You’ve decided you want to head out on the open road and take in the many wonders this world has to offer. You know there’s only one vehicle for the job: a sleek, beautiful RV.
You imagine how wonderful it’d be to have your very own motorhome that you can rev up whenever you feel the itch to travel. Then, back in reality, you sit down and spend some time on research only to discover just how many RVs are out there.
It’s almost enough to make your head spin!
Okay, okay, so which should you choose? Personally, for a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend a big RV at all. Instead, I’d suggest getting a camper trailer.
A List of Reasons Why the Best First RV is a Trailer
These are often much smaller in size, making them manageable for first-timers who want to rack up some hours behind the wheel before they think about switching to a bigger vehicle.
Are you on the fence? Not sure if a camper trailer is for you? Here are 12 great reasons to try a camper trailer and see how fantastic they can be.
12. The Money
Let’s be real. As much as we all love big RVs on this site, they’re not exactly cheap. You will often sink several thousand dollars into one of those vehicles. If you’re not sure if the RV life is for you, that’s quite a costly lesson.
Camper trailers, due to their size, are a much more affordable investment. You’re still spending a few thousand dollars, but can get away with spending between $1,000 to $3,000 rather than over $10,000.
For the price, towable trailers are very reliable. Most RV owners don’t even keep their vehicle for even four years, opting to trade it in when it starts to have issues.
You can generally count on having a camper trailer much longer, especially if you buy yours from a trustworthy manufacturer.
11. Easier Driving
You could have owned the biggest truck available on the market today and it is still not comparable to the experience of driving a large RV. These vehicles are bulky and have a lot of extra width to them, so you have to accommodate for a much bigger end.
Unless you’ve professionally driven a bus or a big rig before, you’re going to find that driving (and parking, which I’ll explain momentarily) an RV is quite a difficult thing to do, especially for a first-timer who’s just getting used to being behind the wheel.
Luckily, a camper trailer is much more easily maneuverable. You’ll find that driving one will be a more comfortable experience overall. With many towing options, which I’ll elaborate on later, eventually, driving this vehicle will become second nature.
10. Much Easier Parking, Too
When it comes to parking the behemoth that is your RV, you’d have to invest a lot of hours of practicing in empty parking lots to ensure you get it just right. After all, you don’t want to ding or scratch up your new, expensive investment.
Of course, you don’t own a big RV. You have a camper trailer, which parks with as much ease as it drives.
That said, you’ll probably still have to practice in an empty parking lot, but parking your camper trailer won’t be an ordeal every time you have to do it.
As a new camper trailer owner going out on the road for the first time, you’re already stressed out enough. At least you know parking will be easy.
9. Fewer Driving Restrictions
You’ve probably seen those signs on overpasses and bridges restricting vehicles of a certain weight from passing through. This is both for the safety of the driver and structural integrity of said overpass or bridge.
While yes, everyone uses GPS or maps on their phones these days to navigate, if you have a big RV, nothing puts a damper on your trip faster than finding out you have to take an alternate route because your vehicle is too big to fit beneath the overpass. This can sometimes take you an hour or more out of your way.
With a camper trailer, there’s rarely such issues. Unless your camper is particularly tall or bulbous, you shouldn’t have to worry about being able to squeeze onto bridges or underneath overpasses. You can travel freely and happily.
8. Easier Setup
An RV, especially the bigger it is, has a lot of moving parts. If you plan on camping out or even sitting outside for a couple of hours, there’s a lot of setup involved, like pulling out your awning and parking your vehicle in a shady, secure spot.
The electrical and power setup of a mtorized RV is often more complicated as well. If something breaks, such as your fridge or heating system, you may find it next to impossible to figure out how to fix it yourself (unless you follow some of my handy guides). That means time spent away from your while you take it to a technician, which is costly.
With a trailer, there may be fewer bells and whistles, but this is to a beginner’s benefit. These RVs are a lot easier to learn. You can study every nook and cranny of your camper. If you ever decide to upgrade to a bigger RV, troubleshooting it won’t be such a foreign experience to you.
7. Ideal Size for Passengers
You may take one look at a camper trailer and assume there’s no way you could ever fit more than just yourself and maybe one other passenger in there. You’d be surprised.
