Teal shrinks its modular camper into a barebones $2500 car/motorcycle trailer
By C.C. Weiss
July 7, 2014
The Teal Tail Feather camper offers a mix of versatility and affordability that few competitors can match. Still, Teal hasn't stopped innovating and dropping prices just yet. The company has just launched a small, pop-top camper kit with a price of US$2,500. Like the original Tail Feather, the Tail Feather MINI 8.4 is a modular camper that assembles inside a standard utility trailer.
Teal originally wanted to offer a simple, modular camper for under US$5,000. However, after finalizing its design and taking care of all logistics, it ended up raising the price of its Tail Feather to around $7,500. With affordability still at the forefront of its mind, it's launching the Tail Feather MINI 8.4 at half its original pricing goal.
The Tail Feather MINI features a modular, assemble-yourself design like the original Tail Feather, but in a slimmed-down package. In place of a full-height body, the MINI has a compact body that pops open at camp to sleep two. It's designed to fit inside a 4 x 8-ft (1.2 x 2.4-m) utility trailer and weighs 175 lb (79 kg).
The kit features several wood wall panels and an ABS roof that screw together and secure to the utility trailer's side rails to create the camping trailer. A heavy duty vinyl liner covers the trailer floor to keep the elements out.
The MINI kit only has about a dozen pieces, so it should be quite simple to assemble and break down. Each piece weighs no more than 35 lbs (16 kg) so it's not super heavy or awkward during the assembly/disassembly process. After being taken apart, the pieces nest together to make for easier storage.
The MINI keeps a low, compact profile during towing and increases in height at camp in a few minutes. It uses a clamshell roof and hinged wall panels to expand into camper mode, offering about 4.5 ft (1.4 m) or a little less of headroom, depending upon the height of the trailer rails it's mounted to. After the roof is raised up, the upper door panel slides onto its hinges and closes off the interior.
The wood walls are covered in a textured coating outside and left bare inside. The interior can be stained, painted, paneled, insulated or left as is. A door screen and two 8-in (20.3-cm) roof vents provide interior ventilation. Teal offers an optional convertible lounge seat/bed platform, but campers can also just slide an air mattress and/or sleeping bags directly onto the floor.
The Tail Feather MINI looks like a cozy sleeper, but its compact size cuts out some features of the original, including the dinette set and sink. It's more similar to a clamshell roof tent than a fully outfitted camping trailer, providing you a cozy nook to overnight in, but your cooking, cleaning and other camping gear is sold and used separately. The MINI can be used to haul gear, but its shorter profile will limit exactly what you haul with it when compared to the full-sized Tail Feather.
Teal revealed the Tail Feather MINI design to customers last month. After receiving some feedback, it built a prototype of the design and fast-tracked it to market. It plans on hand-building each $2,500 (plus freight) MINI kit to order up until it gets enough orders for a full production run. Delivery will take about 30 to 45 days.
The kit does not include the utility trailer, which Teal estimates will cost between $250 and $700 to start. The company says that the combination of camper and trailer typically weighs under 500 lb (227 kg), allowing it to be towed by virtually any vehicle, including some motorcycles.
Source: Teal International