In this section I will be going over all the accessories I have added to the Teardrop to make it comfortable and livable.
Alcan Leaf springs – For my teardrop to make it ride a little nicer I decided to go with custom leaf springs. Now these thins are about 10x more expensive then the standard trailer leaf springs that you can buy. But in my opinion they are well worth it. Each leaf pack has ?? number of leafs versus the standard trailer leaf pack with 3. This increase number of leafs allows the pack easier movement or more flex. Now I do have a set of standard trailer leaf packs as a trail spare just in case I break a leaf. It is a cheap easy way to ensure little trouble if in a remote place. The other option that people do sometimes is go with a stand leaf pack from a vehicle. This is a great solution over standard leafs as you can get them cheap at a junk yard and they are much longer which allows for a smother ride of the trailer over uneven terrain. I did not go this route because it was to late by the time I researched and thought of it to cut of and do a bunch of welding on a frame that already had wood mounted on it and was not suitable to travel down the road to the welders shop. You can see below the difference between the custom and aftermarket leaf packs.
10lb propane tank and mount – To ensure enough fuel for the stove and hot water heater I decided to go with a 10lb propane tank. This is a bonus over little 1lb tanks as those are disposible and cost much more in the long run. The reason I did not go for a 20lb tank and mount was they were to wide and would not tuck nicely behind my fender for protection and would of had a higher chance of hitting a rock or three and causing damage to the tank. Even though the 20lb tank and mount is about 1/5th the cost of the 10lb tank. This is due to a 20lb tank is a standard size. Also one thing to remember. You can exchange a 20lb tank just about anywhere. You have to get a 10lb tank filled since no one carries them for exchange. In the following pictures you can see the tank and mount as they arrived. Then also see where I mounted it behind the tire. There will be tire fender there too for more protection. Also you can see the sunken nuts I used on the backside of the plywood inside the galley and I bolted the mount through the wall to secure it. I did switch to shorter bolts to make them stick out less.
Galley Hatch Light – For lighting up the galley during those dark gloomy days or during the night I went with a simple LED light. It has 12 leds all in a row. I got two of them so I can mount one close to the top of all the cabinets and then one further away. LED is the way to go with power consumption and days of independability is the goal. Here are a few photo’s of the lights. They are activated by a switch in the galley.
Cupboard Door Latches – The latches I choice are called slam latches. I think the reason for this is you can slam the door closed and it stays closed. They work very similar to a door latch for your house. There is a spring loaded angle piece that retracts as it is closing do to a striker rubbing against it. But once the striker passing this peace the piece then springs back and is stuck behind the striker. To open the door you have to pull on a lever and this retracts the spring loaded piece and the door then can be opened. It ensures that the doors stay close while traveling down the road and trail. Here is the latch in the package as it arrived and then installed.
Max Coupler – This is the simplest but most ingenious thing I have on my trailer. I fell in love reading about it and all over again once it arrived. This this is built so well and thought through very thoroughly to be simple but also extremely effective. When you buy the max coupler it comes with everything that you need besides a standard ball hitch without the ball. On your trailer you will need a 2″ receiver to make it work. All you do is slide in the trailer side into the trailer 2″ reciever. Then take the vehicle side and bolt it to the desired drop/raise hitch your vehicle desires depending on the trailer height vs vehicle height. To attach the trailer to the vehicle it is as simple as lining them up and inserting a pin in place to hold everything secure.
2300 watt Power Inverter – Since I will not have a shore power hookup besides my trickle charger when I’m at home. I decided to install a 2300 watt power inverter. No matter how many 12volt accessories you can get it seems like there is always that once thing you need 120volt for. Another reason I did this is so I could run some of my power tools if needed that is why the inveter is so large. Just in case I need to run a drill or a reciprocal saw. I mounted the inverter inside the interior electrical box and ran a 120 volt outlet for the inside and galley. The inverter has a remote control power switch which will come in handy. I ran power to the inverter and the fuse box together but installed a breaker between them. I also installed a vent hole into the side cabinet in front of the cooling fans for when the inveter is going to be on for a while all I have to do is open the cabinet door.
