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Trailer Versus Motorhome – Which is Better for Boondocking?

Trailer Versus Motorhome – Which is Better for Boondocking?


There’s a long standing argument within the RVing community, which is better, trailer versus motorhome? Is it better to have a class A or class C motorhome and tow a car behind it, or is it better to have a trailer and tow it with a pickup truck?

pickup truck with trailer
Using a trailer for boondocking

Trailer Versus Motorhome – Which is Better for Boondocking?

Specifically for boondocking, we find that more campers prefer having a pickup truck towing a trailer, rather than a motorhome (Class A, B or C) towing a car.

The reason is primarily because the pickup truck is more versatile, more tougher built as a tow vehicle, and comes in four-wheel drive models. Most boondockers with pickup trucks typically have four-wheel drive capability to get through rugged terrain. Boondockers are typically campers who want to be further away from other people and thereby find themselves driving through rough conditions. Four wheel drive trucks tend to be more suited for traveling over rocky, sandy, muddy, roads.

Advantages of Trailers Over Motorhomes

  • Boondockers often buy and sell several trailers over the years, but keep the same pickup truck. Meanwhile, buying and selling motorhomes tends to be more costly to do.
  • Boondockers love using the pickup truck bed to store dirty, dusty stuff like patio mats, barbecue grill, propane tanks, tables, chairs, firewood, and other things they don’t want to keep inside their living space.
  • Boondockers typically prefer smaller trailers with a more powerful, more versatile pickup truck for hauling, driving over rugged terrain, and camping in remote areas.
  • Boondockers love to customize their living space and find trailers much easier to upgrade than a motorhome.
  • Motorhomes tend to be cumbersome to repair than trailers due to having both a engine and drive train integrated into the chassis.
  • A trailer with a built-in generator or portable generator will have its own separate fuel tank. A motorhome with built-in generator will share the same fuel tank with the engine.
  • If somehow you need to take your trailer to a service center for repairs, you still have the pickup truck to drive.

Advantages of Motorhomes Over Trailers

  • Older boondocking couples (particularly ages 55 and older) often prefer motorhomes because one person can rest in the back of the vehicle, watch television, or even cook while driving down the road.
  • Motorhomes are easier to drive in reverse and maneuver in fuel stations.
  • Motorhomes (particularly Class A and Class B) tend to be built more weatherproof than trailers.
  • Class B motorhomes are small enough that they can “stealth camp” in urban and suburban areas.

Which Should You Buy, a Trailer or Motorhome?

  • If your goal is to remain camped in the same place for as long as possible, get a trailer. You will definitely want to make runs into town for supplies. This is why being able unhitch your trailer and leave it at camp is so advantageous.
  • If you want to camp in remote, harder to reach areas, get a small trailer with a four-wheel drive pickup. You’ll never reach these places with a motorhome.
  • If your plan is to boondock for short stints (like 3 to 7 days at a time), then a motorhome will do fine. This way you can stop in town in between moves to get supplies.

What About Buying a Motorhome and Towing a Car?

This is what many boondockers argue when they defend their purchase of a motorhome. Of all the boondockers we’ve talked to over the years, we keep hearing the same message over and over. They have a learning curve that starts out with a small trailer, then upgrading to a fifth-wheel trailer, then upgrading to a motorhome, and eventually discovering what really works out best for boondocking is a small trailer.

The bottom line is that if your heart is set on a motorhome, then get a motorhome. Just understand that a motorhome comes with its pros and cons, and thereby you have to be willing to adjust.

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2 thoughts on “Trailer Versus Motorhome – Which is Better for Boondocking?”

  1. This was a superficial look, I am looking for an in depth view of water tank size, electrical power generation, and backup and long term winter use.

    • Thanks, Bob. Every brand and model of motorhome or trailer will have varying sizes of tanks, battery banks, solar, generator etc. Some have better “R rating” insulation than others. And with hundreds of brands and models, all changing every year, it’s difficult to create such a detailed analysis between them. What I can generally tell you is to look for something that has the highest “R rating” of insulation. Also, look for a trailer or motorhome where the water line (the pipe that connects the water tank to the water pump) is ran inside the unit as opposed to underneath the unit. This will keep the line from freezing.


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