6 Different Types of Tent Trailers

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Discover the different types of tent trailers to find the best one that will let you and your companions enjoy the convenience and maximum comfort while roughing it on the road.

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Different types of tent trailers on a camping site near a lake.

The idea of camping and finding relief in nature from urban life existed as early as 1869. Back then, the three modes of camping were on foot, on horseback, and with a horse and a wagon. The third option enabled campers to carry more gear and supplies but it was also expensive and the poor roads presented another challenge.

The first tent trailers entered the market in 1910 at a time when camping slowly modernized. The earliest models were plain and used to carry tents, sleeping bags, and other camping equipment. Then sleeping cots were added as well as kitchen cupboards and a tent canvas attached on a collapsible frame.

Campers took notice of the convenience and ease of trailer camping. It didn’t take long before it became the top choice, especially of middle-class campers.


Pop-up Camper

A pop-up camper in a clearing in the woods.

A pop-up camper is going to be one of the best solutions that you can make use of when you want to have a camping adventure. Many people are looking for alternatives to large RVs due to the increasing costs of gasoline. Buying a pop-up camper can wind up being a cost-effective idea because it is much easier to pull than many other traditional trailers. These trailers are fairly light and they won’t be tough at all for your truck or SUV to take out on a camping trip.

You should be aware that these pop-up campers are a little bit of a no-frills experience. It isn’t going to offer you a whole lot in the way of amenities, but it can still be a nice experience. Many of these pop-up campers won’t even have a bathroom area or running water as part of the package. This is truly going to be an experience that is closer to traditional camping than staying inside of an RV.

If you want to experience a more rustic type of camping, then you will really enjoy having a pop-up camper. These campers can be really easy to make use of and they won’t take you long to set them up. Once you reach your camping destination, you will be able to pop out the tent portion of the camper. It simply folds out and you are able to make use of it as you see fit.

Each of the different pop-up camper types on the market will have their own intricacies. Most of them fold out very easily, without too much effort. How many people will be able to sleep inside of the pop-up camper depends on the camper itself. Some of these campers will be fairly spacious and others will be a bit on the small side.

There have been pop-up campers on the market that can comfortably fit four people. Other pop-up campers are better for couples as they can only fit two people comfortably. You should examine the interior of a pop-up camper before making your purchase. Do your best to determine whether or not the size will work for you and your group before moving forward.

Travel Trailer

Truck towing a travel trailer on the road.

Travel trailers aren’t exactly the same as tent trailers, but people use them for the same purpose. Sometimes, people will even travel with these trailers and keep a personal tent inside of them. This can be a good solution for when you are camping with a larger group. Some people will be able to sleep inside the trailer and other people will make use of the tents to camp outside.

Owning a travel trailer such as this will certainly come in handy. When you want to be able to have enough room to sleep several people, it is worthwhile to have a spacious trailer. These trailers can be towed behind your truck or SUV without any problems. They aren’t quite as light as the pop-up campers that are mentioned above, so the gas prices won’t be quite as low. It shouldn’t be high enough to deter you from wanting to use the camper, though.

This is going to be a lot more affordable than traveling or camping with a traditional RV. You should be able to purchase a really nice travel trailer without having to spend too much of your money. This will allow you to justify your camping trip and have the best experience possible. A travel trailer has the potential to be a little nicer than a pop-up camper as well.

Some travel trailers will have some conveniences that you will be able to enjoy. They might have a shower and a working toilet that you can use. Conveniences such as this can really be nice when you’re camping out in the woods. Not everyone finds relieving themselves in nature to be a desirable option, so it is worth noting that you can bring at least a few modern conveniences along with you.

This isn’t technically something that you would consider to be a tent trailer, but many people will prefer this option to the pop-up camper. It offers a bit more in the way of convenience and it isn’t too much more expensive overall. The idea of bringing a tent inside the trailer is really solid and you can have the best of both worlds in this way. Consider purchasing a travel trailer if you want to save some money while still having access to some of the most important amenities.

5th Wheel

Truck and 5th Wheel parked on a small inner road.

A 5th wheel is actually fairly similar to the travel trailer mentioned above. There are a few differences that you will want to know about. These trailers can be pretty wide, which can make driving them down the road a little awkward. If you are used to how simple it is to tow a pop-up camper behind your vehicle, then you will be in for a surprise when you attempt to tow this trailer.

That isn’t to say that towing a 5th wheel is going to be impossible to get the hang of. It is definitely a lot more cumbersome in comparison to a pop-up camper or even a travel trailer, but it will still be useful. You will also need to use a truck that has the proper bed size in order to be able to tow this thing. The way that these 5th wheel trailers are designed is that they have an overhang that goes over the top of the truck bed. It then connects to your hitch and you will be able to be on your way.