Onboard Water system – I decided it was better off having a onboard water tank low and centered in the trailer then a bunch of water jerry cans mounted all over the sides higher up raising the COG. Also always having to deal with a dirty jerry can. To complete this system I needed a self priming pump to draw the water out of the tank and supply to all the necessary places. I also sized the pump to work along with my hot water heater. Need just enough flow to help get the proper temp. I then wanted to tie this pump into a water filter just in case I get any impurities in my water tank this will help remove them. Now I had to figure out how to fill the water tank. Well that was a easy one. I used a standard RV fill with a vent to ensure it would not backup the hose causing a mess every time I filled with water. Along with this I wanted a standard garden hose fitting on the outside where I could attach my hot water heater. The only easy setup I found had a one way valve in the wrong direction. So I drilled out this valve and installed a ball valve inline so the fitting would not always be charged with pressure. For the water tank I searched online for used tanks since they are much cheaper but never found one in the right size. The tank was going to sit below the sub floor and on top of the floor so it needed to be shallow but hold enough gallons to make this system worthwhile. I found the perfect 26 gallon tank. So after I obtained all the necessary parts. I figured out what fittings I needed to tie everything together and rounded them all up. Then I started mounting everything. Below you can see all the parts as they arrived and also where I ended up mounting everything. All the water hookups have a nice easy access on the side of the trailer but they are high enough up where I should not have an issue with water crossings. And if I get water in my tank from a stream or river most likely I have bigger issues with my vehicle.
L5 Inline Hot Water Heater – There were several different options I had to choice from when it came time to helping stay clean. The first option was just a bucket and wash cloth. You could heat the water on the stove if you would like. Another option would to be getting a camping shower. This consist of a darkly colored rubber bag you put water in and hoist it up in the air. The sun will heat the water and you are limited to the water you pre-loaded into the bag. The most complicated option would be to tie into my vehicle cooling system and use a heat exchange that transfers the heat into water. None of these options seems very friendly to me. Defiantly when you start considering a 30+ day trip. And the last option just seem way to complicated and messing with the vehicle cooling system just seem plain stupid. Not that it is not feasible. But your adding more equipment to a critical system that could fail. So I went in a different route. Why not heat up my water with propane the same fuel as my stove? This sounded great now I could of put a few copper coils on the stove but why not do it in a more efficient manner. So Eccotemp and a few other companies create a propane powered inline water heater. It is a very simple unit. You use a pump to push water through a radiator as the fire heats it up. There are two adjustable settings for it. You can adjust the water flow and the heat (aka flame). The key is to pair it up with a pump that will put the right amount of water through it. To little flow the water will be to hot. To much flow and the water will not heat up. Now initially I was just going to setup this unit as needed by hanging it from the roof rack or a tree. But then I saw and had a great idea. Why not put it in its own case so setup time would be much less. So the search for a proper size case went on. I finally settled on the Pelican 1600 case some people have used a 1550 but I wanted to make sure I had enough room to mount everything. Why you may ask, well pelican cases are water tight and tough as nails. So my unit would stay clean and dry and not get damaged if I hit a tree with it. If you look at a inline water heater you will notice that the heat escapes from the top. This is why I mounted the heater to the door so I would not risk the chance of melting or deforming the case with the heat. I also found quick connects for the propane and water lines so I could attach everything easily and quickly when the time is needed. No need to look for that pliers to tighten down the hose every time. I also decided to upgrade the sprayer with a new unit since the one that comes with the water heater had such bad review about it breaking. I bought a low flow hand held water head. Below you can see the unit mounted in the pelican case.
Blue Sea Fuse Box – I will never say anything bad about these. These are simply the best aftermarket fuse box on the market. They offer then in a verity of sizes and with or without the ground block too. I already have two of these in my vehicle and of course I was going to use a third on in my trailer. The max amperage for the whole block is 150 amps and 30 amps for any single port. Which is more then enough for any of the accessories I have. In the second picture below you can see the fuse block mounted on the left side of the electrical cuby. Don’t worry I clean up the wires so it looks much better then this.
Mount Everest Camp Chef Stove – When I was looking for a stove I wanted a 2 burner unit that was portable. The reason being I could move it to wherever I wanted to cook my food if this was a picnic table great. If this was another camp site since we where having a big gathering perfect. The issue with a built in stove in a teardrop is you can’t move it and 70% of them take up critical room on the interior and counter space. So while looking at reviews and reading statistics I kept seeing people recommend Camp Chef stoves. Then I decided to get one that had the capability of high BTU’s. This one puts out 20,000BTU’s for each burner and should be good enough for anything I want to cook. If I need a bigger fire then that I will just cook over a camp fire. I also decided to get the bulk tank adapter hose. This allows me to attach the stove to a 5lb, 10lb, 20lb or even larger propane tank. So I’m not stuck with little 1lb tanks.
