This year has seen an increase in people buying trailers and RV’s. The pandemic not only restricted travel options, but it also increased the necessity and desire to remain safe during travel. These factors encouraged many people to look into options such as renting or purchasing travel trailers of all types. People who never before considered buying a trailer now started to consider it. And I think that many more people who were already considering it moved up their purchase plans. Not only have people been buying trailers, but many have been buying very large trailers… in some cases ones that are essentially small apartments on wheels.
As someone who was already in the process of buying a trailer before the pandemic hit, I think that it’s great that more people will experience the joys of trailer camping. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder if some of these new owners are going to end up with serious buyers remorse in the next few months or years as they made this big purchase on a whim. Then again, that could just be because I’m the type of person who spends months considering and researching for a major purchase of this type.
With that in mind, I thought it would be a good time to post about the process that went into picking out our trailer, and some of the things that I think you should consider if you are looking to purchase a trailer. I intended to write this series earlier in the summer, and then I took my unplanned break. Though we’re no longer in trailer season, I think this series is still relevant at this time for a number of reasons.
- I had planned on writing about our process of buying a trailer since I started this blog. Our trailer, and the camping that goes with it, is going to be featured in many posts once we get it, so I wanted to background that with posts about the process.
- People aren’t done buying trailers in relation to the pandemic. Even as the world eventually starts going back to normal, I think there’s still going to be an inclination to maintain distance during travel.
- Trailer purchases didn’t begin with the pandemic, and trailer camping is still something that will continue long after the pandemic is a thing of the past. The considerations I want to talk about are common regardless of whether you buy a trailer now or in the future.
I have been camping with my family for my whole life. I was two weeks old the first time I went, and I’ve gone at least once per summer almost every summer since then. We have always been tent trailer campers. Our first trailer was an old canvas Canadian Tire camper, and it was small. It was essentially a box with fold out flaps for beds. I think the middle space had room for a playpen, and that was about the extent of it.
After that, we moved up to a slightly bigger canvas tent trailer. It was still essentially a box with fold out beds, but this one also had a space in the middle with benches and a table. I loved this trailer. Sure, it was small. But it was cozy (as long as you didn’t touch the canvas in the rain), and it had a lot of character. Eventually it was too small to actually sleep our entire family, but I am the sentimental type, and it was full of memories.
And then one year, the weekend before we were planning on getting it out of storage, we got a phone call. A phone call stating that the barn where we stored the trailer had burned down, along with our trailer and many of our camping supplies. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but we were so upset to lose our trailer so suddenly, and many of the things we lost had a great deal of sentimental attachment. With camping booked for the summer, my parents were now on the hunt for another trailer.
The trailer we got next was luxurious in comparison to what we were used to and it was much newer than our previous trailers. I’m not going to lie – I wasn’t a huge fan at the start. At the time, my opinion was that no self-respecting tent trailer would have electricity, a furnace and a refrigerator. What can I say, I was young and I didn’t like change. I also wasn’t the one responsible for the food for the trips, and had never experienced the struggle of keeping food fresh using only coolers and a Kool-a-tron. My opinion on this aspect has changed significantly over the years. Though I know there are also people who would still agree with my younger self.
This trailer served us well for years, and it was still functional and in good condition when we started to think about switching to something new. The problem was, it was no longer functional for us anymore. We found we were tent camping more often because the tent trailer was too big for the two of us, and took more setup than we often wanted to do on our trips. For the amount of time we traveled with more than 2 of us, it just wasn’t worth it. No to mention that the trailer was heavy to pull for what it was.
And so, despite how much we loved our trailer, and how well it had served us for years, we started to seriously consider getting something else. Our research and consideration process was actually quite lengthy from start to finish because it began with dreaming and “window shopping” long before we even started thinking about making the change. Even after we started to look in earnest, we took it slow and steady because we wanted to find something that would be perfect for our needs, or at least as close to it as we could get.
In the end we settled on a small, custom made, fully enclosed trailer from a family owned Canadian company that is essentially “down the street” from us. We will transition from being tent trailer people into a trailer that has absolutely no canvas on it. It’s still relatively small as trailers go, and compared to those hotels on wheels, it could be considered basic. But it will be equipped with all of the creature comforts that we were looking for, plus a few that we’d never even considered before we came across this company. In short, after a ridiculous amount of research, we have chosen a trailer that will hopefully be as close to perfect for us as we can get.
Along the way, through all the dreaming and research and talking to others we knew that had trailers, I’ve put together a list of some of the things I think are worth considering when you’re looking to upgrade or change your camping rig. I am certain there are aspects of trailer research and purchase that I haven’t included, but these are the ones I think were highest on our list of considerations. I am going to look at each of the following topics over the course of the next four weeks, and I’ll talk about our personal process and decision making as we go along.
- Why are you buying a trailer and how are you going to use it?
- Size Matters
- Need, want, don’t want: Features to Consider
- What’s Your Budget?
I hope that you will join me over the next month as we look at these considerations and the process of researching to buy a trailer. Do you own a trailer? If so, is it something that you’ve purchased recently, or have you had it for some time? Are there any major considerations that you think I’m missing from my list, or anything that you would like me to write about? Let me know in the comments!
Until Next Time,