Teardrop Build Reveal and Patreon Info

The order form for Hiker Trailer is four pages long, which I suspect could be quite intimidating for an RVing newbie. As for myself, when I received it my eyes lit up, it was like Christmas had come early. Highly customizable was just what I was looking for. I spent days perusing the Hiker Trailer Owner Facebook group, looking at pictures, reading info, and getting ideas.

These are the last of my pics from the Hiker Trailer factory tour last month

And then I spent two weeks mulling over options. Yes, there was a bit of stress involved because lets be real – when you’re spending this kind of money, there will always be some fear of making the wrong decision.

But the fear is natural and not all bad. In fact in the case of RV shopping, experiencing a little fear is good because it makes you cautious, and ensures that take your time and think critically about your selection. I deliberated carefully, and ended up with a build I am quite happy with!

But before I post the exact specs, my usual disclaimer: I share my choices with you all to inspire, entertain, and help you make more informed decisions when it comes to the RV life, but everyone’s RVing journey will look different so you’ll want to do your own legwork and come to your own conclusions. On a related note, I’m not posting this looking for advice, but you are quite welcome to share your build ideas in the comments below to give readers other perspectives.

Alright, here we go! Note that because there are so many options, I’m just listing what I chose for the most part. You can go to Hiker Trailer’s website if you want to see everything that is possible.

The Basics

  • Size: 5′ x 8′ – I’m serious about minimizing and wanting to take it to more remote locations, tongue to bumper it’s really more like 12 feet long.
  • Deluxe model – comes with a galley door in back, basic kitchen cabinetry, roof vent, 120 v power strip, and other upgrades.
  • Color: White – I’m contemplating getting a custom decal at some point to put on it, white will look best for that.
  • Trim: Black – The roof rack, fenders, tongue, and a few other details are black, the black trim just really complements that well.

Doors and windows

  • All Hikers come standard with two 20” x 30” tinted windows with screens, I’m also upgrading and getting a small front window, because I love windows.
  • Side-opening door for galley – the standard door has struts and opens up, but struts fail after awhile.
  • Single, curb-side door – comes standard

Wheels, Tires, Axle & Brakes

  • Spare tire mounted on the front
  • Electric brakes – it’s not legally necessary on a trailer this size, but will be great to have on mountain roads and Bertha is set up for it anyway
  • LED brake and exterior lights
  • 2,000 lb axle – comes standard
  • 14” wheels – comes standard, same size as what the Casita has

Electrical and heat/cooling

  • A/C prep – Ever heard of or seen the Climate Right? I’m not ordering one off the bat, but getting the ports for it put in in case I decide to add it later.
  • 12 Volt Prep – comes with 2 LED interior lights and a 12 V plug inside

Electrical Package #2 – this is a doozy. Comes with:

  • Group 27 deep cycle battery
  • 600 watt pure sine inverter
  • Wires, fuse panel
  • 2 USB charge ports, one with voltage meter
  • 80 watts solar & related plugs – I’m having this permanently mounted (an upgrade) and will have my 100 watts portable still in addition
  • 3.5 amp charger
  • 7 pin trailer connector

Cabinetry

  • Lots of options here. A pass-through door between the trailer interior and kitchen galley is standard with the Deluxe model
  • I’m choosing to have the rest of the cabinetry closed off from the interior, to reduce bugs getting in my sleeping area

Other

  • Front silver diamond plate 24” – For protection against rocks on dirt roads.
  • Black diamond fenders – partly chosen because they’re flat on top to set things on, but mostly for the looks I admit
  • A-frame – better able to support the weight of…
  • Large diamond plate toolbox on tongue – this will house the electrical components, and is spacious enough to house the A/C unit in addition. Or camp chairs. Or a campfire in a can. It’s versatile.
  • Rear Receiver Hitch – I was on the fence with this option, will make carrying my bike easier but can’t access the galley easily with anything plugged in it so would be for travel only.
  • Roof Rack – one of the most common upgrades teardroppers go for. I did not opt to buy an awning from the factory to put on the roof rack, but will be picking up my own at some point.
  • 11 lb Propane tank and mount – because the little 1 lb bottles for camp stoves are a pain. Unlike with most trailers this isn’t on the front of the trailer but the side near the back.
  • Hiker Trailer will do a bed platform, which is a great idea for people who want to full-time/take long trips because it gives you extra storage under the bed. I’m going to wait and get that done after-market as I don’t know yet what size I want it to be and facing which direction.

Total: $9,874

* * *

Switching gears, I also promised an explanation of how Patreon works today.

