RVers can celebrate the resurgence of an old-time camping revolution with this 21-foot teardrop trailer.
By Robbin Gould, Editor
The teardrop trailer has carved an interesting niche in RV history. This compact camper, so named for its rounded teardrop shape, boomed in popularity during the 1940s. In the post-World War II era, the economy looked bright, highway construction linked cities and states, and Americans were eager to go on vacation.
Early teardrop trailers typically were made with World War II surplus materials: steel U channel or round steel tubing for framing; wheels salvaged from military jeeps; exterior skin obtained from the wings of bombers.
In ensuing years, as Americans clamored for bigger RVs to tow behind their higher-horsepower vehicles, teardrop popularity waned.
In 2002, seeing an opportunity to reignite interest in such RVs, Joe Kicos founded Little Guy Worldwide LLC, and the Little Guy brand of teardrop trailers. Small and streamlined like their predecessors, these models sported contemporary materials and numerous creature comforts.
Today, Little Guy Trailers is owned by Xtreme Outdoors LLC, based in northeast Ohio. Four models of Little Guy teardrops are built in a 100,000-square-foot facility in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Three to four units are produced a day. The Little Guy Max is the company’s largest model.
Mr. Kicos describes Little Guy RVs as the “Model Ts” of teardrop trailers. He emphasizes their high-end, high-quality construction and notes the company continues to innovate and improve on its models.
“Our RVs appeal to the ‘going green’ crowd — a maverick group who want something smaller and lightweight,” he added. Synthetic composites used in construction help create the lightweight structure.
The Little Guy Max is offered in one 21-foot-long floor plan. Its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 4,200 pounds, which enables it to be towed by some SUVs (check the specs to ensure the vehicle’s gross combination weight rating — or GCWR — is sufficient for towing). Company literature says the Little Guy Max can sleep three.
Its teardrop shape is distinctive. The vehicle’s front and rear are rounded, and the rear slants steeply. The Little Guy Max sports white or silver fiberglass sidewalls with simple, contemporary graphics and a choice of trim colors: black, silver, red, or blue. Color combinations can be viewed on the company’s online Color Builder page.
Each Little Guy RV is a far cry from the roughly hewn teardrop trailers of yesteryear. No wood is used in construction. Steel frames are powder coated to resist rust and to prevent damage from debris. The walls and roof incorporate Azdel composite panels, Ih add strength and repel moisture. The exterior walls are fiberglass, as noted; the roof is made from a single sheet of fiberglass. Block foam insulation is used.
Up front, towing is accommodated by a 2-inch ball and a seven-way electrical connection. A lockable compartment protects the battery and propane tank. Crank-down leveling jacks are located on all four corners of the frame. An optional electric Smart Jack — a power tongue jack with hitch-height memory recognition — can be added.
A 13,500-Btu Dometic air conditioner resides on the roof. The Little Guy Max comes prepped for a flexible 100-watt or 200-watt solar panel.
The unit includes seven dual-pane Euro-style acrylic windows — a considerable number, given the RV’s small size. These include a long “stargazing” window in the rear, and a panoramic picture window in the front. All windows come with integrated shades and screens and are dark-tinted for privacy.
The single rubber-torsion axle is outfitted with electric brakes. The RV rides on 15-inch premium WestLake tires, which come with their own two-year warranty and roadside assistance coverage. Off-road tires and a 2.5-inch axle riser are available in the optional Rough Rider Package.
In the rear, a 2-inch-square receiver comes standard. In the front, Little Guy’s optional Jack-It bike carrier can be added to transport one or two bicycles.
The Little Guy Max comes prewired for a backup camera.
In terms of exterior storage, this teardrop trailer makes use of every available spot. On both sides of the unit, 13-inch-by-30-inch doors equipped with slam latches provide access to a pass-through bay with 30 cubic feet of storage. They feature a magnetic system that holds the doors open as needed. Nearby, the sewer hose stows in its own dedicated compartment.
The entry door is arched, which visually complements the rest of the RV’s rounded lines. Its friction hinges slow the door’s movement when opening or closing. A sliding screen tucks out of the way when not in use. The aluminum entry step, the entry handle, and the top of the door itself are LED-illuminated for nighttime safety.
Left of the door, two small, round all-weather speakers bring tunes outside; they also can provide the audio when the 24-inch Furrion television is brought out and attached to the provided TV mount. An optional 6-foot-by-3-foot crank-style Thule awning with an LED light strip can accessorize this patio setting. To power other items, the exterior Ies a 120-volt-AC outlet and a USB port. The trailer comes with 30-amp electrical service.
A Look Inside
The Little Guy Max has an interior height of 6 feet 7 inches. In spite of its compact teardrop configuration, this trailer provides more space inside than one might imagine, and the areas for living, sleeping, bathing, etc. are well thought out and functional.
Cubbies, drawers, and closets are scattered throughout, including a full-size wardrobe with adjustable shelving. In total, the interior provides 53 cubic feet of storage, according to company officials. All cabinetry is fabricated in-house and features true hardwood maple dovetail construction for a high-end, residential feel. The standard finish is light maple hardwood.
The dinette rests against the front of the unit. Its bench seats are topped with leather-look vinyl-covered cushions and have storage areas below. Seated here, occupants can gaze out the expansive picture window. The dinette converts to a 32-inch-by-76-inch sleeping area.
The compact galley gets the job done. A two-burner propane cooktop features electronic ignition. Its hinged, smoked-glass cover becomes a backsplash when flipped up for cooking; when the cover is down, it creates additional counter space. The adjacent sink, with a removable cover, includes an 8-inch-deep stainless-steel basin and a high-rise faucet that has a removable sprayer. A microwave and a 4-cubic-foot Dometic three-way refrigerator, also both stainless steel, complete the galley. The Little Guy Max also includes a full-height pantry.
Controls on the side of the sink can dim or brighten the plentiful LED lighting in the dinette and galley; activate components of the Furrion entertainment system, including TVs, AM/FM radio, etc.; and monitor holding tanks and other systems.
The main sleeping area is made cozy thanks to the rounded rear contours. A 60-inch-by-80-inch queen-size bed features a pillow-top mattress that is custom-made locally in Pennsylvania. The 24-inch Furrion TV, on the curbside wall, is paired with a sound bar. This space includes USB ports, storage cubbies, and directional LEDs. A large drawer provides under-bed storage.
One particularly notable feature is the wet bath, something not normally seen in teardrop trailers. It is closed off with a lockable privacy-glass door. The shower, which accommodates bathers up to 6 feet 2 inches tall, has a removable nozzle. The bath includes a vent fan, a mirror, a marine-style toilet, and an enclosed toilet paper holder.
Currently, Little Guy trailers are sold at approximately 80 dealers throughout the United States and Canada. Prospective buyers can search for a dealer near them on the company’s website.
With the popularity of RV travel — a recent RV Industry Association study says 46 million Americans plan to go RVing in the next 12 months — the Little Guy Max teardrop trailer is an attractive choice in which to enjoy the great outdoors.
Specs | Little Guy Max
Xtreme Outdoors, 1519 Boettler Road, Suite A, Uniontown, OH 44685; (888) 469-8688; www.golittleguy.com
Little Guy Max
(1), dealer provided
9 feet 1 inch
6 feet 7 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 30 gallons;
black water — 9 gallons
13,500-Btu roof-mounted Dometic
4 cubic feet, three-way Dometic (12-volt DC, 120-volt AC, propane)
(1) marine-style in wet bath
base — 1 year limited;
structural — 3 years limited
BASE MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE