Last Updated on 02/11/2024 by Glynn Willard
What Are The Best Travel Trailers For Families?
There are more important factors than floor plans and features when considering the best travel trailer for your family’s needs.
I’ll list our top picks for travel trailers and toy haulers for families toward the bottom of the article.
Essential factors to consider include:
- The build quality.
- Dry weight of the trailer.
- Cargo carrying capacity
- Quality of trailer insulation.
- Freshwater, gray water, and black water tank size.
- Is there enough personal space for all family members?
- An RV that fits your budget.
- The last important factor is whether the standard features are suitable for your family’s needs or will you have to upgrade?
Let’s dive a little deeper into each one of these considerations to help you decide the best travel trailer for your family.
First And Foremost: The Build Quality
That doesn’t mean a good-quality RV does not exist.
Let’s look at this from the perspective of the manufacturer.
They’re tasked with assembling “a house” that will be placed in an earthquake-like environment repeatedly, while the market today dictates the affordable price a consumer is willing to pay.
It’s no wonder the quality is not stellar.
But there are enough manufacturers who make up the difference. Albeit at a premium.
So you must ask yourself, “Would you rather enjoy your small space on wheels in the great outdoors or focus your time on repairs?”
This is why I weigh this factor so heavily.
All of the trailer manufacturers I list at the bottom, not only have a solid reputation, but I have experience with many of the owners.
The short list below is not complete, but it’s a good springboard for you to make a great choice.
Dry Weight And Cargo Carrying Capacity
These numbers are especially important for large families (small families too). Why?
Your cargo-carrying capacity designates how much weight you can carry in the storage space of the RV.
Look very closely at the VIN sticker. CCC is usually listed.
If it’s not, subtract the dry weight listed from the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). This will give you your CCC.
Remember to calculate the weight of freshwater if you plan on carrying water.
Many lower-end, lightweight travel trailers have a ridiculously low CCC in the ballpark of 1000 lbs.
Start adding up your water, food, gear, clothing, tools, and outdoor toys and you’ll fly past that number in no time!
Exceeding your maximum weight is unwise and dangerous.
Yes, you can offset this by storing some gear in the truck bed of the tow vehicle.
But this brings me to another very important point about your tow vehicle.
Not all pickup trucks can handle towing travel trailers or fifth wheels. Especially a half-ton pickup.
A good quality travel trailer generally weighs more than the average travel trailer.
Make sure your tow vehicle is equipped to handle the load. You can learn a lot more about this topic in our article: Tips For Towing A Travel Trailer From Zero To Full-Time
Type Of Insulation In The Travel Trailer
But you don’t plan on camping in the cold, right?
It doesn’t matter what it’s like outside, a well-insulated trailer (or any RV) will keep the interior comfortable with minimal resources spent.
The open road puts you in a multitude of climates, which can change rapidly.
Be prepared for changes in weather by only looking at travel trailers that are well-insulated.
When comparing trailers, look for the following standard features:
- High-density block foam insulation laminated between all walls.
- Thermal pane windows
- Enclosed, insulated and heated underbelly
- A heavily insulated roof (generally fiberglass)
The fact that we could stay cool in the desert heat without overworking our air conditioning unit speaks volumes about how well-insulated our Outdoors RV was!
Freshwater & Waste Tank Capacity
You’ll need water to drink, clean your dishes, bathe yourself, and store your wastewater.
I always say “One can have all the solar panels and batteries in the world, but when the water runs out, the party’s over!”
To give you an idea of your freshwater tank size needs, we carried 105 gallons of water and my family of four would run out by the tenth day.
That’s very conservative use!
The bigger the tanks, the better. A small thirty-gallon tank for a family means you’ll have to resupply water and dump more frequently.
Personal Space For Each Family Member
Whether the RV is for a road trip or full-time, each person should have their own space.
It will keep the peace and make the adventure more pleasurable.
The best solution is a unit with bunk beds for the kids.
This gives them a special place to call their own. Think back to their age. This is important to them.
Another benefit to rear bunks is not having to convert a space into a bed every night, for example, a convertible dinette.
Imagine one of your kids is in the dinette bed and you wake up before them and want to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee.
You’ll have to sit elsewhere. Or, you find your campsite late, you’re exhausted, the kids are cranky, and you have to level the trailer.
Oh, and you still have to convert the dining area or couch into a bed. The less work, the better.
Not to mention how nice it is to have your king or queen bed already made up and ready to go!