While going down the road with a 5th wheel attached to your truck, you will want to be careful about how the trailer sways. You always need to keep this in mind whenever you are towing anything, but since these units are wider, you will just have to be especially mindful. Once you have become used to the width of the trailer, it will become second nature to drive it down the road. It can be easy once you know what you’re doing so don’t feel intimidated by it and get some practice in before your big road trip.

The reason that the 5th wheel is such a popular option is that it can really fit a lot of stuff inside of it. These 5th wheel trailers are pretty spacious overall. Whether you are using it to haul tents and other camping equipment or if you want to sleep inside of it, it’s going to be nice to own. Most 5th wheel trailers should come with a nice bathroom and a good amount of sleeping space, so it’ll be a convenient option.

This is definitely closer to a real RV experience than it is camping with a tent. People who want the camping experience will usually simply bring a tent with them to the campsite. This is an easy solution to the problem and you’ll still have access to the nice amenities inside of the 5th wheel trailer whenever there is a need. Being able to wash off and shower in the morning is definitely important to some people, so this is a good way to go about camping.

Teardrop Trailer

Teardrop trailer isolated in the woods.

Teardrop trailers are really tiny and you might wonder why people would want to make use of them. At first glance, you may not think that they would be all that useful for someone to own. The truth is that they can be very cost-effective options to consider when you want to have somewhere to sleep that will keep you safe. The interior of this type of trailer is large enough for a person to sleep comfortably inside of it.

It certainly won’t fit much else, but it can provide you with a sleeping spot that will keep you out of the elements. Some people decide to make use of teardrop trailers in lieu of traditional tents. They can be towed behind your car very easily and you can take them to just about any campsite. You’ll be able to sleep easy inside of the teardrop trailer without having to worry about bugs or wildlife interrupting your slumber.

This trailer can also be useful to own when you want to transport camping equipment to a site. For example, if you want to have a camping trip with all of your friends and no one owns a camper, you can bring all of the tents that you need inside your trailer. Transporting the tents and supplies inside of a teardrop trailer shouldn’t be too tough and you’ll have access to the right items to make your camping trip a success. You won’t want to try to sleep more than two people inside of the teardrop trailer itself, though.

If you want to experience roughing it out in the woods, then this type of trailer will be right for you. You won’t have access to the amenities that you can enjoy with a traditional RV. This is a more rough camping experience than something such as the travel trailer or the 5th wheel trailer can provide. In many ways, this is rougher than using the pop-up camper as well.

These trailers have become popular because of their convenience and relatively low costs. You won’t have to pay out a lot of money to get one of these and towing it is easy. It shouldn’t cost you too much extra gas to tow this small trailer either. It is similarly cost-effective to the pop-up camper and for some people, it is going to be the better option. It largely depends on your personal preferences.

Rooftop Tents

A rooftop tent set up above an SUV.

One interesting option that has become popular in recent years is the rooftop tent. You may not even know what this type of tent is until you look into a little further. This tent is meant to go on top of the roof of your vehicle. It is a popular option for people that own SUVs and other large vehicles.

When you want to be able to experience camping out in a tent, but don’t want to be stuck on the cold hard ground, this option is great. You’ll be able to camp up off of the ground without any hassle. Setting up the rooftop tent is going to be very easy overall. You’ll just have to fold it out and make the proper adjustments in order for it to be secure.

Many of these rooftop tents have a little ladder that comes with it. You can use this to crawl up into the tent and position yourself for sleeping. Of course, you should note that these tents aren’t exactly huge. They will be large enough to fit a couple of people and you might be able to fit three people comfortably, depending on how big everyone is.

You will want to make sure that you bring some nice bedding or bedrolls with you in order to make things as comfortable as possible. As long as you line things properly with blankets, you shouldn’t feel the metal of your vehicle underneath you too much. This solution isn’t going to be optimal for everyone, but it is something that is worth considering. Being up off the ground has its advantages and the tent is very easy to set up.

Truck Bed Tents

Truck bed tent

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Truck bed tents are the exact same idea as the rooftop tents mentioned above. The big difference is that these tents are designed to be placed in the bed of your truck. In some ways, this is going to feel preferable because it is a bit more stable. If you want to be able to camp up off of the ground, then this option will be able to make it easy for you to do so.

The tent itself is nice and will keep you protected from the elements. Even if it starts raining during your camping trip, you should be able to keep from getting wet inside of the tent. It is made out of strong materials that won’t buckle under heavy rain. You’ll be able to sleep comfortably and will be glad to be off of the ground most certainly.

