It has taken us months of research, searching and waiting, but finally we have our teardrop, our little escape pod.  We did have a false start in the quest, when we did make an offer on a second hand teardrop, the owner changed their mind after initially accepting, that kind of did us a favour, as it made us commit to going with, what is without doubt the best current option for our needs, which is a brand new Travelbug Escape pod Eco: https://travelbugteardropcampers.com.au/escape-pod-eco  
The fact is I am a bit of a compulsive researcher, and G is cautious by nature, so a lot of research went into our decision.  Travelbug were the company that came out on top in the research process. Size was important, many teardrops claim they can be towed by small cars and while that is true to an extent, they sometimes stretch the truth in terms of reality, practicality and legality.   Sometimes ignoring the reality of the ball weight of towbars for small cars.  I won’t name any brands or companies, not stupid and don’t need a law suit, but I have seen exaggeration of what is possible for teardrops and small cars.  Now size matters for us, we drive a small Honda city, a car we originally purchased in part, for its fuel economy, and therefore lower carbon footprint.  And yeah, I know a petrol powered car is never going to be an environmental gold star, but one with the best possible economy and lowest emissions is better than giving no consideration to the issue.  So we have a small car and no desire to change that arrangement, so the weight and design specs on a teardrop mattered a lot in our decision.  Travelbug make a range of teardrops, from our little eco pod through to larger models, and as each vehicle is crafted individually and with the tow vehicle in mind, you can trust the specs and the build outcome.  The craftsmanship, the focussed individual deign is one of the great pluses of the Travelbug company.  There is a professionalism and pride in the work that you just don’t get with some of the alternatives out there.  Travelbug is made by people who have a lifelong commitment to camping/teardrop use, so what they have learnt from their own experience goes into the production of a fantastically practical and comfortable teardrop.
So what makes the escape pod eco such a good option?  Well the space for the size, the pod has a comfortable queen size bed and two cupboards inside for clothes and personal items. The internal space, particularly the height is generous and comfortable, Gary is 6ft and he comfortably sits on the bed without any claustrophobic closeness of the ceiling and walls, he can fully stretch out in the bed.  For me, the pod is a comfortable, cosy nest that gives me plenty of room to spread out.  The pod is extremely well ventilated and that is a big thing in a van of this size.  In fact of all the similar teardrops we looked at, none had the ventilation and the insulation that the escape pod has.  You have a screened door and separate screened window on each side of the pod.  The door also locks where you can slide the door half open.  In addition you have an adjustable roof vent and every pod is fitted with an adjustable fan for additional ventilation.   Thermal curtains are also included for all windows and doors.  The pod also has excellent insulation with Earthwool insulation, we are yet to try the pod in really cold weather but our first weekend was a hot one, with temperatures in the mid-30s and yet the van remained comfortable in terms of temperature.  The fan kept air cool and circulating, I was afraid the pod would be an uncomfortable hot box in our hot Australian summers but it performed better than I expected and was surprisingly comfortable on what was a stinking hot steamy weekend.  The earthwool insulation also provides great sound insulation. So ventilation and insulation are one thing that sets Travelbug apart from competitors.  The bed is another.
Travelbug manufacture their own innerspring mattress on site, especially for their pods and what a bonus that is.  The mattress is an optional extra but well worth it, it makes for an incredibly comfortable night’s sleep.  Like everything else in Travelbug the mattress is crafted with its unique use in mind and is designed to bend in the centre to allow you to move the mattress within the van, this assists with making the bed.  Now, making the bed in such a confined space with my short stature, was a challenge, but I figure I will get better at that with a bit of practice. The flexibility of the mattress is also designed to assist with moving the mattress out of the pod when necessary.  Essentially a teardrop is just a bed and kitchen on wheels, so a great bed is a fantastic feature.  Before moving on to the galley kitchen, I will also say the interior has a couple of storage pockets, cup holders and more than adequate lighting.
The kitchen space has secure, generous shelves.  We have now kitted out the kitchen space and have found we have more than adequate space for kitchen essentials, both food items and kitchen hardware.  There is a generous storage area for pots and pans, under a work bench  and we have also placed the small gas bottle for the stove in that space.  Next to that is a space for a fridge, in which we have placed a WACO CF40, Travelbug also made sure they included adequate ventilation for our fridge placement.  We have enough room to slide our gas stove in front of the fridge when not in use.  Travelbug can also include and supply a fridge if desired.  There is lighting over the work space and adequate lighting on both sides of the pod exterior.
The pod is set up with a 12volt power system, battery and charger, we have also chosen to set up for solar charging.  You can include an optional tv/dvd player with the pod, that can run off the 12volt system,  but given that a) we don’t watch that much tv anyway and b) we mainly rely on our laptops for our media use, we opted to also include the 240volt option for when we are in caravan parks and can plug in.  The laptops need at least 18 volt so the 12 volt system is not really adequate for charging laptops, so that was a consideration for us.  The battery is stored in the generous box at the front of the pod, which is also where we store the additional tent room that we use with the pod, giving us a private space to sit or change.  The set up and take down time for the tent is noteworthy and this really is camping luxury, taking only a few minutes to get everything up and secure.
All of the specs for the pod can be found on the Travelbug website here: https://travelbugteardropcampers.com.au/escape-pod-eco  I urge anyone interested in teardrops, and a more luxurious camping option to check them out.  Travelbug also represented best value for money of all the teardrop options we investigated. A practical consideration was also maintenance and repairs, the pod is designed in such a way that if you have to fix or replace anything you can simply drop into something like a Repco or Super cheap auto store, to find what you need, so repairs on the road are cheap and easy.
 Now we have our pod we are starting to personalise it and make additions for personal needs and there will be more posts on this to come.  More photos will gradually be added, and photos are on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/sharon.geitz/?hl=en Or: https://www.instagram.com/garygeitz62/?hl=en

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