For those who may have missed it in previous posts, Patreon is my answer to having my Amazon affiliate account terminated last month. This will be an optional way for those who would like to support IO monetarily to do so, and gain some some bonuses in the process. This is not going to replace the blog or YouTube channel, which will continue to update for free as usual, so if you’re not interested you’re welcome to skip the rest of this and I’ll see you next week, thank you for following IO!

So, the long version now for those who are interested:

Web hosting, my WordPress theme, and the e-mail list all cost money, and occasionally I need to hire a web developer to fix technical issue – for instance IO will need to be moved to a new theme next year because my current one has been discontinued. Starting the YouTube channel required a laptop capable of video editing, and I have hopes of upgrading to a video camera beyond my phone someday. When my Amazon account was closed, I lost the funding I used to cover expenses like these. Your patronage means I spend less time scrambling around to cover the cost in other ways, and more time creating the content you love.

When you make a pledge to become a patron of IO starting at just $1 a month, you get an insider’s look into my life as a nomad with real-time updates and musings, and early access to videos and other projects. Depending on the level you choose to pledge at, you could also receive: access to clips of writing and photos that didn’t make the cut for my blog posts ($3/month), large versions of my best photos to use as wallpaper for your computer ($5 a month), the PDF versions of my two books($10 a month), your name in the credits of my YouTube videos ($20 a month), and more.

One of the wallpapers I’ve been working on! This is Badlands National Park from this past summer

On Tuesday the 21st, the IO page on Patreon’s website will go live, and I’ll link to it in the blog post and video that go up that day. If you’d like to become a patron, you’ll follow the link to Patreon, where you’ll see the familiar IO header and some version of what I’ve written out here. On the right-hand side of the page, near the top will be a big orange button that says “Become a Patron”. When you click that, you’ll get to choose which perks you want (which level you want to pledge at), or if you just want to support IO without the perks, you can do that and enter in your own dollar amount.

After that you’ll see a checkout page with a review of the level you’re pledging at and the perks you’ll receive, and a billing summary. You’ll be billed monthly for as long as you’re a patron of IO (you can cancel anytime) on the 1st of each month. Meaning if you pledge right away when the page goes live, you won’t be billed until December 1st. You can pay using a credit/debit card, or through PayPal.

Thank you for reading to the end, and if you choose to become a patron, thank you even more! And lastly, one big thank you for being a part of the Interstellar Orchard community. As I always say, IO wouldn’t exist without you.

Moochdocking at my friend Misty’s, hard at work on IO stuff

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52 Responses to Teardrop Build Reveal and Patreon Info

  1. Jim D. November 17, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    I was wondering about what you were going to do about an air conditioner. Decided that I would wait until September when you got the unit to see what you did or didn’t do but I see you’ve addressed it in this post.

    That ClimateRight is very COOL. No pun intended. 🙂 Somebody could theoretically even use that thing on a regular tent. One thing that drives me nuts about the regular rooftop AC in my travel trailer is the noise. I suspect that ClimateRight is nice and quiet when one is trying to sleep because the compressor and fan are outside.

    I hope you decide to get it and if so would be quite interested how it performs in the real world.

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 8:45 am #

      People in the Hiker Trailer group who have one say it’s the best thing since sliced bread, for $500 I’d sure hope it was, haha. And yes, apparently people have rigged them up for tent camping before.

  2. Gary Bryant November 17, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    Is your Patreon account under a name other than Interstellar Orchard? When I clicked the link in your article, it required that I verify I was the person I said I was. I verified my computer but Patreon then redirects me to my Patreon home page. Searching for Interstellar Orchard keeps getting an “Unable to Find” reply.

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 8:51 am #

      Hi Gary! It will be under Interstellar Orchard, but is not live yet. It’s launching on Tuesday (the 21st) and I will make an announcement about it that day. I linked to the home page in this post so people who were curious to know what Patreon looked like could do so, guess I wasn’t being as clear as I could’ve.

      Thank you for your support! You should be all set for Tuesday now. 🙂

  3. Donna November 17, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

    Yay for more windows!
    Donna recently posted..part 2 – the camping trip that almost wasn’tMy Profile

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 8:51 am #

      Can never have too many windows…

  4. Judy Blinkenberg November 17, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    I know about RV shopping! We bought a new one this week and I was praying and crying it was the right thing to do! It’s like buying a stocks and bricks house, $200 a month for 12 years!! Then we had to buy new bedding, storage supplies, and will need a few more things!! I already miss my older trailer with all its storage! I will help support you! While it’s not much those $1 can add up!

