Life is full of limits, which is why the RV lifestyle is so appealing. It allows people from all walks of life to travel and explore.
Just take a look at the parking lot of the Grand Canyon. You’ll see RVs of every type, length, weight, and manufacturer from every corner of the country.
Many RV consumers have a desire to keep their more fuel-efficient vehicles, yet they still want a travel trailer that has all the amenities needed to take week-long trips. New construction materials are making RVs lighter, stronger, and more versatile. Features that exist in 30 plus foot coaches are now seen in trailers as small as 15 feet or less.
The small RV category is unique unto itself. Big-name manufacturers compete with independent small companies. Many of the small companies create new technologies the big names haven’t even thought of yet.
For our discussion, we will define small travel trailers by the following criteria:
- They are self-contained- this means that all features are within the coach itself. Trailers that only have outdoor kitchens fall within another category
- The coach does not have an interior length of more than 23 feet in length. They may be apart of a series that have floorplans that exceed this length, but we will define this.
- Dry weights will not exceed 3,500 pounds. We will focus our attention on those that are the lightest in weight. Some do go as high as 4,000, but this is an effect materials used. Some of the trailers are apart of a series that extend out of the small travel trailer parameters. We will feature those models that fall within our small trailer limits.
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For the 2019-2020 model years, here are the 13 best small travel trailers on the market.
- 12.11- 19.8 feet in length
- 1,570- 3,095 pounds dry weight
- 5 different floorplans
- Sleep up to 4 people
- $13,496- $27,290 MSRP
Jayco’s quality manufacturing is a benchmark in the industry. The Hummingbird line is a great introduction to the small and compact category. Each floorplan gives great examples of small trailer features. Yet their self-contained models also have full feature amenities as well.
The 17MBS is 19.9 feet in length and has a 3,095-pound dry weight. The front has a murphy bed that shares space with a sofa. This is a feature that many manufacturers use as a space saver. As a trade-off, Jayco gives you a separate toilet and shower instead of a combined wet bath for an amenity balance.
This particular coach is an off-road model with 15 inch Goodyear mud tires and a raised chassis. They seal the underbelly with a layer of Astro-Foil to protect it and as an insulator. Despite its size, there is still plenty of space for linens, wardrobe, and pantry items within.
The 17RK is the exact length and dry weight of the 17MBS but is very different. The front of the coach has a permanent queen-size bed. It has a driver-side slide out that with a U-shaped dinette and refrigerator/microwave. The kitchen counter takes up the entire width of the rear. The tradeoff is a combination wet bath.
As you can see, Jayco does a lot with the space. Even their compact trailer has its advantages. If you are looking to get into the small travel trailer RV lifestyle, Jayco is a great place to start.
- 16-17 feet in length
- 1,970- 2,480 pounds dry weight
- 5 different floorplans/models
- Sleep up to 6 people
- $17,225- $20,289
Casita is a family-owned business that started in 1983. Their coaches have many configurations you can choose from. Their products can travel off-road and off-season with enough room to fit everyone.
Casita designs their trailers based on two sizes. Their two-piece fiberglass shells come in either 16 feet or 17 feet. Each size then has a standard or deluxe package. The deluxe models offer an all-in-one toilet/shower wet bath and black water holding tank.
Standard packages use the wet bath area for added storage or sitting/sleeping space. This allows for more people to be comfortable. It also means you would have to rely on campground facilities for restrooms and showers. If your camping style is more off-grid, the deluxe package may fit your needs better.
Casita matches a floorplan with a model. This means that if you want the two- twin bed floorplan, you would choose the Independence model. Whichever model you choose, weight and pricing are the same. The manufacturer sets the price of their products.
- The 16-foot standard dry weight is 1,970 pounds and is $17,225.
- The 16-foot deluxe dry weight is 2,185 pounds and is $19,279.
- The 17-foot standard dry weight is 2,210 pounds and is $18,320.
- The 17-foot deluxe dry weight is 2,480 pounds and is $20,289.
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- 13 to 16 feet in length
- 1,200- 2,000 pounds dry weight
- 7 different floorplans
- Sleep up to 4 people
- Between $15,000- $20,000
The Scamp Travel Trailer has been a Minnesota manufacturer since 1972. Instead of mass production, each coach is built to the customer’s specifications. They can choose the size, layout, and interior features they want.
According to some owners, the building time took a matter of a few weeks. What they enjoyed the most out of the experience was the interactive experience. The manufacturer sent pictures and answered questions during the whole process.
