Thursday, January 1, 2015

We Consider Trail Manors

I've been looking at Trail Manor trailers for close to 20 years, I guess. I like the concept of this trailer, and it certainly serves a niche in the RV market. Several years ago, we came very close to buying one. For the right people, this could be an excellent choice.

The Trail Manor line has expanded in recent years, but I've always been interested only in the folding line, or what the company today calls their "retractable" trailers. Some folks may find their "rise" travel trailers interesting as well. These function similarly to the old Hi-Lo trailers that "telescope" straight up. And let me state up front that these retractable trailers are hard wall trailers, not fabric as with your standard folding trailer you see so often on the highways. That does add a bit of security and durability.

For the right people, a Trail Manor "retractable" trailer offers many advantages: it is light, can be towed behind smaller vehicles, is very fuel efficient, and can even be stored in many garages. Because of its low profile, it is easier to tow with reduced trailer sway and reduced affect from winds. If we were 20 or 30 years younger, such a trailer might appeal to us, but at our current stage of life, we want a bit more ease.

First, it takes a bit of an effort to unfold these trailers. They actually are pretty easy, but there is still some effort involved. So, once you arrive at your campsite, the first thing you have to do is unfold the trailer even before you start connecting everything. After you unfold the trailer, then there is the internal setup, such as erecting the bathroom walls, securing the seal along the junctions, and so forth. I simply don't want to do that these days; 20 or 30 years ago it would not have bothered me.

Second, you can really only access the trailer when it is unfolded. One of the things we like about a regular hard wall trailer is that we can stop in a rest area along the road to take a nap, make a sandwich, or use the bathroom. Heck, I could even take a shower if I had sufficient water in the fresh water tank. With a Trail Manor, you would have to expand the trailer before doing any of these things. And when you are loading your trailer before your trip, you would have to set it up to put food in your fridge, clothes in the wardrobe, and other supplies in the trailer. Then you would have to fold it back down when you were ready to start the trip. Again, I just don't want to have to do that.

I also have a bit of an issue with the toilet system in a Trail Manor. Even after looking at these trailers for all these years, I'm still not comfortable with their recirculating toilet system. And that doesn't mean anything is wrong with it; I've just never seen it in use. And since the trailer is a folding trailer, you really don't have the storage space of a regular hard wall trailer, and the fridge is smaller than what we want.

But Trail Manors have a loyal following, almost a cult following. And for adaptable people, I think the trailer is certainly one worth considering.

On a final note, a Trail Manor is not cheap, but it does seem to retain its value well.

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