There’s no disputing the cult-like following “teardrop” trailers have managed to achieve, and placing the little campers onto an off-road chassis for some backcountry fun seems only natural. So we headed out to California to pick up the next Expedition Portal camper project, spend the morning touring the So-Cal Teardrops facility, and chat with Gabe Pari to find out just what makes these little trailers so great.
Q: When was So-Cal Teardrops started?
A: We started the company back in 2004 and have been growing ever since
Q: Who started the company?
A: The Pari’s: being Mike, Gabe & Sierra
Q: Why did you start it, and what were the driving factors?
A: We wanted a teardrop trailer for camping, and we knew we had the skills and capability to build one. Building them for sale was not a part of the plan, until friends and family kept telling us how cool they were, and asking “How much to build a teardrop for me?” The rest is history.
Q: How long did it take you to perfect your teardrop design, and how did that design change with the introduction into the off-road market?
A: Our first teardrop took about 8 months to build, working nights and weekends. During that time we had to source a great many quality parts, and design and refine CAD programs for fabrication.
Once we decided to produce an off-road teardrop, we started from the ground up. We knew our off-road teardrops had to be tough, rugged, and rival or exceed the capabilities of well equipped off-road tow machines, and our “Krawler” and “XS” models do just that.
Q: I noticed you’re celebrating a decade in business, how has the company grown and changed in that time?
A: Our company has grown to nine employes in our main facility, and we continue to do business as we started: on a personal basis, with a smile, a handshake, and a goal of perfection.
Q: I’ve seen other teardrops that seem to be identical to yours, I assume these are part of your Regional Manufacturing plan. How many shops do you have and how many do you plan to expand to?
A: We have four manufacturing facilities, including our primary plant in Upland and three RMF’s: Petaluma, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and Lowell, MI. Our plan is to have fourteen regional manufacturers nationally, enabling us to effectively service all areas of the USA with our top quality teardrops and service.
Q: In your opinion what makes your products better than others?
A: So-Cal Teardrops are meticulously designed and engineered. Hand built, with the finest materials and methods known. If we are unable to find a component in the market place, we generally fabricate it from scratch.
Our teardrops are built to last, and designed with the eye of an artist.
Q: People have taken your trailers a lot of places, are there any places in particular worth noting or anyone’s travels with your teardrops worth noting?
A: Many of our teardrops are purchased “sight unseen” by folks in Alaska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Texas and throughout the US. The greatest majority of teardrop owners are a reclusive bunch, and tend not to post their life on the internet. They are too busy enjoying life in the great outdoors.
Just last month one of our clients in Seattle took delivery of a “Sierra,” which she towed behind her Mini Cooper Coachman on a thirty day tour of the USA.
Q: Anything new and exciting on the horizon?
A: We are regularly adding new features, and have developed custom designs for Kenwood and Firestone/Walker Brewery to name a few. We are always aimed at fresh, cutting edge additions, to keep So-Cal Teardrops number one on the list for the discriminating teardrop buyer.
Many thanks to Gabe and the folks at So-Cal Teardrops for sharing their hospitality, their knowledge, and their insight into the art of crafting a teardrop trailer. Keep an eye out for a build series on our teams new So-Cal Teardrop trailer over the next few months!