Choosing The Right Travel Trailer For You
Life is too frenzied these days that it is always a good idea to take a breather from time to time. Among the still popular vacationing trends is the use of camper vans or recreational vehicles (RV) to travel. Nothing beats going on a vacation vehicle that combines good company, comfort, sightseeing, and convenience. The most popular RV model is said to be the travel trailer.
The Perks Of Having an RV Travel Trailer
- The travel trailer is not a popular choice for nothing. It is more affordable than a self-motorized RV model. It essentially has equal amenities as the motorhome or fifth-wheel trailer.
- It is even smaller than self-motorized models. Despite being lightweight, it is designed to be heavy-duty. It can easily be towed by a regular minivan, pickup truck, or SUV. But still much bigger than a camping tent.
- It can house as little as two to as many as a dozen people. And its exterior and interiors are customizable.
- It allows vacationers to recharge as well as to bond with their loved ones
- Family or friends on an RV enjoy each other’s company as they take in the sights of the countryside.
- They are able to share meals and drinks as they travel. They may also hold a feast under an expandable canopy while their RV is parked.
- Troopers aboard an RV on a very long road trip will not have to worry about finding a toilet.
What makes the travel trailer the RV of choice for most buyers is its traditional means of attachment. A trailer hitch is used to connect such RV to a towing vehicle. This means that a travel trailer can be easily towed. A travel trailer owner can choose among the following for a towing vehicle: a minivan, pickup truck, or sport-utility vehicle (SUV).
This is a major plus point for families because they can tow their travel trailers by using an SUV. They do not need to rent out specialized towing trucks that are required for other RV types such as the motorhome and fifth-wheel trailer.
After being acquainted with the basics of travel trailer purchasing, one might ask about the top travel trailers in the market. With so many brands available, how can one gauge and determine which ones belong to the top tier? Clearly, preferences are subjective.
It would be good to take note, though, of the recent top-selling brands. It would also be practical to track the brands that are widely popular in online RV forums.
One tip is to look at brands that have sister companies in a corporation. This assures that the brand has tested expertise and is part of a legacy.
Forest River’s Cherokee Alpha Wolf 26DBH-L Review
An example is Forest River which is under Berkshire Hathaway. Such a multinational conglomerate is home to renowned brands in transportation, manufacturing, and technology. The brand, which was established in 1996, assures the durability of its travel trailers.
The flagship model of Forest River is the Cherokee Alpha Wolf 26DBH-L. It lives up to its name of being the alpha—the first and most dominant brand in the RV industry.
- Its laminated finish makes it lightweight.
- RV News has hailed it as the “Best of Show” for the year 2018.
- It is insulated thoroughly.
- It has a length of 31.6 feet.
- It can house a dozen people.
- It has a traditional white design that might be too plain for others.
- Its size might be overwhelming for first-time buyers.
The Forest River Cherokee Alpha Wolf 26DBH-L also takes pride in having a manageable drive even when brought on rough roads. It boasts of trouble-free maneuvering, too.
Quality Rating: 9/10
Why Not Rent A Travel Trailer This Summer From A Local Owner – Looks What’s Available Now
Winnebago Minnie Drop Review – (Best Travel Trailer Under 5000 lbs)
If you are looking for a lightweight trailer this summer the Winnebago Minne Drop is perfect for you. And it’s under 5000 lbs. Just like Forest River, Winnebago manufactures pop-up campers, toy haulers, fifth-wheel trailers, pontoon boats, buses, and cargo trailers. The brand, which has been around for over 50 years, is renowned for making motorhomes. It has also ventured into making travel trailers.
It has a reputable lineup of towed and self-motorized RVs. The Winnebago Minnie Drop (170K Floorplan) is known for having a durable exterior despite its smaller size.
- It looks vibrant in green or orange.
- It has a length of 18.4 feet.
- It is easier to tow than larger travel trailers.
- It is aerodynamic.
- There is limited space because it is a compact travel trailer.
- The colors green and orange might not appeal to those who want a neutral color for their travel trailer.
