Towing capacity is a big consideration for picking out the right travel trailer. Fortunately, there are a ton of options out there for lightweight travel trailers that can get the job done – but which one do you choose? Here is our research and top picks for the best lightweight travel trailers on the road today.
Many of these trailers harken back to the classic shapes of campers from the days when Route 66 was still the Mother Road. Several of the trailers can be fully customized so you can feel completely at home while on the road. Others have unusual architectural features like retractable roofs and entertainment features like WiFi and Bluetooth. Ready? Let’s dive into our top picks.
My Top Picks for Lightweight Travel Trailers
|Taxa Cricket||Most Durable|
|Forest River R-pod||Most Affordable|
|Homegrown Campers Wood Camper||Best Classic Trailer|
|Winnebago Micro Minnie||Most Options|
|Hiker Trailer Off-Road||Best for Off-Roading|
|Safari Condo Alto||Most Eco-Friendly|
Diving Into Our Recommendations
We tested several lightweight travel trailers and came to conclusions about which ones were the best in several categories.
Most Durable Lightweight Camper
Once I saw the Cricket, I immediately understood how this durable camper earned its name. When opened at a camping lot, the Cricket actually looks like one. It has a dry weight of 1,800 pounds so that a four-cylinder vehicle can tow it. And, at that low weight, the camper has room for four adults and two children.
It is easy to see how NASA engineers designed this 15-foot camper. I appreciated the odd angles and how the camper looked with the top popped for ventilation, safety, and added space. The NASA engineers managed to get all the features in this camper and keep the dry weight at 1,732 pounds.
While the Cricket doesn’t come with a toilet, it does have a portable shower. However, if you want to order one with a portable toilet, you can. The beauty of the Cricket is the option to build one to your specifications.
The Cricket does not have any slideouts, but that’s okay as the top provides added space. I liked how the storage space was in compartments under the bed and how the kitchen appliances were mixed in with modular storage.
- Popup top
- Modular space-saving storage compartments
- No slide outs
- No toilet
- Wonky design might turn off some buyers
- 4’2 interior height
Most Affordable Lightweight Camper
Forest River R-Pod RP-171
The Forest River R-Pod is a lightweight camper that has a dry weight of approximately 2,500 pounds. At 18.4 feet long, it is one of the longer and heavier campers on the list. I liked the R-Pod because it was spacious, and the model I tested had an actual bathroom with a sink, shower, and toilet.
There are larger R-Pods models with slideouts and more space, but the RP-171 was the lightest model available. The little travel trailer sleeps three to four people. It has all of the conveniences of home, like a kitchen equipped with a cooktop, refrigerator, convection microwave, and plenty of storage. It also has a furnace and air conditioning unit.
I liked that the model had a queen bed at one end and that the kitchenette turned into a bed if needed. This model is a bit heavy to tow behind a car, but a light truck, minivan, crossover, or SUV could handle it easily. I also liked that this trailer looks like a traditional travel trailer, as many lightweight trailers have a unique look to them.
- Wet bathroom
- Kitchen appliances
- Queen bed with extra bed
- Swivel TV
- No slide-outs
- Tiny bathroom
Best Classic Trailer
Homegrown Campers Wood Camper
The Homegrown Camper is one of the most beautiful campers I’ve ever seen. It is in the iconic teardrop shape that many lightweight campers have, but instead of aluminum siding, this one has wood paneling on the outside. Homegrown offers four different color combinations along with the choice of beveled or tongue-and-groove exterior siding.
I didn’t find the interior as lovely as the exterior, but it makes sense that it is more practical than stylish. The bed options worked as the couch turned into a set of bunk beds, and the dinette and benches turned into an extra-large twin bed.
This lightweight camper has a dry weight between 2,700 and 2,850. It measures 19 feet long, so it should fit in a typical residential garage. Another plus with the Homegrown Camper is that the interior is made of sustainable products, like the cork floor, durable Richlite countertops, and composting toilet.
This camper was delightful to use. The solar panels on the roof made it possible to take the camper off the grid. And, the popup top provided enough headroom for comfort while inside. The camper has a small toilet for convenience, too. Unfortunately, the camper does not have a sink or shower in the bathroom.
- Pop-up top
- Solar panels
- Made with sustainable materials
- No slide-outs
- No sink or shower in bathroom
- Utilitarian interior
- Small kitchen appliances
Winnebago Micro Minnie
Learning that there was something smaller than a Minnie Winnie made me happy, as I spent many summers in my grandparent’s Winnebago. The Micro Minnie did not disappoint as it felt like an upgraded, yet smaller version of the Winnie from my childhood.
The Micro Minnie is 19.4 feet long, 7 feet wide, and 10.5 feet tall. Within that space is enough sleeping room for three, and a foot-pedal flush toilet and a small shower stall. The only sink is in the galley along with a refrigerator, microwave, two-burner cooktop, and plenty of storage. This equipment put the dry weight at 3,360 pounds, making one of the heavier choices on this list.
I liked that the Micro Minnie was loaded with technology. It has an LED TV, several USB charger ports, and prep for WiFi. It also has an AV system with all the necessities, including Bluetooth and a wireless smartphone charger.
