If you’re in the market for a travel trailer, you’re likely to be faced with a bewildering amount of choice.
Choosing the travel trailer that’s right for you will come down to a refined process of choosing between brands, models, and features that sing to your spirit of adventure.
As a first step in your journey, let’s take a look at a handful of the best travel trailer brands in the business.
Winnebago has a long history in the RV industry, and has put its stamp – and its name – on a certain kind of motorhome.
Over the five decades it’s been in business, Winnebago has expanded its line of offerings, and has bolstered a strong presence in the travel trailer camper line.
No small player, it has dealerships across the US and Canada – which means you should be able to get hold of a Winnebago at the drop of a deposit
In terms of its travel trailer offering, take a look at the Minnie Winnie. Aimed specifically at small families, it sleeps up to four people, comes in several designs and has a range of features and trim levels available, so you can customise your Minnie Winnie with everything but sprinkles.
Winnebago lives or dies on its reputation with American families. As such, it makes sense that the Minnie Winnie would come with a 3 year structural warranty, to give you peace of mind, both in the dealership and out on the road.
If Winnebago is a well-known brand, it’s fair to say that Airstream is an icon.
One of the first companies to offer travel trailers in the US, it has capitalized on that early boom by establishing a reputation for quality in every aspect of its trailers.
In fact, it’s so firmly associated with quality and style that there are collectors of its vintage models, and even clubs dedicated to the love of them.
Operating under the Thor Industries umbrella, the company has modernized its lines in recent years. This has helped to modernize the line, while still preserving the original look and feel.
From the new relatively compact Basecamp (16”-20”) all the way up to the Classic (30”-33”), the modern range from Airstream stays true to the classic body-print, while giving you all the modern conveniences you could need.
For a healthy mid-range option, the Flying Cloud is probably your best initial Airstream.
If you want a travel trailer that makes you smile every time you look at it, you might be at home in a Happier Camper.
With a cutesy retro bulge as its key design aesthetic, the company blends a retro chic with a versatile modern interior into most of the models in its range.
Built of fiberglass, these relative newcomers in the industry fool the eye into thinking they’ve been here forever, while opening out inside to give you a travel trailer worth 21st century money.
Whether you choose the bubble-like HC1 or the longer HCT, these travel trailers are built on the Adaptiv system. What’s the Adaptiv system? Think Lego for grown-ups – elements of each camper and be rearranged built in whichever configuration you feel like.
You just give the company your specifications, and it will ship your bespoke travel trailer almost anywhere you like in the continental United States.
That gives the upstart newcomers a unique selling point in the market. For retro chic and contemporary cleverness, they’re worth checking out.
From dinky newcomers to chunky old hands. Starcraft began life at the turn of the 20th century – making farm tools!
They’ve come on a little since then, and now offer a range of travel trailers and fifth wheels.
Like Airstream, Starcraft now operates as part of the Thor Industries group, but it retains its brand name, because it’s been in the RV and travel trailer business since the late 1960s.
It’s not easy to choose a unit to recommend from Starcraft – the company has a range of quality travel trailers to choose from, and has had one for a while.
The Mossy Oak is particularly popular with renters, while if you’re looking to go ahead and buy, it’s already advertising the 2021 Autumn Ridge single-axle, which sleeps up to 4 on spontaneous adventures, and the 2021 standard Autumn Ridge and the 2021 Super Lite, each of which have longer floor plans and can sleep up to ten for a more extended road trip.
Like Winnebago, Starcraft travel trailers come backed by a three-year warranty, so if you want to get in touch with vintage travel trailing but demand 21st century reassurance, the Starcraft line could be good for you.
Any list of the best travel trailer brands would be incomplete without mentioning Dutchmen.
Up among the leaders of the industry, Dutchmen has a wide range of models on offer. As far as travel trailers are concerned, they might not have the cutesy modular chic of the Happier Camper or the comparatively leisurely old world charm of the Starcraft, but one thing you can be sure of in a Dutchmen is comfort.
It’s the thing that defines the brand. You will feel at home in a Dutchman, because the company has gone the extra mile to make sure you do.
Most of the company’s travel trailers use high-strength aluminum in their build, which makes for strength, but doesn’t add the unnecessary bulk of steel.
While there are quite a few options to choose from, you might want to start out by taking a look at the Aerolite. It might not be the model you end up with, but it’s a great ambassador for the brand as a whole, so you’ll learn whether a Dutchmen is for you pretty quickly from your reactions to the Aerolite.
If you’re into ultra-comfort, fireplaces – yes, really, in a travel trailer – and an all-round chilled out vibe, you’re going to want to grab a Dutchmen.
If you’re into peace of mind, they’re a good choice too, coming with a 3-year limited structural RV warranty and 100% pre-delivery inspection.
Palomino’s a well known and popular name in the RV business. It has a reputation of combining high quality construction with lightweight travel trailers, so when you’re pulling a Palomino, it feels like less of a dead weight than some of the heavier, more pimped-out rides on the market. Think we’re kidding? You can get a Palomino with just a 3,000 pound weight.
That said, the Palomino line has quite a range to choose from, some going up to an 8,000 tow weight, so when you make your choice, be sure your towing vehicle is up to the task.
While the range has lots of options from the PaloMini (go on, admit it, you kinda chuckled there, didn’t you?), through the Puma Destination and up to the Solaire eXpandable, each of which has multiple floor plan options to choose from.
So if there’s a thing to note about the Palomino range besides its relative lightness, it’s the diversity of options available.
While you should obviously tailor your search to your specific needs, the Puma Destination’s a good place to start looking at Palominos – the standard model, before you tinker with it, comes with two bedrooms, which aims it firmly into the small family market. If not families, at least the two bedrooms allows for relative privacy for a couple of couples on a longer road trip or adventure together.
While the Palomino range isn’t likely to hit the luxury levels of the likes of Starcraft or Dutchmen, it’s a solid range of travel trailers and the variation in its options means there is likely to be a Palomino that can suit your needs.
And while it’s by no means unique in this, it’s worth mentioning that the interior ceiling height on most standard Palominos is 80 inches.
That’s over 6.5 feet, taller trailer-travellers – no more ducking to get through doors on your road trips. Stand up straight in a Palomino and experience the simple relaxation that brings.
The Tip Of The Trailerberg
While you’re absolutely likely to get a travel trailer that gives you everything you need and probably more from one of these six companies, it’s always worth remembering the size and diversity of the market.
While keeping these leading companies in mind, maybe write yourself a list of all the things your travel trailer must have, the things it would be nice to have, and the things you know it shouldn’t have. Search the lines of these top half dozen trusted and popular travel trailer makers first, but never be afraid to venture out into other areas too.
There are some great trailer lines that nearly made our list, like Forest River, which has associations with other big names in the RV business, including Prime Time, Sonoma and Cherokee. We included a few subsidiaries of Thor Industrial, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for on our list, try Jayco By Thor too.
Don’t be afraid of the Trailerberg. Start at the tip, with the companies we’ve listed here, but then take your list of must-haves deeper if you need to - there’s still plenty of quality for quite some way down.
Have a focus, absolutely, but don’t shut yourself off to options - the right travel trailer for you is the one that makes you smile most, not necessarily the most pimped-out or expensive.