Reports say that there is a resurging trend for traveling by RV during this time of coronavirus pandemic. Why not? It is the best option for going around the country while still maintaining social and physical distance. With a travel trailer, you don’t need to use public restrooms, hotels/motels, and restaurants. With a travel trailer, you’ll be assured of a great camping experience amidst this pandemic.
Don’t own an RV yet? Planning to get one? Here’s our feature on the best lightweight travel trailers for this year. You’ll want to continue reading so you can make the best choice. We’ll explore the different features of the different brands in the market today.
Things to know before buying a travel trailer
But first, here are some important things to know before you buy a travel trailer. According to a recent survey on leisure vehicles, 77% of Americans said that they would buy a leisure vehicle if money wasn’t an issue. Almost half of them or 42% of the respondents answered RV or camper as their top choice for a leisure vehicle.
However, there’s a lot more to learn about owning a travel trailer than just being able to hit the road with your own mobile camper.
- Do your research. Never buy on impulse, at the urging of friends or enticed by its looks. Take your time to know the best RV for you and scrutinize each component to get the best value for your money.
- Join RV Groups. You can connect with the experts and those who have a travel trailer of their own. Listen to their recommendations and ask them about their experiences and concerns regarding their trailers. Take note of the tips they give you because they speak from their own experience.
- Negotiate the price. Yes, you can do this! Don’t just go for the market value. Ask the dealer for the best deal and you’ll be surprised that they do give huge discounts especially when you buy during those period when they need to meet their sales quota.
- Be prepared for the expenses. Purchasing an RV comes with a lot of other expenses so make sure you’re prepared for them. Gas, maintenance, repairs, and replacement are quite expensive not to mention that there’s a shortage for RV repair shops.
- Good storage. You’re not gonna use your RV everyday so you need to have a good storage area. You can’t just park your RV in your driveway or across the street. Take note that your RV’s tires and components will age prematurely when exposed directly to direct sunlight and extreme weather conditions. There are RV storage spaces for rent but of course, you have to include the storage costs in your budget.
- Choose the best model for you. Even among travel trailers, there are lots of models to choose from – some coming with just the basic necessities while some offer luxury while your put camping. Know which model fits your travel needs.
Now, let’s discuss the best lightweight travel trailers in the market today.
What are the best small travel trailers? Here are our top 7.
- Taxa Outdoors Cricket
- Forest River R-Pod
- Airstream Basecamp
- Winnebago Micro Minnie
- Happier Camper HC1
- Safari Condo Alto
- Hiker Trailer
Let’s look closer at the features of each lightweight travel trailer to see if they suit your travel needs.
Taxa Outdoors Cricket
This model is hailed in the RV community as the most durable and functional lightweight travel trailer in the market today. It lives up to its tagline “everything you need, nothing you don’t.”
This travel trailer comes with a dry weight of 1,800 lbs and has an exterior length of only 15 ft. This means it is easily towable using almost any kind of vehicle. Parking and storage are not a problem as it can fit in a standard garage. With an overall area of 63 sq ft, it can fit 2 adults and 2 kids. Its design is inspired by NASA which integrates electrical systems and plumbing for a comfortable travel experience.
It is nicely equipped with a Truma Combi eco furnace and water heater system, exterior hot and cold shower, pre-wired solar input, 12V roof exhaust fan, and LED interior and exterior lighting.
The Cricket comes with a pop-up roof for added ventilation and protection for its users. Its inside features include a full size bed with storage underneath. This also transforms into a dinette where your family can lounge while inside the camper trailer. It also has a kitchen counter with a covered sink and a 2-burner stove so that you can upgrade your meals during your camping adventure.
For those who want to upgrade its features, you can opt to have a 5000 BTU Window AC for added comfort, a portable toilet, or add 1 to 2 kid’s berth.
Forest River R.pod
The Forest River r pod is dubbed as the best bunkhouse and most affordable travel trailer of 2021. It comes in 10 different floor plans and 3 more dealer stock only. Its weight ranges from 2504 lbs to 4574 lbs and the length doesn’t exceed 25 ft. Forest River says that the r.pod design series exemplifies the form follows function rule that’s why buyers can be assured that they are carefully constructed with users in mind.
Popular r.pod features include tinted safety glass windows, LED interior lighting, pet-friendly frame mounted utility hook (with food & water bowls for your furbabies!), solar prep, and a universal smart vacuum system with VacPort that allows you to clean your trailer without using a hose.
The interior has a height of 6’6″ to allow comfortable movement while standing, seamless kitchen countertops, residential style shaker cabinetry, hardwood drawer, shower, and wood slideout fascia with corner blocks.
The Tupelo Honey interior decor, designer Carefree flooring, decorative window treatments, and bathroom pocket organizers add a decorative and thoughtful touch to the Forest River r pod’s interior. Some models even have an accent lighting, a fireplace, and a large pantry.