Will The Standard Features Accommodate Your Family’s Needs?
Almost all travel trailers incorporate the following standard features:
- A wet bath or a dry bath.
- Some type of living space with an entertainment center.
- Some type of master bedroom.
- An indoor galley or larger kitchen.
- Plenty of room in the indoor and outdoor storage space.
- A manual or power awning.
- An outdoor shower.
- USB ports for charging devices.
Some of the less common features and options that you might find appealing are:
- An outdoor kitchen. Although we rarely experienced anyone using theirs.
- Additional solar panels, an inverter, and a high amount of battery amp hours.
- A few different floor plans might offer a bigger kitchen (well-equipped kitchen) if cooking is your priority.
- Wifi or a cellular booster. This is usually an aftermarket setup.
- Extra sleeping space in addition to your family’s needs.
- Auto-leveling system.
Think long in hard about your “must-haves” when deciding which travel trailer is best for your family.
Once you make your purchase, it’s costly to change your mind if you realize you made a mistake.
Our Top Picks: The Best RV (Travel Trailers) For Families
I’ve also excluded any travel trailers or RV’s that don’t sleep at least four people comfortably.
There are a few amazing options that only sleep three, but until that changes, I can’t incorporate them into this list.
I’m also excluding the trailer if it’s a lightweight camper because I have yet to find one that’s well-insulated and has a high CCC.
Perhaps I’m biased because we had such an amazing experience with our ORV. These campers pack a punch and are a great option!
- Their campers are true four season because of the great insulation.
- They have a high cargo-carrying capacity.
- ORV’s are built like a tank. Yes, they are heavy and require a super-duty pickup truck.
- Many of their models will allow a family of four to each have their own space.
- Outdoors RV’s also have very large freshwater and wastewater tanks.
Desert Fox is under the umbrella of Norwood Manufacturing. The same company that manufactures Arctic Fox and Nash travel trailers.
The Desert Fox is a toy hauler that has the option for bunks in the garage space. If you don’t plan on carrying large toys, it’s a good option.
- The Desert Fox has a very high CCC.
- You have the option of easily turning the bunk bed area in the garage into an alternative living space during the day.
- It is well-insulated and is a true four-season travel tow hauler.
- The freshwater and waste tanks are massive allowing for a long duration of dispersed camping.
- Like ORV, they’re built like a tank. But again, that means they are heavy.
ATC toy haulers check most of the boxes as a great trailer for a family.
But they do lack in the insulation department. They’re still better insulated than a lot of the more popular travel trailer manufacturers though.
They shine in the following:
- Because they are manufactured from aluminum, they fall into the “semi” lightweight camper category (for their size).
- ATC’s are very well built and designed for abuse.
- Their garage space can be converted to bunks each evening with minimal effort.
- Because they’re toy haulers, they have a very high CCC.
- One feature that I find very appealing is the fact that no wood is used in construction. This eliminates the potential for hidden mold. Although, some may find this look “cold.”
I’m including this manufacturer, specifically the XT17HRT because it’s close, but not perfect.
- Even though it might be advertised as four-season ready, it’s still a fair-weather trailer. This is fine if you always chase 70 degrees.
- It has a decent reputation for quality.
- The CCC is moderately high for its size.
- Despite it being a small camper, each family member will have their own space.
- The ground clearance and suspension give the option to go further off-road. The off-road tires don’t technically propel the vehicle, so have minimal bearing.
- Perhaps the biggest downfall is the cassette toilet. This means frequent dumping.
Lance Travel Trailer (2445)
I’ve encountered many Lance owners who are happy with their trailers or truck camper.
They have a good reputation and check a lot of the boxes.
- Lance trailers have a fairly high CCC.
- They’re insulated enough to qualify as four-season campers.
- The model listed (2445) has a designated space for every family member.
- Their weakness is in their freshwater tank size. The wastewater tanks are just fine though.
Wrapping Up Travel Trailers For Families
There are a lot of manufacturers on the market and some might be the more popular option, but I owe you more than just making a suggestion based on popularity.
I hope this list has at least given you some insight into the best options and why those options should drive your considerations.
The goal is for the whole family to focus on the experiences of traveling to National Parks, state parks, and other great outdoor attractions without discomfort.
Which travel trailer manufacturer is best suited for your family?
Meet the author.
We appreciate any help in bringing you great content. Donate or buy us a coffee on our Ko-Fi site. Or subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
Thank you so much for being here!