How Much Trailer Do You Need?
Shopping for a travel trailer or fifth-wheel trailer can be a confusing and sometimes frustrating affair. Before you go near an RV dealership, sit down with a pen and paper and figure out what you need, what you already have in the way of tow vehicles, and what you want now and for the future.
How many people will be sleeping in the trailer? The typical family of four (mother, father, and two children) can often get by with a smaller travel trailer with a floor plan that meets their needs. A popular floor plan is one with a bedroom with a large double or queen bed on one end and bunk beds on the other end of the trailer. The bathroom is often situated on the same end as the bunks, with the kitchen and any living space in the middle portion of the trailer. This floor plan works well in even shorter trailers by limiting the amount of living space. A smaller trailer can work well for those families who treat their trailer as a traveling hotel room, one that is used for eating and sleeping after seeing the nearby attractions.
Many people use their trailers for living space while pursuing their passions or competitive spirit. More and more RV manufacturers are offering travel trailers and fifth-wheel trailers that contain both living space and a “traveling garage.” The garage is accessed through the rear of the trailer, with the rear wall swinging down to form a ramp. All kind of fun vehicles are carried in these specialty trailers, from ATVs to motorcycles to dune buggies. These trailers are usually specially ordered to the buyer's specifications and needs. They will either come with equipment to stabilize the vehicle being carried, or such equipment will need to be added. The entire trailer can be used for living and sleeping space when the “toys” are driven outside at your destination. With features such as rollup carpets and pull-down-from-the-ceiling beds, the garage disappears and a very large trailer appears. These “toy haulers” combine the best of all worlds. Pulling a trailer, you will have a vehicle that can be unhooked for sightseeing. You are also not limited to having a motorhome with a tow vehicle for the toys, but no transportation while you are at the campground.
Tow Vehicle Limitations
The tow vehicle you presently own will limit your choice of trailers. Compact family cars are not capable of towing a travel trailer. If you own a van or SUV, you may be able to tow a travel trailer, but a fifth-wheel is out of the question.