TCTeardrops Off Road Trailer Review

TCTeardrops Off-Road Trailers for the 5th Gen 4Runner: An Overview on Accessories for Camping in Comfort

TCTeardrops Off-Road Trailers for the 5th Gen 4Runner: An Overview on Accessories for Camping in Comfort

Comfort and convenience on the open road!

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to camp in many different ways.

From a simple pup tent to wilderness canoe tripping to family tents and finally rooftop tents, I’ve done it all.

Because of my wife’s arthritis, sleeping on the ground where the cold seeps into your bones became a non-starter. Not to mention, packing up the rooftop tent every day for traveling to hiking trails and local attractions and then setting up every night became a bit of a chore.

It was around this time I started looking at teardrop trailers.

I didn’t want to drag a big travel trailer around as we often head down forest roads to wild camp. The size of the teardrop made perfect sense.

Research began in earnest as we set out to explore as many different manufacturers as possible, gaining new ideas every time we saw another build option. I knew we weren’t going to be looking at some of the higher-priced manufacturers, both because of the cost, more than our budget allowed and the fact, with the Canadian/US dollar exchange, everything we looked at was already 25-30% more.

After looking at a couple of models on a hot day, we realized we wouldn’t want the plastic-type RV interior due to the smell.

Instead, we locked in on trailers with wood interiors. Time and again we came back to TCTeardrops in Wisconsin.

Foxwing Awning provides 270° area protection

TCTeardrops Off-Road Trailers for the 5th Gen 4Runner: An Overview on Accessories for Camping in Comfort: Foxwing Awning

The TCTeardrops trailers come with two doors with screens, two windows, and interior storage cupboards that easily hold a week or more of clothes for two people, as well as stove slide out in the galley which sits at the perfect cooking height with the ground clearance or off-road package.

TCTeardrops is a family run business and owners Todd and Carol were great to work with, answering any questions we had.

The best part, as each trailer is a custom-built, we could get exactly what we wanted.

While on a summer trip around Lake Superior, we met up with Todd and Carol in Copper Harbor and had a good look at their personal show model.

We peppered them with questions and were sold. A deposit was sent a week later.

Water storage with Rotopax Propane Access

TCTeardrops Off-Road Trailers for the 5th Gen 4Runner: An Overview on Accessories for Camping in Comfort: Rotopax Storage

The recent situation with Moby Trailers, who asked for huge deposits, then folded the business leaving a number of people high and dry, means it’s often scary dealing with a small company.

However, TCTeardrops is very busy and only charges a fully refundable $500 deposit to gain a build slot.

Even if a trailer is not accepted, there are plenty of other people waiting in line, so it won’t sit in their inventory for very long.

While the company has four different models in multiple sizes now, from basic to a full-on/off-road model, capable of handling any terrain, we selected a kind of hybrid when we ordered.

We didn’t need the full off-road version, instead selecting a base model but adding the high clearance package, 3500 lb torsion axles, additional Class III trailer hitches for the side (to level and jack the trailer) and back (for a bike rack), 16” all-terrain tires on our supplied wheels, 10” trailer brakes and a Lock ‘N’ Roll hitch.

Lock ‘N’ Roll Hitch

TCTeardrops Off-Road Trailers for the 5th Gen 4Runner: An Overview on Accessories for Camping in Comfort: Lock 'N' Roll Hitch

We added a few additional options including a checker-plate 60” front storage box, Thule roof racks, Rotopax water units, Foxwing awning, Jeep fenders, rear table, and stabilizer jacks.

Lots of cooking space and storage in the galley

TCTeardrops Off-Road Trailers for the 5th Gen 4Runner: An Overview on Accessories for Camping in Comfort: Cooking Space in Galley

While we could have had a delivery in the winter (January), because of the distance, and weather, of our relative locations, we settled on April.

We met the company driver in Sault Ste. Marie, the USA to pick up our trailer and bring it back into Canada.

Having been involved with bringing vehicles into Canada, I had already gone through the RIV (Registrar of Imported Vehicles) paperwork and surprised the Canada customs officers with the correct documents at the border.

