We are thinking of purchasing a used travel trailer. Something small for the 4 of us and the dog, a kitchen and a bathroom. I want to keep it under 24-27 feet long, probably low 20s or 19'. I have looked at the pop up trailers and hate them. I want either a fully enclosed or a hybrid.
Is there anything I should avoid?
Any brand to stay away from?
Something specific I need to ask and know about?
Best place to buy them?
We have never had one, so I am totally new to this and have no clue what to do with one. Of course, I am sure my husband would know, he always knows everything
We've had travel trailers since our kids were small. The only "hybrids I know of (I agree with you, I would hate a pop-up… too much like tent camping!) are the Trail Manor:
Which is sort of a hard sided "pop-up", and the Outback, sorry, couldn't find the site for that one, which is a hard side trailer, but has an extended sleeping area made of canvas, like a tent trailer. (although I've seen some new Outbacks that have solid slide-outs)
Trail Manor has been around for as long as we've been camping, but I don't know anyone who has one, nor do you see many out in campgrounds. So I can't tell you how they hold up or anything about pricing.
One thing I CAN tell you is that, in general, newer trailers have been made our of better, lighter materials, so that they can be towed easily behind smaller vehicles than even a few years back. So don't rule out something a bit bigger, if you have the vehicle to tow it. you'll appreciate the space on a rainy day.
I suggest that you take a few weekends and visit every dealer within easy driving distance of you, just to see what's out there, what features are important to you and what your vehicle will tow. RV dealerships are dog friendly places, so feel free to bring Bumi and the kids along. You'll want to get a feel for how you'll all fit in there together.
BUT… once you have an idea what you're looking for, I strongly suggest that you look through local ads for used trailers. We got a great deal on our first trailer used. it needed a new refrigerator, and those are expensive, but we knew that when we bought it, and it was worked into the purchase price. That way we put a lot less money into it than a new one, and we had a chance to try it for a few years before deciding this was something we wanted to continue doing.
If you do decide to look at used, one very important thing to do is use your nose. If there is ANY musty smell AT ALL, it means there are leaks. It is almost impossible to repair water damage completely in a trailer, and sometimes it is even difficult to find the source. Also ask if you can have the trailer "vetted" by a knowledgable 3rd party, just as you would with a used car.
Hope that helps, and feel free to ask more if you have specific questions. We've been RV'ing for close to 20 years now, and really enjoy it. When the kids were with us, we mostly went to a favorite campground and stayed there for a week (or at least a long weekend) at a time. Now that it's just Dave and me and Kodi, we do more long distance traveling, so we set up just for a night or two and then move on. Both are fun, but different ways to use an RV!