It may take time for Winnebago to also be known for making worthy travel trailers. At the moment, the company it is striving to create more durable and compact models.
RV Quality Rating: 7/10
Cruiser RV’s Shadow Cruiser SC-193MBS Review
Cruiser RV is another brand that makes more than a few travel trailer models. In addition, it creates toy haulers.
The Shadow Cruiser SC-193MBS is a top model of Cruiser RV. It is known for its minimalist interiors.
- It has a length of 22 feet.
- Artistic exterior designs make the travel trailer look modern.
- It has a huge bed size of 60 feet by 74 feet.
- It comes with a furnace.
- The lighting seems insufficient for the dark wood interiors.
- The designs on the exterior might be too flashy for some.
What is more, Cruiser RV is a company under Thor Industries. This corporation is home to several other RV companies like Jayco and AirStream.
RV Quality Rating: 9/10
Jayco 2020 Hummingbird Fast Fun Review
Jayco is the most renowned family brand in the RV industry. Before its acquisition by Thor Industries, it was known as the country’s largest family-owned RV manufacturer.
Despite being under the wings of Thor Industries at present, the legacy of Jayco lives on. Its good name still provides comfort and durability since its founding in 1968 by Lloyd Jay Bontrager.
The Jayco 2018 Hummingbird Fast Fun is an upgrade from the previous year’s model. It boasts of being more spacious and stylish.
- It has new interiors such as smoked-glass decors and LED lights.
- It has new dinette cushions that are of high-density.
- It comes with a Simmons mattress—an exclusive for Jayco trailers.
- It has an upgraded exterior LED lighting.
- The all-wood finish might not appeal to those who want a modern design.
- Some buyers might prefer a plain design over the printed window decors.
Jayco, in the meantime, assures that it will continue to merge innovations in RV technology with old-world craftsmanship coming from Amish traditions.
RV Quality Rating: 8/10
The Airstream Classic 33FB Review
Another company under Thor Industries is Airstream. In travel trailer circles, the brand is known to be synonymous with luxury.
Its high-end travel trailers get raves for their pomp. The Airstream Classic 33FB has an elegant feel with its exterior and interiors.
- It has an aluminum finish.
- The upholstery, flooring, walls, ceiling, and furniture have contrasting colors—giving off a nice look for the interiors.
- It has a projection television in the living room that is 65 inches wide.
- It has the Quietstream system which controls the climate.
- The platinum exterior might appear to be too plain for others.
- Some buyers might not be familiar with solar power input.
The luxury aspect may be the focal point for Airstream but it definitely does not lack in the durability department. It ensures that its luxury also covers for the performance of the travel trailer.
RV Quality Rating: 9/10
Grand Design Reflection 285BHTS Review – (Best Made Travel Trailer)
Grand Design RV takes pride in providing quality customer service. Apart from the look and sturdiness of a travel trailer, soon-to-be owners are also looking into the customer service that they can get. They are not just buying a travel trailer but also the additional services that go with it. They offer a limited structural warranty on all their trailers for the first three years. Talk about having a quality product supported by quality customer service.
Its banner model, the Grand Design Reflection 285BHTS, is large, comfortable, and heavy-duty. It can house more than a dozen people.
- It has a length of 35.7 feet.
- It has a queen-size bed that is 60 inches by 80 inches.
- It has a spacious living room and a roomy dining area.
- It has large windows which provide spectacular views.
- The queen size bed could have been upgraded since the travel trailer is very large.
- The black and white design might not appeal to those who want a pop of bright color in the exterior.
Grand Design RV, however, is being hounded by the fact that it is a breakaway company from Keystone RV. This company background can be shaken off as Grand Design RV goes on to prove its worth standing in the industry.
RV Quality Rating: 10/10 This gets our best-made travel trailer award for 2018.
Renting vs. Buying RV Travel Trailers
The cost of an RV is understandable hefty since it’s a multipurpose product. It combines transportation and lodging. A basic RV has a living space that consists of sleeping facilities, a bathroom, and a kitchen.