Foam Bed – Since my teardrop is a different size then any standard bed out there on the market. I decided to make a custom cover and foam mattress. I bought 2″ thick sheets of bedding foam that where 36″ wise and 72″ long. By utilizing a cross cross method and 3 layers. I created a bed that is 6″ high and is split down the center to allow me easier access to the front sub floor storage area and also the water tank if needed then a bed that was not split.
High AMP Quick disconnects – When it comes time to charge up my batteries on the trailer, starting my vehicle battery from the trailer, or even running a front or rear or both winches from any battery I like. There is not better option then using a high amp quick disconnects. I am using these between my vehicle and trailer and also to quickly attach my portable winch to the back of my trailer or vehicle. I can even quickly connect my jumper cables to the rear of my vehicle and start up someone who is parked behind me. I have read ratings on these things anywhere from 150 amps to 350 amps for the exact same pair. They also accept a wire down to a 2 gauge. I would just recommend that you solder your ends vs just crimping them.
For controlling the charge for my trailer batteries I’m utilizing a Battery isolator. This will help ensure that my primary starting battery is always charged first before any of my auxiliary batteries charge. It does this by opening up the charging circuit to the secondary battery when the primary voltage is above 12.6v which means a full charge and will isolate the secondary battery if the primary voltage drops below 12.2v. This specific one is rated for 150amps which will be more then plenty. Even if I do run power through it for a winch since half of the battery supply will be on the same side as the winch. So the isolator will only see half the amps. Along with this the isolator has a override function where I can close or open the circuitite not matter what the voltage is.
62 Quart Duel Zone Whynter Fridge/Freezer – When looking for a fridge/freezer for the tear drop I wanted something that could hold quite a bit of food. But I also wanted to be able to have frozen food for longer storage and a fridge for shorter storage. That is when I came by the Whynter 62 qt duel zone. This thing is awesome. It is 1/3-1/4 of the cost of the nearest competitors duel zone fridge/freezer. My game plane is to use the larger zone for the freezer and smaller zone for the refrigerator. The reason for this is I have a 50qt fridge also in my vehicle I can use for storage. This will give me a grand total of 76 qts of fridge space and 34 qts of freezer space. on a Size note this thing can also run on 120 volt besides 12 volt so when packing it up at home or if you do have shore power you can plug it in and not worry about draining your batteries. To mount the fridge I just removed the handle and ran a rope from one eye bolt to another and inserted a turnbuckle to tighten it down and hold it securely onto the slide that was built.
Window and Door – I bought my window and door from a tear drop parts shop. I would high recommend this. They helped me figure out what size I should go with along with what frame thickness I needed. I did not know you needed different trim pieces for different thicknesses. I would of ended up wasting money on ebay buying stuff that would not have worked. I gotta say these are solid built windows and doors. I have no complaints they are simple and to the point and are very easy to install.
Breakaway switch – If you own a trailer it has brakes and you don’t know what this thing is you need to get one. This is a breakaway switch. It activates the trailer brakes if the tow vehicle and trailer become separated. How it works is you mount the switch to the trailer tong and then connect the cable to the tow vehicle if they become separated it applies the trailer brakes at full force forcing it to stop so it does not run into any buddy or vehicle. All that is required besides this is a 12volt source on the trailer side. Please not if you attach this to your main battery source on the trailer and leave it activated it will drain and kill your trailer battery quickly by applying full brake power all the time. It is not meant to be used as a long term parking brake for a trailer but in a quick pinch it would work great.
Tekonsha P3 Brake Controller – Even though this is in my tow vehicle I’m going to mention it anyways. This is a great brake controller. You can adjust how much the trailer brakes compared to the tow vehicle. You also can save several preset setting for different trailers you may tow. Along with this there is a lever you flip and it will apply full trailer brakes when needed. This thing is simple to setup and program yet extremely functional.
Tongue box – I got a 48″ in wide aluminum tongue box. This box will be utilized for holding the batteries and all the battery related electrical stuff. Along with this I will build a shelf in it to store regular camp things you might want to access often. As in camp chairs. This box came with a foam seal around the lid but I replaced it with a rubber one to better ensure water tightness.
So with upgrading my primary winch I ended up having a 9k winch that still worked laying around. I was not about to sell it. So I decided to get a portable 2″ receiver mount for a winch and attach it. This will come in hand if I ever want to winch backwards from the trailer or vehicle.
Sure Electronics LED Gauges – To help monitor my teardrop’s battery and inside/outside temperature I went with a led gauges that auto adjust the brightness. They draw low amps themselves so not to drain the battery. These things are great. They are easy to read and accurate. Now to mention there low profile made it easy to install.
