You can take a tent anywhere on the back of your bicycle, but a tent has to be put up, taken down, and what about all the stuff inside it? You have to carry that, too. On the other end of the outdoor dwelling spectrum, motorhomes have everything you need, but they’re big, you have to store them, you have to feed them fuel, do repairs, maintain them, make sure they don’t rot, clean the cobwebs, clean the mold. And they can be expensive.
Teardrop campers are on the smaller end of the in-the-middle sized dwelling. Like a trailer, you can tow all your gear, food, and whatnot else in them, and not have to move that stuff around much. Like a camper, you can sleep in them. But they’re small and light, so you can tow them with anything, and you can bring them pretty much anywhere. It seems a very nice, easy, convenient fit. They aren’t too bad to store in your driveway or garage, either.
That must be why they’ve enjoyed popularity since the 1930s. After the war, and even during war years, they really got popular, as the Great Depression ended and vacationing started happening more.
Back then, the average family car had an engine with around 100 horsepower. That’s why their hotrods are so massive even though they often have the same horsepower as a compact Volkswagen car nowadays.
Back then, too, the chassis of the teardrop campers were steel, and the panels wood (that’s why so many of them are called “woodies”). That’s because, in part, a lot of the materials came from the war. Other teardrop campers’ skins often came from war bomber wings — aluminum. Those are those shiny silver-looking ones you see.
Around the late 50’s/60’s, Americans wanted bigger RVs, and teardrop campers declined a bit in popularity. Back then, gas was 10 – 20 cents a gallon, too.
Nowadays, there aren’t a lot of commercially manufactured teardrop campers. But a lot of people renovate old ones or build their own from plans. They can be made the same as they ever were. A simple construction that didn’t need to change, I guess.