Travel trailers are available in a myriad of shapes and sizes. The type of trailer you decide on determines how many passengers you can bring, how much money you’ll spend, and whether your trailer can fit all the amenities or just a couple. What are the travel trailer types?
The 5 types of travel trailers are:
- Classic travel trailers
- Toy haulers
- Fifth-wheel trailers
- Expandable trailers
- Teardrop trailers
In this article, we’ll go through travel trailer types one by one. You’ll learn about size, weight, towing, and what kind of amenities to expect. We’ll even provide examples of real travel trailers for each different type.
Let’s get started!
Classic Travel Trailers
When most people talk about travel trailers, this is what they’re referring to. Classic travel trailers are also known as camper trailers, caravans, or just campers. Their history in North America stretches back to the 1920s. Did you know the people who camped in travel trailers at the time were called tin can tourists? Today’s travel trailer enthusiasts are regarded much more warmly.
Travel trailers have been a mainstay through the decades and are, as Thor Industries calls them, “the most popular type of non-motorized RV.” Classic trailers come in all sorts of sizes. If yours is a smaller and lighter-weight trailer, it may measure 7 to 8 feet wide, 20 feet long, and 8 feet tall and weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds.
The average size of a travel trailer is 7 to 8 feet long, 24 feet wide, and 8 feet high. These trailers are mid-weight at about 7,000 to 11,000 pounds. If you have an SUV or pickup truck, you can usually tow one of these mid-range trailers. With so much space to your name, you may live in your travel trailer for part of the year, but you’ll often spend about as much time at home.
For full-time RVers, large travel trailers are recommended. These trailers might be 40 feet long, so they have the space for all the luxe features you could want out of a trailer. That includes a shower, tub, fridge, lounging and seating, a full kitchen, and at least one bed and possibly bunks as well. These trailers are just as weighty as they are sizable, clocking in at around 12,000 pounds. You’d need a heavy-duty SUV or pickup truck with immense towing capacity to tow a travel trailer of this size.
Classic travel trailers feature locking doors, solid walls that don’t slide or come down, and single-level living akin to a ranch-style home. They can fit between two and 10 passengers depending on the size.
Here are some classic travel trailer examples.
Jayco Jay Flight
The Jayco Jay Flight is a mid-sized classic travel trailer that’s 22 to 36 feet long and weighs 5,560 to 9,165 pounds. It features I-Class steel I-beams, an integrated A-frame, plywood floor decking, Magnum Truss roofing, foil insulation, galvanized steel wheel wells, and exterior utility lighting.
Interior LED lighting, hardwood cabinetry, storage, a dinette, a J-Steel jackknife sofa, vented windows with pleated shades, a three-burner stove, brushed nickel faucets, and Queen Serta mattresses make life comfy inside this Jayco travel trailer.
Keystone Sprinter Limited
The Keystone Sprinter Limited is between 36 feet, 7 inches and 38 feet, 10 inches long and measures 11 feet, 3 inches tall. The models in the Sprinter Limited line weigh 8,815 to 9,386 pounds with a carrying capacity of up to 2,550 pounds. This classic trailer can fit four passengers.
The sidewalls of the Sprinter Limited are laminated and aluminum-framed. The vehicle also includes double-layered insulation, painted fiberglass features, an enclosed and heated underbelly, aluminum wheels, an outdoor kitchen, and solar prep.
The interior features are Congoleum vinyl flooring, black-out roller shades, residential cabinetry, Thomas Payne furniture, theater seating, crown molding, and an electric fireplace. A foot-flush toilet is included, as are two beds, a queen measuring 60 inches by 80 inches and a king-sized bed that’s 70 inches by 80 inches.
When most people think of toy haulers, they imagine a smaller travel trailer due to the inclusion of the word “toy” in the name. Yet toy haulers are on par in size with classic travel trailers. The reason they’re called toy haulers is that they can haul your favorite toys. You know, like a motorcycle, ATV, or a similar vehicle.
These trailers are an average of 10 to 14 feet long and are between 7.5 and 8 feet wide. Some toy haulers measure 18 feet in length and others are more than 20 feet. Inside a toy hauler is like a garage on wheels, you have that much storage room. While cargo space is this trailer’s starring feature, that doesn’t mean toy haulers are inhospitable. Oh no, they’re anything but!
