The wait

A company of two can be efficient, but quality doesn’t always translate to quick. We weren’t the only ones charmed by the Oregon Trail’r guys and their designs. That worked out well for us. We didn’t quite have all the cash and our schedules were too packed to allow camping.

When we placed our order one group of six teardrops was under construction and another planned.  We were in the third batch, about two years out. 

Two years is plenty of time to encompass anticipation and second guessing. Mostly we forgot unless we were looking for the perfect bedding, or camp plates, or unwrapping the totally cool Tiktaalik super slim kitchen knives gifted us by super great friends.

Oregon Trail’r sent us a video of our flight of teardrops hatching and snapshots as they progressed. I worried that the curtains would be ugly (they’re not), that we should have ditched the front rack in favor of the expensive extra interior storage (nope, we need that rack, it’s the perfect size for our 58 quart Orca cooler and a double stack of roughneck tubs that hold chocks, propane, huge asymmetrical purple tarp, hammock, and other essentials), and on and on.

We sorted through our existing gear. Kept the speckleware mugs, percolator, and dutch oven, decided the stove was too wimpy, and fell in love all over again with Bill’s family’s heirloom soapbox.

Bill’s family’s soap box is ready for new adventures

We started to play house in earnest.  I thought a wool blanket topped with a down comforter would sleep us through all kinds of temperatures. We love Eighth Generation, but the blankets available at the time didn’t grab me.  Pendleton’s Preston Singletary-inspired Raven and the Box of Knowledge did and, thanks to generous birthday and Christmas checks,  it joined our growing pile of teardrop supplies.

I gave in to the urge to glamp. I’m in my fifties,  I can do what I want. No gingham checks or cowboy prints,  but plenty of good design and comfort. My camp flatware is fancy and we ordered wine glass racks for the galley. I found marvelous virtual-colored double wall stainless coffee mugs.  Once for each of us (I like my coffee with cream).

I like cream in my coffee, Bill prefers his without. These virtual color mugs are perfect.

The build

Oregon Trail’r offers several basic models and a long list of options. The only model for us was the classic FronTear and it had to have the optional large rounded doors.

We went over and over all the other choices, deciding, discussing, and re-deciding. The list grew and got pruned over and over as we tried to decide if an option would be helpful or irritating and whether those we wanted were worth the price.

Luckily for us, Sawyer and Jon include a lot in their base models. The leveling jacks are easy to deploy and super sturdy. The thermostatically controlled reversible fan keeps the cabin comfy. The removable tongue is the most elegant anti-theft solution. We put the tongue in LuluBelle when we leave camp to explore. No more hitch to tow Brave Horatio away with!

The standard, cabinetry with it’s clean, curvy forms was a win-win. We liked it better than the more expensive frame and panel. Same with the mattress. We liked the standard better than the more cushiony option.

We opted for a front cargo rack. An excellent choice. Our Orca cooler and a double stack of sturdy tubs fit it perfectly. Our wheel chocks, axe, tarp, lanterns, frizbee, and other necessities fit in the tubs and it’s all easily secured for travel and convenient when in camp.

We wanted a close-to-tent-camping experience and both like to cook. Prep surfaces are more important to us than built-ins that get in the way of flexibility. We opted for Rubbermaid tubs instead of a built in sink and a regular campstove instead of the slide out burner. These choices gave us so much space in the galley! Our campstove travels in the galley hatch and comes out to live on the exterior counter when we’re set up.

We included one exterior counter in our original build and recently ordered another for the other side. I worry that they’ll look like nacelles, but am looking forward to having a cooking counter and a clean-up counter. The counters store tidily inside the cabin, secured under the cabinets when we’re in motion.

I laughed at the multi-color, multi-rhythm LED light strip offered for the galley until Sawyer explained that mosquitoes and other bugs are not particularly fond of red light. We use that LED light all the time. Sometimes in red, sometimes in candy-stripe disco mode. (Ben likes to sit on the galley counter and twiddle the remote control.) The stainless steel galley counter is worth every penny every time I use it (or even open the galley)! The paper towel holder is perfectly placed and super practical.

The Oregon Trail’r guys modified the optional dual slide-out trays to a center-mounted, wider single tray that we’ve not really used yet. Some rainy camp evening it may help us watch a movie or hold mugs of tea while we read. They threw in a net attached under the shelf and we use that all the time to keep charging phones tidy while we sleep.

Practical add-ons included a powder-coated exterior, radial tires, and a hitch for our bike rack.

It’s rare for me to be completely content with my choices, but we did well. Brave Horatio matches our need for practical, uncluttered, elegant camping.