof top tents to adventurous outdoor families. They have two pickup locations in Southern California, and I really lucked out since I live 12 miles from one of their locations. They also have pick-up locations in Utah and Arizona. From there, Julia got in contact with Off The Grid Rentals, and we were embarking on a California desert road trip only two days later.
After a 3-day weekend road trip covering more than 500 miles, I’m a Teardrop trailer convert. It’s going to be pretty difficult getting my son to hop back into a tent after this experience. This trip was a game-changer for sure. With that being the case, here are 5 reasons our family road trips will never be the same!
1. Bad Weather Is Only A Mild Inconvenience
At the tail end of our road trip, a pretty big storm blew into Southern California. The wind on the storm front packed gusts in the 40-50mph range. This all started at around 3:00 AM. I only realized this because I went outside to use the restroom and almost got blown over. I was amazed how well insulated the Teardrop trailer was from cold and wind noise. My son was sleeping like a champ and had no clue what was going on outside. Had we been in a tent, that night would have proceeded in a radically different fashion. Sleeping in a trailer will allow us to safely camp in colder locations and higher elevations without having to worry about my son’s comfort and health. I can’t wait to bring this camper up to Grandview Campground in the Ancient Bristlecone forest once the road is open.
Since the Teardrop has such a small profile, it’s very easy to tow. Even in high winds, I could hardly feel that I had a trailer attached to my 4runner. Having never really towed anything before this Teardrop, this was an issue that had me concerned. I still have a lot of work to do in regards to learning how to backup with a trailer. Driving forward, however, couldn’t be easier.
2. Sleeping Gets A Lot More Comfortable
When the nights are cold, windy, and rainy, even the most steadfast adventurer can struggle sleeping outside. Having slept in those conditions on more than a few occasions over the past few years, the inside of this Teardrop is downright luxurious. This makes me feel a lot better (and safer) when bringing my 20-month old toddler on camping trips in the middle of nowhere.
The full size mattress comfortably fits 2 adults with one child in between. This Teardrop also had shelves, a stereo, and USB chargers for our phones.
On the top of the Teardrop we had a pop-up tent. This isn’t a standard feature for all rentals, but is an extra option by request. The pop-up tent provides sleeping space for three more people, and is an awesome place to relax and nap once you’ve found a place to camp.
3. There’s No Need To Set Up Camp
When we take road trips, we often leave on Friday night after work. In the winter months with shorter days, that means arriving to campsites in the dark. Pitching a tent, blowing up sleeping pads, and preparing dinner in the dark can be a real chore at times. Having a ready-to-go camper alleviates all of these issues as your bed is already made and the entire trailer unit has bright LED lighting.
Leaving one campsite and heading to another in the morning is easy work with a trailer, as there is no tent to break down and no sleeping pads to deflate. We simply made our bed, shut the doors, and we were off and running.
4. The Teardrop Krawler Can Go Virtually Anywhere My 4runner Can
When I first started looking at trailers I was worried about whether or not I’d be able to take them on some of the rutted fire roads we usually drive on to get to dispersed campsites. This Teardrop model is called the Krawler and it’s built for off-highway adventures. What makes the Krawler special is it’s Old Man Emu leaf springs under a 3500 lbs axle, 20″ of ground clearance, 10″ electric brakes, and 9-way adjustable shocks. The kit is finished off with Method race wheels and all-terrain tires. On our first night we made our way out to Afton Canyon, home of the famous Mojave Road, and had no problem on the steep, sandy, and rutted roads in.
5. Cooking And Cleaning Off-The-Grid Isn’t An Issue
I have such an aversion to cooking and cleaning while camping that I almost always bring dehydrated meals and my Jetboil for dinner. This is even the case at established campsites! The Teardrop we rented had such a nice kitchen that I had to break from tradition. The Krawler comes with a full propane stove, pots, pans, and cookware. The best part is that the final cleaning of the cookware was included in the overall cleaning fee. The kitchen setup also came with a refrigerator that we kept iced and only needed to run a little at night.
When you’re ready to clean your dishes or take a shower, you can plug in the water hose for some high pressure cleaning. We like boondocking, and almost never stay in developed campsites (I don’t like crowds), so having battery power and water lets us hang out wherever dispersed camping is allowed.
As you can see from these 5 reasons, I don’t think family camping will ever be the same. For car camping, inclement weather trips, and planned family outings, I think we’ll be sleeping in a trailer from here on out! I still see myself doing a ton of backcountry camping and backpacking trips to remote areas, and I’ll surely be bringing my son along on a few of those trips if weather permits. This trailer rental will give us options and flexibility to make sure that all of our family outings are positive and enjoyable experiences for my son, and that’s the most important thing in my eyes.
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