Before choosing an RV to purchase, you really need to ask yourself: What kind of travel will I be doing? Where will I be going? Will I be living in my RV long term or short term? What will I be taking with me? These are the questions that can help determine what type of recreational vehicle is a good match for your lifestyle.
So now it’s time to RV shop, but what’s the difference between a travel trailer and a fifth wheel? Or a pop up camper and a toy hauler? Here is a list to help you better understand the difference which will also help you make a decision about which RV is best for you.
A big advantage of travel trailers is their lightweight but sturdy construction that makes them towable by standard pickup trucks, SUVs and even some minivans.
Travel trailers range in size from mini “teardrop” units of about 12 feet, to 33-foot triple axle giants. The newest generation models offer much, including designer-grade interiors, slide-outs, bunk beds for the troops, built-in generators…even satellite TV.
Most in this class can sleep up to six, and prices range from $7,000 to nearly 70 grand. A big plus for the travel trailer: you can leave it at the campsite and take the tow vehicle out to explore.
One important consideration is to make sure your tow vehicle can safely pull the unit you decide on (including all your gear), because there’s nothing sadder than not being able to pull your new rig over the next hill.
The fifth-wheel trailer gets its name from the large hitch pin that attaches the trailer to a special mount in the bed of a heavy-duty pickup truck. This arrangement makes the fifth-wheel trailer more stable to pull than a comparably sized travel trailer, since a good portion of the fifth wheeler is above the truck’s rear axle as opposed to hanging off a trailer hitch behind the truck. The fifth-wheel trailer is also easier to back up into a campsite than a conventional travel trailer.
Excellent for long distance travel or a run to the local mountains, fifth-wheel trailers can range in size from 18 to 40 feet long. And because of their generous size, it’s critical that your truck be able to pull the load safely.
At the opposite end of the spectrum from Class A motorhomes is the elfin-sized pop-up or folding trailer. Small in size (although some can sleep six), the pop-up is the smallest, lightest member of the trailer family, and the most economical to own, with prices starting as low as $4,000.
The smallest versions can be towed safely with a minivan and are the easiest to park.
A pop-up trailer doesn’t actually pop up. Rather, the hard roof rises on telescoping metal legs and then the bed trays, with canvas sides attached, slide out from the front and back. Amenities can include a small kitchen, shower and toilet.
Pop-ups are a terrific way to get your feet wet in RVing without putting out a lot of money. They’re also great for weekend trips and occasional longer trips by determined families.
The newest member of the trailer family, the Sport Utility RV is often referred to as a “Toy Hauler” because of the garage area built into the rear. This space can be used for hauling motorcycles, quad runners, and personal watercraft, and is separated from the rest of the trailer by a solid wall and an access door.
Once your “toys” have been unloaded at your site using the built-in ramp, the garage can then be used for storage or as additional sleeping space.
Keep in mind the weight of your toys and the towing capacity of your vehicle when considering an SURV for purchase.
Use your awnings, blinds and curtains.
Most RVs come equipped with a patio awning. window awnings, blinds and curtains. All of these can provide protection from the sunlight, lowering the ambient temperature inside your RV. Also try to open the RV door as little as possible as this will allow the colder air to escape.
It’s the ultimate in mobility for travel where motorhomes and trailers can’t go.
A truck camper slides into the bed of a standard pickup bed, yet offers many of the comforts of home—at the fraction of a motorhome’s price tag.
A favorite of outdoorsmen because it can be hauled over rough terrain and steep grades, then offloaded at a campsite and left behind, a high quality truck camper offers many great features. Among them you’ll find a bedroom over the truck cab, plus small kitchen, toilet and even a shower.
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