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5 Myths About Small Travel Trailers

Published on July 3rd, 2020 by Lynne Fedorick
This post was updated on December 26th, 2020

Small travel trailers are compact and cozy. Photo via NPS

5 Myths About Small Travel Trailers

There is no doubt about it: Small travel trailers are growing in popularity. The need to self isolate while enjoying time with friends and family, coupled with rising fuel prices, have many people redefining their vacation plans.

This year, 46 million Americans say they plan to hit the open road in a recreational vehicle (RV), up from 25 million in 2019. Many families are hitting the road for not too distant destinations to make camping memories with small travel trailers.

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“As we emerge as a nation from the stay at home orders, it is clear that Americans want to get back outdoors, we are seeing more and more people turn to RVs as a way to continue to enjoy their summer vacations, while also adhering to social distancing, which will likely be around in some form for the foreseeable future.”

Craig Kirby, President, RV Industry Association

What are 5 common myths about small travel trailers?

There are so many amazing small travel trailers on the market today, it can be daunting to choose one.  And, while small travel trailers are a great buy for most families, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you decide whether or not it would be the right RV for you.   These are 5 common myths about small travel trailers:

Myth #1: “A small travel trailer can be towed by any SUV or pickup truck.”

 “Towing can be intimidating for first-timers and even those with experience. Before hitting the road, it’s important to do your homework and understand what your vehicle is capable of .”

Jared Haslam, Vice President, Product Planning, Nissan North America.

This myth is common among wishful prospective buyers and isn’t discouraged on a few RV sales lots.  Let’s set this straight once and for all:  You need to find out the towing capacity of your vehicle before deciding on a travel trailer. Also, be sure to factor in the weight of passengers and gear. This combined amount will affect the towing load on your vehicle.

Towing more weight than your vehicle was designed to handle is unsafe and can result in mechanical disasters or even a terrible accident that is sure to ruin any vacation. Towing capacity information is in your vehicle’s manual. If you don’t happen to have that, this useful towing guide on 2020 Tow Ratings will help you tow safely. 

Myth #2: “You don’t need a weight distribution hitch and anti-sway bar set up to tow a small travel trailer.”

While you may be able to tow without a weight distribution hitch on curveless, flat roads on windless days, this is very rarely the case when traveling anywhere.  

A weight distribution hitch and anti-sway bar control the side-to-side motion of the trailer by bracing the vehicle’s weight against the chassis.  Passing another vehicle, turning, or going around a curve in a road can cause trailer sway. 

Having an anti-sway setup can make the difference between the little gust created by a passing tractor-trailer being virtually unnoticeable or having it send you and your rig tumbling off the road. 

For safety and your trailer’s longevity, a weight distribution hitch and anti-sway bar setup are essential components of your towing setup. 

Even a small travel trailer needs a weight distribution hitch/sway bar set up to be towed safely

Myth #3: “You won’t be comfortable in small travel trailers.”

Most small travel trailers are designed with most of the comforts of home built-in, including functional kitchens, flat-screen TVs, temperature control, and lots of well-designed storage space to store all the gear you want to bring. Almost all small trailers have full, well-lit bathrooms that come complete with warm showers and flush toilets.

Myth #4: “My kids/grandkids won’t come camping with me in a small trailer.”

For kids, camping is all about having fun outdoors and roasting hotdogs or marshmallows over an open fire. They look forward to spending quality time doing fun camping activities and as long as they have a comfortable place to sleep, they’re generally happy to tag along. Most younger kids will happily bed down on either the fold-down dinette bed or even on the floor.

Myth #5: “A small travel trailer is always easier to back up.”

While this is sometimes true, some of the smallest (less than 1200 lbs) trailers are actually harder to back into a camping spot than larger members of the small travel trailer class.  Whatever trailer you buy, it’s a good idea to find an empty parking lot to practice backing into stalls before you face the stress of backing into a campsite.  After all, practice makes perfect!

If you like small travel trailers, check out these 9 Popular Lightweight Travel Trailers Under 2,000 Pounds

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