Smaller towable RVs are a popular choice among campers, for many reasons that we’ll discuss in more detail in this article. This type of RV is growing in appeal, and it’s easy to see why.
- Kinder price tag. There are cost benefits right up front as you look to purchase an RV. Smaller RVs are typically more cost-effective, and that goes for used RVs as well. You may be able to purchase a smaller RV for cash, thereby not needing to pay off an additional loan.
- Better drivability and maneuverability. Smaller RVs are typically more comfortable for drivers to handle when traveling. It’s easier to get used to and it handles differently than a larger RV when on the road. Gas stops will be less frequent as smaller RVs are a little easier on the gas mileage due to the low profile and overall design of the RVs.
- Smaller tow vehicle needs. If you already own an SUV or even a mini-van, then you may not need to also purchase a tow vehicle. Check your existing tow vehicle’s weight limitations. Of course, if your wish list for an RV leads you to an RV that is outside the limits of your current tow vehicle, you will either need to refine your list and restart your search, or seriously consider changing your tow vehicle as well.
- You can camp anywhere. Literally. Smaller RVs offer you more flexibility for campsites and camping destinations because of their small footprint.
- Easy for set-up and take-down. Even with slide-outs or pop-up roofs, smaller travel trailers don’t take much extra time to set up.
- Easier to store. A lot of smaller RVs can be folded up to be short and flat, or the shorter ceiling height may still be low enough already to fit into a standard garage. Smaller trailers are also generally shorter. This saves on finding another place at which to store the RV, as well as the potential cost of the space.
- Gets you outside. Although there is some space for eating and hanging out in a smaller RV, the reduced footprint will encourage you to get outside for more reasons and more often. For example, some small RVs come with foldout outdoor kitchens. And if you’re spending more time outside, you get the added benefit of
- If you have a larger family or want more room to spread out or don’t want to deal with slide-outs, then a smaller towable RV might not be the best choice for you.
- Many small towables are very comfortable and offer the most important aspect of camping: shelter from the elements. Soft-sided RVs can be more difficult to insulate from heat or cold, and some don’t come equipped with a bathroom; however, manufacturers are increasingly adding this function to smaller units so you don’t have to skimp on this function.
- Privacy and security. Even though you can lock the door of a smaller trailer, if you have soft-sided slide-outs, it’s easy for anyone to break into. For expensive items such as electronics, if you’re going to be away from the campsite, it’s a better idea to store and lock those items into your tow vehicle. Noise can also be a problem, whether you’re the cause or the listener.
- Double duty. You likely will need to share space with other functions and purposes, such as the dining room table turning into a bed. Stationary spaces are less likely. Some bins used for storing gear and supplies and other items may need to be stored in the trailer and take up floor space, then you’ll need to remove them before you can enter or use the RV.
As you embark on your search for the ideal small travel trailer for your camping needs, you’ll encounter various types of RV. We’ve collected the most useful definitions here so that you know which terms to utilize in your search, or when speaking with a dealer or seller.
- Ultra-light travel trailer: Towables that are under 2500 pounds. There are a select few that are less than 1000 pounds.
- Lightweight travel trailer: Under 6,000 pounds dry weight.
- A-frame travel trailer: A hardsided, compact pop-up camper that has a signature “A” roof when expanded.
- Pop-up camper: “…a lighter weight RV that allows for towing behind many typical family vehicles, including some small cars. Pop-ups are folded down to a more compact size for easy storage and travel.” com
- Teardrop travel trailer: “… compact in size, [it] has traditionally been designed with a back section that curves downward to close into a point, giving the RV the recognizable shape. These small travel trailers can be pulled by the family car or a small SUV equipped with a hitch but have a basic kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area.” com
When it comes to choosing an RV, you have a lot of options. But as you make your wish list and think about what kind of camping you’re going to do, whether you’ll be camping a lot or a little, budget, and how many campers will be coming along, then you’ll be able to narrow down your search.
Ready to start looking? Visit a local dealership – our dealer members are a good place to start – and look around at RV forums. Join one to ask the community for advice, most RVers are more than willing to help and can offer insight as to which direction to take as well as other considerations.