Travel trailers can be as basic or lavish as you want. If you’re the type of person who would rather live outdoors than indoors and you only require basic shelter from weather, you can find a travel trailer, like the teardrop trailer, that is compact, simple in design, and easy in which to travel. And if you’re the type of person who wants to enjoy the outdoors for a bit then retreat indoors for residential luxuries, you can find a travel trailer or a motorhome with every creature comfort you can imagine.
Types of Travel Trailers
- A Class B van is basically an oversized van outfitted like a recreational vehicle. Differing from a conversion van in that it will generally contain a kitchenette and bathroom
- A bunkhouse travel trailer is like an apartment on wheels. It has separate rooms with beds – usually a room with bunk beds and another with one adult-sized bed.
- A slide-in camper is any camper that can be offloaded from its carrying vehicle, usually a pickup truck.
- A class a motorhome is a motorized RV. You don’t need a vehicle to tow this vehicle, yet you get all of the amenities of luxurious travel trailers.
- A toy hauler is a type of travel trailer with a large opening and ramp door. If you are a small vehicle junky, you can carry your jet skis, ATV, or race car right inside this trailer.
- A hybrid travel trailer is a collapsible travel trailer, or pop-up camper. On the less expensive side, hybrids are small and easy to tow, but offer you an expandable space in which to live.
- A fifth wheel trailer is designed to be attached and towed by a pickup truck with a special hitch in the truck bed and are usually outfitted with all of the amenities of your home.
- Destination/Park trailers are some of the biggest and heaviest trailers. Designed like a motorhome, this trailer is generally for the serious RV-ers who stay in one place for longer periods of time.
Travel Trailer Manufacturers
There are a number of travel trailer manufacturers building some of the best brands of recreational vehicles in some of the most simple and elaborate layouts imaginable. No matter what you want your vehicle to look like on the outside and inside, you can find it with one of these manufacturers. Some manufacturers work alone, and then there are a few companies that own the majority of the RV manufacturers in the United States.
Forest River and Thor each have quite an impressive list of high quality vehicles coming out of their factories. Both are located in the midwest, with the majority being produced in Indiana. But the big companies aren’t the only ones making quality products. There are those names that remain relatively small, but stand strong like Winnebago and Gulf Stream.
Thor Industries is an Indiana manufacturer with the largest number of RV, camper, motorhome, and travel trailer brands under its umbrella. Founded in 1980 with Airstream, Thor has expanded to include some of the best-known brands on the market. Thor’s subsidiaries represent one of the world’s largest RV manufacturers. Thor has its own brand, Thor Motor Coach (TMC), that sells almost 1 in every 4 Class A and Class C motorhomes each year. With brands like Four Winds, Challenger, ACE, and Chateau, you’ve most likely seen one on the open road.
- Four Winds
- Heartland RV
- Highland Ridge
- Keystone RV
- K-Z RV
- Livin Lite
- Venture RV
Forest River RV is a subsidiary of the Berkshire Hathaway company. Other Berkshire subsidiaries are quite diverse. They have subsidiaries in many industries, like Geico for insurance as well as subsidiaries in finance, utilities and energy, manufacturing, retail and freight transportation.
Forest River started in 1996. Forest River produces class A and class C motorhomes, travel trailers, 5th wheels, toy haulers, camping trailers, and destination trailers. Manufacturing vehicles not only in the midwest but also the west coast, Forest River RVs are conscientiously built and thoroughly inspected prior to shipment. Producing some of the better known brands of RVs, Forest River is one of the larger manufacturers in the US.
Forest River Brands
- Prime Time
- Big Tex
- Grand Design RV
- Gulf Stream
Best Travel Trailer Brands
Among the many manufacturers available, there are some brands that stand out above the others. The below brands and specific models will give you peace of mind as you travel the open road with superior build and durability, as well as additional features that go from standard to outright lavish. No matter what equipment options you desire, you’ll find a quality product for you.
- Airstream manufactures travel trailers and touring coaches. In 1929, the first Airstream, a tent on a Model T chassis, set out for its first ride. Airstreams are some of the most recognizable RVs on the road with their bright aluminum finish and rounded shape. For over 85 years, they offer their customers an adventurous way to get out and see the country. Even though they’re priced a bit higher than others, Airstream’s durability, craftsmanship, and amenities are truly superior to other brands. The Airstream Classic is one of their best vehicles.
- Grand Design RV, in the Keystone family, is one of the largest travel trailer and fifth wheel companies in the world. Aligning with Winnebago, Grand Design offers their customers more features and superior value for your dollar. With quality a priority, each vehicle is put through manufacturing inspections, followed by a comprehensive final finish inspection, and then prior to dealership delivery, they each go through a 250+ point pre-delivery inspection. Every Grand Design coach is backed by a 3-year limited structural warranty. In their line, the Grand Design Solitude fifth wheel is the most popular and well-received.
- Gulf Stream Coach was established in 1983. It was inspired by the Amish and Mennonite traditions of handcrafted homes and furnishings. The first Gulf Stream, the Foxfire travel trailer, began a tradition of techniques and craftsmanship that make their products stand out from others. With over 140 different models, it’s difficult to not find a vehicle for your needs. The Gulf Stream Conquest travel trailer is one of their highest received products.
- Heartland RVs, founded in 2003, are another quality choice that is committed to preserving the environment with one of the highest RV resell values in its class. An innovator in the industry, they invented the 880 turning radius and the Universal Docking Center. With attention to detail and luxury, Heartland is one of the most copied manufacturers. The Road Warrior is one of Heartland’s top reviewed travel trailers.
- Jayco has been building RVs since 1968. With a mission to build exemplary RVs and provide customers with extraordinary service after the sale, Jayco began and continues to blend Old World Amish craftsmanship with innovative technology. As one of the nation’s largest family-owned and operated RV manufacturer, they produce toy haulers, camping trailers, travel trailers, 5th wheels, and both class A and C motorhomes. Jayco builds to make it easier for families to explore and relax together. The Jay Flight is a real standout among the Jayco products.
- Keystone RV offers a wide selection of styles to fit every one of your needs. You can find crossover styles that are fuel efficient as well as custom build your travel trailer with the options you want. As one of the largest North American towable RV manufacturers, Keystone offers quality features at an affordable price. The Keystone Bullet is just one of the great products on the market.
- Winnebago has been making motorhomes since 1958. Not only well-known for the appearance of their Chieftan in the popular TV series The Walking Dead, Winnebago manufactures travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, and motorhomes. Regularly reinventing their manufacturing processes to develop innovative products and services, they strive to set quality standards in the industry. Almost all of Winnebago’s products are highly reviewed by their owners but their two most highly reviewed vehicles are the Vista and Adventurer.
Whatever vehicle you decide on, please pay attention to important factors that will keep us all safe on the road with you as well as keep you within the law. If you choose a towable, you’ll need to ensure your vehicle can tow it or get the right vehicle to tow it and be certain to examine applicable trailer laws. Every state is different in terms of vehicle height and weight as well as where passengers can ride, so be sure you’ve read through the laws of not only your current state, but those states you plan through which to drive and go. Be safe, be legal, and enjoy the freedom of the open road!