Tell me about the work you were doing before Oregon Trail'R?
We both were working in the high end home construction field, Jon designed and installed home technology systems, and Sawyer ran his own custom woodworking shop.
How did Oregon Trail'R come about?
In the early ‘80s, our parents took us camping in their 1946 Modernistic teardrop every summer. After our younger brother was born and our family was too big for a teardrop, our parents built an amazing motor-home out of a mid-60’s International fire-trooper’s bus. About 6 years ago, with gas prices topping $4/gallon and all their kids starting their own families, our parents decided to go back to teardrop camping. And with that, both of us decided to get back on board and build teardrops for our respective families. After getting bombarded with questions by interested people in every campground, gas station, and rest area, not to mention endless thumbs-up from passersby on the highway, we decided this level of interest was not to be ignored. Between the two of us, we already had the design skills, tools, experience, and drive to start our own teardrop manufacturing business, so we dove in headfirst. We spent our first year on R&D, second year on our prototype, and now finishing our third year, we have teardrops all over the USA and even one in Calgary, Canada.
Tell me about the product itself.
We are a bit of a boutique manufacturer in that we build high quality, low quantity, and we take our time to do it right. We use only high-end materials on every aspect of these trailers, from our 13 ply Finland Birch floors to our double-radiant barrier rigid insulation to our high-grade elastomeric sealants and stainless steel fasteners. We have three models. Our flagship teardrop, FronTear, has the classic sweeping curves that give teardrop trailers their name and appeal. The other two models are new for 2014: Our TerraDrop model has a more aggressive and angular style and can be configured to be extremely capable off-road. Finally, DO-Drop is the smaller, lighter cousin of TerraDrop and is able to be pulled by large motorcycles and ATV’s, as well as subcompact and electric cars. Both FronTear and TerraDrop weigh between 900-1300 lbs depending on options and have a queen-size bed, while TerraDrop Sport hovers around 500 lbs with a bed slightly larger than a twin. All three can be towed by most passenger cars and SUV’s, as long as they can be fitted with a tow hitch. All of our teardrops are skinned in aluminum and can be powder-coated a variety of colors and textures to suit our client’s needs.
What do you enjoy about the work that you do?
For both of us, our two favorite hobbies have always been camping and building. We had so much fun building our first two teardrops, it is like a dream to be able to make a living at it working for ourselves, and with each other. We also really enjoy getting to know our clients throughout the process of crafting their teardrops. Building a product with the intended purpose of fun and adventure is very motivating and inspiring, so the more teardrops we build, the more we want to build…
What's on the horizon for Oregon Trail'R?
While we recently expanded into a larger shop, it looks as though we may be looking into expanding again soon to keep up with demand and keep our waiting list short. With the introduction this year of our two new models TerraDrop and TerraDrop Sport, we are excited to be expanding our offerings to appeal to a whole new portion of the camper market. The most important thing on our horizon is to continue to create the most beautiful and well-built camp trailers available.