Ask these 3 questions to find the perfect trailer

I work for one of the largest off-road RV trailer companies in the USA. Over the years I have been asked hundreds, maybe even thousands of times, to help families and individuals find the right trailer for them. Without fail we are able to cut through what would be countless options and narrow it down to a handful of off road camper trailers.

I had a guy call in just the other day and he asked what was our best off road camper? That is a very hard question to answer when I feel like we carry the best off road trailers in the world. Everything from the Patriot Campers, Conquerors, Kimberly to the Xplore and soon to be ROAMER 1. Because we have so many options, I always like to start with a few good questions to narrow down the search, and here they are:

#1-  What is your tow vehicle?

First, lets take a deep breath. I am not going to tell you to buy a Toyota, Ford, Chevy or Ram. When it comes to the truck there is not a perfect truck. Unless you’re a die hard fan of one of those brands of course. This is risky topic so I will tread lightly. I know there are super fans of each of those brands I mentioned and likewise I know that no matter what I say they will never buy one over the other. Let me just say this, at the end of the day I believe that as long as you as you stick to the rules of thumb on weight limits, that is what really matters. Don’t follow the rules and you can end up like this bent Chevy above. (This actually happened check out the bent Chevy video here)

I always start with this because you can’t just tow any trailer you want to. There are very real limitations that you have to understand when buying a trailer. You have to first understand what your tow vehicle is capable of pulling. It makes no sense to go look at camper trailers you can’t even tow. 

It’s also important to understand that just because your tow vehicle says it can tow 7,000 lbs, doesn’t mean that you should actually tow that much. Typically, a good rule of thumb is to try to keep your load to about 80% or less of your total tow capacity. Some people try to keep it to around 50% which may be extreme but you get the point. It is better to have more power than not enough. If you are going to push your vehicle to the limit you must have a weight distribution hitch (Click here to see a video of a WD) So if your tow vehicle can pull 5000 lbs, it would be very unwise to look at trailers that weigh 5000 lbs, or that will weigh close to that amount once you have them loaded with gear. This is why the conversation almost always starts with ‘what is your tow vehicle’.

Occasionally people say that they are flexible on the tow vehicle and are not opposed to buying a different tow vehicle if that’s what we need to do in order to buy the trailer they want. That’s fine. But it needs to be determined up front, otherwise you may potentially waste a bunch of time looking at trailers you can’t tow.

#2- How many people do you need to sleep?

This is an important question because it really helps to zero in on what options will work for you within the right weight, and sleeping capacity. It narrows the search significantly. This also helps you determine if you actually want everyone to sleep inside of the unit, or if you will have some people sleeping outside of the unit in a tent. 

Setting up these kinds of parameters really helps you hone in and see where you might need to make some compromises. What is essential, and what you can be go without. Every time we go through these questions people start throwing out some of the things that at first they thought were essential, but soon realize are not.

#3- How long will you be camping in the unit? Weekends or for extended trips or are you living in it?

This is a really important question because it has a big impact on the trailer you pick. In general, most trailers are designed for weekend use. They are not designed to be lived in over extended periods of time.

So if you are going to be camping casually, it gives you a lot more flexibility with the options you select. On the other hand, if you are looking to stay in it full time, there are lots of factors you need to consider.

Do you need a 4 seasons trailer? Or will you plan to camp where the weather is good?

What kind of toilet will suit full time use?

Is there enough storage?

Is there enough space for me to make this my home?

Does it hold temperatures well?

Will you be staying at campgrounds or off grid?

There are probably a hundred different questions you could ask yourself when looking at a full time unit but this will give you an idea. Your approach when buying a trailer for the weekends compared to one you will use full time should be very different. You need to think about your priorities for each.

So, when you start down the road to picking your dream trailer, these questions will help. If you are looking for an off road trailer, don’t hesitate to reach out to ROA-OFF ROAD with any questions you have and we will be happy to help!

If you want to know more about who we are at ROA OFF-ROAD please watch this video below.

Feel free to text or call us at 801-860-0035

Blog post by Josh K

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