So What Really Constitutes a Small Travel Trailer?
Some of them...
- Are fancy, some are not
- You can stand up in, some you must crawl into
- Have a stove and sink, others you must cook outside
- Even have a bathroom, but certainly not all of them!
When you start shopping, you will find that there are a lot of options when choosing a small travel trailer. You will have to decide what's important to you and set your priorities. If you are like us, you probably won't know exactly what your priorities are until you've been out looking. Seeing a lot of different small trailers will definitely give you ideas and help you decide.
So what actually constitutes a "small travel trailer"? To be honest, that is up to you!
One of my best friends keeps telling me that his trailer isn't much larger than ours. He really considers it small. To me, it's huge! When you see us camped beside them, it looks twice the size of ours.
For me, a small travel trailer is one that's big enough to include everything we need, but no larger. When we were out shopping, here's the list of "must haves" we considered.
It had to have...
- a comfortable double bed
- a permanent small table and seating for at least two, that doesn't have to be taken down to set up the bed each night
- a small inside stove and sink for times when we're stuck in bad weather and don't want to go anywhere
- a toilet and shower. We generally use the campground's bathhouse, so it could be small. We wanted something however that we could use if the bathhouse is nasty.
- minimal setup. We used to have a pop-up camper which we loved. At this point in our lives, however, we want to be able to pull in anywhere and be able to get inside quickly without having to deal with any significant setup. This has been very helpful when we've been in bad weather and stopped for an overnight stay while on the road.
- air conditioning...we live in Florida!
- enough inside height that we could stand up and walk around
We were committed to getting the smallest trailer we could find that would meet our criteria. As we looked, we also decided that we liked the durability of the fiberglass "eggs", and finally found that the interior of the Casita was our favorite.
A few suggestions...
- Go look at as many trailers as you can
Start off by just looking at a lot of trailers. You may visit an RV dealer, but many of the smaller ones are sold direct from the factory. The majority of the people that have small trailers are excited about them and usually happy to show them off. Visit a campground, walk around, and don't be afraid to talk with people you see about their trailers. If they don't offer to show you the inside, just ask. The worst they can say is no, but you'll be surprised at how many will love to show you and tell you all about it. When we travel, people approach us at gas stations, rest areas, and parking lots. We always ask if they'd like to see inside.
- Make a list of your "must have" criteria
Seeing a variety of trailers will help you zero in on what's really important to you. After you've looked at a few, start making a list that you can tweak as you go along.
- Research on the Internet
Spend time searching the Internet to find the trailers that interest you the most. Check out the manufacturer's websites to get the specs and see photos.
- Get input from existing owners
Once again, campgrounds are great places to do this. You'll find most people very friendly and they love to talk about what they have and about where they've been. But what's easier and often even more informative is to join various Facebook groups. If you search Facebook, you'll find a ton of them. There are general groups on small RVs, campers, and travel, as well as groups on the specific models such as teardrops, popups, Airstreams, Scamps, and of course our favorite...Casitas! You will learn so much by browsing through all the existing posts and also posting your own questions. Check out my list below for a few to get started with.
- Make your decision
Once you've narrowed it down to just a few choices, go find some and take a final look and compare it to your "Must Have" list. Many of the makes that don't sell through dealers have an arrangement with their customers to show theirs. If you call the manufacturer (such as Casita in our case), they will make arrangements for you to visit an owner in your area, or as close as they can find.