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Tent Trailer Cost

How Much Does a Tent Trailer Cost?

low costBasic Tent Trailer: $3,000-$7,000average costLarge Tent Trailer: $8,000-$20,000+
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A tent trailer is considered an entry-level recreational vehicle. Also called a camping trailer, pop up camper, tent camper or folding camper trailer, a tent trailer is basically a tent on wheels, but with an above-ground floor, built-in beds, a dinette, cooking appliances and other comforts. It folds into a relatively lightweight box trailer that can be towed behind the average family vehicle. When folded, the trailer is 8'-18' long, and 4'-6' feet high. Unfolded using a hand crank or a hydraulic lift, the tent trailer provides a canvas- or nylon-sided living area that can be up to 32' long, with average-height headroom and beds for 4-8 people.

Typical costs:

  • New tent trailers cost $3,000-$7,000 for a basic model with a bed or beds, a small dinette area, an icebox or mini-refrigerator and some type of cooking appliance. For example, the Coachmen Clipper Sport[1] sells for $5,000-$6,000, is 17' long when set up and includes two roll-out beds, a three-burner propane stove, stainless steel sink and dinette. Available options include a refrigerator, awning and hot water system.
  • Expect to pay $8,000-$20,000 or more for a larger tent trailer with better cooking appliances, a heater, air conditioner, outdoor shower, portable toilet, cable TV hookup or slide-outs; the most expensive models may have an indoor shower and toilet. The Jayco Baja, which lists starting at $15,400, is 32' long when set up, with two roll-out beds (one king, one queen), a slide-out dinette area, an outdoor shower, storage areas, an indoor portable toilet cabinet and a 63" cargo area for hauling dirt bikes or other "toys." Available options include a hard-sided indoor bath/shower stall and a furnace.
  • Tent trailers don't depreciate[2] as much as other, more expensive RVs, but a well-maintained tent trailer that's a few years old might cost 20% to 25% less than its original purchase price. Prices for used tent trailers depend on condition -- whether the canvas is in good shape (not mildewed or musty) and if all the equipment and appliances work.
Related articles: Travel Trailer, Trailer Hitch, Towing Equipment

What should be included:
  • The tent trailer should come with everything needed to set it up for camping and fold it down for towing. Although many models come with a camp stove, the consumer will need to supply the rest of the camping gear (sleeping bags, folding chairs, etc.), as well as food, fuel and a tow vehicle with hitch.
  • It can take 15 minutes to up to an hour or more to unfold, slide out or crank a camping trailer. Manufacturer Fleetwood posts a how-to video[3] demonstrating tent trailer set up.
  • Camping trailers are relatively easy to handle and store compared to larger towable or motorized RVs. However, because they are soft-sided, tent trailers are best for a fairly mild climate. lists the pros and cons[4] of tent trailers.
  • Driving with a trailer attached can be challenging. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists safety tips[5] for driving with a trailer.
Additional costs:
  • Installing a standard ball trailer hitch on the tow vehicle can cost $50-$700, depending on towing capacity, quality of materials and labor costs. The weight of the camping trailer (typically 1,500 to 4,000 pounds) plus all water, fuel, luggage, gear, etc. must not exceed the towing capacity of either the tow vehicle or hitch.
  • If the trailer is wider than the tow vehicle, extended side view mirrors are required, costing $4-$80 for a pair that clamp onto the existing side mirrors, or $150-$450 for permanently installed towing mirrors.
  • Campsites typically cost $10-$30 a night, depending on location and whether the campground provides electric, sewer and water hookups, or other amenities such as a swimming pool or coin laundry.
  • Renting a tent trailer can cost $50-$90 a night, usually with a three to four night minimum.
  • Free or low-cost overnight camping[6] is possible.
Shopping for a tent trailer:
  • RV shows[7] offer many makes and models in one place; admission can be free or $5-$15.
  • The combined weight of the travel trailer, hitch, passengers, luggage and other gear must not exceed the capacity of the tow vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides tips for selecting a tow vehicle[8] .
  • provides a tent trailer buying guide[9] and Roaming Times posts reviews[10] of specific models.
  • For used camping trailers, the Nada Guides[11] can be a starting point for researching prices; also watch prices on eBay[12] and craigslist[13] .
  • Search for local dealers through the National Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association[14] or[15] .
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