5 lessons learned with our small travel trailer
- The open floorplan & sleeping
- Mini-fridge gas propane
- Manual jacks and covered awning
- No ladder for bunk bed
- No slide outs
While we were loving our outdoor adventures, the open floorplan of our small travel trailer without any walls dividing the sleeping space was not ideal for more than a weekend trip. The Forest River Wolf Pup at 21 foot 5 inches was feeling a little small for this introvert. I had gotten creative and brought audiobooks and headphones for the kids to listen to while on their bunk beds in the morning if they woke up before anyone else. I also had to start putting a snack on their beds, like an individual bag of popcorn, so that they could stay quiet while everyone else was still sleeping.
While traveling the min-fridge keeps cold with propane gas, then when at the RV site switch it to electric. At the start of the trip, I had to remember to turn the mini-fridge propane on before putting things in the fridge, it takes a little while to get cold. The RV mini-fridge is powered two ways either propane gas or electric. I may have forgotten to switch from propane to electric right after we arrived and needed to find a place to refill the propane tank. Calling an RV park in the middle of the night asking if they have a propane tank to buy didn’t work out that well.
The travel trailer has manual jacks and a manual covered awning. The jacks have to be hand-cranked to stabilize the trailer when it is parked. I started taking turns with my older boys about who got to help my husband with hand cracking the stabilizers. The awning extensions were a bit hard to put up without injuring a finger. It was really hard trying to walk underneath the awning extensions and not hit my head to get to the chairs and outdoor rug that my husband had been thoughtful enough to bring.
The travel trailer didn’t come with a ladder for the bunk bed. I struggled with what kind of ladder to use that would not be in the way on the floor as we tried to walk to the bathroom. We ended up using a trampoline ladder with three steps by JumpSport that worked great to get to the top bunk. It hung off the top bunk and didn’t touch the floor. We already had the ladder from our trampoline in the backyard. The funny thing is the trampoline ladder worked perfectly and became a source of great joy as my boys took turns getting to climb up to play on the top bunk throughout the day.
Not having slide-outs was great for not having mechanical problems opening and closing them. But the travel trailer started to feel too small for the five of us. If one person stood up, the other person had to sit down. One of my boys would have to sit on the bed so that my other son could brush his teeth. While I was making breakfast or dinner, I needed my boys either on their bed or outside. The constant having people in my personal space as an introvert was kind of getting to me. I was a bit cranky and frustrated inside the travel trailer.
How did we turn lemons into lemonade? I encouraged my two older boys to stay outside for 30 minutes each afternoon to have a few minutes to myself while our youngest son napped. In the evening, I set my youngest son in the bathtub with a couple of inches of water. I could see him happily playing while I cooked dinner. At night after my boys were in bed, I would find refuge sitting on the toilet seat with a book and a flashlight to have a moment alone.
After traveling with the Wolf Pup for a year, we had made so many good memories. We started bringing our bikes and our son’s green kayak. The small travel trailer met our needs for awhile, but wasn’t the right fit for us long term. We realized that we loved the RV life and needed a bigger trailer for our adventures longer than a weekend.
5 reasons why a small travel trailer may be perfect for you
- Mostly weekend trips
- Easier to drive/park. Less sway than a longer travel trailer
- Small space meets your essential needs
- Less expensive
- You are an extrovert!