Howdy from the Hoosier State

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Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby mtbikernate » Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:38 pm

I have been interested in teardrops for quite some time.

This year, with my cabin tent on its last legs and needing something dry to replace it with, I've decided to jump into the world of teardrops.

Right now, I'm investigating a kit build on a HF or Northern Tool trailer. There are a few things I'm looking for that may hold me back some.

Namely, the wife and I are avid mountain bikers, first and foremost. The teardrop is just a means to an end for us. A warm, dry place to sleep closer to the trailhead.

So hauling bikes is a huge priority. We currently use a Kuat NV rack on our Subaru XV Crosstrek. Bikes are carried inside my Honda Fit, due to a lack of 2" hitches for the car. I suppose theoretically I could pull a light teardrop with the Fit, realistically, the Crosstrek will be the primary tow vehicle. I'd really prefer to stay with the hitch rack if possible, and get a teardrop with a long enough tongue that I could use a dual hitch receiver.

If I find a used teardrop within my price range and a reasonable distance of home, I'd definitely be more likely to skip the build and buy. But we'll see. Currently I'm in "finding the funding" mode. Summer camping tends to be dry enough that using the tent shouldn't be an issue. I'd like to have something figured out for fall, though.
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby pchast » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:43 pm

Welcome! :D
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby floridadon » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:43 pm

You can put a hitch rack on the back of your teardrop !
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby daveesl77 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:52 pm

Hi and welcome! They make an 1 1/4 - 2" adapter. I had one on my Camry and towed a Palomino popup trailer camper with it.

http://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Accessori ... gQodeL0AMg

With my HF trailer, the 1760 model, I added in a 2" square tube to make the tongue a composite "A" type which also allowed me to extend it 18".

128913

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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby GerryS » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:42 am

You've picked a good chapter :). The Hoosier group is pretty enthusiastic. Make sure you come to the spring gathering, bring a notepad and a camera :). I'm on an iPad and don't have the dates or location memorized....but I'm sure some o e will (Where is Bob when I need him )
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby mtbikernate » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:44 am

This is my rack:
http://kuatracks.com/en/products/hitch/the-nv/#features

The User Guide contains a few items of note:
- Do not use hitch extenders with this product.
- Do not use this product on a recreational vehicle or trailer.

Since EACH of the mountain bikes in question retails in the $6k-$7k range, I'm not going to be pressing my luck. I am going to be finding a solution that doesn't jeopardize my gear. I have seen pics of hitch racks on the back of trailers that have failed spectacularly and dragged the bikes (unknowingly) behind the whole assembly at freeway speeds. As well as a few where the bikes did not remain attached. Definitely don't want that to be me.

I think a cargo platform in front of the cabin on the TD is going to be my best option. It's part of the trailer, and so long as the bikes are securely attached, won't be a problem.
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby bobhenry » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:54 am

GerryS wrote:You've picked a good chapter :). The Hoosier group is pretty enthusiastic. Make sure you come to the spring gathering, bring a notepad and a camera :). I'm on an iPad and don't have the dates or location memorized....but I'm sure some o e will (Where is Bob when I need him )



Got your back Gerry !! :D

http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=61417
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby TANDR2005 » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:21 pm

Will this fit your budget. A great looking little guy.

http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=62962
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby felixx » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:35 pm

Welcome..
Question from New Zealand (the tiny country to the east of Australia)
What does Hoosier State mean? I have this term many times. (The only Hoosier I know of is tyres (tires))
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby GerryS » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:48 am

I'd say look it up in a dictionary....but a couple decades ago websters did add the word...and the definition was much less than flattering. Something about stupid or "white trash". Everything I know about it just means "From Indiana".

It's actually a great state....prosperous, and the people here are generally very warm and accommodating...lots of agriculture, lots of corn...like most of the Midwest. Mostly, flat, mostly clay soil. We also have a thriving medical industry (which I am a IT burn out....) with companies like Eli Lilly (Viagra anyone?), and Roche Diagnostics (Famous blood glucose meters) as well as a lot of start up companies thanks for Purdue and Indiana University. I Like it here, although I am drawn ever so slightly to places with a little warmer winters.

Hoosier racing tire is indeed famous, and I used to drive past it just about every week....its headquarters is in a little town called "lakevillle" which takes about 15 seconds to drive through, if you don't get stopped by the local police. The highway that passed through it was a famous "revenue enhancement zone" -- the posted speed limit dropped from 55 to 30 with almost no warning.

camping...well, I'll let Bob Henry talk about those...he knows a bit of the history and our influence on the national parks.

Best of all, we are home to Crossroads of America gathering. Kurt, is there an official record of how many teardrops ever met in one place? Maybe we need to contact Guinness!!!
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby bobhenry » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:55 am

Here is more than I know.......

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoosier.
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby mtbikernate » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:47 am

Been a long time since I posted, so I figured I'd dredge up this thread instead of starting a new one.

