Northern Indiana? Reach out to Andy here http://www.greatlakesteardrops.com/contact.php .He was great to work with and did a super job with our KascadeThank you for all of the replies, they really help!
Our heart is now set on a Kascade510. Several of the options that have been discussed above are items that I was a little hesitant on. i.e. the reading lights, under mattress storage, and the nose box. I am glad to hear they are worth the upgrade and will be used. Under-trailer lights are something that I will consider as an update once we take possession. It seems as though the hot water system is almost a need, but I believe that will also be something we add as time goes on. The front cage I intend to use as a wood hauler, something to clamp a Rotopax to, and an area for our Trasharoo.
Unfortunately, here in N. Indiana, we are unable to rent a trailer for a weekend. Quite honestly, I have never seen a SoCal Teardrop in person except a sighting of one being pulled down the road 2.5 years ago while in Colorado. My thought process is purely based on reading reviews and watching some YouTube videos. Seriously, this thread has been fantastic.
A little background on my decision process and hopefully this will help others. Sorry in advance because I think this will be long.
We are a family of 4 (Mom, Dad, and our two girls, 10 and 2), plus a 65 pound German Shepard. We will primarily use the trailer on the weekend, 1-2 night trips throughout Michigan and Indiana, and hopefully some longer trips as time permits. No real crazy off-road excursion through a desert but the day may come and if it does, I will be prepared. I fully intend to take the trailer to remote locations in Michigan and yes, Michigan offers plenty of places to explore. It will look great behind my Tacoma.
Our initial budget was $15,000 and wanted to stay really close to that. My goal was to buy a quality trailer that would we would be comfortable living out of as a base camp. I wanted a trailer that offered a solid chassis, enough space to comfortably sleep at least 2 people within the trailer itself, a kitchen, and a proper axle.
I legitimately built a spreadsheet and wrote everything down to compare pricing. (I'm happy to email this out if someone would like to see it, just send me a PM) Once I did this, I quickly learned that I needed to up our budget by about $5,000 to get what I really wanted. At this point, it is either we continue to pitch tents or bite the bullet and buy what we want.
After lots of research, I narrowed it down to 3 trailers: The InTech Chaser + Rooftop Tent, a Turtleback Getaway Trail, and a Kascade 510 + RTT. All three trailers met our needs but offered different things with a $5,000 swing.
At the end of the day, the Kascade met our needs perfectly.
InTech has a long reputation for building a quality product, but the RV side is still someone new for them. The Chaser is a very nice trailer but I question its ability to last long term, especially if it is drug over washboard forest roads, or through a twisty trail. Though InTech brags about the chassis, it is an all aluminum configuration. Campground hopping or improved dirt roads, I have no reason to question its capabilities. The one thing it offered that the other didn't offer was an AC, but this would only be a benefit when plugged in. When I read reviews, very few people use the AC so is the AC worth swaying my decision??? The Chaser, 23Zero RTT, and a batwing awning would cost roughly $17,000 by the time it was all said and done.
The TurtleBack Getway Trail is very appealing to us but only offers the ability to have a RTT. Two people would still be in the tent. It offers a really solid chassis, no questioning its abilities or longevity, a kitchen, and plenty of storage for gear. It does not offer a designated area for a fridge/cooler, or an awning which is the second real downfall. The trailer, 23Zero tent, awning, and solar control, I am around $18,000 plus delivery.
The Kascade510 with a RTT checked all of the boxes. Chassis, the build quality, kitchen, ample storage, need I say more? The ONLY downside is that it comes in around $21,500 all in. This, however, includes a few items the others do not, like an ARB awning, under mattress storage, upgraded lighting, etc. I could bring the cost down a few dollars if we really wanted to.
Yes, there are several other really great trailers out there that are within the same realm of what the above trailers offer. CARP (bear) teardrops, Oregon, Hiker, Timberleaf, etc. to name a few. At the end of the day, I think the SoCal Teardrop is what I will land on.