I feel (and hope) I am qualified to write a post on this subject, as we have owned, and traveled in, 5 small travel trailers over the last 20 years. Some have been perfect, some have had problems for one reason on another, and I will try to review them for those of you thinking of becoming RV ers !
THE TOW-LITE (High-Lo)
The first travel trailer my husband, Ron, and I owned was a small hi-lo trailer. We bought it in Mesa, Arizona, and shortly thereafter, pulled it to Snowflake, Arizona, and parked in a nearby casino. This little trailer is good for camping, and that is about all. I remember having both the couch and the table made into beds. My husband sat on one and I sat on the other, and played games on the internet. Eventually, we walked to the casino and had dinner. The hi-low trailers PULL EASILY with no swaying, and my husband seemed to have no trouble with the hook-ups, even though he was new at it.
We eventually pulled the Hi-Low to my mountain property in Utah, and parked it close to the cabin. We ended up selling it to a resident of Moab, and it was his plan to use it for hunting trips with his son. I think it was probably perfect for him.
THE SMALL COACHMAN
Our next purchase introduced us to the Coachman Trailers. We saw this trailer advertised in the Moab paper, and we traveled to Grand Junction, Colorado and purchased it from a former Moab resident.
It was a great trailer and we enjoyed it. We did not travel in it too much, but used it for extra sleeping space for cabin visitors. It had a small kitchen, a table and chairs, and a double bed in the front space, and a bathroom in the back. My husband remembers this as being around 26 ft.
We sold this Coachman to a young man who was marrying a girl whose family owned extensive property in Texas, and he planned to park it on their property and stay there on their infrequent visits.
This trailer was great. The only problem was a leak in the ceiling when it rained. Rather than have it repaired, we decided to sell it. We were now hooked on The Coachman, and started shopping for a larger one.
THE LARGE COACHMAN
We first saw this trailer at an RV Show in Glendale, Arizona. The RV Show was held next to the stadium where the next Super Bowl will be held. The Coachman had a large kitchen, wood floors, a bar with stools ,a good sized bathroom. and individual reading lights above the bed. it was very modern in design and decor, and I was hooked on it. I was so thrilled when Ron said we could afford to buy it.
The first place we pulled it was to Laughlin, Nevada. AND IT SWAYED. It was a scary trip both to Laughlin and back. Anyone who has driven from Phonix to Laughlin, knows the roads are narrow, and there is no freeway. There are also canyons along the route, which look menacing.
When we got home, we immediately began researching the reason for the swaying. We could not find out the reason, but we bought sway bars, etc., but nothing helped.
We ended up parking it next to the cabin in Utah. It was great for extra beds and our guests seemed to enjoy staying out there.
We decided we missed having a travel trailer but we did not want to take a chance on another swaying one, so Ron found one he liked at Sun City RV, and we put The Coachman up for sale there.
I felt Ron was working too hard hooking and unhooking the trailer, so we decided to look at the Coachman small motor homes. Thy seemed a little crowded to me, as I was not used to having the driver and the mechanisims in the trailer with me.
Ron came home one day and said he had been to Sun City RV and found a motor home he really liked, so we arranged to buy it.
THE DAISY MOTOR HOME.
This was a great little motor home, and we took some fun trips in it. Daisy was red and white, and very stylish.
I liked the fact that I could rest, work, or fix lunch in the motor home while Ron drove. There was no swaying and no leveling, and these were HUGE pluses!
THE GOOD AND THE UGLY IN SEDONA
I was missing the summers in Utah after I sold the cabin, so I arranged for us to stay the month of August in Sedona, Arizona. We stayed in a trailer court right next to the river that runs through Sedona. It was a beautiful location, but not that luxurious. It was not too clean, and it was next to impossible to get laundry done. The laundromat was busy from daylight ’til after my bedtime. We miss rainstorms while in Phoenix, but the rain in Sedona got to be too much for us. And the spirits of the Vortex escaped us.
When I was a child and lived in Brown’s Hole, Utah, we had many, many juniper berry trees, and they were all crooked and twisted…but it was from THE WIND.
Around this time, we decided to get out, but “Daisy” would not start. Being long time members of AAA, we immediately called them. I had the Tracker there and decided to come on home to Phoenix. Ron moved in with a neighbor for a couple of days. Triple A sent a semi to get the motor home out, and they could not get down the narrow, muddy road too haul her out. Ron eventually hired a company to move her and do the repairs, and he was compensated by Triple A for the move.
By the time I got home to Phoenix I was thinking of selling “Daisy” and when Ron got home, he was having the same thoughts, so he put her up for sale at Sun City RV, and she eventually sold. Than we were TRAILERLESS !!!
THE COLEMAN LANTERN
We are now the owners of a Coleman Lantern travel trailer. We just returned from 4 days in Sedona and it was great.
THE GOOD POINTS OF THE COLEMAN LANTERN
We loved the fact that i has a private queen sized bed, and also double sized bunk beds.
We also are excited about the outside bbq and refrigerator. It is great for sitting outside, having a little vino, cooking and eating.
The bunk beds are plenty wide enough for one person and their personal items.
The wood floors and the venetian blinds are a plus.
We think the securing and the hook up will be easy when new habits are formed.
SOME NOT SO GOOD POINTS OF “THE LANTERN”
The bathroom is VERY small, especially for a handicapped person.
There is no ladder provided for the bunk beds, and they are difficult to make up.
Some of the venetian blinds lack wands for closing.
I can find no place to put a litter box.
The 3 steps provided for entry into the trailer are not adequate, and should be 4 steps, and another handle should be installed, for children and the handicapped.
RV parks are known for being dog and animal friends. Many of them have areas just for dogs.
To summarize, I would say that, if you are thinking of purchasing a travel trailer, study and research for one that meets your needs.
We are senior citizens, so we need one that is non-sway and maintenance free.
Make sure your significant partner is “handy” and strong enough to hook up the sway bars and a good enough driver to back up the vehicle to hook on to the trailer. (I would hate to think I would have to do it.)
Make sure it has the features you like, such as floors, drapes, blinds, microwave, and KNOW THE SIZE OF BATHROOM YOU LIKE AND NEED.
Make sure it has a wide wheel base to eliminate swaying, BUT get sway bars anyway.
All trailers I have seen have gas stoves; so, if you prefer electricity, as I do, get used to microwave cooking. Make sure you have a toaster and an electric coffee pot. I also have a George Foreman Grill for when I do not want to BBQ outside.
More and more people are enjoying travel trailers, many are selling their homes and living full time in them.
Good luck and I hope I have helped you a little in your search for the perfect travel trailer for you.
Please comment or leave any questions below.
Janice Kirk Gustafson