Beyond the cargo area is a living space. The proximity of the living space to your motorcycles or ATVs might make these trailers slightly less preferable than classic travel trailers to some people. Yet if you’re the type who loves off-roading on your adventures, a toy hauler is absolutely the right pick for you.
Even if you don’t use the cargo space for “toys,” having that much space available gives you the freedom to do a lot of activities in your toy hauler. You can throw some down sleeping bags, set up a makeshift living area, or even use the space for doing some yoga stretches or other light exercise. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
The reinforced interior of toy haulers is a selling point for certain. These trailers must be designed tough to withstand the weight of smaller vehicles. That’s why their axle weight rating is often exceptional.
Check out these toy hauler examples.
Forest River Vengeance Rogue Armored
Both a toy hauler and a fifth-wheel (more on these in a moment), the Vengeance Rogue Armored from Forest River is 13 feet, 4 inches tall, up to 45 feet, 4 inches long, and 102 inches wide. Its gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR is upwards of 17,300 pounds with a hitch weight of 2,685 to 3,435 pounds.
Included features in some floorplans are a 72-inch by 80-inch king-sized bed, a wardrobe and dresser, TV hookups, a full bathroom with a shower and toilet, a half-bath, a flip-up sofa with a raised queen-sized mattress above the bed, a reclining sofa, a loft area, and a full kitchen with countertops, a sink, a fridge, and a stovetop.
Cruiser RV 2700TH
Cruiser RV’s toy hauler the 2700TH weighs 9,632 pounds with a hitch weight of 832 pounds. It’s over 8 feet long with a height of 11 feet, 3 inches and a length of 31 feet, 11 inches. It can sleep between five and six people, as the garage itself is 13 feet.
This Cruiser RV travel trailer features hardwood residential cabinetry, composite laminated walls, a barrel roof, an aluminum body, and a blackwater tank. The luxury amenities are a king bed slide system, a soundbar system, plywood floors, high-rise kitchen faucets, a two-door fridge, and a king-sized bed (72 inches by 80 inches).
Fifth-Wheel Travel Trailers
The third type of travel trailer to explore is the fifth-wheel or fiver. This trailer has a cargo bed coupling that extends in the shape of a U. Its pin box connects to your pickup truck’s fifth-wheel coupling and then you’re ready to start towing. This hitch style is ideal for smooth, easy turns, which is not always the case when towing other types of travel trailers.
You’re less likely to experience trailer sway, which is when your trailer starts moving independently of your towing vehicle. Fifth-wheels are safe and sturdy so even solo campers can confidently tow one. Auto-leveling makes setting up your fifth-wheel easy as well.
The average fifth-wheel is 25 to 40 feet long. At this size, you can fit nine passengers in your travel trailer. These trailers often include a basement with its own pass-through space for stashing extra cargo and gear. Strategically-placed slide-outs in areas like the bedroom, living room, and kitchen expand the size of your fifth-wheel so it feels even larger.
Another benefit of the split-level style of a fifth-wheel is you can enjoy a greater sense of privacy compared to other travel trailers. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, here are some fifth-wheels to peruse.
Forest River Cedar Creek Champagne Edition
This sleek fifth-wheel from Forest River is RV Pro’s Best of Show for 2020. The Cedar Creek Champagne Edition has a GVWR of over 18,000 pounds and a hitch weight of up to 2,790 pounds. It’s between 39 feet, 9 inches and 41 feet, 8 inches long. The trailer also measures 13 feet, 5 inches tall and 96 to 100 inches wide.
The Cedar Creek Champagne Edition boasts a high-gloss gelcoat, an Aluminum Superstructure, a pet leash latch, an Insignia freestanding gas range, a luxury king-sized mattress, a hide-a-bed sofa, double-paned windows, heated front storage, and a 20-cubic-foot stainless steel fridge with an icemaker.
Keystone RV Montana High Country
A luxury fifth-wheel that Keystone calls “legendary,” the Montana High Country is 32 feet, 2 inches to 41 feet, 11 inches long. It’s not quite as heavy as the Cedar Creek, as it weighs 10,684 to 13,983 pounds. There’s sleeping space for four to 11 passengers.
The exterior of this fifth-wheel features a towing hitch, an outdoor kitchen, awnings, and an accessory receiver. Some floorplans have a washer and dryer prep. Inside, you’ll find TV hookups, a solar power system, a smart RV control system, a backup camera, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi prep.
