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Renting a Camp Trailer with RVshare

If you’ve just started to browse through RV rental listings, you might be a bit overwhelmed by the options available to you. Since it began in the 1920s, the RV market has expanded a great deal. RVers now have access to a wide variety of trailers and motorhomes designed to suit their particular needs.

Camping trailers–otherwise known as towable trailers or non-motorized RVs–are one of the two main categories to choose from when looking to rent an RV. Though there are certain elements of RVing that are universal, there are also many unique considerations to take into account when renting a camping trailer. To help you make a more informed rental decision, let’s do a quick walkthrough of camping trailer selection.

Types of Camping Trailers

On the RVshare platform, three of the most popular camping trailer types are fifth wheel, travel, and pop-up trailers.

There are numerous camping trailer manufacturers, from small-scale customization to large-scale operations, so it can be fairly difficult to pin down a set of absolute standards for each type. Generally speaking, however, RVers have come to associate certain traits with a camping trailer’s subtype–and these community standards should serve as a reasonable guide for what you can expect to find on RVshare.

Fifth Wheel Trailer

Fifth wheel trailers cover a substantial size range (from 20-45+ feet in length), but more commonly tend towards the larger side of the spectrum. They have poor fuel economy and are often quite costly to rent compared to other towable trailers, but are usually outfitted for luxury (and can be customized to sleep more passengers). With a fifth wheel trailer, you can generally expect to find flat screen televisions, large and comfortable sleeping arrangements, multiple toilets, and high-quality furnishings.

Unlike travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers have a raised front, which can make towing impossible if you don’t have a pickup truck or a vehicle that can be modified to fit. As a result of this odd shape, however, the hitch is more stable than that of a conventional trailer, and towing a fifth wheel may, therefore, feel a lot more maneuverable. Some owners on RVshare will be willing to rent their pickup truck alongside their fifth wheel, so be sure to ask!

Travel Trailer

Travel trailers serve as the conventional type, and as a result, you are likely to find a huge variety of configurations listed on the RV marketplace. Travel trailers range in size quite a bit (from 14-40 feet in length), so you will most likely be able to find a travel trailer that suits your particular space needs. At the larger end of the spectrum, travel trailers are the more affordable option and have marginally better fuel economy (when compared to fifth wheel trailers).

Of course, many travel trailers are outfitted very comfortably, so don’t assume that fifth wheel trailers have exclusive access to luxury!

Travel trailers have a conventional box shape, which has its own advantages and disadvantages. The shape allows for a larger variety of towing vehicles (so long as the vehicle is capable of towing), no modification required. On the other hand, as a result of the shape, the hitch can be a bit less stable than that of fifth wheel trailers, making it less maneuverable – and may even cause an uneasy “sway” if the load is imbalanced.

Pop-up Trailer

Pop-up camper trailers are quite unique. They have a smaller frame and size than other trailers and are easy to transport. (Not to mention much more maneuverable!) since they are meant to be collapsed down when in motion. When you are ready to set up for the day or night, the camper “pops-up” and folds out into its intended size.

Because of their small size profile, minimal weight, and minimal amenities, pop-up trailers are usually cheaper than their counterparts and have much better fuel economy. As a rule, they require far less “investment” – not just in the financial sense, but from a personal effort perspective as well. Pop-up trailers are excellent for couples, families, or small groups that would like to go for short trips but are not concerned with luxury interiors and amenities (though there are premium models available, too!).

As pop-up trailers are small and collapsible, towing them is quite easy with most vehicles (provided that you have hitching capability). You may be able to use your existing vehicle to tow your pop-up trailer, saving you the trouble and expense of having to rent a separate vehicle for towing.

Legal and Safety Considerations

If you rent a camping trailer, please be aware of the laws and safety issues that are inherent to the setup. In some states, having passengers sit in the trailer while you are in motion is illegal. In others, passengers are allowed to be in the trailer so long as there are adequate safety mechanisms installed. State law varies, so it is worth consulting the laws of those states you intend to travel through.

Aside from the legal issue, sitting or sleeping in a trailer while it is in motion can lead to serious injury if precautions are not taken. Unlike motorized RVs, camping (non-motorized) trailers–particularly older models–may lack proper suspension. They may also lack seatbelts and other safety mechanisms. If you intend to have passengers stay in the trailer while traveling, then take the time to find a camping trailer that is equipped with sufficient safety mechanisms.

Advantages of a Camping Trailer

Camping trailers enjoy several advantages over comparably outfitted motorized RVs.

Maintenance Issues are Independent

With camping trailers, mechanical issues are independent–that is to say, your tow vehicle and trailer will not generally affect each other in a mechanical sense (assuming that the problem is not the hitch). With a motorized RV, for example, if the structure is damaged or the wheels are damaged, you may be forced to stay put and get help to come to you. With a camping trailer, if your trailer is damaged, you can simply unhitch the trailer and drive your tow vehicle to get supplies or to look for further assistance.

Renting a Camping Trailer is Cheaper

Camping trailers are cheaper to rent than similarly outfitted motorized RVs. Costs may equalize, however, if you include the cost of renting a vehicle to tow the trailer, so unless you have an existing vehicle that is capable of towing the rented trailer, costs will be roughly equivalent.

Maneuverability is Better

With proper hitching, trailers tend to be somewhat more maneuverable than similarly-sized motorized RVs. If you select a pop-up trailer you’ll be even more maneuverable, as they can collapse down to make it easier to navigate around tight spaces.

Where to Rent a Camping Trailer

If you’re in the market to rent a camping trailer, consider using the RVshare platform. RVshare is the world’s most popular peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace, with thousands of listings posted at any given time. Using the RVshare platform, prospective renters are empowered to connect directly with owners and get competitive rates on all RV and camping trailer types.