Compact teardrop trailer transforms into a large family camper


March 12, 2014

Canadian company Safari Condo has recently released the Alto R 1713 and R 1723 recreational campers

Canadian company Safari Condo has recently released the Alto R 1713 and R 1723 recreational campers

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Standing the test of time, and in conjunction with rising fuel prices, the traditional teardrop camper has resurfaced in recent years as an economic alternative to your large clunky caravan or fully decked out Winnebago. Raising the bar with an intelligent and modern teardrop design, Canadian company Safari Condo has recently released the Alto R 1713 and R 1723 recreational campers.

Both travel trailers are lightweight and boast an aerodynamic shape, which makes towing them easy and accessible. Furthermore, the design incorporates an electric retractable roof, offering greater interior space compared to the typically quite small traditional teardrop trailers.

"We wanted to make a small, extremely light and very aerodynamic travel trailer, while maintaining a comfortable interior height," Daniel Nadeau, CEO of Safari Condo tells Gizmag. "The need to combine the aerodynamic features with a generous vertical space inside was the source of the retractable roof design."

With a total weight of just 1,683 pounds (763 kg) and 1,725 pounds (782 kg) respectively the Alto R 1713 and R 1723 can each comfortably house three to four people. The retractable roof not only floods the interior space with natural light but also provides a more than comfortable interior height of 6.8 feet (2.08 m).

They both feature two sleeping areas; an extendable dining area which can be in use even when the bedding is set up; a smart kitchen complete with mini fridge, two-burner gas stove and sink; fixed flush toilet and lots of storage space. In addition, the R 1723 has an interior shower with curtain. Both versions have the option of adding rooftop solar panels, a heat pump and air conditioning.

In order to reduce the overall weight of the trailer, aluminum was used to construct the walls, roof, floor, chassis, cabinets and bed structure. According to Nadeau, the Alto trailers are 600 to 800 pounds (270 to 362 kg) lighter than other campers of a similar size.

"The Alto is genuinely aircraft-inspired," says Nadeau. "Being a pilot for over 35 years and having built my own aluminum aircraft, this type of construction was well known to me. The goal with the Alto was to get a travel trailer that was truly easy to tow."

During the manufacturing process of the Alto, Safari Condo tried to reduce as much of the waste materials as possible. When cutting out the windows and doors on the sandwich walls, it was found that a lot of good material was being thrown away. Therefore, the company chose to build its own doors, steps, battery box shelf and propane support from the cut-outs of the window and door openings.

"The reuse value is also evident in the light aerodynamic design of the Alto which allows most of our clients to keep their current family car, without having to change to a new larger vehicle," explains Nadeau.

If you're interested in purchasing either of the Alto versions, you'll be looking at spending between CAD$24,000 to $31,000 (US$23,000 - $29,500), depending on extras and options.

"It’s true, the Alto is not cheap," says Nadeau. "When we designed it we bet that, even in this world of highly disposable goods, there were still people willing to pay for a durable quality product. The high quality build of the Alto allows owners to keep their trailer for a very long time and the design is based on materials which do not rust or rot. Unlike many of its competitors, the Alto is built to last for decades."

Source: Safari Condo

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

love it!


Very nice and well thought out, kind of pricey

Leonard Foster

An aircraft enthusiast should know better to copy retro "streamline" styling and call it aerodynamic. A 30 deg angle on the back actually maximizes drag.

Bob Stuart

I have to agree with Bob as this could be made without the moving roof and have lower aero drag, more room, stronger and less weight.

The back angle needs to be more like 4-7 degree and cut off in the rear, not much lower than the center height. Plus that shape has too much lift breaking into vortexes could cause towing problems.

So do the normal teardrop shape in front and just bring the roof back with a gentle curve cut of sq is good for them and the front and rear sides come inward so a gentle curve front to rear is the ticket.

If you keep this shape light it might not even take power to tow it, the aero drag savings from cleaning up the towing vehicle's airsteam saves enough power to cover the trailer drag if done very well.


Very similar to the "Wild Goose" do it yourself trailer featured in the April,1953 issue of Popular Mechanics.

Cool,but not exactly: "Raising the bar with an intelligent and modern teardrop design"...

Google: Wild Goose Trailer

Some of the Teardrop Trailer compilation CD's on EBay feature the Wild Goose and include plans.

I'm not knocking these guys, I just see a lot more clever,innovative designs of all kinds in those old Popular Mechanics that were intended to be built by folks at home than I actually see being built and sold these days, anywhere.

The primary difference between the two trailers is that the Wild Goose is probably lighter because it had soft "pop-up" sides, which is cheaper&easier to build at home, especially in 1953.... right at 61 years ago!


At least these guys are trying to produce something relatively innovative within the context of their industry.

It is of more significance to me that they are trying to produce something of durable quality that is not just disposable junk, like so many "modern" trailers on the market.

Unfortunately, people like me will just have to keep building their own because quality is expensive and as the old saying goes, "If you want something done right- do it yourself".

For those who are interested, you should check out some of the Teardrop Trailer CD's on eBay for more "new" ideas.

Some of them even have plans for home built submarines....


I had the chance to buy one of these original teardrop trailers (roof didn't raise) for $350. It was very tempting. You could stand up in the front part and sleep in a full sized bed. I used to see some of these when I was a little kid, must be 65 years ago.


Now if they could use the same concept with a 5th wheel trailer with two axles. That would be my next trailer purchase.

Mark Yormark


Richard Auchus

Nothing new or innovative here. Recycling of old technology. Not that there is anything wrong with that !

Martin Hone
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