I have done a lot of research over the past couple of years and I finally have a teardrop in my garage right now.

I had looked pretty heavily into doing a build, and found that to get it how I wanted, it wasn't going to cost me substantially less than buying one, and it would have taken a lot of time and required learning skills that I lacked. So I shifted gears to look at options for teardrops I could buy.

About a year ago, a friend of mine wrote a Covet article for Outside Magazine about Hiker Trailer, and pointed out that they have a location in Indiana, also.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2087366/s ... re-vehicle

I was looking at them, and noticed they offered rentals. So in October, I rented one for the Brown County Epic mtb festival.

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Hiker Trailer Brown County Epic by Nate, on Flickr

That sold us. We took about a month picking options and setting up our build list with Wes (Indiana builder in Noblesville) and placed our order. His build time jumped after he attended Overland East the same weekend we attended the Epic, so we knew we'd have to wait a bit. His build time when we picked up our rental was 3mo. It jumped to 4-5mo by the time we placed our order. It's now at 5-6mo.

On Friday, I picked up my own 5x10 Hiker Trailer, and my wife and I depart on Tuesday morning for the Sedona MTB Festival in Sedona, Arizona.

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20170224_152509 by Nate, on Flickr

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20170224_145414 by Nate, on Flickr

Image
20170224_182144 by Nate, on Flickr

Let's see if I can remember the build list.
The trailer itself is a 5x10 Deluxe model

Major Options:
large tongue box
Fox Wing awning
Large side swing rear door (required with Fox Wing)
Electric brakes (didn't research the car side of this one enough before including the option - it's going to take a little time to get the brake controller part figured out, because the Crosstrek is not exactly an easy car to install a brake controller on)
Electrical package 1 (12v AGM battery, 40 watt solar panel, interior lighting, and associated controllers and fuses and whatnot)
Diamond plate trim (pretty much purely for appearance)
Maxx Fan
Undermount spare tire
vents for a portable A/C if I want to add one later

Stuff I added after the purchase:
Milliard tri-fold 6" thick memory foam mattress
1upUSA roof rack bike trays
Locks (ball, coupler, boot-style wheel lock)
Harbor Freight trailer dolley (for at home, but still important)
Wheel chocks and leveling blocks
Coleman Fyremajor stove (has its own stand, but can also be used on a tabletop)

Still to do (will happen after the inaugural road trip):
Sew up some curtains
Slide-out tray for a cooler. My current cooler is too tall for the galley space (which are just shelves on the Hiker, with some of the interior electrical bits like the fuses tucked in there), but I'm planning to use an RTIC 45qt cooler for the Hiker.
Some vinyl cutout graphics for the sides. I'm going to be putting my business logo on it.
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby kmints » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:33 pm

Hey Nate!

Congrats on picking up your Hiker. We put in an order for our Hiker which is set to start building July 26. I saw you on the Hiker Owners Group as well.

Sounds like we picked a lot of the same options except ours is a 5x8.

We like mountain biking a lot too but opted for the rear hitch receiver. We have a 1Up USA hitch rack that we use on the cars.

Might even try to make it to the MTB festival in Sedona next year! Looks like an incredible place to ride. We're from Southern California so the drive there isn't bad either.

I'll be interested in hearing more about your upgrades and about your brake controller. We got electric brakes because I heard they're a great thing to have but I don't know that much about them so I'll have to do some research before we pick up!

Can't wait to hear how the trip went.
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby mtbikernate » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:37 am

kmints wrote:Hey Nate!

Congrats on picking up your Hiker. We put in an order for our Hiker which is set to start building July 26. I saw you on the Hiker Owners Group as well.

Sounds like we picked a lot of the same options except ours is a 5x8.

We like mountain biking a lot too but opted for the rear hitch receiver. We have a 1Up USA hitch rack that we use on the cars.

Might even try to make it to the MTB festival in Sedona next year! Looks like an incredible place to ride. We're from Southern California so the drive there isn't bad either.

I'll be interested in hearing more about your upgrades and about your brake controller. We got electric brakes because I heard they're a great thing to have but I don't know that much about them so I'll have to do some research before we pick up!

Can't wait to hear how the trip went.

Had a great time on the trip, but it was far too short, for as much driving as was necessary. We had originally planned on more, but my wife's schedule changed last minute and we had to shorten it by a couple of days.

Right now, we are only using the trailer brakes as an emergency backup with the breakaway system. Uhaul refused to install a brake controller and 7 pin connector, so I had to have the Hiker folks also put a 4 pin connector on the trailer, too. I currently have both on my trailer, and am still working on my options. There are a couple I am looking into.

I will also be having a receiver installed on the trailer to bring my Kuat rack along on such trips. Carrying it on an adapter between the trailer and car restricted my maneuverability enough to be irritating at gas stations.

