When you’re ready to head out on the highway, lookin’ for adventure, a big rig isn’t always the best choice. Sure, if you prefer a bit more comfort and luxury, want more room for a big party (or for lengthy stays), and don’t mind the higher gas prices, a large RV can be the way to go. But for many of us, it’s more about getting away than towing a home away from home. And the best small campers can get you there comfortably, with a lot of style, and with a more sustainable footprint and cost.
Especially for folks who travel alone, with a partner or pet, or even a small family, you’re often just looking for a place to lay your head at the end of a fun and exciting day. Throw in somewhere to make a good cup of coffee, a simple breakfast, and a convenient place to, er, relieve yourself and clean up before hitting the sack, and you’re all good, baby.
Fortunately, there are some great small campers on the market that fit the bill.
The Biggest Advantages for the Best Small Campers
The best small campers come with some big advantages over big RVs. For example, they’re:
- More sustainable
- Lower cost (you can find some that are under $10K)
- Have better gas mileage
- Often better suited for getting off-road and far from the beaten path and wandering deep into nature
- Able to go to places with smaller (or no) crowds
- Much easier to tow and maneuver because they’re smaller and lighter weight
- Easier to fit into campsites, parking spots, or storage units
- Perfect for finding freedom and adventure.
That said, even the best small campers aren’t for everyone, and they come with some drawbacks, such as:
- They don’t fit as many bodies, so they’re not as good for large families
- They don’t offer much room to entertain and can feel crowded and cramped, especially for longer stays
- They have smaller holding tanks and less storage space, so you may need to head back to civilization to top off water as well as supplies more often
- The bathrooms are often small or even non-existent, depending on the unit you choose
- They tend to be less comfortable and less luxurious than larger RVs.
The Best Small Campers
Still reading? Great, then it sounds like you’re happy considering the smaller unit for your next big adventure. There are a number of different types to consider, such as:
Classic and Retro-Looking Small Travel Trailers:
- Airstream Bambi: Comes with both an iconic design and a larger price tag to match (starting at nearly $60K). These are the smallest Airstreams available and have a single axle. But they also provide the quality Airstream is known for along with surprising space-maximizing options and roomy floorplans.
- Scamp Travel Trailer: By selling direct from the factory, each Scamp travel trailer can be essentially custom-built. They come in 4 sizes, which are all small, with the max length at 19 feet and the smallest at 13 feet. All versions are on the more affordable side, starting around $20K, and offer several comfortable configurations that can all be towed with a small vehicle (e.g., a small SUV). They also have impressive luxurious options to consider, including deluxe hardwood interiors, AC, and awnings.
- Happier Camper Travel Trailers: With one of the coolest-looking retro designs, Happier Campers make you happier just by looking at them. They’re also lightweight, easy to tow, and highly customizable with their unique modular ADAPTIV® interior that can be rearranged depending on your current camping needs. You can also upgrade to a lifted suspension version for more off-road capabilities. Pricing starts at just over $30K.
Pod Travel Small Campers
- Forest River offers a line of R-Pod Trailers that are lightweight, easy to tow at 19 to 25 feet, and provide excellent functionality and 11 floor plans to choose from, all with enough headroom to walk through comfortably. You can easily customize the space for your needs and desires for an affordable price, starting at around $30K.
- Riverside RV Retro 135: Starting with its eye-catching retro style and airy feel, this versatile option is small but mighty. With a full wet bath, complete kitchenette including a refrigerator and cooktop, it comes with all of the amenities of home but is lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Innovative Travel Trailers:
- Polydrop P19 Shorty: One of the most affordable options (starting around $10K), these unique-looking campers provide a lot in a very small space, with plenty of room for two people to sleep that can be converted into working space or a dinner table. Better yet, they are lightweight enough to be pulled with just about any vehicle and offer all-weather durability.
- TAXA Outdoors Cricket Camper: With a sleek, modern look and durability that’s designed for off-road travels, this unusual camper is super easy to tow (at only 15 feet) and maneuver, even in tight spaces. Yet it still has enough room to sleep two adults and two kids and has some excellent innovations for fitting more into a small space. They’re also reasonably affordable for a starting price of around $32K, depending on the habitat.
The Best Small Campers on the Market Takeaway
No matter where you’re heading, what style you’re looking for, what your budget is, how much weight your vehicle can pull, or what features are most important to you, there’s a small camper that can work for you. And the best small campers listed above is just the short list. There are many other quality small campers worth considering at nearly every price point.
While it helps to see RVs in person and look at all they have to offer, it’s even better to give them a try before you buy. There are several options that allow you to rent someone else’s RV with minimal hassle, so you can get a feel for its towability and comfort on trips, including:
Plus, renting an RV is a great way to get to know the RV community and provides an opportunity to meet cool, outdoorsy people who want to help you love RVing as much as they do.