Enjoyment, flexibility and affordability are the hallmarks of a great vacation. In the last decade, travel trailers have become part of the popular culture for those looking to travel in large groups or as families for either a weekend or a longer vacation. The travel trailers are hotels on wheels. They allow your family to travel in style but with minimal expenses.
Travel trailers have been designed to be towed by your minivan, SUV or pick-up truck. They come in different configurations ranging from the tent trailers to toy haulers and fifth wheel trailers.
So what is a Travel Trailer?
It is a towable house. It is connected to a ball hitch which mounts on a towing vehicle. The trailer is customized to serve the function of a living quarters while on the move. A travel trailer may also be referred to as tagalong trailer, trailer coach, conventional trailer and bumper pull trailer.
Travel Trailer Subtypes
Travel trailers come in several categories namely;
The term toy hauler can be applied to both travel trailers and the 5th wheels. It is used to describe a recreational vehicle that is customized to carry recreational vehicles such as smaller cars, quads and motorcycles, dune buggies etc. It is distinguishable by its the large door at the back which also doubles up as a ramp from which the recreational toys can be driven out.
The hauler’s back door also acts as a temporary garage area. Sometimes it is used as furniture for the living room compartment. In case you are transporting some heavy toys, it the back door will act as an additional axle for more support.
An expandable travel trailer is designed to expand/collapse to enhance or reduce its space. It can expand either vertically or horizontally. The vertical expansion is where the upper half of the top collapses into the lower part during transportation. It can then be expanded when on the campground to resemble the traditional trailer. Expanding horizontally involves the use of tent like fold-outs that can be removed from the main body to make beds.
This has a tear shaped body that is pointed at the back and rounded at the front. It is common to have all the small trailers grouped into this category. They are small, light and can be towed by both SUVs and large cars. In some cases, you may find some that are small such that they can be towed by a motorcycle.
Note that the teardrop trailers only offer limited facilities such as a bed, a side storage, and some external cooking facilities. Others will offer you indoor cooking and dining facilities but nothing more.
A park travel trailer will require the facilities that are provided by the park to be able to function completely. The park model has no sewerage facilities, electrical facilities, water holding tank and dual-voltage equipment. These limitations make it effective as a long term holiday placement either inside a par or somewhere near the park. It is more a mobile home than a recreational vehicle.
Merits of a Travel Trailer
- They are spacious and often feature open space configurations that can be used for a variety of purposes.
- Since the travel trailer has no driving and engine compartments, it provides more interior space than the motorhomes.
- The vehicle that you will use to tow will double up as your transportation and thus you do not have to spend double for fuel.
- Unlike the 5th wheel, the travel trailer can be customized to enter all areas.
- The low profile of the travel trailer allows for roof storage of other recreational toys such as a canoe with adding more top clearance.
- As long as a vehicle is fitted with a ball hitch and has been rated suitable for trailer weight, you can use any make/model to tow the travel trailer.
Demerits of a Travel Trailer
- The requirement of extra storage space especially when not in use adds to the maintenance cost of the travel trailers.
- The larger models of the travel trailer can be hectic to maneuver in tight spaces.
- Big travel trailers will require big truck to tow, which can be very expensive to fuel
- Of all the recreational vehicles out there, the travel trailers are the least stable and thus require the most skill when towing.
- Due to lack of raised sections, the travel trailer has the least storage space unlike the 5th wheelers.
- Since it does not have onboard driving and engine compartments, the living area will not be accessible when on the move.
So you want to own a travel trailer? Have you decided on the manufacturer you want to buy from? It is a little bit confusing, isn’t? Going by the number of manufacturers and models out there, anybody can be confused. Tell you what; all you need is determine what you want from a travel trailer and this will narrow down your search by a large margin. There’s nothing like one-size-fits-all in the recreational vehicles. Don’t sweat it when selecting the brand because the best travel trailer is the one that best suits your budget and needs.
We tried to sift through the hundreds of forums and comments posted by travel trailer enthusiasts and have come up with the 10 best brands. Take a look.
If you are looking for a distinctive style in a travel trailer, and if your budget allows it, then get an airstream. Its high shelf finishing is a clear work of superior workmanship. It offers all the amenities that you would want in a travel trailer. It is also made for durability.
After breaking off from Keystone, Grand Design went ahead and produced tastefully designed travel trailer. As a sign of their confidence in their products, they sell their coaches with a 3 year structural warranty
Apart from making the Oliver Fiberglass products, the Oliver Travel Trailers has a range of coaches that will make a 5-star hotel amenities to shame. Its bathrooms, interior decor and other amenities are just what you will need for an awesome vacation.
Forest River is the ultimate holiday partner. It not only manufactures travel trailers but also fifth wheels and pop-up campers. In fact, you can almost get all the subtypes of recreational vehicles from their production plant in the West coast and Midwest of the United States.
There are hundreds of Gulfstream trailer enthusiasts in these forums. The company has been manufacturing the gulfstream travel trailers and other recreational vehicles since 1983.
Heartland was established in 2003 by Brian Brady together with a host of other recreational vehicle veterans. The company would go on to produce travel trailers that incorporated the sentiments of the trailer owners to come up with designs that are hard to beat to date.
The Eclipse Recreational Vehicles is among the largest producers of toy haulers. On its list of travel trailers are a whopping 50 models that feature bespoke elegance and comfort.
Since 1968, Jayco has been one of the most acclaimed RV manufacturers. The company was established by Lloyd J. Bontrager. It has been associated with some of the most revolutionary ideas in the travel trailers industry.
A subsidiary of the Thor Industries, Cruiser RV is also a sister company to Jayco and AirStream. With such wealth of R&D resources in the travel trailers industry, you can expect only the best travel trailer toy haulers.
With a history of well over 50 years this travel trailer brands is actually better known for its motor homes. But Winnebago makes an excellent line of travel trailers. We could not find a forum dedicated specifically to owners. Click here for their Facebook page and another Facebook page that includes some user input here
Winnebago has been in the travel trailers industry for more than 50 years. It is one of the most renowned motorhomes brand in the world. Its travel trailers feature elegant interior decor and branded amenities.
Other Travel Trailer Manufacturers include;
|Coachmen RV||A division of Forest River specializing in motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheel.|
|Dutchmen RV||Among the brands it produces include Kodiak, Rubicon, Aerolite, Aspen and Coleman|
|Trillium Travel Trailers||Manufactures fiberglass trailers that are ultra-light and thus easier to tow.|
|Scamp Travel Trailers||It specializes in ultra lite fiberglass travel trailers|
|Keystone RV||Expect everything from luxury 5th wheels to ultra-light travel trailers that can be towed by pick-up trucks|
|Palomino RV||This is a division o to Forest River. It is among the top 5 recreational vehicle in North America|
|Shasta RV||This is a renowned brand in Indiana. It has been producing trailers and fifth wheels since 1941.|
|StarCraft||Best known for AR-One. On its production are a host of fifth wheels and toy haulers|
|T@B||One of the best manufacturers of Teardrop travel trailers|
|Land & Sea Amphibious RV||Known for manufacturing the German model Sealander. It also trades in knock-offs that have been upgraded.|
We hope that the above information will be enough to guide you on the type of travel trailer that you should buy. Again, the best travel trailer is the one that most suits your needs and not the one your neighbor thinks looks ‘cool’.