Determining what will be your first RV will be is a major decision to make, but you’ve heard good things about camper trailers. You’re looking for a dependable vehicle with generous cargo space that isn’t too difficult to tow. Is that a camper trailer?
Camper trailers are beneficial for the following reasons:
- Low cost
- Easy towing
- Convenient storage
- Passenger capacity
- Plenty of cargo
- Simple maintenance
- Excellent off-roading
- Good for boondocking
- Fewer restrictions
- Easier to adjust to
- Fun to own
Perhaps you’re not yet totally convinced. You should be by the time you’re done reading. In this article, we’ll expand on the above awesome reasons to buy a camper trailer as your first RV, so check it out!
13 Reasons You Need a Camper Trailer as Your First RV
Low Cost to Purchase
Perhaps you’ve borrowed a buddy’s trailer a time or two before and that’s the only taste of RV life you have.
Your interest has gotten you as far as wanting to buy a camper trailer, but as for how much you’ll use it? That’s hard to say at this juncture.
You don’t want to drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on a hulking piece of metal that you might decide after a season is not really right for you.
Fortunately, camper trailers are quite reasonably priced. On the lower end, you’ll pay $11,000. The average cost is about $23,000 for a camper trailer, with more expensive models costing $35,000 and up.
For comparison’s sake, the cost of an RV starts at $35,000 and can be upwards of $300,000 and higher.
A camper trailer is a much more cost-effective option!
If you want to save even more money, you can always buy a used camper. You will have to be a savvy shopper to ensure you find a good deal, but you do have that option.
Another facet of camper trailers that a lot of people like is how many unique options you have.
You can always go for a pop-up camper trailer. Although these trailers may look small, they prove that there’s more than meets the eye.
A pop-up camper has the capability to expand, often by extending the side walls but oftentimes the ceiling (or portions of the ceiling) as well.
The expandable walls of a pop-up camper might utilize a soft material such as durable vinyl or the same hard materials that the rest of your camper walls are made of. The lightweight camper trailers are lower-cost and weigh less.
Besides pop-up camper trailers, another type of camper that might be right for you is the teardrop camper.
If you’re someone who favors traveling alone or with only one other person and you don’t mind cozy, intimate quarters, then a teardrop trailer is a great choice.
This trailer is exceptionally small, as it’s shaped like a teardrop. The cost of a teardrop is very affordable for first-time RVers.
Camper trailers are not drivable vehicles. You have to hitch your camper to a towing vehicle, usually an SUV or pickup truck.
Driving a towing vehicle with a trailer attached is not easy, and we won’t sugarcoat that. You’ll have to learn all the basic driving techniques and maneuvers like you’re 16 years old and going for your provisional license.
Turning, stopping, parking, backing up, it all becomes brand new. Plus, a trailer is always at risk of jackknifing or swaying.
These challenges aren’t altogether removed if you buy a smaller camper, but they are seriously minimized.
The less heft you carry, the easier it is to turn. You can stop with a bit more leeway since your load isn’t so heavy. Even parking won’t be such a headache.
The average weight of a small camper is about 2,800 pounds, which is considered lightweight. You might even be able to tow your camper with a car at that weight.
Larger trailers weigh about 6,700 pounds. Is that light? Not really, but it’s not over 10,000 pounds like larger travel trailers. It’s also not 30,000 pounds like many RV classes, so you won’t need a heavy-duty truck to pull it. We recommend using sway bars for your trailer to help make for a smoother and safer drive.
We just wrote a great guide on towing small campers that will help you tremendously as you get started. We talk about everything from your hitch options to how to handle basic driving maneuvers in your rig. Give the article a read if you missed it!
Convenient Off-Season Storage
Some camper trailer owners drive their vehicles all year long, but they tend to live in temperate regions and stick within those regions on their travels.
For everybody else, the time will inevitably come when you have to retire your camper for several months until spring comes again.
The question becomes where are you going to store your camper over the winter?
The answer is usually a storage facility.
Most facilities offer indoor or outdoor storage options, with the former costlier than the latter. With indoor storage, you get the benefit of overhead protection and climate control so your camper is in better shape.
For money-saving tips on storing your camper in the winter click here!
Even if you opt for outdoor camper storage, this is still an additional expense on top of the many others that you have to contend with now that you own an RV.
Should you decide to buy a camper trailer as your first RV, you won’t have to worry about expensive storage. Most campers are small enough that you can forego the storage facility altogether and keep the camper on your property.
You might be able to park your camper trailer in your driveway if it’s otherwise unoccupied.
If not that, then you can always keep the vehicle on the curb. Just make sure that you ask for your neighbor’s permission before you park your camper on the street for months.
After all, to non-RV lovers, the sight of your camper can be a bit of an eyesore. You don’t want to have a falling out with your neighbors over your camper!
Many people take one look at the exterior of a camper trailer and keep looking. They assume that this vehicle could never accommodate their needs. To that, we say poppycock.
Sure, if you’re only looking at teardrop campers, then you are going to want more space. As we mentioned before, these vehicles are for those who are A-okay with close quarters.
It’s okay if that’s not you. You’re better off putting your money towards a pop-up camper, whether it’s one with hard or soft walls.
Even if you don’t feel like your camper is large enough when you first walk in, once you expand all the pop-outs, we’re sure you’ll change your mind.
The average camper trailer layout usually has the space for at least one queen-sized or king-sized bed, a kitchen with cabinets and a fridge, a dinette, and likely a bathroom with a toilet as well. The bathroom may just have a shower too.
The other amenities in your camper trailer may include bedroom storage, a fireplace, a telescoping TV, and a microwave.
