The CLC Teardrop Camper Still Wows Us With Its Unique, Affordable, and DIY Design

CLC Teardrop 20 photos
Photo: Megan Dugan
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You'd think that one of the most attractive and cheap teardrop campers on the American market would come from a well-known brand like Winnebago, Jayco, or countless others; you'd never expect it to be the work of a boat manufacturer. Well, that's precisely what we have here today.
Ladies and gentlemen and lovers of the greater outdoors, before you lies nothing other than a teardrop camper that you can build yourself in the comfort of your garage. That's because the CLC Teardrop before you is nothing more than a kit.

Sure, you can grab a completed unit like the one in the gallery, but the real takeaway is the DIY process of building it. So, without further ado, let's dive into what could be your future on-road home or the most amazingly attractive DIY camper I've ever seen.

CLC Teardrop
Photo: Chesapeake Light Craft Boats
Oh, and if you feel you need some help, CLC even offers classes on building your own camper. Once you're done, you'll drive off the lot with so much more than just a new trailer—you'll do so with a complete understanding of what it means to build one, maintain it, and ultimately enjoy it for as long as possible.

Now, I've covered this project before, but that was a couple of years ago. As I checked back in with CLC (Chesapeake Light Craft), a team that's actually into boating and everything needed to manufacture them, I couldn't believe that this project has gone virtually unchanged in the time that has passed; it's that amazing.

First off, I'm going to skip over what a base kit will get you for just $3,465 (does not include the trailer or any accessories) and dive right into a completed unit the likes of what CLC sells. That way, you can get an idea of just how much you may need to pump into your kit to make it livable; you may end up skipping over the hassle and sweat needed to complete such a project and just buy a standard CLC Teardrop for $22,225 (€20,700 at current exchange rates). While it's quite a few times the price of a simple kit, some people just want a turnkey machine.

CLC Teardrop
Photo: Unknown Custom Kit Owner
First, what we're looking at starts off with nothing other than marine-grade Okoume plywood that's been CNC machined for ultimate precision. If you've noticed all the jigsaw-like interlocking joints all over the unit, you know what I'm talking about; even the ancient Egyptians would be proud of the precision. From there, fiberglass shows its teeth, copper wire for stitching and fastening, and acrylic windows, too.

With these materials, CLC goes to town crafting what we see in the gallery. In the process, it also creates a teardrop camper that's unique, stands apart from all others, and is sure to turn heads the moment you roll into any park; get ready to be bombarded with questions from fellow travelers. An automotive clear coat closes off those wooden pores and gives this camper a particular shine that's sure to bounce light off of it in countless directions, only adding to its attention-grabbing properties.

Part of what you're paying for does go into the trailer, too, and in the case of a completed unit from CLC themselves, the trailer chosen for the job has been "custom-designed" specifically for the CLC Teardrop. As a result, a completed base model weighs only 550 lbs (250 kg).

At the front of the travel trailer, we can also see a large storage box for things like an electrical system or just simple cargo. Better yet, grab the Roof Rack Package and even bring along cargo, the likes of actual boats, from CLC. This rack system can also accommodate bicycles, kayaks, solar panels, and Thule gear. This last one is an essential piece of gear if you've got big plans.

CLC Teardrop
Photo: Unknown Custom Kit Owner
Now, at the very rear of the CLC Teardrop, the manufacturer throws in one heck of an attractive galley, closed off in classic teardrop style, with a hatch that provides shade to the space once lifted in place. But, I just can't help but shake all the wood cupboards, countertops, and cubicles at our disposal for our coolers, sinks and faucets, cooktops, and foods, be they canned or fresh. All that's crafted from dark Sapele marine plywood, which is the same stuff my acoustic guitar is made of.

Last but not least, the interior of a CLC Teardrop can be tuned to fit your lifestyle and needs, be it with a headliner, entertainment center, and a rather ready electrical system with the only feature missing being solar panels. Let's not forget a queen-sized mattress and off you go.

Sure, it's not the most off-road-worthy overly equipped travel trailer the market has to offer, but it doesn't need to be; in the right hands, a CLC Teardrop is more than just a camper; it can be a downright mobile home, one that won't just get you tons of attention, but one that you may end up building with your own hands and elbow grease. That's priceless if you ask me.
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Editor's note: Images in the gallery showcase an array of custom CLC Teardrop units.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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