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Driven By Millennials: The Future of Towable Trailers
Does size really matter? Massive motorhomes and towering touring caravans can be the most attractive holiday vehicles for some of us. But there is a new breed of small camping trailers appealing to a new generation of campers.
If you typically associated towable trailers with having the most rudimentary of designs, prepare to change your mind as we explore an outdoor holiday movement which has become hard to ignore.
Towable trailers have come a long way. In this article we track some of the most exciting innovations in the category; discuss the role millennials have had in the reinvention of the towable trailers; ask for the expert view on the trend; and assess how towable trailers could develop further in the future.
First lets look at some of the landmark inventions which have played a part in towing trailers becoming in vogue:
The brainchild of Slovakia’s Nice Architects, the Ecocapsule is designed for ‘off grid’ campers who want a self sufficient pod which they can take... well, almost anywhere! It could be near a ski piste, in the middle of a forest, by the beach, or (within a safe proximity from) the edge of a cliff. And of course, Ecocapsule owners are still free to stop at recognised holiday parks, such as Love2Stay’s 120 fully serviced touring pitches in the Shropshire Hills.
This innovation can be described as a micro home which fits snugly onto a trailer, thanks to its modest dimensions of 2.55m x 4.45m x 2.25m. It takes advantage of solar cells and a built in wind turbine, as well as a high capacity battery, to provide energy to its inhabitants in a wide climate range. It is able to collect, filter and store rainwater, and if you were thinking the interior of the diminutive Ecocapsule must be a grim prospect, think again.
Ecocapsule residents have the benefits of a warm bed, along with shower and toilet, kitchenette and a space for dining or working.
Image Credit: Vistabule trailers
With their distinctive teardrop shape, the Vistabule Trailer looks so cool when you are out on the road, but what you can do with them is even cooler. The teardrop design for a camping trailer has actually been around since the 1940s, but with the demand for trailers which are lighter, compact, and more manoeuvrable, they have come back in a big way.
They range in size from as small as 1.2m x 2.4m x 1.2m to 1.8m x 3.0m x 1.5m, and typically weigh no more than 450kg, meaning that they can be towed by just about any vehicle. Most allow sleeping space for two people with the option of converting to a lounge area, and there is also space for the all-important kitchenette, which allows you to prepare a barbecue once you establish your base.
Retro and fun, teardrop trailers might be to towable trailers what Dr Martins are to footwear – a classic design which is simply timeless. But now they come fully kitted out for a new generation of camper, with space for laptops and tablets to be placed, contemporary wooden interiors, and even microwaves.
Image Credit: Go-Pods.co.uk
Not far from the teardrop trailer in terms of their design – but with a flat, rather than curved, front – Go-Pods is one of the most prominent examples of cutting edge small camping trailers in the UK.
These micro touring trailers are compact and packed full of features, and their ‘anti-snaking’ attribute is making them a winner for those looking to downsize from a larger, less manoeuvrable touring caravan, or first-time buyers intimidated by the size of a large tourer.
One of the keys to the success of Go-Pods has been the level of customisation which they offer buyers, as well as a variety of different models. If you believe ‘basic is beautiful’ when camping, the Go-Pod Base benefits from a reduced weight thanks to shedding a cooker, toilet, sink and fridge. But still accommodates a king size bed. At the top of the range, the Go-Pod Platinum gives you everything from a TV & DVD player to air heating, a microwave and an LED porch light.
Millennials: Making it Happen
According to the National Caravan Council, there are over one million leisure caravans in use in the UK. Towable trailers could be the type of caravan which passes the baton on to the next generation, as we have seen younger people and their tastes play a huge part in the rise of smaller camping trailers.
First of all, towable trailers are affordable and are typically found in a price bracket which is lower than motorhomes and larger touring caravans. For a young person with less disposable income than his or her seniors, this lower price point can represent an opportunity to gain a foothold on the ‘leisure vehicle ladder’ and try the caravan lifestyle for themselves.
Then there is the synergy of micro camping trainers with modern technology itself. Just about anything can be fitted or installed – from bike racks to fold out awnings and sound systems. They are also in tune with millennials’ conscientious attitude towards the environment, offering off-grid and sustainable technologies which utilise wind and solar power.
In a similar manner to the latest lightweight smartphones and laptops, towable trailers are less clunky and funkier. They are likely to be a talking point among friends or family when they take pride of place in the driveway, where they can still leave plenty of room for your car.
The expert take
Rob Slade, the Editor of Adventure Travel magazine believes that towable trailers are going hand in hand with millennials love of outdoor activities. He told Love2Stay: “Over the past five years we’ve certainly noticed that more and more young people are opting to take holidays in the UK, rather than heading abroad. For readers of Adventure Travel magazine, that means heading into the country’s wild places for a spot of adventure, but they don’t always want to rough it in a campsite.
“In fact, we’ve found that they actually like to have a bit of luxury at the end of a hard day in the hills, and while glamping and guest houses have been popular, towable trailers offer something else entirely. The ease of transport means that they can take a comfortable bit of home wherever they want, without worrying about faffing with a tiny tent, which is the last thing you want to be doing after a day of hard graft in the mountains.”
What does the future hold?
Image Credit: AIR OPUS
We have already seen signs which indicate the path that the development towable trailers might take over the next few years. Camper trailers which incorporate ‘pop-up’ tents aren’t new, but what is emerging is an increased level of automation which makes parking and setting up a whole lot quicker. US-designed AIR OPUS camper trailers can fully unfold a large inflatable tent from its trailer in just 90 seconds.
Just as smart homes are changing the way we control appliances indoors, our outdoor life could soon follow suit. There are towable trailers being built with lighting that can be controlled via Bluetooth, meaning all it takes is a touch of your smart phone to switch on or off, or adjust. How long before everything in our towable trailers are controllable from our handsets?
And thanks to manufacturers using lighter materials in the production of vehicles - such as aluminium and fibreglass – we could see towable trailers become even lighter, offering the chance to increase size with no extra burden on the towing vehicle.
Love2Stay resort, set in the quaint Shropshire Hills which straddle the Welsh border, is a holiday park which embraces innovation. From the super-fast wifi available to guests to the completely natural, chemical-free swimming pool and a complete bike storage and wash facility. Check availability today at www.love2stay.co.uk