Teardrop camper trailers are all the rage right now. They’re technical, they’re versatile, and they’re getting lighter and more innovative by the day. We thought we’d seen it all when BMW partnered with The North Face to create a lightweight, extreme weather-resistant camping trailer, but now Earth Traveler is the new kid on the block, and they’re making featherlight camping trailers out of, well, feathers.
Like so many inventors, Earth Traveler founder Angel Irlanda initially designed a trailer so that he could take his family on camping trips. Having just bought a Fiat 500 and not wanting to upgrade to something bigger in order to tow a caravan, he set about creating an ultra lightweight camper trailer that could be towed by any car. He came up with this: the T250LX, a hand-built adaptable living shelter created from a carbon fiber and Corecell construction. He used his artistic background in sculpture to come up with a design that was not only extremely aerodynamic but also wonderfully modern and pleasing to the eye, drawing inspiration from avian structure in both its philosophy and design.
Irlanda initially built a prototype for the trailer out of wood and fiberglass, but after encouragement from friends and family, he decided to go into production, winning $4,500 in local small business grants to put towards his project.
Aesthetically the T250LX is beautifully sleek and modern, with curved side windows and gull wing-style pop out side walls which arc upwards into a perfectly curved roof. It measures a tiny 11ft long by 5ft wide and 5ft high when closed, and expands to create an 11ft wide and 7ft high living space when parked. It weighs a minuscule 216lbs which means it can be maneuvered by one person single-handedly, unlike your typical caravan.
The open interior space feels light and airy, and with the roof tent popped and the windows streaming in light and panoramic views this trailer feels a little like a compact, luxury apartment.
Pop up roofs front and back create enough standing height for cooking or changing, with a mosquito net at the back to keep out pests. Two 60% UV resistant awnings unfurl either side, create ample living space and an area that can house a double bed and two singles.
The T250LX comes with a removable mat floor, interior LEDs, DOT-approved running lights and even a spare tire, as well as the interior being coated with a durable impact-resistant vinyl polymer.
There’s not much in the way of furniture or fixings, as this trailer is leaning more towards mobile tent than camper van, however an installable kitchen station will be available to add on soon. Earth Traveler can currently provide a Renology 100W flexible solar kit however, with an LCD monitor screen, self-diagnostic kit plus an integrated smartphone app. Smart LED lighting is available as an option, as is an axle-less trailer suspension system for off-road tires with a 1200lb load capacity on request.
However, if you think you’ll really be putting your camping trailer through its paces then a beefier Offroad Package is available too, which comes with 33” BFGoodrich T/A KO2 tires, Jeep fenders, surge brakes and a MaxCoupler articulation coupler- that should be enough to see you along most dirt tracks.
The T250LX by Earth Traveler will soon begin retailing at $30,975, a price tag that reflects its lightweight yet pricey carbon fiber construction. However a much cheaper version is available and that’s the T300, which is just like its bigger brother in almost every way apart from one key difference: the construction. Because this trailer isn’t made of carbon fiber, no- it’s made of chicken feathers, set in resin and crafted alongside a fiberglass shell. This does mean that the T300 is a bit heavier than the T250LX, weighing in at 287.75lbs, but that’s still a fraction of the weight of most trailers. And it’s a fraction of the price too, under a third of the cost of the T250LX at $10,000.
Not only is this trailer modular and incredibly versatile, it is also part of a movement towards eco-conscious camping, as chicken feathers are a cheap, abundant and sustainable construction material. Not only that, but this is probably one of the only teardrop trailers that could be towed by an electric car, so there’s no need to upgrade to a gas-guzzling pick up truck.
Most importantly, Earth Traveler’s creation opens up the wonders of camping to any family with a car, without need for big horsepower or a big budget.
Source and image credits: Earth Traveler