As a bonus, the Micro Minnie has an awning, so I was able to enjoy my time outside in the shade. It’s a good-looking camper that comes in white or silver. Unfortunately, the Micro Minnie does not have slide outs, but it felt spacious considering how small it actually is.
- Spacious interior
- Loaded with entertainment technology
- Plenty of storage
- No slideouts
- No sink in the bathroom
- Sleeps three
Best For Off-Roading
Hiker Trailer Off-Road
If your favorite type of camping is off-road and off-the-grid, the Hiker Trailer is for you. This is one of the smallest camper options on the market today. Their small size and tall tire clearance make them ideal for off-road camping and towed behind SUVs, Jeeps, and passenger cars.
I was a little leery of the Hiker Trailer until I got to my destination. It was easy to tow behind my Wrangler, and I found it comfortable for sleeping. When you get down to it, the Hiker Trailer is not much more than a tent with hard sides, wheels, and some storage compartments. You can customize them to fit your storage, awning, and ventilation needs.
These campers do not come with any bathroom facilities, and they do not have galleys. The basic model has walls, a window or two, a flat floor, a cabinet, and necessary accessories for towing behind a vehicle.
Because these are bare-bones sleeping spaces, they are less expensive than other campers with more amenities. But, despite the small size, the customizable teardrop trailers are durable and quite comfortable, too. If you want to rough it with four sturdy walls, this is the camper for you.
The smallest Hiker has a dry weight of 2000 pounds, and the Extreme Off-Road model has a dry weight of 4,500 pounds. The shortest length you can buy is eight feet, and the longest is 10 feet.
- Fully customizable
- Can be towed by most vehicles
- Designed for off-road camping
- No slideouts
- No galley
- No bathroom
Safari Condo Alto
The Safari line of campers is lightweight, eco-friendly, and durable. Like the Taxa Cricket, the Safari line of campers have a unique design that separates them from the rest. The roof lifts to provide more headroom and ventilation after you reach your destination.
Most of the camper and the equipment inside is made of lightweight aluminum and a material called Alufiber that combines aluminum and fiberglass. I loved the way this camper looked, and I liked the eco-friendly design even more. All of the Alto models have dry weights under 3,000 pounds, while the lightest model with a fixed roof weighs in at 1,765 pounds.
I used a model with a retractable roof and loved how it opened the camper to the environment with the large tempered glass crescent. The models have different bed sizes, with permanent king or queen beds, and with dinettes that change to add sleeping space when needed.
They all have fixed flush toilets, but some models do not have showers. The most significant benefit of the Safari line of campers is the aerodynamic design. Towing a camper can eat at gas mileage, but the aerodynamics made the fill-ups at the gas stations a little less painful than other campers.
- Several design choices
- Stylish and eco-friendly
- Not all have showers
- No slideouts
- Tight squeeze in galleys
What to Look For in Lightweight Travel Trailers
When buying a lightweight trailer, there are several factors to consider. Lightweight campers come in several sizes and shapes, so choosing one that fits will make your camping trips more fun.
One of the most important considerations is the dry weight, which is the weight of the trailer without any gear inside of it. All vehicles have a maximum towing capacity, and it is never a good idea to tow something that weighs more than the manufacturer’s recommended maximum.
For example, my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited can safely tow up to 3,500 pounds. I was able to tow all of the campers on this list with my four-door Wrangler without putting excessive wear-and-tear on my transmission and engine.
If you must have your bathroom, you are limited in the lightweight campers that will work for you. Some lightweight campers do not have running water, gray tanks, or black tanks. If you are looking for rough camping or go to campgrounds with communal showers, then having a private bathroom isn’t that big.
The bathroom and tanks reduce the dry weight of the camper and make them easier for cars, minivans, and SUVs to tow.
Large campers often have storage space that is large enough to hold furniture. But, this is not the case with lightweight campers. Many of them have limited space, and it is often engineered into unusual places, like under beds or in the galley.
Popups and Slideouts
Slideouts and roof popups add space to these small, lightweight campers. Many lightweight campers have popup roofs to add ventilation and headroom rather than slideouts. However, it is not unheard of to have a slideout in a lightweight camper. Just remember that these features can add dry weight, which narrows the options for towing vehicles.
Lightweight campers usually do not have gourmet galleys. Some models do not have kitchens at all. However, if you are happy with a cooktop or two and a microwave oven, a lightweight-camper galley will do. Keep in mind that most lightweight campers only have small, dorm-room sized refrigerators, too.
The goal of lightweight campers is to keep them lightweight, and galley appliances and cabinetry add to the dry weight. When you camp in a lightweight trailer, you will most likely do your cooking over an open fire or in your microwave oven.
Want to see more of our top picks? Check out these guides:
- The best travel trailers
- Best fiberglass travel trailers
- Best luxury travel trailers
- Best bunk house travel trailers
- Best four season travel trailers
- Best travel trailers for dry camping
- The best RVs for full-time RVers
If you’re not quite ready to buy a new or used travel trailer, you should think about renting one! Read my guide on the best RV rental companies to find out who to rent from.