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 8:55 am #

      Congrats Judy! Sounds pretty much exactly what I went through when I got my truck six years ago (in that post I linked in this article about fear). I hope you two enjoy it, the extra space will be nice.

      And yes, $1 does add up!

  5. Dave November 17, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    Sounds like a sweet rig for 9 grand. Yesterday I was heading east on 10 about 60 miles east of PHX and noticed a westbound Casita being towed by a silver pickup. Could that have been Cass?

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 8:56 am #

      I’m in Lubbock, TX right now so it wasn’t me, but I must have a doppleganger because you’re not the first to say that when I wasn’t in the area!

  6. RGupnorth November 17, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

    Sounds like you have put some thought into the outfitting of your Hiker. Many things have to be done at the build level, where later adds are difficult or costly. I bought used – a great TD – but living in the north, a furnace would have been nice – in my area, nicer than air conditioning. I think the climate right does both (?).

    Hope you sleep well during your wait.

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 8:57 am #

      Yes RG, the Climate Right does both. Thanks.

  7. Jeff November 17, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    Nice looking little trailer! You’ve done your homework on selecting a well built unit that offers a nice customization selection. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it for some time to come.

  8. David November 17, 2017 at 7:22 pm #

    I know you thought everything out, however I suspect that the struts on the back door/hatch will probably never fail if they are anything like the two struts on my minivan rear hatch that lasted 16 years for 243K miles. Having the rear hatch open above my head kept many downpours off me when I was loading the cargo area. It also seems to rain every other time I hitch up. Go figure?

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 9:02 am #

      The struts used on vehicle doors are heavier duty than the kind used on these doors, they’re very similar to the ones on my truck topper which have failed twice now, it costs about $30 to replace them each time which is a pain. The manufacturer even recommended that for full-timing he’d go with the side-opening door, as it lasts better for heavy use. Plus this way if I get a wrap-around awning, the door won’t be in the way.

      I’ve gotten lucky that I’ve only had to hitch/unhitch in the rain maybe two or three times in all the years I’ve been traveling. Which probably means I’m due to lose that streak, haha.

      • David November 20, 2017 at 7:16 am #

        That makes sense. I don’t suppose they get many folks who are planning to fulltime it, so they don’ expect the rear hatch to have that many cycles on it. But using the hatch daily, several times a day, would make the vertical hinge option more appealing for longevity.

  9. Luna November 18, 2017 at 1:22 am #

    Interesting read! Four pages sounds like good fun.

    The only thing that sort of caught my eye was, like Dave, the eschewing of the top hinged galley door. I can’t think how many times I’ve sorted through stuff, changed clothes, made a sandwich, or etc. under the hatchback of my wagon(s). Maybe the struts are really special ($), but even on my heavy car hatchbacks, replacement gas struts (they gave out at 20 years) were not very expensive, and installation was literally a snap.

    (OTOH, maybe the flip up door isn’t big enough for shelter, and/or the inside of the hinged door type has storage options or some other benefit(s). Plus you said you didn’t want advice (but maybe I’m okay because it’s me saying how I would build).

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 9:07 am #

      You’re more than welcome to share your ideas Luna! See my response to David above on why I chose what I did.

      • Luna November 18, 2017 at 8:08 pm #

        Makes perfect sense. Thanks for replying.

  10. raz mataz November 18, 2017 at 5:22 am #

    i’m already a patreon with jhblueroad. i like this because it’s easy to help if it’s auto pay. ice cream. raz

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 9:11 am #

      It is quite easy Raz, thanks!

  11. david swanson November 18, 2017 at 7:27 am #

    Good for you on your decision to downsize even further! You won’t regreat it. My Prius gets bigger and bigger every day I live in it.😁

  12. Michael Jot Neri November 18, 2017 at 7:46 am #

    I love IO! It’s inspiring me to get back OTR. @71 with 5 personally rescued big dogs, it will be a stretch for us, but I have the rig already. Used to do it almost full time. but not in last 9 years. I’ve got the skill set for it, but I’m looking to buy a “Spine” that will suit me! 😉I’ve been doing things to make my home sell for a good price and in DFW, it will go FAST. IO gets my juices flowing and remembering Robert Frost’s Road Less Traveled poem, I truly feel called, but I worry about my 5 kids if something bad happened and suddenly they were at risk. I’m in good enough health with a sturdy enough body and “innards” for it all. So, with IO, I’ll be heading out in March or April.
    Michel de Nostraneri
    PS : I’ll be a “gen” patron 😎

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 9:16 am #

      Congrats Michael! Sounds like the start of a wonderful adventure and I wish you and the fur-kids the best. I know a few people who travel with large dogs and it’s worked well for them, an RV may be small but they’ll have a huge and ever-changing ‘backyard’ to play in. Thanks for the support, safe travels and happy trails.

