No matter what type of camper or trailer you’re in the market for, you likely have many, many options. This is true even if you’re looking for the cheapest camper and have less than $25,000 in your budget. You can find numerous pre-loved versions in this price range—and potentially for significantly less. And there may even be a couple of brand-new options, depending on the size, make, model, and vintage.
While budget is often the top consideration, it’s also important to look at the condition as well as the weight, durability, and features. Your budget constraints can be both a pro and a con. For instance, you may not get the dream cheapest camper with every bell and whistle. But let’s face it, just about any camper can provide greater comfort, protection, and warmth than tossing your sleeping bag on the cold, hard ground. As a bonus, having a budget helps narrow down options, so your search isn’t so overwhelming.
Pre-Loved Cheap Campers
One of the best ways to protect your budget is to look at pre-owned options. You can often find great deals on campers and trailers that are only a few years old or that have only been used only a handful of times. If you’re the DIY type, you can also find vintage options you can redo with your own style, flare, and preferences. Or, you can find ones that have been fully renovated with innovative styles and features you find appealing.
You may be able to find good options from dealers as well as online or in person from private sellers. Do, however, use caution and due diligence to ensure you are, in fact, getting a good deal and avoiding scams. It’s worth being cautious before making any purchase, especially for one as big as this.
Know what you’re getting into and check out reviews from dealers and online sellers. To protect yourself from online scams:
- For dealers (in person and online), check their BBB listing to ensure they have a business profile and how well they resolve issues.
- Examine the seller’s website if you’re buying online. Cross-check the information, such as contact info and location by calling, using Google Maps, or driving by. Use a website tracker to learn about the seller—especially if the deal looks too good to be true. This can help you research the seller’s authenticity and security.
- Buy with your credit card, which can be used to dispute if the sale doesn’t go through. Avoid wire transfers or cash unless you’re picking up the cheapest camper in person.
- Look for ads with multiple photos of the actual vehicle. Remember, photos can make a camper or trailer look way better than it does in person. If you’re out of town or out of state and can’t see the unit in person, ask for a Facetime interview or live walkthrough video.
- Check the camper’s value and read up on common problems or issues with the seller or particular campers or trailers. Online forums may be especially helpful.
Finding the Cheapest Trailers
The average price for a used camper varies (a lot) depending on the location, type, make, model, year, trim package, floorplan, and more. Like used cars, some models are highly sought after and can thus demand a higher price. Some are less well-known and can provide better options at a more affordable price. And unfortunately, campers and trailers have gained significant popularity since the pandemic, pushing prices up significantly in the last few years.
Even if you’re looking for newer models, you still have options. Here are some popular affordable trailers that can sell for under $25,000 (again, depending on the year, model, and features):
- Forest River Flagstaff E-Pro Travel Trailer offers a range of styles and amenities designed for towability and affordability.
- Keystone Springdale Comfort Travel Trailers from a well-establish manufacturer with a rep for value and quality builds that can be towed with a light-duty pickup or full-size SUV.
- Gulfstream Ameri-Lite Super Lite Travel Trailers have developed a loyal following due to their aluminum and wood construction and light hitch weight that may even be pulled by a mid-sized SUV. If you wait to buy after peak season (into early fall), you may get in on a great end-of-season clearance sale for an even more affordable price. However, one common complaint is that their design is compact and may be less comfortable for taller adults.
- Jayco Jay Flight SLX offers a lot of bang for your buck, easy towability, and consistency, resulting in many happy campers. While they’re smaller units, they do provide great features and options.
- Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro is another option that offers a lot of bang for your buck with style, amenities, and maneuverability.
- Riverside Retro Travel Trailer: if you’re looking for a vintage look with more modern comforts, these eye-catching travel trailers won’t disappoint. Most have a cool 1950s flare and nostalgic curves without the concerns that come with a vintage vehicle.
Other top choices for the cheapest campers include:
- Sunray 129 Travel Trailer
- Forest River Cherokee Wolf Pup
- Dutchmen Aspen Trail LE
- Forest River Flagstaff Pop-Up Camper
- Coachmen Clipper Ultra-Lite
- Oregon Trailer Do Drop
- The American Dream Trailer
- Coleman Lantern LT17R
Again, don’t forget to consider used travel trailers. You can often find options with very few miles or uses that you can get for significantly less. And if you are willing and able to do some maintenance and repairs yourself, you can save even more.
Many people enjoy the camping experience so much, they upgrade to larger, more luxurious options after a few years. Or they trade up (larger) or down (smaller) as their family transitions over the years. Just make sure you check out the cheaper trailers well to ensure they’ve been well cared for and properly stored.
While you can find used cheap campers on Facebook Marketplace, Offer-up, Craig’s list, and others from private sellers, there are a range of places that list new and used trailers, including:
Before you buy, first:
- Find your why—what type of camping will you be doing?
- How long—will you be going out for fun weekend trips or extended vacations?
- Find your who—who will you be taking with you (i.e., how many people need to comfortably fit in the camper)?
- Make a checklist—decide what features are most important for your needs.
- Do your research to make sure it’s in good working condition (or you have the time and money to either do the work yourself to fix it or hire it out).
- Do your due diligence on the camper and the seller to ensure it’s a good deal for everyone involved (and no matter where it’s listed, watch for red flags, and protect yourself from scammers). Don’t be afraid to shop around.
- Take your time to find the best trailer for you at an affordable price. If you’re not absolutely sure you’re ready to buy, hold off on putting down a deposit that you may not be able to get back.
Most important, enjoy the process and your investment! No matter how expensive or cheap your camper is, you’re bound to have amazing adventures and meet fantastic people on the road and around the campsite.