These tents come in different sizes too, so that you can match it up with your specific truck bed. You should be able to find a tent that will match your truck just right. Once you have the right tent, you’ll never have to worry about camping out on the ground again. This option is becoming more prevalent every year, so you may want to start looking into the trend.

Options such as this are different from tent trailers, but they really do go hand in hand. People who purchase these types of tents are looking for a convenient and cost-effective method for camping. Sometimes buying a tent such as this is going to be preferable to owning a pop-up camper. It depends on what you are looking to get out of the experience and what your budget is like.


Running Water

Kitchen area in a tent trailer

Some of the trailers listed above will feature the convenience of having running water. Of course, to use the running water, you will need to hook it up to some type of fixture. Many RV parks and campsites will have solutions for this, so it won’t be hard to make use of it. Being able to wash your hands and other items will be nice while you’re out camping.

Many people don’t see having running water as an absolute necessity when it comes to camping out. Depending on your feelings on the issue, you may or may not be interested in purchasing a trailer. Trailers that offer more amenities are going to be a bit more expensive, but they will have extra utility. You won’t need to worry about not being able to stay clean if you have access to running water, so any neat freaks are going to want to own a trailer with the right fixtures.


Toilet area in a tent trailer

Being able to use a real toilet while you’re out camping is quite the luxury. Most RV’s will have some type of toilet inside of them, but not every trailer will. Some of the trailers above, such as the 5th wheel trailer, will give you full access to a toilet. Most pop-up campers won’t have this convenient feature, so you’ll need to be prepared to rough it if you go with that option.

In areas that have certain types of wildlife, having a toilet is going to be especially useful. You won’t need to bury your own waste if you have access to toilets. There are some campsites that have their own outdoor bathrooms, but not all of them will. Also, many people like to go camping in more remote areas that aren’t as monitored, and having access to a toilet is going to make things safer.


Shower and sink combo in a tent trailer

There are many people who simply cannot start their day without having a shower. If you are one of the millions of people who need to shower first thing in the morning, then you will want to have access to one in your trailer. Trailers such as the 5th wheel trailer and certain travel trailers will have showers included. This is going to be really nice when you want to be able to stay clean. Camping can be quite messy and you’re likely to get mud on yourself when you’re setting certain things up.

Even being able to wash away the smell of ash and soot from the campfire will be nice. No one likes to go to bed when he or she is feeling unclean, so having a shower right there will be good. Whether or not this feature is a necessity for your camping experience is up to you. You should just know that it is an option and that many people find it to be imperative.

Mesh Bug Screen

Curtains and mesh bug screen attached to the windows in the tent trailer dining nook.

Many of the tents mentioned above will come with windows. On these windows, there will be these little mesh bug screens. If you didn’t have these screens, then the mosquitoes and other insects would have a field day with you. It isn’t pleasant to have your sleep interrupted by bugs constantly bothering you, so having good mesh bug screens on your windows is a must.

You will be able to enjoy the cool breeze of the air without having to feel concerned about bugs. This will also keep small wildlife from bothering you. It can truly create a very nice sleeping environment for you to enjoy. You’ll feel like you are able to truly enjoy nature without having to be inconvenienced by it. Sleep soundly and avoid getting bug bites by purchasing the right tents with mesh bug screens.

Built-in Beds

Built-in bed and cabinets inside a tent trailer.

Some of the trailers mentioned above will have built-in beds for your convenience too. This is really useful when you want to have the most convenient camping experience possible. This is a pretty common feature among RV’s, but it is also something that you can enjoy when you own some tent trailers. There are even some pop-up campers that come with built-in beds.

Sometimes the size of these beds will not be incredibly large. Even still, it is nice to not need to bring bedrolls or other types of solutions with you on your camping trip. Owning a travel trailer or a pop-up camper with built-in beds is really nice and you’ll love being able to simply walk inside of your trailer to sleep after a day of enjoying nature. For some people, making camping as convenient as possible is very important.

Storage Compartments

Interior view of a tent trailer with storage compartments.

Any trailer that you purchase should come with a certain amount of storage. Trailers such as the 5th wheel will have many different storage compartments to choose from. The overhead storage in the overhang is a particularly useful spot that you will want to take advantage of. If you have a lot of gear to bring with you on a camping trip, then you will want to own a trailer with plenty of storage.

Storage will be a little more limited in options such as the pop-up camper. Even so, you’ll be able to fit many things inside of it as well. It just won’t have as many dedicated places for you to store items. Making good use of the available space is essential when you’re going on a camping trip, so plan out your storage solutions ahead of time.

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