10 of the Best Travel Trailers for Road Trips
Looking to join the RV revolution but not sure where to start? This handy guide will help you find the best option for your adventures on the open road.
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You can take it with you
As the pandemic rages on, families are understandably hesitant to venture out on a typical vacation, especially if it entails a flight. Still, staring at the same four walls is getting monotonous. Thankfully, there are definitely some good ways to get away. One popular option? Hitting the open road on one of the best road trips in America, socially distancing at a campsite, and bringing your accommodations with you. If you don’t have a motorhome and tents really aren’t your thing, a travel trailer may be the perfect choice for you.
For the newbies out there, travel trailers differ from motorhomes in that they need to be towed to wherever you’re going. While having one self-contained vehicle do it all makes sense for some travelers, the travel trailer is a great choice for many people, since it can often be towed by the vehicle you drive every day. Also, once you get to your destination, you can unhook the trailer and drive that vehicle for supplies or explore places inhospitable to large truck/trailer combinations (like national parks). Not sure which you want? Here’s a handy guide to the different types of RVs out there—and how to find the best one for you.
Choosing the right travel trailer can start with considering the type of vehicle you currently own. Once you’ve become accustomed to the RV lifestyle, you might want something larger, and at that point, you can upgrade your tow vehicle to accommodate a larger trailer. Here are some of the best travel trailers on the market to get you started, whether you’re renting or buying.
To buy or to rent?
One of the great things about RV travel is that it provides great options for you to travel to and stay relatively nearby—wherever you are. For proof, see this list of the best RV parks in every state. Still, you might be understandably hesitant to invest in a travel trailer if you’re new to camping. That’s where renting comes in. “Renting a trailer is a great way to experience RVing without committing to buying a vehicle,” says Megan Buemi, spokesperson for the online rental marketplace RVshare. The company’s nationwide listings offer a wide variety of RVs, both from major companies renting a fleet to individual owners looking to make some extra cash when they’re not vacationing themselves.
If you’re looking for a traditional, roomy travel trailer that can sleep your entire family in comfort, a Winnebago Minnie is a great choice (speaking of comfort, check out these RV must-haves, too). It can be easily towed by most full-size pickup trucks or SUVs, and it has enough comfortable sleeping room for up to eight people, depending on the configuration you choose. We particularly love the fully equipped bathroom, which provides privacy and eliminates the need to stumble out into nature in the middle of the night. Some models even have pull-out cooktop and sink areas outside the trailer, in addition to the ones inside—this way, you can prep dinner while enjoying a magnificent sunset.
If you want to camp in a bit more style, the sleek, aluminum-bodied Airstream Classic is the way to go. It’s hands-down one of the best travel trailers available, and as Bob Wheeler, CEO and president of Airstream, notes, traveling in one provides “a safe way to travel long distances while avoiding planes, hotels, public restrooms, and restaurants along the way.” The gleaming, rounded style of an Airstream is unmistakable, and these trailers are built to last. You’ll need a full-size truck or SUV that can safely tow more than 7,000 pounds, but most modern half-ton trucks can manage. If your regular ride won’t work and you’re not ready to commit to an upgrade, you can rent the right car for your road trip to handle this sizable travel trailer.
Rockwood Tent 1640LTD
For something much less expensive, try a traditional pop-up camper like the Rockwood Tent. Weighing less than 1,500 pounds, this pop-up camper with fabric sides is one of the best travel trailers because it’s easy to tow with many cars, crossovers, and even minivans. Another reason we love pop-up campers is the ease of towing one—when it’s folded down, it’s not very tall, so it’s easy to maneuver and see what’s behind you if you’re backing up. Once you’ve reached your campsite, the tent opens up quickly and you have two beds ready for sleeping.
If you’re camping by yourself or with a significant other, there might not be a need to deal with a massive camper. A teardrop trailer, like this Timberleaf Classic, is lightweight at around 1,500 pounds and can be easily towed by most small cars. Teardrop campers, so named for the streamlined look when viewed from the side, are minimalist, consisting of little more than a bed, some storage, and a cooking area. If you want a simple camping experience, a lightweight teardrop is a solid choice. For a truly amazing experience, consider these 25 great spots where you can camp on the beach.
Montana High Country
Does your ideal vacation include getting dirty with side-by-sides, dirt bikes, or mountain bikes? A toy hauler might be the best travel trailer choice for you and your family. This Montana High Country is a fifth-wheel trailer that has a garage at the rear for your fun gear. A fifth-wheel trailer needs a heavy-duty full-size pickup truck to tow it, with a bed-mounted hitch to handle the extra weight—but with this big truck, there’s plenty of room for your family, friends, and all of your stuff. If you need new bikes to go in the back of your toy hauler, check out our guide to choosing the right bike for you.
Do you like the idea of a pop-up camper except for those canvas-tent sides? That feature is a definite disadvantage if you’re camping in inclement weather. A folding trailer like this TrailManor 2518 gives you the easy towing of a pop-up but has solid sides that better isolate you from the elements when they turn nasty. Plus, when folded, this camper easily fits in a standard garage—no need to pay for an expensive storage facility if your homeowner’s association doesn’t allow campers to be parked outside. We also love that these can be fitted with an enclosed bathroom space, giving you a bit of privacy. Before your trip, make sure you know these 12 unspoken etiquette rules of RV camping.
Happier Camper HC1
If you don’t have a big truck and you don’t need a ton of space but want something super stylish, the Happier Camper HC1 might be the best travel trailer for you. It has a retro style that looks as if it came straight from the 1950s, but don’t let the old-school look fool you—it comes with a modular system that lets you customize the interior of the trailer to you and your needs. The components can be mixed to make beds, countertops, and benches, and they can even be set outside while you sleep so you can make the most of your space. It’s lightweight, too, so most cars can tow it easily. Don’t miss these 15 best places to camp in national parks.
If you need a ton of space, a fifth-wheel camper is the best travel trailer option. Extending up to 41 feet in overall length depending on the layout you choose, the Jayco Eagle has all the comforts of home. Multiple slide-outs provide sleeping room for eight to ten people, as well as plenty of living space, with lots of room to walk around inside. You’ll also have all the storage space you need for your adventures. Much like the fifth-wheel toy hauler above, you’ll need a heavy-duty truck with a fifth-wheel hitch in the bed to tow this, but nothing beats having room for everyone under one roof. It’s even big enough to live in full time if you’d like! In case you’re wondering, this is what it’s really like to live in an RV year-round.
Forest River R-POD
Camping with the entire family doesn’t mean you need a massive truck. The lightweight Forest River R-POD can be towed, depending on its floor plan, by many mid-size SUVs, all while providing plenty of sleeping space for a family of four or more. Slide-outs for the kitchen area give extra floor space to make getting around easier, and the featherweight construction makes the drive to the campsite a breeze. New to camping? Avoid these 13 camping mistakes most first-timers make.
TAXA Cricket Overland
Does your idea of roughing it include off-road driving? Are you headed into the wilderness, beyond the beaten path? The TAXA Cricket Overland is built for the road less traveled, with more ground clearance than a standard travel trailer and a reinforced frame to handle whatever the path may throw at it. Weighing just 1,800 pounds, it can be towed by small SUVs with ease, all while giving sleeping space for two adults and two children. If you’re bringing bikes or kayaks along for the ride, the Thule roof bars give you a convenient, user-friendly way to strap your toys on top securely. Now that you have your ride squared away, make sure you have all the other essentials you need for a road trip.