Tips and advice

Buying a travel trailer


Buying a travel trailer

Is your family keen to go camping but doesn’t want the rough-and-rugged experience of tents and sleeping bags? Do you long for a vehicle that can take you to out-of-the-way travel destinations in style and comfort? Sounds like you’re ready to invest in a travel trailer. Now, how do you decide which one suits your needs?

When starting to shop for a travel trailer, do your research. One of the first questions you must answer is what size of travel trailer do you require? You can get a good idea by determining how many people you will need to sleep in your travel trailer. Then, consider how your family plans to travel. Does one person wake up earlier than everyone else? If so, you’ll want a travel trailer setup that lets the early riser make coffee without waking everyone else up. Here’s a few more tips to help you decide the best travel trailer for you and your needs.
Towing vehicle

If you’re buying a travel trailer you need to make sure the vehicle you will use to tow it is sufficient for the job. You’ll need to factor in hitch weight, dry and wet weight, how much your personal belongings weigh and whether or not you’ll be travelling through mountainous regions. It’s important to know your full towing capacity and to find a trailer that has a gross vehicle weight of less than 70% of your max towing capacity. Neglect to take all this into consideration, and you could create a traffic hazard crawling up hills while watching your gas consumption eat away at your travel budget. The key is to make sure the vehicle can support the weight of the trailer. Using the wrong towing vehicle can shorten the lifespan of the vehicle you are using to pull the camper and could be quite unsafe.

You’ll also need to purchase a sway bar—a torsional spring that attaches to the underside of your towing vehicle and your trailer to prevent rolling when going around corners.
Type of trailer

The type of trailer you choose will depend on the type of travelling you want to do.

If your aim is to travel to unmarked destinations, you may be interested in a truck camper. Designed to fit one or two people comfortably, truck campers are ideal for outdoorsmen and families who love to get a bit rough and rugged. The biggest feature is that you can drop a truck camper onto your pickup truck and you instantly have an RV that can go virtually anywhere a 4x4 can go.

Another option is a tent or travel trailer. These are compact lightweight RVs and some even sleep up to eight people. The more expensive models come with a seating area, kitchen, and an on-board bathroom. Compared to traditional, larger RVs, travel trailers take a bit more set-up time and have reduced living space, but they’re still a popular option as they offer at-home amenities for the off-road adventurer.

Finally, if you’re more interested in luxury travel, consider a 5th wheel trailer. This type of RV is usually about 30 feet in length and is pulled using a wheel hitch that resides in larger model pickup truck beds. The advantage of a fifth wheel is that 4-6 feet of this type of RV sits over your truck, making this trailer option shorter than most equivalent luxury motorhomes. Typically, this also makes a fifth wheel easier and more stable to drive. Another advantage to a fifth wheel is that you can arrive at your RV park destination, set up your large, beautiful home away from home, then take off using the truck to explore the surrounding areas.

Whether you opt for a tent trailer, a travel trailer, or a fifth wheel, remember that you’ll need separate camper insurance—insurance that protects you, your family, your vehicle, your belongings, and your RV. For the best options, talk to your insurance broker.

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