In our series on lightweight travel trailers, there are those that want the perfect combination of full-size travel trailer features, with the advantages of fuel efficiency and lower costs. This segment of consumers will find that the best travel trailers for them are under the 5,000-pound range. Many big brands and independent manufacturers have what they are looking for.
These RVs range between 23- 28 feet in range. They come with or without slideouts. The amenities are at or near full-size dimensions.
The examples below are the best travel trailers under 5,000 pounds for the 2020 RV market. We’ll feature different floorplans to show you how diverse this sub-group is. Before we do so, let’s check out some safe towing vehicles for this segment of travel trailers.
Choosing The Right SUV
These lightweight travel trailers that are SUV-friendly, need to be towed by a vehicle that has an additional towing capacity above the RV’s unloaded vehicle weight (UVW). You may have a tow vehicle that can tow 5,000 pounds, but once you start loading these coaches up, you can exceed your vehicle’s capacity. You need a tow vehicle that has at least another 1,000 pounds for the following reasons:
- Camping gear and supplies: Assume 400- 600 pounds
- Holding tanks: It’s always advisable to travel with some freshwater in the holding tank. You may have to use your bathroom on the way.
- Weight of your passengers: Veteran RVers assume 170-200 pounds per individual traveling in the tow vehicle. It’s always better to overestimate.
- Strength for hills and road conditions: The more power your tow vehicle needs to tow, the less power it will have to tackle hills, mountains, and other road challenges.
- Fuel efficiency and other X-factors: The less power your SUV or truck needs to tow, the less fuel it needs. X-factors can be any other situation you’re not thinking of. The smart RVer always prepares for the unexpected and hopes it never comes.
Here’s a list of example SUVs that match this description. Pickup trucks have towing capabilities that exceed this criterion, that’s why we’re not including them. These towing capacities include the tow package models with the strongest engines available.
|Company||Model||Tow Capacity, lb|
If your truck has less towing capability, you need to check our articles about the lighter travel trailers under 3,000 and 2,000 pounds.
The Best Variety of Travel Trailers Under 5,000 Pounds
Airstream Caravel 20 FB
- Dry weight: 4,300 UVW
- Exterior Length: 20.8 feet
- Sleeping capacity: Up to 4 people
- MSRP: $62,234
Named after Spanish fleet ships of the 1500s, this lightweight travel trailer series was reawakened after the Sport was discontinued. The 20FB is the heaviest of the four versions and falls between the 16-22 feet lengths you can choose from. This lineup focuses on giving Airstream customers big unit features in a lightweight coach and touches of upscale class.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Caravel is the hand-painted hitch. The new hitch coupler and other components have been redesigned to make sure your travel trailer keeps its hold to your tow vehicle. You’ll also see a power tongue jack, backup camera, and a full-size spare tire that comes standard with the RV.
Features that you can see include Moen faucets, an all-electric refrigerator, and a mounted LED TV that can be seen at both ends of the coach. Subtle things include touch dimmer switches for the lighting, non-slick cushions on the seating, and frosted white slider doors on the overhead cabinets. What you don’t see is even more amazing.
The Caravel has ducted air conditioning and a dual gas/electric water heater. For dry camping, you can choose the optional 90-watt solar panel or hook into the pre-wire port with your own panels. Either way, a 1,000-watt inverter comes standard in the coach as well.
To help control the temperature, you can also ask for the optional awnings to be installed over all of the side and rear windows. The front panoramic window that Airstreams are known for, use the tinted rock guards as awnings. On breezy days, there are plenty of windows around the coach to let nature handle your climate-control.
Coleman Light LX 2125BH
- Dry weight: 4,554 pounds UVW
- Length: 25.8 feet
- Sleeping capacity: Between 5-6 people
- Base price: $24,328
There was a point in time where RV consumers only bought units with slideouts. Those days are long over. The Light LX 2125BH is a great entry-level travel trailer under 5,000 lbs. This bunkhouse unit is both family-friendly and SUV-friendly weighing in under 4,600 pounds UVW.
