Starling Travel

January 29, 2013

Choosing The Right RV For You: Bumper Pull Travel Trailers

Filed under: Camping,Motorhomes and Campers,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Serro Scotty HiLanderThis category includes the adorable Canned Ham trailers of the Fifties right up to huge bumper pull trailers.


While you can find a used travel trailer for only $800, the cost to tow it must include a tow vehicle that can handle its weight and increased wind resistance. If you already own a huge pickup, then you’re doing just fine and will be able to find an inexpensive used trailer for about $1500 to $2000 that will last you for YEARS.

While it is possible to find many used travel trailers in the classifieds for a reasonable cost, a new travel trailer will cost you a minimum of $10,000 and that is for the smallest and most basic of units that will only sleep two people. If you have any more than two in your family, you will have to get a LOAN to afford your trailer.


There is NO avoiding storage costs with a travel trailer if you don’t have a swath of property to put it on. They are too tall to fit into a normal garage, so they are almost always stored outside in the elements. Expect to pay quite a pretty penny to keep your travel trailer when you’re not using it. RV storage facilities usually charge between $100 – $120 a month to store an RV.


Towing a travel trailer not only eats up gasoline, you have to have a gas hog vehicle to tow it. Don’t expect to get more than 12 mpg and that’s with a diesel truck.


Strangely, you can usually sleep more people in a tent trailer than a travel trailer, but they usually can sleep at least four people. The least expensive trailers usually only sleep two, but I’ve seen travel trailers with sleeping capacity for 6-7 before.


Nothing beats a hard-sided trailer for comfort. Almost all campers have heaters that run on propane and some even have A/C units as well. There is room inside to change clothes and hide from the rain. Some of them even have separate rooms for the sleeping quarters for additional privacy.


All you do is back in, level out and connect to the water and electricity. I’ve never owned a travel trailer, but I suspect it takes only slightly more time than our teardrop did, as long as you know how to back up a trailer (that’s a tricky maneuver).


Not all, but MANY travel trailers have restroom and showers. That can complicate things because those facilities need to be emptied when they are used, but sometimes a little gross work is worth not having to walk to the vault toilets in the cold night.


There is always a risk of being blown off the road when you’re in a travel trailer. If you need an example of this, watch this video:

This video, in particular, really scared me and it’s why I haven’t been willing to upgrade to a canned ham, despite their retro cuteness.

Campsite Availability

Only the biggest of travel trailers can’t fit in a campground spot. Most travel trailers are maneuverable enough to get into place and are small enough to fit.


Riverside Retro 150The canned ham trailers of old can be SO cute that they probably would attract as much attention as my teardrop, but most travel trailers are non-descript and white. If you want attention for your RV, then you’ll have to go with a retro canned ham (and the maintenance costs for it). Otherwise, you’ll be hard pressed to find an adorable and unique travel trailer. There are a couple of brands available today.

If you want to hide in obscurity, however, you can do so quite easily in a travel trailer.

The Walmart Factor

As long as you don’t unhitch, you can dry camp in a Walmart parking lot. Just make sure you ask the manager if it’s alright.


I’ve never owned a travel trailer, so my viewpoint might be a little off on these RVs. They may be harder to hook up or easier to tow than I imagined. I’d be interested in using one for a few months to see how that would change my viewpoint, but at this time, I don’t have a vehicle to tow one nor the space to store it.

Here are links to the other entries in this series:

1 Comment »

  1. Very informative article. However, I have no idea why anyone would ever stay overnight in a Walmart parking lot. That’s just plain disgusting.

    Comment by Mark — August 7, 2014 @ 9:06 am

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