If you have that need for adventure, but a bank account that says otherwise, your options aren’t limited to the #TentLife. There are campers your car can tow that your entry-level salary can handle. In this article, we’ll help you discover micro campers; what they are, and some models we like.
What is a Micro Campers
For perspective, certain Toyota Corolla models have a towing capacity of up to 1,500 pounds. Before you do a Google search for the closest RV dealership, you’ll want to look at your owner’s manual to find out the exact towing capacity your personal vehicle has, and if it needs special equipment.
These RVs use lightweight building materials like wood, fiberglass, or other materials to make them easy to tow. They’re still strong and have quality construction. When you compare them to their heavier counterparts, they’re usually smaller but have many of the same features.
People enjoy micro campers for a number of reasons. They get the benefits of the RV lifestyle like sleeping on a mattress, kitchenettes, insulated shells, and other creature comforts a tent doesn’t provide. They’re simple to pull and some are off-road/off-grid ready.
You’ll find micro campers have utility, comfort, and amenities to make your camping adventure everything you could hope for. The exteriors have roof racks and/or side attachments to hold your bikes, kayaks, or other equipment.
The interior space can be very comfortable for two people. Many come with climate-control, media systems, and at least double-sized mattresses. The storage spaces give you plenty of room to pack your gear and personal items neatly.
Rear hatch kitchens have features you’d find in most apartments and homes. Sinks have hot and cold faucets, microwaves, and two-burner cooktops allow you to make satisfying meals.
A lot of people will say that the best quality of small travel trailers like these is their add-ons. More traditional RVs have awnings that shade the outdoor space, making it more comfortable to use. Micro campers have enclosed tent-like additions that attach like awnings that do much more.
These tent awnings add valuable indoor space for many purposes. They serve as guest rooms, lounge areas, change rooms, and whatever else you can imagine. Some are big enough to set up folding furniture for dining space or shaded sitting areas.
Micro Campers We Like
Earth Traveler T250
- Dry Weight: 250 pounds
- Length: 11 feet
- Base Price: $30,000
The Earth Traveler is one of the more expensive micro campers, but it’s also the lightest RV on the market. This Sante Fe, New Mexico company has found a way to use carbon fiber to make a camper that is so light, a person could pick up and manually attach it to their car’s hitch.
You won’t find it at an RV dealership because the company sells them as direct orders only. The coach itself is oval-shaped and has an expandable roof to give you standing room. The floor is essentially a queen-sized bed.
Add-ons include a rear and/or side tent awning. They also have an all-in-one kitchenette to make meal prep easy and contained. For power options, you can purchase a solar panel and battery system that will give you enough power for your needs.
Other accessories LED lighting, a wireless tire pressure monitoring kit, and a portable air conditioner. Even with all of these extra’s, as long as your fuel-efficient hybrid can pull at least 500 pounds or more, this micro camper its the greenest way to camp out.
Little Guy MyPod
- Dry Weight: 630 pounds
- Length: 11.6 feet
- Average Price: $10,000
Coming out of Uniontown, Ohio is the Little Guy MyPod. The midwest is full of camping adventure that’s an hour’s drive away from the big cities. The MyPod has a lot of features, making it one of the best RVs for the money.
Little Guy casts the fiberglass shell in a one-piece mold. This prevents water from finding any seams to find its way in. You won’t have to worry about cold spring or fall nights since the micro camper is well insulated.
Inside, you’ll see a light wood cabinet that’s buffed and polished giving the unit a touch of class. The MyPod has 21st-century elements like an LED TV, 3 connection power ports (USB, 110v, and DC), audio system, DVD player, and a side mount A/C.
To run all of the electric, you’ll have a front-mounted battery or a 30 amp shore power connection cord you can plug into a campground electric box. If you’re looking to go off-grid, simply attach freestanding solar panels to the port to keep your battery charged.
Taxa Outdoors Woolly Bear
- Dry Weight: 990 pounds
- Length: 10.7 feet
- Average Price: $9,200
The Taxa Outdoors Woolly Bear wins our award for the most creative affordable micro camper. This base camp-styled unit has all of the amenities of a full teardrop camper, but the weight of a micro camper.