Camper trailers, although not as spacious as even a small RV, do offer plenty of room for a few family members or other passengers. It’s true that you have to get a little creative in terms of sleeping arrangements and dining accommodations (and sometimes showers, too), but you will have everything you need to function, such as beds, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
If you’re concerned about being able to fit in a camper trailer with a few friends or family members, I recommend trying it for yourself! Head to a camper retailer and ask if you can spend some time inside. Imagine yourself living in the camper. There’s more room than you thought, huh?
6. Simple Towing Capabilities
Many camper trailers can connect to a multitude of vehicles, including trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. This uncomplicates life in so many ways. As mentioned already, driving and parking become far less arduous jobs. That will make you more likely to want to get out on the open road and spend as much time out there as possible. Just be sure you understand GVWR for trailers to make sure you have the right tow vehicle.
Contrast that with the experience of driving an RV, where everything is new and there’s kind of a steep learning curve. That could discourage some beginners who feel like there’s too much to learn and manage all at once.
That’s just another reason why the best first RV is a trailer.
5. Lots of Camper Trailer Variety
I recommend taking your time searching for your camper trailer since there are so many out there! If you want an inexpensive model, you can find one with no trouble. If you don’t mind shelling out a bit of extra cash because you know your camper is an investment, you can shop more expensive models.
There are weight requirements, size, and available features to consider as you make your decision. Some campers might have bathroom capabilities (I’m talking a toilet, sink, and full shower here), while others will be bare bones.
Since camper trailers are so versatile, practically any type of trailer you’re looking for will be available to you.
Don’t rush the process. A camper trailer, with the right care, is a vehicle you’re going to have for a long time to come.
4. Room for Storage
As you prepare to disembark on your first camper trailer journey, you probably packed light…very light. There’s no need to! While sure, your camper trailer might not look that spacious, if it can accommodate multiple passengers, then it can certainly fit most of your stuff.
That said, thinking small is good. You’ll need a mini fridge (with freezer capabilities for making ice and keeping frozen food chilled) if one isn’t already provided. You’ll also have to get crafty in the kitchen and bathroom nooks, but there are plenty of items out there that bend, fold, collapse, or otherwise save space.
Look for hidden compartments and be sure to make use of all the room your camper trailer affords you, such as walls, corners, and ceilings. Be smart about where you keep your stuff and you’ll find you have just enough room.
3. Off-Roading Capabilities
Yes, that’s right. If you own a truck or SUV that can drive off-road, your camper trailer can often come with you! That said, certain camper trailers are better-designed for off-roading than others, so keep that in mind when you do your shopping initially.
If you do ever decide to upgrade to a bigger RV, you likely won’t be able to go off-roading, so enjoy this fun hobby while you can. Take a trip off the beaten path and camp out for a night or two, staking out some land for yourself that maybe no one else has ever been!
2. Less Maintenance
I’m not saying you can ignore your camper trailer altogether. That would be silly. You still have to care for it, but because there’s less of it compared to a traditional RV, maintenance isn’t such a big deal.
The same points I made before about learning the setup of your camper trailer still stand. If you can get familiar with cleaning the exterior and interior of your trailer, patching up the awning if necessary, and doing other basic jobs, once (or if) you get yourself a bigger RV, maintenance will be a piece of cake.
1. Trailers are Fun!
What else can I say? Camper trailers are fun. These give you a taste of what life on the open road is like without the huge commitment. There’s less work that goes into these vehicles, there’s less maintenance, and they cost less. Instead of diving straight into RV ownership, you can figuratively dip your toes in the water and see if that lifestyle suits you.
I’m sure you’ll find that once you try a camper trailer, you’ll want to be out driving it as often as you can. Eventually, you’ll plan longer and longer tips and may even decide to purchase an RV someday.
The best first RV is a trailer. Camper trailers are smaller vehicles that hook onto trucks, SUVs, and other large cars. If you’re in the market to buy an RV, you might overlook the humble trailer, thinking it has nothing to offer you.
That said, many experts agree that camper trailers are an ideal vehicle for beginners who want to try the RV lifestyle without the huge expenses or commitments. Camper trailers are generally cheaper, have more variety, and last longer.
As a camper trailer owner, you’ll have to do less maintenance compared to owning an RV. You can learn the ins and outs of your vehicle, including doing troubleshooting and minor repairs, so that if you ever do buy an RV, you’ll know how it works.
Now’s the perfect time to get out there and see the world with your first RV trailer. Happy travels!