If you’re a prospective renter looking to rent an RV for your next trip, you may have already considered an RV trailer. Depending on the features and amenities of the rental, the price, your experience as an RVer, and your various other preferences, an RV trailer could be a great choice. It is a very specific choice, however, and as such requires a specific kind of renter to make it work.
RV trailers — also known as towable trailers, or camper trailers — are non-motorized RVs that are hitched to a tow vehicle. Without the use of a tow vehicle, the RV trailer lacks mobility altogether. As such, renting an RV trailer is as much a matter of renting the trailer itself as it is about having (or renting) a tow vehicle with sufficient tow capacity to hitch and pull the trailer along.
Lets take a look at the RV trailer market and why it might be advantageous for you to rent an RV trailer, particularly given the landscape of diverse rental offerings.
Why Rent an RV Trailer?
RV trailers are not necessarily for everyone. The fact that they must be hitched to a tow vehicle can make trip planning more difficult, and the camping setup involves an additional layer of complexity. For those RVers unwilling to put in a little bit of extra trip planning and setup effort, a motorhome rental will likely be a better choice. On the other hand, RV trailers do provide numerous advantages to renter willing to overcome some of the basic hassles that accompany such rentals.
Cheaper to Rent
RV trailers tend to be cheaper to rent (on average) than comparable motorhome models, in part because trailers are simpler — mechanically-speaking. Whereas a motorhome is built on a pre-existing vehicular chassis (i.e. van or bus) and operates as the driving vehicle, a trailer need not include an engine or driving apparatus. If you own a tow vehicle already, you can rent an RV trailer for less than a comparable motorhome, saving you a great deal of money on your trip, overall.
More Interior Space
If you look at a trailer and a motorhome, both of equal “on-paper” dimensions, the RV trailer will actually contain more usable interior space for comfortably sleeping all passengers. Bear in mind that motorhomes must include a driving area, engine, etc. Trailers do not have to include this equipment, thus allowing for the interior space to be used more efficiently and effectively for making the living experience more comfortable.
Valuable, Temporary Mobility
Trailers must be unhitched to be set up for camping at a campground or RV resort. Though this can be a bit of a hassle, there is an enormous mobility advantage to having an RV rental that is independent of your tow vehicle. With an RV trailer, you can simply park your trailer at the campground for use as lodging, and take your tow vehicle (which is much more compact and maneuverable) for the exploration segment of your trip.
Cost of Renting an RV Trailer
When calculating the overall cost of renting an RV trailer, you must take into account the cost of renting a tow vehicle. If you already own (or have access to) a tow vehicle with adequate towing capacity to pull your rented trailer, then you can save money by renting an RV trailer instead of a motorhome. If you must also rent a tow vehicle (in addition to the trailer rental itself), then the overall cost is likely to be greater than that of a motorhome rental.
The cost of renting an RV trailer depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to the type of trailer model that you’re renting, as well as it’s particular configuration. Baseline rental rates are as follows.
- Teardrop trailers: $40-80+ per day
- Folding camper trailers: $60-120+ per day
- Travel trailers: $80-250+ per day
- Fifth wheel trailers: $110-300+ per day
Tips for Renting an RV Trailer
If you’re new to renting RVs, or — more specifically — to renting a trailer, then you’ll want to keep these tips in mind.
Look Into Dropoff and Pickup Services
Many dealerships are now offering dropoff, setup, and pickup services for RV trailers at local campgrounds, resorts, and lots. These services may seem rather basic at first, but if you use them carefully, you can plan a fantastic RV trip that avoids all the hassle of actually hitching a trailer to your tow vehicle and pulling it around for the entire duration of the trip.
Imagine that, instead of having to rent an RV trailer at the beginning of your road trip, and returning it at the very end, you can use whatever passenger vehicle you like for the purposes of your road trip. When you need to stay overnight in a campground, you can rent from a campground that rents out trailers for lodging, or rent a trailer from a local dealership that provides dropoff, setup, and pickup services. At no point will you actually have to move the trailer yourself. These services can be truly transformative!
Confirm the Tow Capacity and Compatibility of Your Tow Vehicle
Your tow vehicle must have adequate tow capacity to pull the rented trailer. Consult the owner’s manual (and the owner or rental company, for further confirmation) to ensure that your tow vehicle can handle the load safely.
Plan Ahead to Avoid Passenger “Fit” Issues
The vast majority of US states do not allow passengers to travel in the trailer itself. You will therefore have to find a way to transport passengers that does not involve the hitched trailer. This can be accomplished with multiple passenger vehicles, of course, but can present serious organizational (and cohesion) issues that could hurt the “spirit” of your RV trip.
Request a Walkthrough of the RV Trailer
Moving forward with an RV trailer rental can be intimidating for those RVers who are still relatively new to the RVing scene. It’s always a bit scary to be handed the keys to an RV that has its own unique set of features, equipment, and mechanical quirks. To better accustom yourself to the RV trailer rental before you begin your trip, request a walkthrough at the dealership (or with the owner, if using a peer-to-peer rental platform).