Trying to decide between SoCal teardrop and overland Explorer TDK!! Please help

Jconlan

New member
Anyone have any experience with the tdk? They’re in canada and we are in SoCal which makes SoCal teardrops appealing. However, which is a better value? Tdk vs kascade/xs any input would be helpful! Especially personal experience/reviews on either. Thank you in advance!

We are family of 5 (3 kids under 7).
 
Have you checked out Bear Tear Drops?
Don't know anything about the 2 you mentioned but I stopped by Bear the other day on my way to San Diego from NorCal... Wow! Stand up dude and great family. Really cool trailers and this guy knows what's up! Honestly there were a couple of features I wanted and felt he could work out(galley) but I'm just not there yet $$$ wise. The departure angle and his engineering/cnc experience have me sold.

Just a thought and I apologize for not responding to your specific question.

Trent

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CO4Runner

New member
@Jconlan I know you were looking at Hikers as well. I hear Rob, the owner of the Denver location, has a 5x9 Extreme off-road used for sale at the location. Throw a RTT on top and you'll have plenty of room for your family. You should give him a call. The number is on their website. Sorry I too don't have experience with either of the brands you mentioned above. But, for the money you can't go wrong with Hiker. I was very impressed when I visited and saw trailers in various stages of build - quality and customer service are top notch. Rob will also help you with accessories - awnings, RTTs, etc. Full disclosure, I'm on the wait list for my build and know the wait will be worth it.
 

frq flyr

Observer
Take a quick trip up to SoCal teardrop to learn about their trailers and meet the owner/builders. They are well established, local, and supportive.
Rent the off road teardrop with rooftop tent at off the grid rentals to see if it works for you.
 

Jconlan

New member
Have you checked out Bear Tear Drops?
Don't know anything about the 2 you mentioned but I stopped by Bear the other day on my way to San Diego from NorCal... Wow! Stand up dude and great family. Really cool trailers and this guy knows what's up! Honestly there were a couple of features I wanted and felt he could work out(galley) but I'm just not there yet $$$ wise. The departure angle and his engineering/cnc experience have me sold.

Just a thought and I apologize for not responding to your specific question.

Trent

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
Thank you!! Appreciate it- I checked them out... super nice!
 

Jconlan

New member
Take a quick trip up to SoCal teardrop to learn about their trailers and meet the owner/builders. They are well established, local, and supportive.
Rent the off road teardrop with rooftop tent at off the grid rentals to see if it works for you.
We did stop by there! It’s why we’re so torn on which way to go:) awesome trailers... thank you!!
 

Jmanscotch

is a Texan
I don't know about either you're inquiring about either, but Hiker is a good route. Well built, priced very nice all things considered, just be prepared to wait a year.

We almost purchased a Hiker 5x8 from Rob in Denver. Decided we didn't wanna wait. That said, he, and I suspect many others, can rent you one of their trailers to check it out. Often, if you place a deposit or purchase within x amount of time after the rental, they'll deduct that off your purchase price. That would be a great way to see which setup works best for you (if those two offer that, or maybe you can talk them into it if they don't).

Jake
 

SoCal_80

Explorer
Without I doubt I would go with SoCal Teardrops! Without a doubt. I own the original prototype of his 459 Krawler and after a ton of offroad miles it still looks and functions like new! Gabe and his crew are great and will take good care of you!


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4runnerteq

Explorer
Don't know TDK. We have a Kascade and love it. I also have 2 friends that both have Hikers and I think they have been more than satisfied with them. You could put the young'uns in an ARB add on tent shelter on the side or RTT
 

sn_85

Observer
I hate to throw another option (or wrench) into your plans but take a look at the Into the Wild Overland (silly name) Boreas XT trailer. I've been looking at teardrops non-stop for the past month and this one seems to have all the bells and whistles you could look for in a teardrop. I think their layout and kitchen galley is nicely done as well. A few things it has going for it is the composite construction (no wood), full kitchen galley with a fridge, sink, and cook top. It's a larger teardrop but I think with a family of 5 you'd rather have the extra bit of space. Seems like some of the other trailers will sacrifice something like a sink, fridge space, or cook top and IMO this trailer has all the conveniences in the same size as other trailers.

https://itwoverland.com/boreas-xt/
 

Wendell-R

New member
I've rented both of them. The SoCal from Off The Grid Rentals in LA and the TDK from Twisted Jeeps in Moab.

Last I heard, Overland Explorer was tentatively going to do a production run if they had enough interest (10). I decided not to jump into it based on my experience. Not sure they're even available going forward.

The short answer is, I prefer the layout of the TDK, but I didn't like the quality of the (admittedly prototype) unit that I rented. SoCal seems like a much more mature product and one that's had time to think through all the design issues. And if there was a problem, it would be much easier for me to get it fixed - not real comfortable with the location of Overland Explorer given the issues I saw in the rental.