The Forest River r pod comes equipped with a 6 gallon gas/electric DSI hot water heater, 13,500 BTU air conditioner, 28″ 12V LED TV, convection microwave oven, wall-mounted residential style thermostat, water heater by-pass system, 2-burner recessed cook top w/flush mount glass cover, 20,000 BTU furnace, 4 speed MaxxAir® Fan, Thetford™ toilet, and 12V demand water pump. Talk about comfort and luxury while out on the road!
Some r pod models even have a 6 cu ft G/E Double Door Refrigerator and power awning w/ LED lights strip.
The exterior’s material is Laminlux Exterior Azdel Fiberglass. The sidewalls and floors are made of welded aluminum and the entry door step is made of double aluminum. The safety glass windows are custom tinted and there’s also a window in the entrance door for added light and ventilation. It uses a Bauer Keyed Alike Key System to ensure safety and security. There are outside speakers, TV and stereo antenna, and a Schwintek™ slide out system making the r pod truly one of the best luxurious trailers for camping.
As if those features aren’t enough, buyers of Forest River r pod have the option to avail of a solar package for a more eco-friendly RV experience and upgrade to a 15,000 BTU AC to ensure their comfort in all weather conditions. You can even enjoy lounging on a sofa with footrests and TV trays instead of the usual dinette in their RP202 model!
This is also considered by many as the best lightweight travel trailer under 3,500 lbs. The Airstream Basecamp is a modern travel gear for adventurers. According to Airstream, it is tough enough to go anywhere your wanderlust takes you, and comfortable enough to help you really enjoy the time you spend there.
This travel trailer can be easily towed by a mid-size SUV. It has large wheels and an aggressive departure angle to allow you to traverse even the off road with confidence. Its side skirts and wheel flares give an added layer of protection from all the debris and gravel along the way.
Made by Airstream, which is a trusted brand for generations, you can be sure about the quality of the design and construction of Basecamp. It is made from the same aluminum superstructure that Airstream trailers are known for. Its aerodynamic design allows it to pass by the road and slip through the air effortlessly and increases its fuel efficiency.
A look at its floor plan lets you know that it’s packed with all that you need for a great camping experience despite its small size. It has a kitchen, bathroom, and a lounge area that’s convertible into a bed. It is spacious and has more than enough room for your travel and adventure gears. As if this isn’t enough, Basecamp comes with an attachable and inflatable tent to give you more room to relax while camping.
Travel with your comfort in mind no matter where your adventure takes you, this is how carefully designed Basecamp is. When you go somewhere cold, its furnace and heater will keep you warm. No need to worry when you go somewhere hot because the AC and 2-speed fan will help keep you cool. It also has a refrigerator, microwave, and a storage for your cooking essentials.
And it just keeps getting better as most of its features are flexible to accommodate your travel needs. You can reconfigure the benches 7 ways to make them into a full bed, half bed, or seats that can accommodate up to 5 people. The tables are removable to give you more space to move around when you’re done using them. You can also make an outdoor shower if you want to clean up yourself or your gears outside the trailer. How thoughtful of Airstream indeed!
Winnebago Micro Minnie
The Winnebago Micro Minnie is recommended for the various options it provides to its users. It comes in 11 different floor plans to ensure that buyers get the model that would fit their specific travel and adventure needs.
It comes with an exterior length starting from 19’4.5″ to 25’8″ and a standard height of 10′ from the exterior and 6’4″ in the interior. The models’ dry weight range from 3,280 lbs to 4,540 lbs. It has an exterior width of 7 ft which makes towing each Micro Minnie easier because of its greater visibility.
Don’t be deceived by its size, the Micro Minnie is roomy inside. There is more than enough room to move around especially in the kitchen area so you can cook delicious food and enjoy hearty meals while camping. It has a sink, microwave, cooktop, and a double door refrigerator to store your fresh meats and ingredients. Each of the floorplans also have ample storage space inside and outside of the trailer that makes packing your stuff so easy.
Another thing that we like about this trailer is the comfortable sleeping area. The Micro Minnie has a wide mattress and Winnebago designed the bed space with windows on both sides for added ventilation and to enjoy the fantastic view outdoors.
Of course, Winnebago hasn’t forgotten about the need for entertainment! The Micro Minnie allows you to enjoy your favorite tunes and dance to the groove with its speakers and power awning with LED lighting located at the exterior of the trailer. The fun begins with just a touch of a button.
Happier Camper HC1
Happier Camper HC1 is a little trailer with a big heart. Its manufacturers developed Adaptiv with rights reserved. It is a unique system that allows them to turn this ultra-light travel trailer into a very functional and flexible unit for every user.
HC1 has a dry weight of just 1,100 lbs. It has an overall length of 13 ft. Its inside width is 6’6″, inside height is 6’1″, and the walkable floor space is 42 sf. It can be towed using almost any standard vehicle and can fit in just a single parking space. Inside, HC1 can comfortably accommodate a family of 5.
HC1 comes in a cool retro design and wide panoramic windows for light, ventilation, and enjoying the natural view of the outdoors. The fabrics and hardware in its interior are made of premium materials.