Once completed, customers pick up their unit at Scamp’s headquarters in Backus, Minnesota. If the customer can’t get there, Scamp will go the extra mile to help their customers out. The company can deliver the RV to the customer anywhere in the continental United States.
Scamp has three sizes. The 13 and 16-foot models are travel trailers, and the 19 is a fifth wheel. Each size has a standard and deluxe version. The 13 foot has two layouts, while the 16 foot has five. Some models have a combination toilet/shower wet baths, others do not.
Costs are unique to each trailer. Scamp does not publish their starting prices. Some owners have discussed their pricing on forums across the internet. Generally, these price points have come in between $15,000 to $20,000 depending on the model, package, and additional features they have chosen.
The 13-foot standard layouts give you either a sofa or a dinette upfront. The first layout gives you a sofa that can convert into a bunk bed. The second layout replaces the sofa for a wet bath and a second closet. In the deluxe version, the choice is between a dinette or a wet bath.
The features that stay constant are the rear dinettes that fold out to make the master bedroom. They also come with full kitchens that include sinks and small refrigerators.
Standard models offer a more basic approach to camping. Kitchens have a 1.9 cubic foot refrigerator as a part of additional packages. Many electronic features like TV hookups are optional. Customers that want to choose individual amenities may decide on these models.
Deluxe models have more of a complete package offering than the standard models. Bigger features and amenities are available. Many electronics like TV hookups, air conditioners, vinyl flooring, and other high-end features can be added.
- 16 to 22 feet in length
- 3,000- 4,000 pounds dry weight
- 4 different floorplans
- Sleeps up to 4 people
- $49,000 to $58,000
With the retirement of the Sport, Airstream further developed their Bambi series. This small coach gave the company the ability to join in on the small travel trailer market. It also stays within the weight capacities small coach campers are looking for.
It comes in a 16, 19, 20, and 22-foot floor plan. Each one has a fixed double bed, dinette, full kitchen, and bathroom. The 16-foot model has a combined wet bath, but the others have full bathrooms. Each dinette folds down to allow an additional two sleepers.
The Bambi is spacious for its size. Airstream uses light colors in the coach to keep the interior bright and enhance the open feel. They also keep to their European styling to give the unit a sophisticated look.
As expected, Airstream uses only the best when it comes to their amenities. The bed has a memory foam mattress. The entertainment system uses JBL sound equipment and an LED TV. There are also USB ports and LED lights throughout the RV itself.
Each coach has an optional solar panel system that can be factory installed. Otherwise, each one comes prewired for external solar panel setups.
- 18.10- 27.3 feet in length
- 2,690- 3,820 pounds dry weight
- 11 different floorplans
- Sleep up to 10 people
- $11,995- $29,300
The KZ Escape series is the most versatile series of our list. Within the 11 floorplans, seven of them fit into our definition of small travel trailers. Among them, there are hybrids, slideouts, and even a toy hauler that measure within 22 feet or less.
KZ designs this series with everybody in mind. Their one of the models caters to the off-road enthusiast. The E191BH sits higher and comes with 15-inch mud tires. It also has electronic-controlled heated holding tanks that help with off-season camping.
The E171MB has a unique storage feature. On the slide-out that holds the refrigerator is a storage space that has both an inside and outside access. It also has a queen-size murphy bed that shares its space with a sofa. The coach has a full bathroom and kitchen that completes the interior space.
The E171 MB is 19.8 feet in length and has a dry weight of 3,170 pounds. Your midsize-SUV won’t have any problems towing this coach.
- 17.2- 21.0 feet in length
- 1,993- 3,140 pounds dry weight
- 17 different floorplans
- Sleep up to 3 people
- $20,000- $30,000
Little Guy Trailer Company has reinvigorated the teardrop trailer for the 21st century. This RV maker has created a self-contained teardrop with modern conveniences. They keep with the tradition of the teardrop by keeping tow weights at car towing capacities.
Little Guy Mini Max is light enough to use your car/SUV crossover, yet gives you features of a full-size RV. The bright maple hardwood cabinetry contains a full kitchen. This also includes a category-leading four cubic foot fridge. Many RVs of this size don’t have refrigerators this large.
The Little Guy Max is four feet long and weighs in a little under 2,000 pounds. Many 21-foot trailers weight more than this. One of the great features of this coach is the ability to hook up your small SUV as your tow vehicle.
The versatility of the dinette is quite special. Most fold down to a double bed. This one gives you the option of either two twin beds or a queen-size configuration. This works by having the dinette on a hydraulic and sliding bed slats that support the middle of the bed.