Blue Sea E-series Battery Switch – The battery switch I choice has 4 different positions. The first is “off” this will isolate the entire circuit. Great for when it is parked at home. The second and third position is 1 or 2. These will allow you to select which battery you want to source your power from. And the fourth position is 1+2 this will allow you to use both batteries simultaneously. The switch is heavy duty but very easy to operate and mount. With just a quick look you can tell what it is set to. There should be no confusion here.
Gold Stars LED RV Reading Light – This little light is about the size of the palm of your hand but yet puts off some pretty bright light. I am utilizing it more of a interior light then a reading light. I have to say if someone is next to you and you are reading by this light they will have a difficult time sleeping it is bright. It was very easy to wire up and it takes two screw to attach it to the wall. It did not come with the hardware though. You can manipulate this light to point in any direction needed.
Craftman 18″ chainsaw – The 18″ chain saw is a nice little chain saw that fits perfectly on my roof rack for when I go on trips. You never know when you need to help clear a trail or cut up some firewood. I got this thing for free for safety points at work. Go figure a chainsaw… It gets the job done.
Renogy 100w Mono Solar Panel & PWM 30amp Charge Controller – When searching for solar panels I have to say that the pricing varies a lot. It is a lot of name brand vs off brand but also the quality does very. When I first started looking I wanted a roll-able/fold-able solar panel but compared to a rigid panel the price was just to high. So I ended up with a rigid 100w panel. I am very happy with this. Now the PWM 30amp charge controller that came with it is a positive ground. I first thought this would be a problem but it ended up not being an issue. There is a set of hook ups on the controller for an auxiliary device. If you want to utilize this then you need to have a positive frame trailer. Otherwise just attach everything to the batteries and your good to go.
Pyle 9″ Monitor and DVD Player – So for entertainment on those cold rainy days I wanted to get a dvd player. Most people end up getting a large tv. Not this guy. I wanted something that could tuck out of the way and take up little room but yet be very effective. And not to mention I will be a max of 6′ away from it no matter where I mount it so how big does the screen have to be? I found this nice little unit that had a bunch of options with it. You can use wireless headphones which I will be using. Along with 2 channels of video/audio out and 1 channel of video/audio input. It also can play videos/audio off a hard drive, thumb stick, or SD card which will be a nice option.
Fantastic Fan 1000 – When it comes to fans and the teardrop/rv world everyone will tell you to get a Fantastic Fan. Well I have to say they are great and come in a few different options. The one I ended up with has 3 speed settings along with manual screw up lift of the cover. It also has a reverse setting. This is one of there most basic you can get ones that close the cover if it rains to turning on and off depending on temperature. All the fans are the standard 14″x14″ cutouts.
Rigid Dually Diffused Porch Light – I have a pair of these on my vehicle as a back up light. For a light that can disburse light in all needed directions but also is very bright I went with the Dually Diffused. I bought this pair used at a great price too. I used a RAM mount to attach them to the Teardrop as this will allow me to point them in any direction needed. I will also be able to use them as a backup light if needed.
Insain Fab Tire Craddle – Insain Fab created this tire cradle for me. I originally wanted a swing out tire carrier but after careful thought I did not want to deal with the hassle of it all. Along with this there was a wide open area on my fender to hold a tire.
Door Bar Reinforcement – To strengthen security on the door for the teardrop I created this bar that will go across the main door and lock on.
Stereo – I was originally planning on mounting a couple speakers into the galley hatch. But after having issues figuring it out I then went with a portable box I can setup anywhere and plug into a 12volt outlet. I will most likely install it into the galley at a future date and time. To ensure it lasted I bought a Pyle 2 channel 200watt water proof amp and speakers just in case it got left in the rain. It came with a very nice water proof case for your phone or Ipod.
Vice – To help with those trail repairs. I decided to mount a vice onto a Atv winch plate.
LED Strips – I installed LED strips into each cabinet with a micro switch activated by the doors. This allows me to see what is in each cabinet when it is dark out.
Gas Spring – I ordered a 200lb gas spring to open and hold the galley door open. I created a C bracket and L bracket to attach it to the wall and galley door.
Curtains – To help shield the teardrop from sunlight. I created some curtains. I had a extra shower curtain around and figured this would be a great way to create a durable and cheap curtain.
Pepper Spray, Air Horn, Flash Light, Machetes, Tomahawk – I mounted common camping and bear repellent stuff for easy access.
Fire Extinguisher – Every Kitchen should have a fire extinguisher and here is mine. Easy access and I can’t block it in.
Spice Holders – To help hold and organize spices I mounted them in two different spots. For the common used ones and ones less commonly used.