Teardrop trailers are so-called due to their profile, which is generally large at the front and tapers toward the rear. Teardrop trailers aren't as space-efficient as box trailers, but their light weight and aerodynamic profile reduces drag and makes for a more fuel-efficient package. Designs can range from simple to extreme, from an afternoon project to a years-long odyssey into retro-cool.
Create a unibody
One of the teardrop's inherent strengths is its light weight. One way to keep weight and cost to a minimum is to build your trailer as a unibody, or monocoque, meaning that the body is the frame. Frame the entire structure out with 25 mm (1 inch) angle steel, starting with the sides. Connect the sides together starting at the floor using crossmembers made of 25 mm (1 inch) box steel spaced about two feet apart, and triangulate the spaces in the floor for strength. Weld a brace in from the leaf spring supports to the sides to keep the structure rigid over bumps. You could use aluminium to skin your trailer, but sheetmetal is cheaper if you don't mind adding a few pounds and painting the body.
Build a ply-woodie
Many of the first teardrop trailers were made of wood, but not entirely. Wooden trailers are actually built on metal frames the same way flatbeds are; a completely wooden trailer would not be durable. To build a woody, you'll start with the sides and extend them down past the steel floor of the trailer. While traditional woodies use hardwood supports and a lightweight wooden skin, you can do the same thing with pressure treated pine and plywood if you're willing to tack on a few hundred extra pounds.
Build a kit
If you don't have the engineering background to build a trailer from scratch, a kit trailer can save you money over a ready-made trailer. Kit trailers come in several variations; with or without trailer base, bolt-together and weld-together, with or without interior appliances and accessories. A basic kit will contain the components necessary to convert a standard flatbed into an empty teardrop shell, and these will be the cheapest option. These kits leave it to you to fill the inside with the accessories you desire, but building onto an existing shell is still far simpler than fabricating an entire unit from scratch.
Keep it low
A low trailer is an efficient trailer. Start with a drop axle to get the chassis as close to the ground as possible. This fairly inexpensive modification can reduce fuel costs by a noticeable margin, particularly if your trailer is on the tall side to begin with.
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