Travel trailer versus pop up trailer

Many people looking to get into camping or purchase their first RV often wonder whether they should invest in a pop up trailer or a travel trailer. This article explores some of the considerations.

First of all pop up trailers cost less than travel trailers. A pop up camper is a relatively simple trailer that folds down when being trailered or not in use. When at the campsite, the top of the trailer opens and sleeping areas pop out. Pop up trailers weigh less and therefore don’t require a large tow vehicle, and most can be towed by an SUV or light pickup truck. Also, your vehicle will use less gas towing a lighter trailer. Pop up trailers can offer many of the features of travel trailers, including bathrooms with sink, toilet, and sometimes a shower, air conditioning for cooling and heating, kitchenette with stove, sink, and refrigerator, plus TV and stereo sound system. A new pop up camper will set you back $6,000 or more, whereas travel trailers start at $14,000 and up. There are often many used pop up campers on the market; a used pop up camper in good condition may only run $3,000.

Travel trailers, by comparison, are larger, heavier, more expensive, and typically require a larger tow vehicle, but offer more and pop up campers in the way of interior space, conveniences, and amenities, and this translates to more comfortable camping adventures. Some travel trailers with bunks sleep 10 people or more. Some offer multiple rooms, which can be helpful when you’re camping with kids or another family. They often have more spacious kitchens with more countertop space and larger refrigerators and cooking appliances. Due to their larger size and weight, most travel trailers require towing by a 1/2 ton pickup truck or larger, with some travel trailers requiring a larger and more expensive 3/4 ton tow vehicle. The cost of a new tow vehicle meeting these requirements could set you back $40,000. Most, but not all travel trailers cannot be towed by an SUV. Small travel trailers are more easily towed, but do not offer the same amount of space as conventional travel trailers, and most have a smaller sleeping capacity.

Hybrid trailers fit somewhere beween pop up campers and proper travel trailers. They have expandable sides that increase sleeping capacity and provide additional living space. These can be easier to tow than travel trailers, and some of the lighter ones can by towed by an SUV.

If you’re having difficulty deciding between the two types of trailers, and you have an appropriate tow vehicle available to you, you may want to consider renting both types of trailers and trying them out. There are many RV rental facilities throughout North America. Renting can help uncover potential needs and wants that you may not have considered previously. As you contemplate your decision, talk to family members and friends about experiences they may have with RVs.

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