SoCal Good Stuff
- better clearance for off-road maneuvering - doesn't have the (admittedly handy) huge rear bumper extension
- seems lighter, or at least more aerodynamic - easier to pull at 80 mph at least
- easier to use the single rear hatch lock
- I liked the awning (pole-less)
- more convenient to level and less dragging issues with the removable crank up rear jacks
- "reserve" water supply - basically two separate tanks with a connecting valve - lets you know that you're halfway to empty

SoCal Bad Stuff
- the design and placement of the sink blows - not only is it inconvenient to setup, but the bottom of the sink is almost flat so not leveling the trailer exactly (accounting for the fact that the mount sags a bit) means that the water never drains completely
- water tank valves aren't very well protected

TDK Good Stuff

- love the enclosed front compartment - extremely handy
- having a sink slide out of the back (above the stove) is way, way, way better that the crazy sink on the side of the SoCal
- there's a nice shelf above the head of the bed where you can stick flashlights, phones, car keys, etc. - very convenient
- the doors are a bit bigger than the SoCal - or at least more square - probably doesn't matter to most people, but we put mountain bikes inside to lock them up and it was way easier to get them in and out of the TDK
- I initially had some concern about the low height of the hinge end of the back hatch, but as it turns out, you don't stand right next to the back when you're using the counter, so as long as you aren't on a slope, you shouldn't hit your head (I'm 6' tall)
- not having a sloping rear hatch gives you a ton more (usable) room in the cabinets above the rear counter

TDK Bad Stuff
- the back corner jacks had fixed locking positions and you couldn't screw them up and down to level the trailer
- because of the way the corners are constructed, there's a ridge (1/4" maybe) around the entire roof - water pools in that "tub" and seems likely to leak - no drain slots or anything
- water tank skid plate doesn't protect the drain valve
- the fenders extend forward under the door too far - the way we get in an out is to swing our legs out the door while laying on our back and with that extension there, your legs will get wet if it rains or dews
- the side doors have a lever that lets you lock them from the inside - unfortunately, that means that all someone has to do os break the side window and reach in an unlock the door - can't have both the lever and the windows
- the Dometic side window are very, very plasticy - especially the slide up / down window shade - can't imagine they would last more than a month
- the running lights on the rear bumper are vulnerable to damage backing into a rock or tree
- not sure how you would repair it if it were damaged - breaking the adhesive bond that holds everything together seems fraught with peril

TDK Bad Stuff on the Prototype, but maybe better now
- the roof vent leaked - it was glued screwed into an aluminum place that wasw then glued onto the composite and it wasn't sealed at all well - dripped into the cabin - completely unacceptable
- the rental had a Dometic fridge with a swinging door that lost all the cold every time you opened it
- one of the Dometic windows on the side had a completely cracked frame - they're supposed to be "high-end", but they seemed like crap to me
- the water tank drain valve leaked - probably because it wasn't drained during a freezing night in Moab
- 12v power from the trailer connector didn't charge the battery
- water heater was disconnected "because it almost exploded or almost started a fire or something like that?"

Both bad Stuff
- the water pressure system goes through water way too fast - they both use shower heads, so when you're using them to rinse dishes, you end up wasting a tone of water - they need a separate lower-flow faucet for the galley - skip the shower head
- probably difficult to add electrical circuits after they leave the factory - you can never have too many breakers
 

Teardropper

Active member
I've owned two teardrops since 2004 and have thousands of miles on our current 2013 build.

One of the basic concepts of a classic teardrop camper that works really well is the door placement. The door should be located at your pelvis while you are inside and laying down so when you sit up, you can swivel around and exit. The bottom door height needs to be halfway into the mattress so when you are ready to get in or out, you sit on the mattress, not the door frame.

What jumps out at me is that I believe the TDK would be a pain to get in and out of. I think the doors are too far forward (inside) and too high.

I also question the window placement. They'd be difficult to look out of and may encourage claustrophobia. Why not put them in the doors? Things do go bump in the night.

It looks to me that TDK focuses on their modified vans. Two-bits says the owners don't camp in teardrop type trailers.




So-Cal manufactures a fine and functional teardrop. That's my vote.

T
 

vtsoundman

OverAnalyzer
Go with the local supplier when buying new custom/low volume. I've done this path a few times with custom products...there is NOTHING more irritating than buying a brand new high dollar custom product only to have to spend your time/money addressing the inevitable issues that arise.

(I am referring to mfr defect, workmanship, etc - early life issues - not wear/tear or maintenance items).

Being able to pop by the shop/speak with the mfr in person is worth 100x more than an email or phone call.

A final inspection/walkthrough will only catch about 30% of the issues...and if local, its an easy trip to get the mfr to address it. If the mfr/builder is hours away, then it becomes a trade off of your time vs value of the repair...

If buying used, it is a different game - it is expected for a used item to have issues but it is generally much less costly than new (and might be worth the trade off...)
 
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