HISTORY OF GIDGET

HISTORY OF TEARDROP CAMPERS
Teardrop campers first became popular in the 1930s and grew in popularity until the mid 1960s. There has always been a passionate population of teardrop camper fans worldwide. More recently awareness of the environment and rising fuel costs have encouraged a global trend towards smaller, more efficient 4 cylinder vehicles. Large populations now live in townhouses and apartments with one or two car spaces for parking. People everyday are discovering a love for ’glamping‘ in a teardrop camper, fitting easily with our shared desire for an easier, simpler life.

HISTORY OF GIDGET

Gidget is a family business based in Brisbane, Australia. The inventor, Glenn Wills, and his partner/designer, Christine Bree, began conceptualizing and designing the first Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper in 2012. This process involved testing and developing materials, features and finishes and then custom-building their Gidget prototype. They dedicated themselves to creating the most inventive, functional and beautiful teardrop camper possible. This original Gidget has now travelled 90,000+ kilometres throughout the varied and rugged conditions of Australia—equal to several lifetimes of use. She has been tested in the tropical heat of Cairns, Far North Queensland, and cold winters at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. She has been their glamper camper on remote beaches and in mountain rainforests. She has been the star at family barbeques, and host to many an extra guest when their house was overflowing with visitors.

After all of this comprehensive road-testing, “lifestyle” testing, and more attention and demand than they ever anticipated—it was time to go into production. Operations started out in a small warehouse in 2014 and has expanded three times since. All Gidget Campers are custom-built to order under one roof in the Australian factory by skilled craftsmen and tradespeople. All the materials and components are top of the line. The timbers are sustainably sourced from locations throughout Australia and the US. The accessories are selected for style and function. The authentic retro curtain fabrics are hand sewn.

"We were looking for something specific for ourselves in the camping market and based on the existing offerings, in every instance we would need to compromise a quality or feature we wanted for our lifestyle and holiday plans. We are active people who love to bush walk, kayak and camp in the great outdoors but we didn’t want to use a tent or a camper which had canvas, and we certainly didn’t want to tow a caravan or need to buy a 4WD to tow it. The challenge was to create a camper that was simply and easily set up in under a minute, was lightweight and economical on fuel to tow, was environmentally friendly and self-sufficient, and would accommodate a very tall person comfortably....as Glenn is 6'6" tall.

So to achieve this we needed to find a way to create a compact camper that expanded to nearly double the capacity on set up, so Glenn designed our unique patented slide-out. We’ve camped in every kind of tent and camper and no longer wanted to deal with a wet pack up, and the days before and after a holiday or weekend away spent packing and unpacking. Our Gidget allows us to go away at a few minutes notice and requires only minutes of packing and unpacking. It allows us to camp in more places than a larger caravan allows and we can travel very fuel efficient, even charging our camper battery as we travel. With the solar panels taking over on arrival we are also energy efficient.

Through our prototyping and roadtesting over 2 years and more than 50,000km we continued to develop and redesign the Gidget until we were ready to go into production. We originally thought we’d be making 5 to 8 a year in our small workshop, but the popularity and demand for our Gidget has driven our unprecedented growth till we find ourselves now producing our Gidget for a world-wide demand.

Our success has been built on the foundation thinking for our design and our company.
When designing our Gidget we had a very strong vision:
Every feature and function of Gidget needed to meet these three important benchmarks:

Be easy to operate and use, over and over again.
Be robust, practical and functional, easy to maintain and very long lasting.
Be AESTHETIC, never compromising design over aesthetics or aesthetics over design but finding a solution that equally met both.

The unique patented design of the slideout allows our design to take the teardrop to another level. You tow a lightweight, aerodynamic, economical on fuel camper, and you are not towing a large box of air as you do with a caravan or RV. When you arrive you quickly and simply [in under 30 seconds] open and extend the slide-out, nearly doubling your cabin space. So unlike most traditional teardrop designs where your feet and part of your body are under the kitchen bench we have a whole Queensize bed 6 foot 10 inches and a spacious cabin, plus the large slide-out area. The design allowing us to include the two large hopper windows on either side of the slideout, a 1500mm [three foot long] skylight above your bed so you can sleep under a million stars but out of the weather, and a perfect location for a solar panel system. The design also is so perfectly balanced once extended you don’t need any struts and could sit on the bench and would not be able to tip the camper. And a design so interesting that it has caught the attention of people worldwide.   

Integral to our design­—in both practicality and aesthetics—a kitchen you’d be proud to use and show off, as in today’s lifestyle the kitchen is the heart of a home. Meals are prepared and shared there and it’s the first place that people look for quality and functionality in their own homes. So why couldn’t we have this in our Gidget campers. When we or our Gidget owners go glamping, they can enjoy cooking and entertaining their family—and new friends that gravitate to you with the Gidget—without being stuck inside an Caravan. The Gidget kitchen is the heart of the campsite and if the weather isn’t so nice we just put our 14 foot dome Gazebo and keep on enjoying our camping out of the weather.  

We’ve paid attention to every detail and made sure we used the best materials and latest innovations. From the authentic retro curtain fabrics dating from the 1940s to the 1970s to the composition of the mattress cushions. We along with the majority of our customers haven’t got to their vintage without a few sporting injuries or a bit of wear and tear, so not only is the full Queen size bed important to our design but the mattress needed to be as comfortable as we could make it. We’ve had our mattress cushions custom made for us using our specific choice of two different high density foams. The inner is composite and firm, the two outers are softer so you have a mattress which is supportive but very comfortable.

We also wanted our Gidget to be in the family for years, even passed down. Our owners name their Gidgets and they become an important part of their family plans, overnight visits, weekends away, vacations and adventures of a lifetime. This drives us to continually develop and innovate the design of our Gidgets and nurture and grow our Gidget owners community."

Glenn Wills & Christine Bree
GIDGET FOUNDERS, OWNERS & DESIGNERS