When looking for a travel trailer, it’s essential to have a list of must-haves. You should know what you need for your camping experience to be enjoyable.
If you’re a solo traveler, don’t waste your time looking at trailers with bunk beds.
If you’re a young couple and want to entertain friends on the road, make sure the living space is large enough to accommodate a few adults. Go into your search understanding your lifestyle and your needs.
Then there are the brands to consider. Often, you can’t write off an entire brand. It’s usually a model or two with poor construction or inadequate layouts.
Our reasons are not about the brand name but how these particular models fall short in essential areas. Some of the brands on this list also make our favorite trailers of 2022.
Let’s take a look!
What Is a Travel Trailer?
A travel trailer, or a bumper pull, connects to a hitch on the back of a truck. These are the cheapest options in the RV industry and the best-selling units. They usually come with a single or double axle. Some have slide-outs while others don’t.
They range in size, weight, and price, so campers looking for a travel trailer have many options.
What Are the Benefits of a Travel Trailer?
While fifth-wheel campers need a special fifth-wheel hitch, travel trailers don’t. The hitching system is cheaper. The overall cost of a travel trailer is the lowest on the scale of RVs. Class A motorhomes are generally the most expensive, while travel trailers are the least costly.
This is also why travel trailers sell at an exponentially higher rate. Campers who want to get out in nature a few weekends a year aren’t going to spend $300,000.
Travel trailers are also excellent choices for families because of their varied layouts. Many bunkhouse options create private space for the kids. They may not be the best quality RVs, but they meet the needs of campers who want to get outdoors.
Why Would You Want to Avoid Certain Travel Trailers?
Economic Materials: Most RVs have low-grade construction materials. You’ll find very few brands that are top quality and use superior products. However, you can usually tell a cheaper trailer from a more reliable trailer. Cheap materials mean more things will break, and you’ll be paying more for it in the long run.
Odd Layouts: If you have a large family, getting a trailer with small living space is a bad idea. It would be best if you got a layout that works for you. Is the pantry door down the hall? Does the bathroom door open and hit the refrigerator? An odd design can mean miserable camping experiences.
Lack of Storage: Even though you may only camp a few times a year, you need ample storage. Kids will need a place to put their toys. You’ll need adequate outdoor storage for tents, chairs, and outdoor cookware. Are there hanging closets or drawers for clothes? If a trailer doesn’t have generous storage, the manufacturers may not have made it for the camper’s needs.
Poorly Constructed: Poor construction can be disastrous. An awning that isn’t correctly bolted to the camper can fall off. Axles that aren’t welded precisely can result in a catastrophic accident on the road. It’s not just the materials you want to pay attention to but the way the manufacturer constructed the trailer.
Lousy Warranty: One perk of buying new is getting a manufacturer’s warranty. However, if the warranty only covers certain repairs and has a long list of problems it won’t cover, it’s not worth purchasing. Read the fine print before signing so you know exactly what you’re getting. You will have repairs, so knowing what’s covered is very important.
Our 5 Least Favorite Travel Trailers This Year
Everyone has opinions about the best brands, best layouts, and best features. We totally understand that these are simply our opinions. In fact, as we stated earlier, some of the brands on this list also make our favorite trailers.
About: In this model, you’ll get a considerable cargo carrying capacity at 1,298lbs. The length is 23’1,” and GVWR is 5,500lbs. The kitchen has a ten cu. ft. 12V refrigerator, high-rise bullet-style faucet, and two-burner stove.
On the exterior, the seamless alpha roof membrane comes with an 18-year warranty. Additional features include an aluminum radius front, aluminum fender skirts, and oversized off-road fender flares.
Why We’ll Pass: There is no privacy with the murphy bed layout. The limited counter space makes mealtime difficult. Finally, while there are bunk beds for the kids, there is minimal storage space for their clothes or toys.
The cargo-carrying capacity means nothing if you don’t have a place to store your stuff. It would be difficult for our family to enjoy the Coachmen Catalina Summit Series 7 184BHS.