Can Bring Your Friends and Family
Until this point, we’ve talked about the passenger capacity for smaller teardrop trailers, but what if yours is an average-sized camper trailer? Surely, you can bring more than one passenger on your travels, correct?
That would indeed be correct, yes! If your trailer is upwards of 35 feet, then you could potentially experience the great outdoors with up to 10 people!
Whether you like to travel with a large group of friends or you don’t want to leave any of your family members behind, you shouldn’t have to if you decide to buy a camper trailer.
If you only had a truck camper, the number of guests you would be able to bring would be limited to 1-3.
And Plenty of Cargo
Of course, if you’d rather not bring a big group, no one says you have to. You can always use that extra available space for transporting cargo.
After all, the point of owning a camper trailer is to spend more time outdoors. For some people, especially those new to RVing, you might overpack for your first couple of expeditions.
You’ll think you need half your wardrobe, including clothes for cold-weather wear if it’s summer because what if it’s cold at night? If you’re camping in spring weather, you’ll want to pack some summer gear in case you get hot.
You’ll also be worried about running out of food and water, so you’ll bring a lot of that.
While we recommend lightening your load over time, know that a camper trailer with the capacity for 10 people will assuredly have a lot of cargo room.
Like all trailers, a camper trailer still requires maintenance.
This maintenance entails the winterization you’ll do ahead of the off-season to prepare your trailer for months of storage. In addition, maintenance also includes the everyday care your camper trailer requires.
That said, you can save a lot of time on maintenance when you buy a camper trailer over an RV.
The camper doesn’t have its own engine, so that’s one less responsibility on your plate.
Considering that an RV engine is its heart and soul, that you can forego having to maintain an engine when you buy a camper will majorly reduce your stress.
The lack of engine maintenance is not only a big time saver but a money saver as well.
You will still have to tend to the battery, drain the pipes, check the hitch and keep it in good condition, maintain the heating and air conditioning, empty the holding tanks, clean and repair the awning and roof, and inspect your tail and brake lights though.
Excellent at Off-Roading
Where will your camper adventures take you?
If you’re driving a camper trailer, the answer is nearly anywhere.
Like a good RV, a camper trailer can easily venture off the beaten path. You can truly isolate yourself from the rigors of everyday life and get deep into nature in a camper trailer, exploring the beauty of this wild world when you go off-roading!
Good for Boondocking
The further from civilization you get, the more reliant on your vehicle you become.
You need a trailer that’s adept at boondocking, which means foregoing the sewer, electric, and water hook-ups while you experience nature the way it was intended: out in the open.
Some trailers are better for boondocking than others, and camper trailers are certainly one of them.
You can outfit your camper with a solar package so that it can generate sun energy that becomes usable electricity.
You won’t have to worry about your lack of electrical hookups, even when camping for days at a time because you’ll have some electricity for your camper.
Camper trailers usually have generous tank sizes as well, including freshwater tanks, greywater tanks, and blackwater tanks. If you only have a freshwater tank and a blackwater tank, then you can be reasonably confident that each tank has a good capacity.
Are you going to have tanks as big as you would if you owned an RV? Compared to a class B RV, maybe, but not a class A or class C.
Even still, you can more than make due in your camper.
Plus, with the aforementioned storage space and cargo capacity afforded to you in a camper trailer, you’ll have lots of room to stretch out and enjoy more privacy when camping with others. You also won’t have to worry about where you’ll keep all your gear, as you’ll have the space.
RVs are the most spacious vehicles on the road, but they’re also the tallest and widest, at least usually.
When traveling across bridges or through overpasses and tunnels, an RV owner can sometimes face difficulties.
Namely, their vehicle won’t fit, so they’re forced to go an alternate route.
If you planned your itinerary carefully, this disruption can be very detrimental. You might have to replan your entire afternoon, and you also have to reroute your journey to your destination.
Camper trailers, especially smaller ones, are unlikely to face these same kinds of restrictions.
While you should measure your trailer’s specs and double-check that you can fit through tunnels before you set out, you won’t come up against insurmountable obstacles like this nearly as often.
Easier to Adjust To
As we said before, it’s not going to be a walk in the park adjusting to your rig unless you have experience driving school buses or commercial freight trucks.
That said, the size of a camper trailer makes it friendlier to beginners who are struggling to determine precisely when to brake their towing vehicles or how wide to take turns.
You should practice in an empty parking lot to improve, but that improvement will come faster since your rig isn’t unmanageable.
Fun to Own
We saved what is the best reason to own a camper trailer for last. Ownership is fun!
Once you join the club of esteemed camper trailer owners, you’ll realize how much more your life changes for the better. You’ll spend more time with your friends and family, and the time will feel meaningful.
After all, everyone can’t be glued to their phones 24/7 when you don’t have electrical hookups. You’ll be forced to have conversations and make memories together.
You’ll spend more time in nature, which is something that all of us can really use more of these days. All the sights and destinations that you had on your must-see list will finally get checked off one at a time.
You’ll be happier and possibly more fulfilled too!
Other Types of RVs You May be Interested In
If after reading through this, you’re not quite sure if a camper trailer is the right fit for you, what are your other options?
- Drivable RVs
- Class A Motorhome
- Class B Motorhome
- Class C Motorhome
- Truck Campers (camper sits in the truck bed)
- Travel Trailers
- Toy Haulers (perfect if you have ATVs or other outdoor toys)
- Fifth Wheel Trailers
A camper trailer should be your first RV for a slew of reasons. These vehicles are easier to drive, cost less to own, offer plenty of space, and are great for boondocking. We hope you consider a camper trailer!