Buying Aluminum Travel Trailers

Recently at an RV show that was attended by several thousand people, there was a certain detail about travel trailers, especially aluminum travel trailers and the light weight trailers that a popular now, that was asked by several of the attendees and it is a very valid thing to ask about.  The question was: why are there so many travel trailers that have such different ranges in their pricing?  Meaning, why are they price so different.  This is not a frivolous topic and it’s something that any prospective RV owner should find the answer to before making a purchase.

Now it should be noted that there are several many trailer manufacturers out in the marketplace today and they all have a different idea for marketing or public relations purposes about what the standard retail price should be, but with that in mind we will narrow down the many possibilities to only a couple for the purposes of this article.

First of all, when looking at travel trailers there are only a couple of different exteriors that are usually used for construction.  Those materials are either aluminum or they may be fiberglass.  When talking about ultra light or light weight small trailers these are really the only two options available, so we’ll use them to talk about this.  The units that are aluminum travel trailers have siding that is many times called stick and then tin.  The fiberglass trailers are different and use a laminate.

A stick and tin type of trailer is put together with a frame that is wooden and then insulated with a fiberglass material.  Over all of this comes the aluminum siding that keeps the sun and weather out.  This is how it gets the name of stick and tin.  This is like your home.  The frame is the first part and this is the foundation, while over the frame comes the siding and end caps.  The trusses are over the side frames and insulation is put between all of this.  This makes for a sturdy and clean and warm environment much like your home.

The other option is the fiberglass type trailer and not the aluminum travel trailers.  The fiberglass, or laminated type unit, is put together with an outside layer of the fiberglass being used and this is on top and over an aluminum structure.  Between the framing that is aluminum, there is styrofoam, and underneath that is a bit of layering that includes the interior paneling.  A bonding agent is then used over these layers and this is put through a press that makes them all one piece.  This is one solid layer once it’s done.  This is the very simple way of putting this process.

These differences in construction are what finally determine what the price of a travel trailer will be.  Keep in mind that this is not the only factor in price, there are many other pieces to the puzzle but as a basic starting point they can be used to compare and contrast differences in trailer prices.  For these purposes, it is easy to say that the fiberglass laminate processed trailers will be more expensive than the aluminum stick and tin travel trailers although sometimes the aluminum over wood framing is more expensive, however this is usually going to be the exception.

Other factors in pricing will be the size, the manufacturer’s name on the side of the trailer, the flooring plan and design and quality of the exterior and interior parts and pieces and the interior products like appliances and televisions.

When looking for the right aluminum travel trailers or fiberglass trailers find the right one for you.  Don’t simply go off of pricing alone as you may miss out on a great trailer that initially seemed too expensive.  There are lifestyle choices that should be made when buying the right trailer.  Talk to the dealer and join a chat room with experienced buyers and sellers and find out which one is right.

Another thing to remember is that many trailers are made with quality and comfort in mind regardless of the brand name and price may only be an indicator of a certain manufacturer stamping their label on the side of the trailer.  Sometimes this is more of a prestige thing than anything else.  Make sure to choose a travel trailer that fits with you and whether it’s a few hundred dollars more or maybe even less the enjoyment you get from choosing the right style and type will make up for it in the long run no matter how the overall price and brand name decision shakes out.