Coleman does a great job of keeping the interior bright with their light solid wood interior and decore. There’s deep storage strategically placed throughout the RV. The front sofa and the lower double-sized bunk can store your biggest items.
To save space, the master bed is a murphy bed that folds over the day time sofa. Coleman does a great job of keeping the mattress comfortable for this moveable bed. There are nightstands on either side of the bed/sofa with charging stations for all of your mobile devices.
The kitchen has seamless countertops and has a recessed two-burner stove with a cover that’s flush to the counter. You might have a hard time with bigger pots and pans on the burners, but the outdoor kitchen’s stoves can fit just about any size. The outside space also has a small refrigerator and utensil storage to keep you independent from the indoor kitchen.
The bathroom has plenty of legroom even without the slideout. The tub style shower doesn’t have a skylight that gives more headspace, but it helps keep temperatures inside consistent. The tub is big enough for small children or four-legged children to get cleaned up from their romp in the dirt and mud.
Another way Coleman helps with keeping temperatures consistent is the sealed underbelly. They also use sealed framed windows too. This prevents the combined 13,500 air conditioner/heater from working overtime because of leaking issues.
Palomino SolAire Expandable 185 Hybrid
- Dry weight: 4,134 pounds UVW
- Length: 25.9 feet
- Sleeping capacity: Up to 8 people
- $19,500- $23,200
When people shop for the best quality travel trailers under 5,000 lbs., many don’t consider the advantages of hybrid trailers. Like all hybrids, you’ll have the ability to sleep more people and have more interior walking space than traditional travel trailers of comparable size. You can read more about the many benefits of hybrids in our feature article.
The Palomino SolAire 185X has three expandable beds and a fold-down U-shaped dinette. The expandable beds measure to queen-size dimensions. This lightweight RV is the perfect balance between affordability and comfort for large families.
Opposite the dinette, there’s a separate table with two stools that can be used as a workspace or entertainment station. With the sink and stove cover, there is a lot of counter space to work in the kitchen. They place the 8 cubic foot refrigerator and a big pantry opposite of the kitchen so you have enough storage space to feed everyone.
You can take your meals outside with the outdoor kitchen. It has a two-burner stove, a small refrigerator, and utensil storage. While you’re outside, you can enjoy the evening under the power awning with LED lights and listen to your favorite music through the all-weather outdoor speakers.
Gulf Stream Trailmaster Light 238RK
- Dry weight: 4,830 pounds UVW
- Length: 28.6 feet
- Sleeping capacity: Up to 6 people
This rear kitchen model is a phenomenal travel trailer for couples to relax. There’s plenty of room for the two of you to walk around without invading each other’s personal space. There are also cozy spots to interact when you want too.
The master bedroom allows the far-side sleeper to get to their side of the bed without having to do the “crab-walk” against the wall or hitting their head against an added TV. The second door opens into the master bedroom upfront. This will give you peace of mind as a better emergency exit compared to most other coaches that use windows as escape routes.
The kitchen has a six cubic foot double-door refrigerator. On the side of the full-sized sofa is a deep pantry that will hold weeks worth of dry goods. With the kitchen taking up the complete rear of the RV, you’ll have plenty of counter space and big appliances to prepare any type of meal.
Gulf Stream mounts the off-door slideout on the chassis, giving it real strength and reliability. Their framed windows prevent the ducted air conditioning from leaking out. To prevent water from settling or finding leaks, they use a crowned roof and drip rails to guide rain and moisture away from your travel trailer.
The front exterior pass-through storage isn’t as big as some RVs on the market. Fishing poles, tents, and other gear shouldn’t have a problem fitting in. If you have a really big item you need to bring with you, it may fit well in the master bedroom, inside the secondary door just for travel purposes.