Its modular floor is made of honeycomb fiberglass which assures us of its strength and quality while still being ever so light so it doesn’t weigh the trailer down. The floor design is grooved so that the components inside the trailer are kept in place, just like how Lego works!
Speaking of Adaptiv components, HC1 comes with an Adaptiv bench/bed, table top, storage cubes, counter top lid, cooler cube, bunk bed or couch, standard kitchenette and a toilet all specifically designed to fit the adaptive modular floor design.
Because it’s very adaptive, HC1 can be used not only as a camper but also a guest room, mobile office, photo or market booth, tradeshow, retail space, espresso bar, info kiosk, basically anything you want it to be! Its modular components are very flexible. You can take them outside to enlarge your space and they can withstand different elements.
HC1 is solar-ready to keep you comfortable even when you’re off grid during your adventures.
You can also have add ons to enrich your camping experience. You have the option to have a dry flush toilet which doesn’t require any plumbing anymore or have a 4-gallon road shower for your wet bath. These are designed with your convenience in mind and will help you stay clean during your camping.
Safari Condo Alto
Alto is dubbed as an outdoor transformer and is known for its eco-friendly features that’s why it’s also called The Green Travel Trailer. It comes in 6 models – each design is inspired by an aircraft to maximize aerodynamics and put together the important elements of flexibility, lightweight, and durability in one structure.
Alto has a dry weight ranging from 1,765 lbs to 2,947 lbs. The materials used for its roof and walls are mostly recyclable from aluminum, Alufiber (combination of aluminum and fiberglass), Formica, glass, and plastic. All of these were consciously chosen by Safari Condo so that the Alto can surely withstand harsh elements, last longer against wear and tear, while being eco-friendly.
The model you choose will determine if the roof is retractable or fixed. The retractable roof series reduces the aerodynamic drag by 75%. The fixed roof series just comes in a simpler design but retains this important aerodynamic property. This makes Alto towable even by compact cars and smaller vehicles which also means that less non-renewable energy will be consumed as the trailer travels on the road.
The Alto R series has an exterior height of 83.5 inches with the roof down. This is an important feature for users because this means your camping trailers can easily fit in your garage so there’s no added storage cost. When the roof is up, Alto can be very comfortable and spacious for its users giving an interior clearance of 82″. Just to demonstrate this point, you can still use the front dining area even when someone’s using the rear bed. And this front dining area can be converted into another bed, another testament to its thoughtful design and functionality in the front and rear.
But even if the roof is down, you can still use the beds, refrigerator, storage units, and toilet easily. Depending on the model, 3 to 5 people can comfortably stay in this trailer travel. For those who want to have a bathroom, there’s an Alto model that comes with an indoor shower so that you can enjoy a dry bath or wet bath during camping.
The Hiker Trailer is a teardrop trailer that’s best used for off-roading. The best thing about this trailer? It’s customizable to how you want it to be. It can be as bare as can be or have all the amenities you need to make it your home away from home.
Hiker Trailers come in 4×8 to 5×10 sizes. You can choose their highway, mid-range or extreme off-road model depending on your camping needs.
All of their models come with white aluminum exteriors, a door with lock on its curb side, two operable and screened side windows, a manual hand-crank roof vent, and a black powder coated frame. The axle weighs between 2,000 and 4,500 lbs.
The interiors have vinyl flooring, one cabinet, a rear galley, a pass-through door in the middle area, and a 110V power strip.
To make it more camper friendly, you can customize this teardrop trailer according to your needs and budget. You can choose your design, storage solutions, water tank capacity, electric or solar power for off grid, and other amenities that will make your camping a better experience.
What makes a travel trailer lightweight?
A travel trailer with a structure that comes with a weight of 6,000 lbs or less is considered a lightweight. This is exclusive of the weight of the supplies and luggage that travelers put inside these trailers. Weight is a very important factor in RVing. It determines the towing ease and which type of vehicle is suitable to tow the trailer behind.
Why should you choose a lightweight travel trailer?
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of buying a light weight travel trailer to help you decide.
A travel trailer is a towable type of RV. Having a light weight trailer means it is easier to tow around than the traditional full sized trailers. It is also less expensive to operate and maintain. Your fuel cost will also be less with this type of trailer. When it comes to storage, parking, and camping, you have more options and can find a place easier with this kind of trailers.
A light weight travel trailer may not be as strong and durable as the heavier ones. You will also be limited in terms of furniture that you can put inside so that they don’t weigh down the entire trailer. It’s also not for a large family or those who love bringing a bunch of friends on their camping adventure since they won’t be able to fit in this structure.
If you take good care of your light weight travel trailer and have it maintained regularly, it will last for a long time. They also come in different sizes and styles so you’ve got different options to choose from and you can customize it according to your preference. So, buying a light weight travel trailer is a good idea.
Not all lightweight travel trailers are created equal. Make sure you do your research, study the specifications and inclusions as well as the options for upgrade so that you can buy a travel trailer that suits your needs and budget. Hopefully this review of the best lightweight travel trailers help you make the best choice that’ll give you the most amazing camping experience.