How to Choose a Camping Trailer

An ideal way to choose a camping trailer is to first understand your recreational goals, such as how often you plan on traveling and what kinds of environments you like to visit. Ensure that your tow vehicle can pull a trailer safely under weighted conditions, and then visit a RV show where you can see multiple models in 1 place. Inspect trailer exteriors for signs of quality manufacturing such as dual-seals for slide out rooms and examine the workmanship of cabinetry, fixtures and flooring.


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    Understand your recreational goals. Knowing how often you plan to use the trailer and where you like to camp will help determine the type of trailer that can meet your needs.
    • If you only want to camp during summer, a lightweight, less expensive trailer with tent-style pop-out walls may be more appropriate than a 4-season camper trailer with heavy insulation and a higher price tag.
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    Create a checklist of your biggest priorities in a trailer, and then take the list with you when trailer shopping to decide on the type of trailer model, bathroom, kitchen and bedroom style you prefer.
    • For example, if your family is large, a fifth wheel trailer may be ideal. Many of the largest fifth wheels have a separate bunkhouse and bathroom away from the master bath, which gives children an area to call their own.
    • A couple with no children may prefer a standard trailer, which has fewer layout plans but is more lightweight and costs less.
    • Campers who prefer staying in isolated, rugged conditions may find that a small, all-terrain pop-up camping trailer is the ideal choice for housing 1 or 2 people during short trips.
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    Consult your tow vehicle's owner's manual to learn how much weight your vehicle can safely tow. Understanding this number will help you choose a trailer that does not exceed your vehicle's weight allowance when fully loaded with gear and water.
    • A fifth wheel trailer with a typical gooseneck hitch can only be pulled with a 3/4-ton or 1-ton pickup, while a small popup trailer with a standard ball-hitch can be pulled by mid-sized station wagons or even sedans.
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    Consider how you will pay for the camping trailer. If you plan on financing a new model, remember that RVs (like all vehicles) lose a significant share of their value after the first year on the road. Good deals can often be found on used, depreciated RVs at the end of summer when owners decide they don't enjoy camping as much as they thought they would.
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    Narrow down your camping trailer options even further by talking to owners of the trailer you are interested in buying.
    • Visit online RV communities and camping trailer review websites to learn what seasoned campers do and don't like about their trailers.
    • Find out which manufacturers have the best warranties and repair service by asking trailer owners how they were treated when mechanical failures occurred.
    • Check for recalls on appliances contained within the trailers you are interested in buying. Trailer manufacturers typically do not make the appliances contained in their trailers (such as stoves, refrigerators and water heaters); trailer appliances are sourced from appliance companies who are responsible for contacting consumers in the event of a recall notice. Always ensure that the trailer you are buying doesn't have appliances that are under recall warnings.
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    Visit a RV show with multiple manufacturers. Seeing a variety of trailers on the showroom floor will give you a good idea of typical trailer floor plans and extras such as slide-out rooms, entertainment centers and types of bathrooms. RV shows also save time by allowing you to talk with a variety of manufacturers in 1 setting.


  • When trailer shopping, look for a manufacturer with the longest warranty available. Trailers are almost constantly in motion, which causes objects to break more often than in a stationary house. A warranty will often cover you during the first 18 months and extended warranties can be purchased with coverage up to 7 years.


  • If you are considering a used trailer, look for signs of water leakages around vents and window seals. Avoid any trailers with water stains on the interior ceiling, which can indicate dry rot and structural problems.

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Categories: Camping