  13. DebInIndy November 18, 2017 at 7:50 am #

    Becky – First things first. About Amazon. If you put a link on your blog to an item you purchased on Amazon, then we can click on that item, which will take us to Amazon to do our shopping and you still get your commission without compromising your ethics. You deserve the commission. We want to do our Amazon shopping through you. Win-win.

    Secondly, I can’t wait to see how the next chapter of your life reveals itself in a teardrop. I travel constantly but not full-time in a small 16′ trailer I call The Rolling Motel. I could easily downsize. Life is all about blooming where you are planted. You are quite good at it.

  14. DebInIndy November 18, 2017 at 8:01 am #

    So I said my piece first, and then read your post above! I’ve been fuming about Amazon terminating your account – can you tell? Patreon patron. Got it. Will Do. Thank You.
    DebInIndy recently posted..Teardrop Build Reveal and Patreon InfoMy Profile

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 9:18 am #

      I was pretty upset about it too Deb. Thank you very much for your support. 🙂

  15. Anne S November 18, 2017 at 8:16 am #

    Exciting!! Hiker Trailer seems really well thought out.

    One question— besides the solar, does the battery charge from shore power and from the tow vehicle when moving? Thanks.

    Now you just have to wait… 😊

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 9:19 am #

      It will Anne because of the electrical upgrades I’m getting. 🙂 I can’t wait to pick it up, why is September so far away!

  16. Rhonda November 18, 2017 at 8:41 am #

    The Hiker sounds like a perfect build for you and the way you wish to live! My first “rig” was a Little Guy T@G…it had much less in the way of amenities than the Hiker but cost over 13k! The Hiker build out not only sounds like a perfect fit for you but it will look cool as heck to boot! Congrats and best wishes for a patient wait…you’ll be living in it before you know it. 🙂

    • Becky November 18, 2017 at 9:21 am #

      T@Gs look very stylish but yeah, I stayed away from the traditional teardrop shaped brands because they cost so much more.

  17. Becky November 18, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    Thanks for the comments everyone and have a great weekend!

  18. Kit November 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    Becky, I LOVE the Badlands photo you’re using for a screensaver. Great Job. And thanks for all the info about your choices on your teardrop build. Good luck.
    Kit recently posted..Capitol Reef National ParkMy Profile

  19. AndyH November 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

    I don’t understand how HT gets their price on a trailer. A full size 5 x 8 cargo trailer (which is bigger in height) is only approx. $1200. $9000 seems a bit ridiculous, and you still have to add refrigerator, stove, AC and it has no holding tanks.

    • Becky November 21, 2017 at 8:04 am #

      And Hiker is one of the cheapest teardrop brands out there! This might be why so many small manufacturers have gone into business making them, definite opportunity for people with the right skills.

  20. Jim White November 19, 2017 at 12:04 am #

    Becky, about two weeks ago I was just about to order a Hiker Trailer. Instead, I opted to have a Tapui rooftop ten put on my utility trailer. I’ll make due with this form of camping for the time being. Perhaps in the future, I’ll reconsider the Hiker Trailer, but the long lead time just turned me off.

    Do you know what the approximate dry weight will be for your Hiker Trailer with all the add-ons you ordered?

    Jim

    • Becky November 21, 2017 at 8:07 am #

      No clue Jim, there’s just too many options for Hiker to be able to provide an accurate weight guess. The axle can support 2,000 though and it wouldn’t be close to that.

  21. Kent November 20, 2017 at 3:02 am #

    Sounds well thought through, But then, could not imagine anything else.
    Hey though. My questions are about water and storage of it? Also if you are having something like a Zamp receptacle installed for use with your portable solar panels to make them “plug and play”.

    What level on your Patreon………… Hmmm… Need to think about it.. 🙂

    • Becky November 21, 2017 at 8:09 am #

      Funny you should bring that up, Zamp uses an Anderson connector to plug in, which is what my Renogy panel already has and what the hard mount will also have, I actually have a pic of this up on Patreon now, haha.

      I purposely didn’t want a plumbing system, it always limited my cold weather camping. I’ll carry water in jugs.

  22. Douglas Rykerd November 20, 2017 at 7:58 am #

    Heh Becky, that looks like it will be a really nice trailer. We met briefly a couple years ago at RTR. I have a home base about 45 minutes south of Denver. If you’d like help with the bed platform once you pick up the trailer I’d be more than happy to help. I’m a builder by trade and have a full shop here.