The more expensive RVs have upgraded interiors and appliances such as desks, television sets, satellite receptors, vanity closet, dining room, quartz countertops, hot tub, water heater, fireplace, washing machine, and air conditioning. Double-decker RVs can typically accommodate more people but are pricier.
The cost of an RV forces others to resort to just renting one over the holidays. But the price does not daunt those who see an RV as a worthy investment. For starters, it is recommended to try the experience by renting.
It is always better to rely on the first-hand experience when making judgments regarding an impending purchase. A prospective buyer can rent out several brands of RVs before making a decision. Furthermore, he can try out various types of RVs that are available.
The motorhome is a self-motorized RV. It comes in the classes C, B, B+, and A. The fifth-wheel trailer, toy hauler, pop-up trailer, and slide-in camper, meanwhile, are examples of towable RV types.
Key Factors To Consider When Choosing an RV
But how can a family or individual determine which is the right travel trailer to buy? It may seem to be a simple question but it entails a lot of considerations. The most important things to look into are the following:
Such factors need to match the needs and tastes of a prospective travel trailer buyer. If the RV you’re eyeing has flaws as regards these 4 aspects, you can always consider making alterations and customizations.
Size Of An RV Matters
Most travel trailers have lengths that are 18 feet to 25 feet. At least six people can fit in the average travel trailer. The maximum area of the usual travel trailer is 400 square feet. This makes a travel trailer not too small and not too big. The ample size allows for the presence of basic amenities. In addition, it is not too heavy to require a customized towing truck. The smallest travel trailer usually measures about 16 feet long. Two or three persons can sleep in such a trailer. This smaller model will do for small groups. The largest travel trailer, meanwhile, can be as long as 36 feet. Such size can be home to at least 12 people. This is perfect for large families. The convenient size of a travel trailer makes it easier for owners to park it during vacations. They can just park their trailers while they explore an area using their SUV or minivan. They can park at lodges, casinos, city parks, truck stops, and even at parking lots of big department stores. During the offseason, they can park their trailers at these places without much hassle.
Exteriors Of An RV
The customary selling points for a travel trailer are the appliances, amenities, and ambiance. Traditionally, not much is said about the exterior surface of a travel trailer. However, it is important to note that the exterior factors are just as vital as the interior features of a travel trailer. After all, the exteriors can be an indication of sturdy the trailer is.
There is nothing wrong with asking about the materials used for the body of the travel trailer. It is also beneficial to check out the condition of the windows and roof. The color and feel of the trailer are valid considerations. But it is better to know if the finishing and coating can withstand severe weather conditions and rust.
Interiors Of An RV
With the towing vehicle and trailer exteriors out of the way, it is time to take a closer look at the interiors. This deserves meticulous deliberation because of the many factors that a prospective buyer has to look into.
There is no fixed set of amenities found inside a travel trailer. It all depends on the size and cost of the trailer model. The most basic components are a kitchenette, toilet and bath, and sleeping spaces.
Before one goes into the different sections of the travel trailer, it is significant to check out the power sources of the facility. There could be an outdoor hookup, a generator, or batteries.
The lighting is also a major factor. Is there adequate natural lighting coming in? Are there curtains good enough to mask the light? Are there sufficient light bulbs and are they incandescent, halogen, compact fluorescent, or light-emitting diodes (LED)?
In addition, the ceiling must be high enough to make things comfortable for vacationers. Its color must blend with the walls and flooring. The travel trailer floor must be solid enough. It should not be the slippery type, too.
Lounging space Of A Travel Trailer
Almost all travel trailers have a lounge space that features at least a couch. It is highly recommended that the couch can double as a sleeping space. It can either have a pull-out bed or have a corner sofa bed design. It can also have a storage function for bed linens and blankets. The upholstery and size of couches differ depending on the trailer model. An owner can alter the design of the couch if he wishes. Another special feature found in some mid-range and high-end travel trailers is the slide-out. This system creates more room in the lounge area. The expanded area can also serve as an additional storage space.
Entertainment hubs In Travel Trailers
A homey lounge space will surely be beefed up by a cool entertainment system. Having at least one television set is a must. Other more expensive travel trailers have at least two widescreen models. Some even have satellite television. A home entertainment system is another worthy add-on. A radio, CD player, or MP3 player can dish out tunes while a DVP player will show flicks or run a movie marathon.
Entertainment these days, of course, is closely connected to the Internet. This has already made connectivity an indispensable factor in travel trailers. There should be at least a connection for GPS, mobile Internet, or Wi-Fi.
Cooking and Dining In A Travel Trailer
Good and hearty meals surely add to the enjoyment of a vacation. The cooking and dining options offered by a travel trailer have to be simple and stress-free. The kitchen must be spacious enough for one to move around as he prepares the food, cooks, and washes the utensils and dishes. There should be at least a stove, sink, and countertop. Other travel trailer models have a traditional oven or microwave oven. Some trailer types have a simple refrigerator or a double-door chiller.
The basic dining area may utilize the countertop. There can also be a table with at least two chairs. This setup serves as an extension of the dining space. The dining area is typically situated by a window that provides a view of the outdoors. A good resource for camping items is BestOutDoorItems.com where they offer good reviews on a wide variety of outdoor items.
Sleeping Space To Consider
The quality of sleep has got to be among the top priorities when choosing a travel trailer. The bedroom and its extension in the lounging area should be comfortable and conducive to slumber. Aside from the usual presence of a sofa bed, there is also a customary bedroom that can house two to eight people. This depends on the size of the travel trailer.
The bedroom can have one or more folding beds. Other bedrooms, meanwhile, have a loft bed or bunk bed.
Toilet or Bathroom Considerations
The toilet must also have a considerable size so that vacationers will not feel cramped. The tendency of some travel trailer designers is that they downsize the toilet area in order to make room for more furniture. Ample space is needed for one to be able to move comfortably from the toilet to the sink and vice versa. Some trailers even have a shower. More space must be allocated for this.
Aside from the space and design, it would be good to check on the waste disposal system of the bathroom. Plumbing glitches must not be present because these will just bring about stress to travelers.
Tips In Living the RV Life
- While the travel trailer is mainly used for recreational and vacationing purposes, some owners actually convert it into their residence. They must have enjoyed the travel trailer lifestyle so much.
- This trend, which is prevalent among senior citizens, just proves that a travel trailer is a viable residential option. Owners can easily customize the trailer to match their preferences.
- It is imperative that those who wish to live in their travel trailer must check on the overall waste disposal system. Wastes from the bathroom, laundry area, and kitchen must be disposed of properly. It is crucial that sanitation is upheld.
- Check local laws if you plan to live in a travel trailer. Not all places allow for long-term stays in a trailer.
Convenience and value for money are driving factors as to why the travel trailer is the most sought-after RV model. Just be reminded that thorough research on travel trailers is needed before a purchase is made. Prospective buyers can troop to RV shows, browse through websites, and participate in online forums. They should also keep in mind the needed processes for financing, taxes, and insurance.
An Important Note: The Towing Vehicle
Another important factor to deliberate is the towing vehicle that will be used. Although the towing vehicle is excluded from the travel trailer purchase, it is still an important consideration. It needs to be a perfect fit for the travel trailer. For what good is a smashing travel trailer when it is paired with a substandard towing car? It would be best to look at the mechanical factors of the towing vehicle. A solid drive with steady steering conditions will provide a smooth journey for the trailer.
Moreover, a reliable towing vehicle is needed because vacationers are required to ride that while on the road. No person is allowed to be in the trailer while in transit. Studying the engine and body can lead to assumptions on the kinds of maintenance that the towing vehicle needs. You also need to be informed about fuel consumption given the long trips that it will be used for. You need to know your vehicle’s mileage.
Lastly, the tires of the towing car as well as of the travel trailer must be able to withstand extended hours of travel. They must be of top quality in order to avert errors during towing.
An informed choice is always better than an impulsive buy. With all the information on travel trailers readily available, choosing among the best brands should not be a problem at all.
One just has to know what he really wants. There will surely be a travel trailer that will meet his specifications for size, exterior, interiors, and amenities.