Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Recreational Vehicles 101 - Types of Campers, Part II

We've introduced you to the types of campers that you drive from one location to another.  Now we will introduce you to the types that are towed - pop-ups, hybrid expandables, travel trailers, sport utility RVs, and fifth wheels.

Pop-Up Camper (a.k.a. "folding camper")
These units are typically the least expensive type of camper available (barring spectacular sales, of course!).  Considering the economical price, you do get a fairly good bang for your buck.  They are lightweight, which means they can usually be towed something as small as an SUV.  Newer models come with cook-tops, mini-fridges, a small sink and booth dinettes.  As their name suggests, the sleeping areas are canvas-covered pop-outs at the front and rear of the unit.  Pop-Ups are the closest thing to tent camping, providing a bit more protection from the elements.  For the novice camper, a pop-up is one of the best ways to get into and learn about camping first hand.

Travel Trailer
Perhaps the most widely used type of camper there is, conventional travel trailers offer all the comforts of home in an average sized package.  These units typically run from between 25 ft in length to 33 ft. in length (give or take a few feet).  Travel trailers offer a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen area, dining area and living
room/entertainment area and offer a wide variety of floor plans.  They also usually (but not always) have slide outs to expand the living space.  These units are towed by trucks 9 times out of 10.  There is the occasional smaller travel trailer that can be pulled by a larger SUV, but it's always best to check with your salesperson regarding the towing capacity of your vehicle to maintain safe towing!

Hybrid Expandable
These units take the best of both the pop-up camper and travel trailer and combine them in one unit.  The main body of the hybrid is used to provide the same amenities as a travel trailer - a normal sized refrigerator, cook-top, microwave, dining area, entertainment/living area.  Because the sleeping areas pop out as they do
in a folding camper, space is saved that would ordinarily be used for a bedroom space.  This also makes these units lighter to tow,  making it possible to be towed by a larger SUV, depending on the weight of the unit.

Sport Utility RV (a.k.a. "SURV" or "toy hauler")
SURVs provide a living space with all of the same amenities of a travel trailer, but they come with an extra storage area that allows the unit to carry 4-wheelers, motorcycles and similar "big boy/girl toys".  The back of a toy hauler can be lowered and forms a ramp which allows the loading of the additional vehicle(s).  Some units have slide outs which expand the living space of the RV, and some items (like the table area) can be folded up to make more space in the storage area.  Because these units can carry extra weight, it is very important to confirm what type of vehicle would be needed to tow it.

Fifth Wheel
The fifth wheel camper is one of the most (if not THE most) luxurious towable units availabe.  These units almost always have slide outs to expand the already spacious living area.  Fifth wheels have the same amenities as travel trailers - kitchen areas (with cook tops, ovens, microwaves, and full size refrigerators), dining areas, bedroom(s), living rooms and entertainment centers, often with fire places and at least one flat screen TV included in the deal.  Newer models have AM/FM/CD stereo systems with iPod/MP3 player hook-ups.  To tow these units, a truck is required as the front end of the fifth wheel sits over the bed of a truck and their weight alone makes it so that only a decent sized truck could carry the weight.

With any of these types of campers, as always, check with your salesperson to verify the towing capacity of your vehicle and compare it to the tow weight of the camper you're interested in.  Don't let price deter you - most dealerships (ours included) accept trade-ins (which lower the cost of the unit you upgrade/downgrade to) and financing is available.  Make sure you get a unit that you fall in love with, just as you would with a car or a house.

If any of our readers have any questions about types of campers, you can always send us an e-mail using the contact form to the left or you can message us on Facebook by liking our page (that link is ALSO to the left).