An introduction to recreational vehicle types
Tip: Not sure if this is the right RV type for you? Please take a look at Getting Started.
Photo courtesy of Travelaire
The travel trailer is a towable that connects to a ball hitch mounted on the tow vehicle, and is designed as living quarters for recreational travel.
Other terms used for travel trailer:
The travel trailer has the following sub-types:
The term toy hauler is applied to both travel trailers and fifth wheels, and it describes an RV designed to carry toys—small cars, dune buggies, four wheelers, motorcycles, etc.
Distinguishing features of a toy hauler is the large door in the back which opens down to create a ramp, dedicated garage area or fold-away furniture in the main living compartment, and often a third axle to support the heavy toys.
An expandable is a travel trailer designed to expand and collapse in one of two ways: vertically or horizontally.
Vertically: On vertically expanding units, the slightly larger top portion of the trailer slides down over the bottom half, considerably reducing the height during transportation. At the campground the trailer is expanded to full height, resembling a traditional trailer.
Horizontally: On horizontally expanding units (also called fold-out trailers), tent-like compartments fold out from the body to create beds.
A teardrop trailer gets its name from the tear shaped profile—pointed in the back and rounded in the front. The shape notwithstanding, some manufacturers group all very small trailers into the teardrop category. In general, teardrop trailers are small and light, towable by large cars and SUV's. Some are small enough to be towed by motorcycles.
Most teardrop trailers are so small that they provide only the very basics: bed, a small amount of inside storage, and minimal external cooking facilities. Some models are large enough to accommodate inside cooking and dining.
The park model is a travel trailer that requires park facilities to function. It lacks holding tanks and dual-voltage appliances, requiring to be plugged into water, sewage, and electrical facilities.
Because of these limitations, park models are ideal for long-term or permanent placement as a vacation home. Often these trailers are placed in a park, skirting is added, a deck is built by the entrance, and occasionally additional rooms are added.
A park model is more of a small mobile home than a recreational vehicle, in appearance and function.
Travel Trailer Pros
Travel Trailer Cons
The following RV checklists on our web site are applicable to travel trailers:
A list of recommended travel trailer resources on our web site: