User Tools

Site Tools


Travel trailers

In general, travel trailers share these pros and cons:

  • PRO
    • can detach tow vehicle (TV) from the travel trailer (TT) after parking. This simplifies running errands or having either the TV or TT serviced.
    • generally the least expensive platform of any retail RV by square footage
    • can get around tighter turns because the TV/TT/ combination articulates in the middle
  • CON
    • need a tow vehicle of sufficient specification
    • need towing skills
    • trailer battery can't be meaningfully charged from tow vehicle alternator without heroic measures


ultralitetraveltrailers.com_wp-content_uploads_2012_06_800px-jaycopopupcamper-2009-11-17.jpeg Pop-up trailers are so named because the top pops up off the bottom structure. The walls are made of canvas or other material with screens sewn in for ventilation. When closed up they are only a few feet tall.

  • PRO
    • least expensive retail RV
    • lightweight, can be towed by a wide range of vehicles
    • very low profile while towing in the “down” configuration, minimal effect on MPG
    • abundant on the used market as people upgrade to larger RVs
  • CON
    • canvas and net sides do not stand up to heavy weather well
    • will mold if put up wet
    • minimal amenities


topratedtraveltrailers.com_wp-content_uploads_2016_04_a-frame-pop-up-camper.jpg This trailer is called an a-frame because it looks like the letter A when set up.

From the base down it is similar to a pop-up. The upper part is interlocked hard-sided (fiberglass) panels.

  • PRO
    • able to withstand heavier weather than a pop-up
    • can be erected quickly by one person (less than a minute with practice)
    • fiberglass panels will last longer than pop-up canvas sides
    • generally more amenities
    • surprisingly generous headroom
  • CON
    • rarer on the used market
    • heavier than pop-ups
    • more expensive than pop-ups

Here is a thoughtful review from an A-frame owner after 2 years.

cargo trailers


Enclosed cargo trailers can be converted into main or auxilliary living spaces. One common setup is a converted cargo van pulling a converted cargo trailer.

  • PRO
    • can be taken on longer trips or left behind on shorter ones
    • can usually carry heavier loads safer than an RV can
    • available in many configurations
    • blank slate with straight sides for the build
  • CON
    • can be more expensive than one might expect, even on the used market
  • Video discussion:



Teardrop trailers are a traditional American trailer style intended to tuck behind a passenger car. In recent years the trend has been toward mini- and micro-teardrops. [Perhaps this is due to passenger cars getting lower rooflines for fuel economy – Frater Secessus]

Traditionally any cooking area is kept in a pop-out hatch at the back.

  • PRO
    • tradition and looks
    • low height for towing
  • CON
    • usually very small interiors
    • can be expensive

bumper pull


These trailers are the least expensive trailer by the square foot, and the most common.

  • PRO
    • best “bang for the buck” on space and amenties
    • many different floorplans and styles available
    • some have slides
  • CON
    • built to a competitive price point; build quality is uneven at best

5th wheel


5th wheel (fiver) trailers are similar to bumper pulls but the trailer rests on the “fifth wheel” mounted in the bed of the tow vehicle. They tend to be larger and heavier than bumper pulls.

  • PRO
    • 5th wheel pulling distributes the load onto the tow vehicle more effectively than does bumper pull. This may mean the ability to pull more trailer or use less truck.
    • since the articulation point is in the bed instead of on the bumper the “fiver” can negotiate even tighter turns
    • luxury and amenities competitive with Class A motorhomes.
  • CON
    • requires special receiving plate in the bed of the truck
    • the presence of the 5th wheel receiver in the bed restricts the use of the bed for cargo
    • "dropping" a 5th wheel trailer off the hitch can be result in expensive damage
    • the front (sleeping area) of fivers can be very tall, limiting access to some locations


rv/travel_trailer.txt · Last modified: 2023/06/21 16:00 by mahkato