Because of the Canada/US dollar exchange, we waited and purchased some items for the trailer in Canada. This included the deep-cell marine battery and a mattress.

As I was working at a furniture store at the time, I was able to snag a high-end queen coil spring sofabed mattress to which I added two 1” queen cool gel memory foam toppers, complements of my local Serta Mattress representative. I almost think the bed in the trailer is more comfortable than the one at home.

A Yakama Load Warrior basket was added to the roof bars along with a spare tire bracket and our spare lives atop the trailer.

The plan, however, is to add matching Toyota 4Runner wheels to the trailer and be able to use the vehicle spare if necessary.

Solar power for extended boondocking

TCTeardrops Off-Road Trailers for the 5th Gen 4Runner: An Overview on Accessories for Camping in Comfort: Solar Power

The trailer came with a power bar for shore power but I’ve added a 100w solar panel and charge controller and with LED lights, the battery stays pretty much topped up all the time. We do use an inverter to charge camera batteries, phones and such when off-grid.

We continually add and refine items.

We’ve added a 10 lb propane tank mount on the side and the propane hose splits off to my Skottle before it runs into the galley through a custom hatch I’ve installed. I’ve added a second slide-out shelf that works great for food prep but allows access to items below.

I’m still working out exactly how I want a storage headboard in the cabin before constructing it.

Storage cabinets in the interior hold plenty of clothes

TCTeardrops Off-Road Trailers for the 5th Gen 4Runner: An Overview on Accessories for Camping in Comfort: interior storage cabinets

While the Foxwing awning covers 270 degrees along one side and around the rear galley area, an ARB 2000 awning has been added to the opposite side. An ARB deluxe screen room gives us the option of fully open, fully screened or fully closed panels.

We also have an Oz Tent RV5 Tag-a-long tent that zips into the Foxwing so if we have guests join us; they have a place to sleep.

ARB Screen Room offers multiple options

TCTeardrops Off-Road Trailers for the 5th Gen 4Runner: An Overview on Accessories for Camping in Comfort: ARB Screen Room

The trailer is a dream to tow as it only weighs about 1,200 lbs when loaded, no problem for the 4Runner.

Those considering a teardrop trailer, TCTeardrops trailers can be had in 200 different colors, come in four sizes, 4×8, 5×8, 5×9 and 5×10, with or without front storage boxes,

and plenty of other options:

  • Solar Power
  • AC
  • Verlo Mattresses
  • Coolers or Dometic fridges
  • Awnings
  • On-demand Hot Water
  • Split Bunk Beds
  • And more

As they are fully customizable, you can get exactly what you want and no two trailers will be the exact same.

We are now in our fourth year of trailer ownership and love it. We leave a few days’ worth of clothes in the cabin cupboards and with everything else necessary either in the front box or galley, we’re set to head out at only a moment’s notice.

Final Thoughts

Grab some food and drink and hit the road. It doesn’t get better than that!

TCTeardrops Off-Road Trailers for the 5th Gen 4Runner: An Overview on Accessories for Camping in Comfort: Final thoughts

Do you want to check out trailer options and styles? Visit the TCTeardrops website!

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Dan Huff
Dan Huff
6 months ago

What kind of stove do you use and where do you store it? What do you use for water storage? Thanks

W.M.
W.M.
8 months ago

From the pictures I’m guessing your TC Trailer is a 5×8? I’m just gauging the storage in your galley area. Does the size of your trailer create much drag as far as effecting your gas mileage? I also have a 5th generation 4runner but I travel a minimum of 200 miles for my camping destinations.

W.M.
W.M.
8 months ago
Reply to  W.M.

Thank You for your input and review. Can’t wait to get my TC!

Colin
Colin
8 months ago
Reply to  W.M.

Our trailer is a 5×9. Lots of storage in the galley. Most times I don’t even know it’s there as it weighs something like 1200 lbs. I have not noticed a big drop in fuel economy either. If you are buying a TC and can swing it, go with the 5×10, it just gives you a few more options both in space in the galley and space in the cabin, including additional storage options.

R.J.
R.J.
1 year ago

Wonderful review, thank you! Can’t wait for our very own TC trailer and new adventures!

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