A lot of thought went into the wet bath of these coaches. Toilet paper covers are waterproof. The shower uses 2.2 gallons a minute to conserve water. The space allows a person to move around without knocking into the toilet while cleaning off.
RV Pro Magazine rated the Little Guy Max Best in Show for 2018 at the RVIA National RV Trade Show. The RV maker won for its nostalgic styling, modern features, and amount of storage for its size.
- 18.4- 22.2 feet in length
- 2,497- 3,600 pounds dry weight
- 15 different floorplans
- Sleep up to 4 people
- $14,500- $30,000
The Forest River R-Pod is celebrating its 10th year in production. Many of the features and amenities on this RV borrow from its big brothers and sisters. With 15 different floorplans to choose from, there is an R-Pod for everyone in this small category.
The 10th-anniversary package comes with many upgraded standard features. Furrion sound systems, solar charging ports, and seamless kitchen countertops are some. Other popular features include a pet-friendly frame-mounted utility hook for your dog.
Most of the floorplans have permanent queen-size beds. Other sleeping spaces include fold-down dinettes, bunk beds, and murphy beds. The R-Pod is a master of the ability to make the most of the space in its coach. This is why it has been so popular for so long.
Popular add-ons include a solar panel system with a 110-watt panel and a 1,000-watt inverter. Some models can have a factory built-in outdoor kitchen added as well. The R-Pod has a screen room that attaches to your awning to complete your outdoor space.
- 18.10 feet in length
- 4,150- 4,350 pounds dry weight
- 4 different floorplans
- Sleep up to 5 people
- $50,000- $57,500
When tent camping does not work out for the whole family, most get into the RV lifestyle. The founder of Homegrown Trailers took that a step further. He and his team built a trailer out of sustainable materials in Kirkland, Washington.
The Timberline is an 18.10-foot travel trailer that uses green materials in its construction. Both the interior and exterior are made from wood paneling. Wool insulation creates a strong barrier against the outdoor temperatures.
The off-grid package has a 600-800 solar panel wattage to power all the electronic needs of the coach. The wet bath area gives you the option of a clean or composting toilet. For easy access, the grey water tank is external and simple to drain.
Everything about this coach is green and sustainable. They did not forget about styling and comfort. The aerodynamic shape is teardrop inspired to cut down on wind resistance. There is plenty of headroom and floorspace to allow up to five people to move around.
The coach has plenty of modern conveniences too. A full kitchen with a refrigerator allows meal preparation. Heat and air conditioning units are optional add-ons as well.
- 18.5- 23.6 feet in length
- 3,400- 4,600 pounds dry weight
- 6 different floorplans
- Sleep up to 3 people
- $48,900- $55,900
When you buy an Oliver Travel Trailer (a.k.a. “Ollie”), you become a member of the club. Oliver sells its trailers factory direct. They only build them per customer order. Once built, buyers pick up their trailers at the factory in Hohenwald, Tennessee.
Currently, Ollie makes the Elite I and II. The Elite I has two floorplans, and Elite II has four. The main bed is either permanent or a fold-down dinette. The third sleeping space is either a twin bed or two-seater dinette that folds down.
Ollies come with many standard features that compete with many big names in the RV world. What makes Ollie so unique are the many add-ons that others don’t offer. One surprising option is dual awnings. One for the door side, and another for the opposite side of the coach.
They also offer thought-provoking ideas. Specialized materials that clear away moisture from condensation areas. External storage baskets and receivers for bike racks. Propane water heaters and various electronic signal boosters. There are many other optional add-ons worth exploring.
Once a customer has worked with their sales representative, the order goes to the factory. Production time can take 8 to 10 weeks to build your RV. Once it’s ready, the customer comes to the factory and spends their first night in their new coach.
The buying process is as unique as the trailer itself.
- 14- 25 feet in length
- 2,600-5,875 pounds dry weight
- 12 different floorplans
- Sleep up to 7 people
- $27,500- $66,400
Of the many big names that need mention, Lance is the unexpected winner. Their line up offers nine models that are 22 feet or less in length. Only three of them have a dry weight under 4,000 pounds. They may be heavy, but their design is extraordinary.
In fact, one of their models, the Lance 2075 is the Best in Show award winner with RV Pro Magazine for 2020. This model won due to its best technique of separating the bedroom area from the living room space. It has a queen-size bed in front and a U-shaped dinette in the rear that is on a slide-out.
The lightest model makes the best use of its 14 feet of interior space. It has a front sofa that folds out to a double bed. The rear has a full bathroom instead of a wet bath. It also includes a full kitchen.
