How To Select a Travel Trailer

There are many enthusiasts on the Internet telling you how to select the right travel trailer for your needs and while many would swear by their designs and high-tech features, there are a few basics you should look for that may give you just what you need for your travels.

A trailer is considered as a vehicle in itself. Therefore, a trailer should have provisions that ensure safety and reliability, like brakes, brake lights, and electrical systems to hook-up with the vehicle pulling it. In some countries trailers are even required to have their own license plates to assure they are safe for use on the many roads to avoid accidents.

In selecting a trailer, one should consider the overall construction. The parts and build of the trailer would determine its ability to last and withstand the rigors of use, enabling you to get the best for your money. Most trailers use I-beam, tubular, C-Channel or L-Channel constructions for their frame. The tubular form is the most rugged among these constructions. Made either of steel or aluminum, the strengthening members that crisscross the frame should have at least 16-inch or 24-inch intervals, depending on the weight rating. The more cross members, the better because it makes the frame sturdier.

Consider the items you plan to store or transport. If you plan to carry spoilable items like food, then an insulated trailer would be best. Along with insulation, you should also consider a moisture barrier if wet or high moisture loads are to be carried. Also look for safety features such as load stabilizing anchors, tie-down, insulated wiring harnesses, and the like.

The brakes can be electrical, hydraulic or a combination of the two. The hydraulic system has a special fitting that connects the trailer’s brakes to the vehicle using fluid couplings for the fluid to travel through. Electrical systems, meanwhile, have electro-mechanical actuators, that activate the brakes depending on the braking pressure of the vehicle towing it. The combination system, meanwhile, has electrical connections but a separate hydraulic system that is activated by electro-mechanical actuators that converts the electrical energy to mechanical energy to activate the brakes.

Hitch, hooks and other hardware to check. These should be tamper-proof to prevent accidents with children and mischievous campers. Torsion suspension made of rubber makes for a softer ride than leaf springs, but the latter is better suited for heavy loads. A trailer should also have hitch chains that prevent the trailer from going astray in the event the hitch either fails or is suddenly jarred loose by a bump on the road.

Be sure to scrutinize the warranty. This assures you that you can get service for any reason that the trailer should fail with reasonable use. The longer the warranty period, the more likely that a trailer is designed and built to withstand stress before any problems manifest.  Some are brand conscious, but when it comes to equipment like travel trailers, you should look for a balance between cost and need.


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