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How to Choose the Best Family Camper Trailer
There are many things to consider when buying a camper trailer. From small tent-like campers for two to luxury trailers for large families, there are hundreds of styles to choose. Ask yourself these questions to narrow down your choices when deciding on the right camper trailer for you and your family.
What Are the Different Camper Trailer Styles?
Pop-Up Campers: These are the most affordable camper trailers you can buy. Pop-ups are compact boxes that are easy to haul and have expandable living spaces. They are very lightweight and can be hauled by most trucks and SUVs.
Travel Trailers: Slightly lighter than fifth wheels, they are easier to haul because they hitch to the back of a truck’s bumper rather than affixed to the truck bed. They can be roomy and luxurious inside, with pull-out sleeping and plenty of storage. Travel trailers have the widest range of sizes available.
Hybrid Trailers: Hybrids have hard sides like a travel trailer and fold-out beds like a pop-up. This gives you the extra living space you need without adding extra weight. Hybrids also fold up a little easier than pop-ups due to the hard sides, so there is less work before hitting the road again.
Fifth Wheels: These are the largest and most luxurious towable campers you can buy. They are also the heaviest and most expensive. Various layouts can accommodate most family sizes with upscale amenities, such as fireplaces, recliners, showers, and entertainment systems.
Questions to Ask Before Buying
Now that you know the types of camper trailers available, ask yourself these questions to determine which one will work best for you. Doing your research now will pay happy dividends later.
- What are your camping goals?
The idea of relaxing by a beautiful lake under the stars sounds great, but make sure everyone in your family has the same goals. While you might think a small pop-up camper is the perfect choice because you will be outside most of the time, your kids might have a different idea, so consider everyone’s needs.
- How often will you use your camper trailer?
Realistically, will you be hitting the open road every weekend or a few times a year? If your camper trailer will be like a second home, consider a larger model with more amenities. If you will only use it occasionally, then you might not need the extra luxuries. When you are not using your camper trailer, you will be storing it somewhere, so keep those costs in mind.
- How long will you be on the road?
Will you be taking short weekend trips that are relatively nearby or traveling coast-to-coast for months at a time? Again, if your camper trailer will be more like a second home, you will get the most benefit out of extra amenities, such as a full-size refrigerator, shower, and extra storage for long-term supplies.
- How long will you stay parked?
If you will be parked for weeks or months at a time in one spot, then a convertible pop-up trailer or hybrid might be a good choice because you will not have to open and close it up as often. If you will be moving from place to place, the time spent setting up your living space could be better spent doing other things than assembling your camper.
- How many toys will you need?
When you picture yourself parked at the campsite, what do you imagine doing? Will you be hanging out in a lounge chair watching birds or riding jet skis on the lake? If you picture the latter, make sure you can bring all your toys. Toy haulers with outdoor storage might cut into your living space, but that won’t matter because you will be too busy outside having fun.
- How many people will need beds?
Size is the biggest consideration when choosing a camper trailer. For families of two, you can get away with a smaller size. Families with young children can start out with smaller campers, but what will happen when your kids grow up into moody teenagers? Choose a camper that will grow with the family.
- How much weight can you tow?
The most important factor that will affect the size camper trailer you get is the size of your truck. Obviously, heavier campers require more towing capacity. Roads will not always be flat, so it is better to have too much horsepower than not enough.
- How many bathrooms do you need?
Never underestimate your bathroom needs. You might think that one bathroom is fine, but two is always better. This is especially true if you have children because having one bathroom for the kids and one for the adults is always a plus. Privacy is paramount when traveling together in small spaces.
- How much storage will you need?
There never seems to be enough storage, no matter what size camper trailer you choose. Manufacturers know this and try to optimize every available space for the most storage. Make a list of everything you will want to take with you to get a better idea of how much room you need.
- What is your idea of roughing it?
The best road adventures are ones where everyone is comfortable. Will your family be happy with basic amenities or will a few extras make all the difference? Everyone has a different idea of roughing it, so make sure your level of roughing it is not so extreme that no one will want to leave home.