Instead of trying to squeeze in a dinette, the designers placed two padded chairs with a small table. This allows the RVers to sit and relax in front of a big picture window. No matter how it’s used, there is still a feeling of spaciousness and relaxation.
If you look at Lance’s line up, all the models they have a focus on one point. Their travel trailers give their users the most use of open space. The company wants its customers to have a relaxing experience, no matter the length of the RV.
- 10 feet in length
- 1,100 pounds dry weight
- Numerous different floorplans
- Sleep up to 5 people
- $24,950 starting price
Have you ever looked around your RV and said to yourself, “I wish I had…?” If you owned an HC1 from Happier Camper, your response might be, “I have a box for that.”
This Los Angeles, California company has taken modular camping to the next level. The basis of the coach’s interior starts with 20-inch x 20-inch plastic boxes. Some are for storage. Others are more complicated. One can be the deluxe kitchen with pull out fridge, stove, and sink. Another could hold the wooden countertops for tables.
To configure the things you need, you place and stack the boxes according to what you need at the time. If you need to use the kitchen and dinette, you place the kitchen setup on top of storage boxes. The tabletop fits into the position between the seating.
At night, you place all the boxes on the same level and the sleeping pad over them. This gives you enough sleeping space for up to five people at night. With the large windows on three of the walls, there is plenty of cross breeze at night to keep things cool.
To add to the appeal, the designers gave their trailer a classic 1950’s nostalgic appeal. It comes in seven different colors you can choose from.
Additional options include a loading ramp to help you load your dirt bikes and other toys. A 100-watt solar panel and inverter. An elevated frame with off-road tires. To add space, they have a screen room that connects to the tailgate. You can also get a dry flush toilet.
With this weight and design, almost any vehicle can tow it. The honeycomb base and dual fiberglass shell are strong enough to hold anything. The Adaptiv components come in packages that add weight. With the components, you should assume around 2,000 pounds fully loaded.
- 16- 19 feet in length
- 2,590- 3,375 pounds dry weight
- 3 different floorplans
- Sleep up to 6 people
- $24,890- $35,000
When most people think of small travel trailers, luxury isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. The designers at inTech have changed that type of thinking. Their line of Sol trailers has combined luxury, unique style, and small size in new ways.
The first thing you notice is the shape of their trailers. The tilt-front shape adds space without sacrificing aerodynamics. In the Dawn model, the front panoramic windshield allows those at the dinette to enjoy the view. The Eclipse places the kitchen upfront. This gives plenty of natural light while preparing meals.
The luxury-style amenities, regardless of model, give a high-class feel to the RV. The kitchen area has stainless steel amenities that include a 3.7 cubic foot refrigerator. The flooring is a woven vinyl that is a perfect combination of style and resilience to dirt and stains.
The dinettes in both models fold out into the bed in these coaches. In the Dawn, the measurements are 48 x 80. The Eclipse is 55 x 80. When you compare these to residential beds, you get the length of a queen.
The wet baths are very large in both models. Whichever model you choose, you will receive a real porcelain toilet. inTech made sure to give you plenty of room to take a standing shower and not feel claustrophobic. Their wet baths are the largest in their class.
- 18.11 feet in length
- 2,500 pounds dry weight
- 1 American floorplan, 11 German floorplans
- Sleeps up to 3 people
- $18,995- $20,995
The appeal of European design has become a new trend in the United State in recent years. This has given consumers new form and function options. In the Class B motorhome category, European-based chassis have benefits never seen before.
Eriba RV decided to take this a step further. This past year, they decided to open a North American Division here in the United States. This German company introduced its Hymer Touring GT to America. While it may be new to the U.S., this coach dates back to the late 1950s.
The first unique feature of this coach is its expandable roof. Once opened, it gives almost a 6.4 feet height within the coach.
The current layout available in the United States has a king-size bed in the rear of the coach. This is unique since it’s truly rare for a travel trailer to have a permanent bed of this size. The front of the coach has a fold-down dinette that can accommodate an additional sleeper.
The cabinetry follows European style with its rounded fronts. This gives additional inches to each storage space. The faucet folds down into the sink and has a cover that folds on top of it. The two-burner gas stove also has a cover. This allows the added counter space for meal prep.
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The bathroom is full-featured. It comes with a cassette toilet that has it’s own external bay for easy draining. The shower is big enough to clean up without banging your arms against the walls.
Another unique feature is their window and door screens. For the door, there is a hidden screen that pulls out from the side. Pull-down sunscreens and privacy shades act as screens as well. When you open the windows, the hatches act as hard-shell awnings to prevent rain and other weather from coming into the coach.
Product data was last updated on 2021-03-01 at 22:55.