Travel trailers are often mistakenly referred to as Recreational Vehicles, or RVs. This is an error as they are not a vehicle, but rather a trailer that has been adapted as a temporary living space. Its major purpose is for use as a home away from home for vacationers. These campers can be detached from the towing vehicle when set up, allowing for a personal vehicle while vacationing.

There are many types and designs of travel trailers. The major ones are travel trailers, pop-up camper trailers, and fifth wheel trailers. While it seems odd that one style is actually referred to as a travel trailer they are all considered as such for classification purposes.

Pop-up camper trailers, or folding tent trailers as they are often commercially called, are simply a small box that will unfold to form a living/sleeping space while camping. These are considered to be more durable than a tent, and provide varying amenities depending on model. They range in size from 15 to 23 feet in length (not including towing vehicle) and can accomodate up to eight people for sleeping. Most provide a minimum of cooking/living/sleeping space; some models also contain bathroom facilities of some sort, possibly including a shower head attachment to be used while seated on the toilet lid. Newer models are now availble with a slide out that allows for more living area when set up. Pop-up campers range in price from approximately $3,300 to $11,000 with an average price of $5,500.

There are actually several styles of the classification of travel trailer. One model even allows for the unit to telescope down for towing. This reportedly allows for less wind drag when towed by a smaller vehicle. The travel trailer ranges in size from 12 to 35 feet in length (not including the towing vehicle), and will accomodate up to eight persons for sleeping depending on the model. Amenities can include full bathroom facilities (including shower), full kitchen galley (including stove, refrigerator, and microwave oven), and private master sleeping area. These trailers range in price from approximately $9,500 to $65,000 with an average price of $14,500.

Fifth wheel trailers are travel trailers which require a special towing assembly on the towing vehicle similar to what is found on semi trucks. These trailers range in size from 21 to 40 feet in length (not including the towing vehicle) and can accomodate up to eight people for sleeping depending on model. Amenities are very similar to travel trailers with full kitchen and bathroom facilities, and a private master sleeping area being almost standard in all models. These trailers average approximately $23,000 with the price ranging from $12,000 to $97,000.

The major manufacturers of travel trailers include:

  • Airstream, Inc.
  • Coachmen® Industries, Inc.
  • Fleetwood® Enterprises, Inc.
  • Hi Lo Trailer Co.
  • Keystone RV Company
  • Recreation By Design, LLC

It should be noted that each trailer style and size will require specific size and towing capacity for the towing vehicle.

Information above was gathered in part at the following websites:

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