I think I will probably also be getting a small pickup truck a little sooner than I had originally planned. Would address a lot of things - brake controller capability, better able to haul bikes to remote trailheads without bringing the kuat hitch rack (hello tailgate pad), less fuel economy hit (I lost 10mpg towing with the crosstrek).

I never used the fox wing on this trip. Too windy, for one. But also didn't spend enough time in camp to be worthwhile to set it up. I left at dawn every morning, and usually got back after sunset.

I did run into two other hikers in sedona. I didn't get to chat with either, and only got to greet one of the owners.

I am excited to finish equipping it for boondocking. This trip was too soon after picking it up to get fully set up for warm showers and a halfway decent toilet setup. But that is definitely high on my list. Developed campgrounds are nice enough, but boondocking really opens up options. There are even a few close to home.
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Re: Howdy from the Hoosier State

Postby mtbikernate » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:39 pm

kmints wrote:Hey Nate!

Congrats on picking up your Hiker. We put in an order for our Hiker which is set to start building July 26. I saw you on the Hiker Owners Group as well.

Sounds like we picked a lot of the same options except ours is a 5x8.

We like mountain biking a lot too but opted for the rear hitch receiver. We have a 1Up USA hitch rack that we use on the cars.

Might even try to make it to the MTB festival in Sedona next year! Looks like an incredible place to ride. We're from Southern California so the drive there isn't bad either.

I'll be interested in hearing more about your upgrades and about your brake controller. We got electric brakes because I heard they're a great thing to have but I don't know that much about them so I'll have to do some research before we pick up!

Can't wait to hear how the trip went.


More comments, since I was posting from my phone last night.

IIRC, California REQUIRES trailer brakes.

I am definitely glad for the tongue box. I can put all the towing-related tools and bits in there. Wheel chocks, leveling blocks, locks, misc tools can all go in there. Most of the electrical system is in there, too.

I also plan to use some fork mounts I have attached to a wooden bracket to see about carrying the bikes inside if I do a longer trip with the subie again. I still like the roof trays and will use them for shorter trips for sure. But a 10mpg hit really hurts and I want to improve that. I have a tri-fold mattress specifically so I can fold it out of the way to put other stuff inside the trailer, and I use the fork mounts frequently inside my Honda Fit. So I might as well try it in the Hiker. If it works well, I'll probably make a platform specifically for the trailer to minimize it sliding around in there.

Nice that you already have the 1up hitch rack. I saw that they're pretty much the only decent platform rack rated to be put on the back of an RV. It'll probably be the next hitch rack I wind up buying when it's time to replace the Kuat. One limitation I see with even carrying the empty Kuat on the back of the hiker is that it might limit my access to the galley, owing to the side-swing door (which is necessary with the Fox Wing, FWIW). I will have to do some extensive measuring to see if the hitch receiver can be spaced down in such a way that I can still open the galley door without removing the bike rack. I got into the trailer fairly often on my inaugural trip, for things like lunch supplies, putting ice in the cooler, single overnight stops in transit (with lunch and dinner supplies needed from the galley). It would be sure helpful if I could just fold the rack down to get inside the galley.

As for the Sedona MTB fest specifically, we learned a few things.

First, and most important, is that there are not many campsites in the area. Most event attendees stayed in hotels or other lodging. The official event camping area in Sedona is a USFS "group camp" with very spartan facilities. It's not really set up for campers. You might be able to convince them to let you park a teardrop there. I didn't try, because the wife and I wanted access to warm showers. Since we don't have a solar shower setup yet, that was a biggie. Capacity is much less than 100 people, and it's expensive for only 2 nights. We stayed 4 nights, so that was another major issue. We didn't want to have to move camp twice. The main RV campground in town is NOT teardrop friendly (you have to be inside your trailer after 10pm), and you're not even allowed to have a propane fire pit. There's another private RV campground west of Sedona that looked good at first, but the Yelp reviews are downright scary. The owners sound like they're absolutely nuts, and it's a crapshoot whether they'll lose it on you or not.

The Sedona MTB fest is early enough in the season that the USFS campgrounds in Oak Creek Canyon may or may not be open, so there's no way to make reservations. That wasn't going to work for us, with our 3500mi round trip. There's boondock camping available west of Sedona, also. But that wasn't going to work because of the aforementioned shower issue. We DO have a solar panel to keep powered up, but a lack of showers and a toilet (both of which I plan to rectify) prevented that option this time. So, we ended up at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. It was exactly the sort of campground we wanted, but farther from Sedona than I liked. We spent very little time in camp, and felt a little disconnected from the festival at times.

I am still researching the trailer brake controller issue. I may not end up putting a controller on our Subie...it just depends how easy that will be. There are a few potential issues with it. Namely, what do we do with the big, honking 7pin connector on the tow vehicle end? The current 4 flat wiring is in the spare tire compartment and has to exit through the trunk lid. Those 7 pin connectors are big and heavy, and are usually hard mounted somewhere near the hitch receiver outside the vehicle. Not sure what I'll do about that.
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