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Getting Started : Types & Choices

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Lightweight trailers are popular items, can be pulled with most cars
By the RV Travel Staff

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Is lighter better? For many of today's shoppers, it clearly is -- including those looking for recreational vehicles. As a result, lightweight travel trailers are becoming one of the RV industry's hottest products.

Driving the popularity of lighter towable RVs is the recent surge in family ownership of minivans and sport utility vehicles -- now constituting over half of the market for U.S. automobiles. Lightweight RVs are easily towed by these popular family vehicles, making an RV purchase even more attractive and affordable.

"We've found that families love lightweights," said Rich Allen, communications director, Coachmen Industries, Inc. "There's been a growing demand for them and we think they'll become even more popular over time."

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This Mallard travel trailer is typical of a lightweight, and can be pulled with most cars and SUVs
"We see more of lightweight vehicles going out of lots every day," said Henry Koyano, marketing director of Washington state's Poulsbo RV. "With so many people in SUVs these days, a typical buyer can buy one of these lightweight RVs, hook it up and be on his or her way. There's no new tow vehicle to purchase."

Typically, lightweight towables are under 26 feet in length and weigh less than 4,000 pounds -- light enough to betowed by most six-cylinder vehicles. RV manufacturers remove 600 to 1,200 pounds of construction materials from conventional travel trailer and fifth wheel trailer designs to produce a lightweight version, while retaining all the modern conveniences of the traditional vehicles -- fully equipped kitchens and baths, queen-sized beds, central heat and air conditioning.

A very interesting lightweight travel is made by Trailmanor. Traveling down the highway it looks like a traditional pop up trailer. But once at the campsite, it opens up with hard sides like a traditional travel trailer. The smallest unit is 19 feet when traveling down the highway, but 26 feet when expanded. It even includes a bathroom with toilet and tub. This lightweight RV would likely appeal the graduates of pop ups who still want to maintain a low-profile, lightweight trailer. A bonus with the Trailmanor trailer over a traditional travel trailer is better gas mileage about 80% of what the towing vehicle would get alone.

Some lightweights even include the popular slideout feature, which allows travelers to expand the living, dining, sleeping or kitchen area by as much as three and a half feet each for almost twice the floor space. Lightweight RVs typically retail from about $8,000 to $15,000.


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