Expandable Travel Trailers
Encompassing slide-outs and pop-ups, expandable travel trailers are those that can, well, expand for more space. We’d even count fifth-wheels as a type of expandable trailer. The streamlined size of these trailers when compacted makes them easy to tow. You’ll have less difficulty finding a spot at campsites and national parks in an expandable travel trailer too.
When you’ve settled in, you can open up your trailer so it has all the room you need. From extra sleeping quarters to more living and dining space, you and your friends or family won’t feel like you’re on top of one another. Do know though that all these sliding expandable features will require more maintenance than the average travel trailer.
Take a look at these two expandable travel trailers.
Forest River Rockwood Roo
The Rockwood Roo from Forest River is one of the most beloved expandable trailers on the market. It’s 21 feet, 2 inches to 24 feet, 10 inches long with an exterior height of up to 10 feet, 11 inches, and a width of 96 inches. The Roo weighs 1,197 to 1,591 pounds, making it one of the lightest trailers we’ve discussed.
Inside is all about the quality, with amenities such as hardwood cabinetry, ducted furnaces, an LED TV, a 21-inch gas oven with three burners, a skylight in the bathroom, a fireplace, a multi-zone stereo, and frameless tinted windows.
The aluminum framework of the Roo is great for stability, and its insulated, enclosed underbelly maintains temperate air inside your travel trailer. You can set up solar panels on the side or roof of this trailer and it features an outdoor shower with cold and hot water connections too.
KZ RV Escape
The pop-up Escape trailer by KZ RV won the RVBusiness 2021 Top RV debut and the 2021 RV Pro Best New Model awards. Its GVWR is 3,500 to 5,000 pounds with a dry hitch weight of up to 520 pounds. Measuring 90 inches wide and between 15 feet, 3 inches and 27 feet, 3 inches long, the spacious Escape has room for all your essentials.
Some floorplans include several 54-inch by 74-inch tent beds, a fridge, a kitchen pantry, bedroom storage, a sofa, a dinette, a full bathroom with a shower and tub, and a stovetop with a microwave and sink.
Teardrop Travel Trailers
The last type of travel trailer is the teardrop, which is beloved for its cute size and fun shape. The first teardrops appeared in the 1930s. These early versions were made of plywood and had an exceedingly simple construction. A second popularity boom occurred in the 1990s, and teardrops have been a mainstay in the world of travel trailers ever since.
The width of a teardrop may be anywhere from 4 to 6 feet and the average length up to 10 feet. With a standard height of 5 feet, taller people might not always be able to squeeze comfortably into some teardrop models, which is something to keep in mind.
Towing a teardrop is super simple since it weighs so little. You could even use a car to do it. You are limited regarding cargo space. Most teardrop trailers are made for one, maybe two or three people at most, so you won’t be able to bring your whole friend group or family. For weekend camping adventures though, teardrops are a great solution.
Here are a few teardrop trailers to look into.
nuCAMP TAB Clamshell
The makers of the famous TAB teardrop trailers, nuCAMP’S TAB Clamshell has a pronounced teardrop shape and room for only two people. The trailer is 15 feet, 3 inches long with a width of 6 feet, 8 inches and a height of 7 feet, 8 inches. The sleeping area measures 58 inches by 71 inches, so you can see why there’s room for so few people. This trailer weighs a mere 2,105 pounds dry.
The TAB Clamshell includes alloy wheels, battery storage, a wet bathroom with a cassette toilet, a galley with pass-through cabinets, and a solar option. Other features are a three-speed overhead fan, a Bluetooth media center, dual-paned windows, LED lighting, cobblestone fabric, stainless steel sinks, a 12-volt fridge, and an expandable split bed.
You even get to choose the color of the cabinetry, sidewalls, and trim as well as the exterior graphics style!
The Timberleaf Pika is a 1,025-pound teardrop trailer with a frame measuring 54 inches by 96 inches. In the Standard edition, you also have a two-inch ball coupler, aluminum fenders, 15-inch alloy wheels, and a torsion axle that’s 2,000 pounds.
The cabin of the Pika features storage space, cabinetry, an electric fan with four speeds, a mattress, dual windows, two doors, and a skylight shade. You can add a Propex heater, folding shelves, window curtains, and a bigger mattress for an additional fee.
Deciding which travel trailer is right for you will be a lot easier now that you’re familiar with these 5 trailer types. No matter your budget, towing capacity, or level of comfort required, you’re on your way to finding a great travel trailer!