Tips and advice

Trailers and fifth wheels


Trailers and fifth wheels

By Jean-Luc Théberge, author of the Guide du petit campeur québécois 


Trailers come in all shapes and sizes, from 4 metres (13 feet) with just one bed and a kitchenette, to as long as 10 metres (40 feet) with a home theatre and a fireplace and two extensions. Trailer length includes the hitch.

Truck campers

Some campers fit directly in the truck bed, and are called truck campers or pick-up campers. The advantage of having the camper sit on the truck is that it doesn’t have to be towed. On the other hand, you will need a heavy-duty pick-up to handle the extra weight. Truck campers are fairly expensive: over $16,000. But it means you can use the truck for running errands and touring when you’re camping and during the winter. You can even tow a trailer, etc.


Some trailers have rigid or fabric extensions, depending on the model. These extensions are very popular these days and give you more space inside, without making the RV longer. They do make it heavier, of course.

Main features 

Rigid walls, instead of the fabric walls of a tent trailer, mean fewer problems with moisture, and it is much easier to heat this kind of RV. They are much better insulated for sound and warmth, too, so you can extend your camping season by a few weeks in the spring and fall. 


They are also more comfortable, often with air conditioning and a toilet and shower. This means you have to think about emptying greywater and sewage, mind you. 

Trailers are accessible inside at all times. You don’t have to raise and lower them like a pop-up, although you still have to level them when you arrive at the campsite. You can hook your RV up to the sewer and water mains in the campground. There are many fewer sites available, though, and there is much less privacy.

The importance of a good towing vehicle

An SUV or a van can tow small trailers weighing less than 3,000 lbs.

For larger trailers, you must have a pick-up strong enough to pull them safely. Trailer prices vary depending on your taste and budget, from $5,000 to $6,000 for a small used travel trailer to over $100,000 for a super-luxurious model.


Of course, you’ll have to clearly evaluate your needs before you buy. The larger your RV, the more complicated it will be to get around, and the more your fuel consumption will rise. 


  • You can detach the trailer and use the towing vehicle to get around
  • No need to raise and lower it
  • Extensive variety of models and prices
  • Often more comfortable and spacious than a tent-trailer
  • Inside is always accessible
  • Easy to heat
  • Much less humid inside
  • Good sound insulation


  • Price
  • Higher fuel consumption, depending on size
  • Harder to handle in traffic and on campgrounds, depending on size
  • Limited access to campsites, depending on size 
  • Often requires a heavy-duty towing vehicle
  • Tends to get blown around more than a tent trailer

Something to read

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