Keystone Hideout 172LHS
- Dry weight: 3,700 pounds UVW
- Length: 21.4 feet
- Sleeping capacity: Up to 4 people
- $15,000- $18,5000
If you want a toy hauler, but don’t want one of those really long units, the Hideout 172LHS is the best lightweight toy hauler for you. It’s towable under 5,000 lbs.and has a six and a half foot garage that can fit most dirt bikes and ATVs. True to Keystone’s quality and standards, it’s far from a basic toy hauler.
After your day of outdoor adventures, you can refuel yourself by preparing your meal with a two-burner stove and microwave. The unit comes with a six cubic foot refrigerator, so you’ll have plenty of food options you can bring with you. Once your meal is ready, you can sit back and enjoy your meal on the fold-up sofa and table in the garage section.
While you’re sitting there, the RV comes pre-wired for TV and input sources. Binge-watch your favorite shows or the big game. When you’re ready to turn in, you and your partner can rest comfortably on the residential-sized queen bed upfront.
The entertainment center comes with a Bluetooth DVD/CD/MP3 stereo. You’ll also find charging ports and electrical outlets to charge up your mobile devices for tomorrow’s adventures throughout the coach. If you’re under the power awning, you can listen to your tunes through the all-weather speakers.
For those real adventure trips, you aren’t confined to civilization. This Hideout toy hauler comes pre-wired for solar panels. The sturdy walk-on roof has a gutter system on the edges to guide rainwater away from your trailer. The framed windows also help with keeping the indoor temperature as mild as you set it.
Travel Lite Falcon F-27BHK
- Dry weight: 4,200 pounds UVW
- Length: 27.4 feet
- Sleeping capacity: Up to 6 people
Just because you have one of the best travel trailers under 5,000 lbs, doesn’t mean it has to blend into the crowd. The Travel Lite Falcon series will have everyone in the campground noticing you as you pull in. With its sleek design and extreme color options, you’ll be answering questions even before you can put the tongue jack down.
After their restructuring, independent RV maker, Travel Lite hit the 2020 market like a tidal wave with their eye-catching lightweight travel trailers and truck campers. Their flagship Falcon comes in white, charcoal, red, or matte black. Everything about these RVs is meant to be noticed, even the ultra-aerodynamic front end.
There are subtle differences to the exterior as well. The diamond plate is brought up higher than their competition to increase the road debris protection of the trailer. They also doubled the standard propane capacity, giving RVers more time between refills.
Those that are serious about their music or the sound quality of the outdoor TV viewing will enjoy the all-weather speakers. Travel Lite includes a kicker to enhance the sound quality with those deep tones. Just make sure your neighbors are okay with it before you crank it up.
Travel Lite includes a TV arm in their master bedroom and TV holders both inside and outside. While you have your choice to buy whatever TV you want, they provide the brackets and the installed female-connectors pre-installed. By doing this, they make your indoor and outdoor entertainment setup that much easier.
The company took a different method with their cabinetry. They added windows on all of the cabinet doors. This not only lets you see inside but with the colored LED lights, gives your coach some added atmosphere.
Their coaches come in the Gran Turismo (GT), Nordic, or Extreme packages. The Nordic is their all-weather version. GT is a mid-level upgrade, and Extreme is their top of the line, all options package. When you choose the GT or the Extreme, they install a bigger refrigerator and other features.
One of the best features of their RVs is the placement of the wheels. You’ll notice that they sit outside of the coach instead of directly underneath. This gives greater stability and less sway.
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The F-27BHK is a bunkhouse model with an outdoor kitchen. A family of four will have plenty of room to enjoy this space as well as a guest on the fold-down dinette. The big pantry, six cubic foot refrigerator, and multiple storage compartments give everyone plenty of room to store everything they need for their camping adventure.
Charles Joseph is one of the original authors of Camper Smarts from when it first started.
Product data was last updated on 2023-06-08 at 11:19.