About: The Jayco Whitehawk 27RB is 32’10” long and has a GVWR of 8,200lbs. You’ll likely need a heavy-duty truck to tow this unit because of its length and weight. The cargo-carrying capacity is 1,435lbs.
There are two entry doors, one in the main bedroom and one leading into the living space. The interior features a fireplace, booth dinette, and tri-fold sofa.
There are four outdoor storage compartments and an outdoor kitchen. The one-piece, seamless Magnum Truss roof system comes with a 20-year warranty.
Why We’ll Pass: Although Jayco is a trusted brand in the RV industry, this unit isn’t its best. The wardrobes in the main bedroom are won’t provide much storage. The large rear bathroom is spacious, but since it’s on the other end of the trailer, you have to walk through the living space and kitchen area to get to the bathroom.
The closet in the primary bedroom is an excellent addition for storage, but since it’s next to the entry door, the doors may bang into each other.
The eight cu. ft. refrigerator is relatively small, and the two pantry spaces are on two ends of the kitchen.
Finally, with a cargo-carrying capacity of only 1,435lbs, you can’t pack much more in the almost 33ft Whitehawk 27RB than you can in the 23ft Coachmen Catalina. For $52,000, you can get more bang for your buck.
About: Forest River is another famous brand in the RV industry and one of the largest manufacturers of travel trailers. The Wildwood 31KQBTS features a bunkhouse room in the rear with opposing slide-outs. A large entertainment center provides storage for the kids.
Panoramic windows stretch across the driver’s side behind the booth dinette and sofa. This travel trailer is the longest on the list at 36’7” but only has a cargo-carrying capacity of 1,292lbs.
Why We’ll Pass: The bathroom feels pretty tight. With a bunk model, a larger bathroom is necessary because it’s usually a family with children camping in this unit. The two side wardrobes in the main bedroom don’t offer much storage space for parents.
While the kids have ample storage in their bunkhouse, there isn’t much storage elsewhere in the unit. Because this is an entry-level travel trailer, the construction materials are more economic, so you’ll find the interior will feel less luxurious.
About: The Coleman Light 1905BH is very similar to the Coachmen Catalina listed above. It’s 23’11” in length and has a cargo-carrying capacity of 1,124lbs. The exterior features a diamond-embossed rock guard enclosed and insulated underbelly and aluminum framed walls.
The interior comes with a glass top three-burner range, a high-rise faucet, and under-bed storage. The MSRP starts at around $38,000.
Why We’ll Pass: Lightweight campers are highly sought after because people can tow them without spending more money on a heavy-duty truck. However, to make trailers lightweight, economic materials are used. You can’t have granite countertops in a lightweight unit.
Like the Catalina, this Coleman Light lacks privacy with the murphy bed layout, lacks counter space in the kitchen, and lacks storage space for the kids. The seven cu. ft. refrigerator may also present a problem for a large family.
About: Of the five travel trailers on this list, the Gulf Stream Ameri-Lite 236RL probably has the best layout. The main bedroom is private (instead of a murphy bed), with the bathroom in the trailer’s center. The rear space features a jackknife sofa and booth dinette.
It’s 28’1” in length and has a vast cargo-carrying capacity of 2,790lbs.
Why We’ll Pass: Even though the layout is pleasant, the storage is a problem. The primary bedroom only has two small wardrobe units for hanging clothes, and the small pantry is near the entry door.
With a cargo-carrying capacity of 2,790lbs, there should be more storage in this unit to take advantage of this capacity. One issue with the layout is placing the buffet counter next to the jackknife sofa. It’s going to be hard to use this space efficiently.
These 2022 Travel Trailers Aren’t Worth It (To Us, But It’s Just Our Opinion)
Don’t settle for something that won’t fit your lifestyle. If you have kids, don’t buy a travel trailer where you have to convert the dining table every night. That will get old.
The next time you’re looking for a travel trailer, keep in mind the material quality, storage options, and layout when you start browsing. There are great options out there, so find them!
What is your least favorite travel trailer?
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