Camper trailers are the most popular type of non-motorized RV for travel on the open road. They provide a towable living space, storage, a secure place to sleep and protection from the elements. When they’re not in use, they can be disconnected so that your vehicle can be driven as usual.
With so many different types of trailers and features available, how do you choose between them? Here are a few different types of camper trailers to get you started.
There are two kinds of pop-ups: soft-sided and hard-sided. Soft-sided trailers are low-profile, lightweight and easy to tow, almost like a tent on wheels. The storage space is minimal, but once it’s set up, the trailer’s fabric walls provide fresh air. Many pop-ups come with bathrooms, sleeping space and amenities for cooking, but different manufacturers include different features, so be sure to choose the amenities you want. While camper trailers in this category tend to be lighter than other types, make sure your vehicle has compatible towing capacity.
2. Travel Trailer
This classic comes in many forms and sizes, including the Airstream. There’s also the smaller teardrop style, the standup (with a small footprint like a teardrop but taller) and expandable hybrids that have more amenities and space. While smaller travel trailers can be pulled by cars, larger trailers require SUVs or trucks with a high towing capacity. This style of camper requires less setup, but larger models can be more difficult to navigate and park.
3. Truck Campers and Toppers
These fit on the top of your vehicle instead of trailing behind it. These campers are more compact and make driving easier than other models, but they typically have to match the specific model of your vehicle. These campers can be quite convenient, but sometimes the cab can be difficult to put on and take off.
4. Toy Hauler
This kind of trailer allows you to bring big toys like bikes, jet skis and ATVs along with you. Toy haulers usually come equipped with a ramp that makes it easy to load and unload items, and they also include a living space in the front portion of the camper. Bear in mind that when these campers are full, they can be unwieldy to tow, so you’ll need a bigger truck to do so.
5. The Fifth Wheel
Fifth wheels are among the largest and most expensive camper trailers. The design fits into the truck bed, making fifth wheels easier to hook up and more stable to drive. They also provide a lot of interior space, but you’ll need a heavy-duty truck to tow them. Remember to account for the size of your trailer as you map out your travel plans — you don’t want to get stuck on the wrong side of a bridge. You also won’t be able to use the bed of your truck while a fifth wheel is connected.
Always check to make sure you’re buying a camper trailer that your vehicle can tow, and ensure that it has all the features and specs you want. Once you know how to operate your chosen trailer, you’ll be on your way to great times!
Check out all the camper trailer products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on camper trailers, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe.
Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter. In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.