    • Becky November 21, 2017 at 8:11 am #

      Very cool Douglas, thanks for the offer. May take me a bit of traveling for me to decide on the dimensions and location of the bed, we’ll see. 🙂

  23. Diane Ely November 20, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    Becky:
    One other nice thing about the teardrop – you won’t have to haul around that ladder anymore!

    • Becky November 21, 2017 at 8:11 am #

      So true! Haha.

  24. Darren November 21, 2017 at 1:22 am #

    Hey Becky, sounds like you do have a good game plan on your new trailer! I wanted to ask though, you said your getting the mounted solar panel and will be using your portable panel also? What is your reasoning? in case a panel is broken? Just curious! Hope you enjoyed our windy cold weekend in Lubbock, would have been a little rough in a teardrop on Saturday here.

    • Becky November 21, 2017 at 8:14 am #

      I’ll be able to plug both in at the same time. So the permanent mount will collect solar while I’m driving down the road, and when I stop I can add the portable panel too if I want to park in shade or it’s a less ideal solar collection day. Can never have enough solar. 😉

  25. Terry & Cathy November 21, 2017 at 5:17 am #

    OK Becky, you got your first Patreon, keep up the good the good work.

    • Becky November 21, 2017 at 8:14 am #

      I saw that this morning when I woke up, thank you two very much!

  26. David November 22, 2017 at 11:34 pm #

    Good for you Becky. I gather you’ve gotten some negative feedback, so sorry to hear anything of that sort… I’d not like to be on the receiving end of such. Not that you need any positive reminders, independent soul you are, but just to say the one thing I’ve noticed the needless critics have in common is on the heels of their posts they always forget to direct us to__their__blog that’s as public/living life out loud as yours so we can all see by their actions how_they_are doing it better/differently. NATO trolls. No Action Talk Only.

    All the best to you, am sure you inspire/help more folks than you can know.

  27. Becky November 23, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

    Thanks David!

  28. LenSatic November 29, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

    Boy, risky move there, Becky! Hope you made the right decision. My wife has suggested a bit of a down-size from our SD-17, but it’s to a truck camper and we’d still keep the Casita. It’s basically to give us the ability to boondock where the Casita can’t go. Plus it gives us a guest room if needed.

    Good luck! We’ll be watching.

    Pat

  29. Steve December 9, 2017 at 11:09 am #

    Hi Becky,

    I found my way here from the post on the Hiker Owners Facebook Group. Congratulations! We picked up our 5X8 Deluxe in Indiana mid-September. We were fortunate enough to get our order in before the rush from the Outside Magazine article and other high-profile reviews, so only had a wait of a bit under five months.

    We are retired and recent empty-nesters, and this is our first ever camper of any sort. We used to tent camp a lot, but Deb decided we were done with that 25 years ago, so we’ve been motel-camping ever since. Now that we are on the road 4-8 weeks at a time, the Hiker made a lot of sense for getting to those out-of-the-way places that we prefer over the more crowded places.

    I like tinkering, so didn’t go with the electrical kit, as I’ll build my own. Other than that, our build is very similar to yours. We went with two doors (one with a popup right outside for the potty/changing tent), pewter color, smaller box and no front window. Our build was $3000 less than yours, though. Quite the bang for the buck vs other brands.

    We also ordered the A/C prep. Keep an eye on ClimateRight’s web site. Sometimes they have a $50-100 discount if you are willing wait for the next shipment to arrive. We took advantage of that option. You’ll like the flat-top fenders, too. I put stuff on ours all the time. You can’t stand on them like on the Off-Road model, but Wes in Indiana said if I though-bolt them, they will be fine for standing on.

    Enjoy the wait! That will give you time to accumulate bits and pieces, although you already have a much better head start than we did. I had a big pile of stuff in the garage before picking up the Hiker. The folks on the Facebook Group are great for helping with questions. Having never even seen a Hiker (or similar trailer) before ordering ours, we made some big changes to our order after seeing what all the Group folks had done with theirs. What a wealth of information!

    I look forward to seeing what you do, and how you use it, and now that I found your blog, I look forward to reading more.

    Steve

    • Becky December 9, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

      Hi Steve, welcome to IO!

      Yep, loved my tour of the Denver location and I’m really looking forward to picking mine up in September. My fenders will be through-bolted so I can stand on top of them, had that discussion with Rob during the tour. 🙂

      Yeah, I have most of what I need for mine already since I’m a full-timer, there are a few things but not like a new RVer starting out.

      Is it September yet? 😛

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