Essentially, the ground level has your kitchen and storage in the bays around the coach. The flat platform above is where you set up the 3 person tent. Taxa has its own tent that perfectly fits, but you can use your own if you prefer.
The kitchen area has a chest-style refrigerator, a portable two-burner stove that plugs into the propane tank, and a single-basin sink with hot/cold water. All of these bays lock and seal to prevent any curious critters to become interested.
The suspension and chassis make off-road camping a natural choice for the Woolly Bear. It comes prewired for solar systems and generators, making off-grid power a non-issue. There’s plenty of room to attach your kayaks, bike rack, and other adventure equipment too.
Coachmen Viking Express 9.0
- Dry Weight: 761 pounds
- Length: 8.2 feet
- Average Price: $7,000
The Viking Express and its sister camper, the Clipper 9.0, are amazing micro campers from the biggest name in the RV industry. This camper comes with a 16-gallon freshwater tank, a six-gallon water heater, and a full sink to use them.
To enjoy the outdoor space, you’ll enjoy the folding picnic table and an attachable screen room to dine al fresco mosquito-free. With a couple of lounge chairs, you’ll have the perfect view of the sunset in your perfect social distancing space.
Inside, you’ll find both a furnace and side-mount A/C unit to give you a comfortable temperature, no matter what it’s like outside. The Bluetooth media center connects to the built-in speakers for top-quality sound.
Coachmen hooked up this unit with everything you need for dry off-road camping. The tires and suspension can take rough terrain. So the real question is, can your small SUV match up to what this micro camper can handle?
inTech Chase Flyer
- Dry Weight: 850 pounds
- Length: 12.4 feet
- Average Price: $11,000
InTech combines utility and comfort perfectly in its Chase Flyer micro camper. Its rear utility doors allow you to store long items while you’re traveling and become the entryway to the tent room that gives you extra exterior space.
The insulated interior house a near queen-size mattress and shelving unit with full media system built-in. The 30 amp service runs offshore power, solar, or the installed battery that sits in the water exterior storage trunk.
For added comfort, the rooftop Dometic air conditioner will keep you cool. It has a heat pump to keep you warm during those rare fall nights when the temperature drops. For perfect days, the roof vent fan and windows will create a breeze within the coach so you can enjoy the fresh air.
If you’re looking for some off-road action, you can choose the two-inch lift and off-tires to help you maneuver through the rough terrain. The aluminum tube frame and steel chassis can take whatever punishment you can throw at it.
- Dry Weight: 950 pounds
- Length: 13 feet
- Average Price: $18,100
The goal of this Canadian made RV is to run the entire coach off of electricity. You can do this off of shore power or the battery. This RV was a new model in 2019 and comes with two solar panels on the roof as a standard feature.
You’ll appreciate this travel trailer since it’s fully self-contained. Unlike the previous models we’ve shown you, this RV is not a teardrop. The kitchen comes with a sink built into the mid-coach counter. The manufacturer includes a portable hotplate and optional built-in microwave for cooking.
The front has a four-person dinette that folds down to a two-person sleeper. The rear sofa jackknifes to give a third person a place to sleep. The furnace will run off the battery, but the air conditioner needs a generator or shore power to operate due to its power demands. You can read more about this in our feature article concerning solar systems and air conditioners.
The overhead cabinetry gives you plenty of space to store your personal items. The 2,000-watt inverter and the charging station has USB, 110v, and DC adapters to plug in your AC devices to enjoy the interior space. This unit is a great choice if you want something in the travel trailer category but need something that’s priced in the micro camper teardrop level.
Kit Micro Campers
- Specs : Varies based on company, but meets our parameters
- Price Range: $1,300-$2,900
If you’re someone that’s garage-oriented, there are companies that make D.I.Y. micro campers. Companies like Birch Campers use the latest in technology to design and cut the walls, insulation, and various other skeleton parts of a teardrop-style camper.
They’re customers order the kits based on how big or small of a trailer they want. Once ordered, it’s the customer’s job to buy a utility trailer to built it on and purchase all of the various features they want to add. You can add things like:
- Air conditioning and/or a furnace
- Media features
- A mattress to your comfort level
- Interior design features
- A roof rack
- Portable and/or shore power sources
- Kitchen amenities
- Outdoor amenities like awnings or tent rooms
- Storage bays
- Anything else you want
Going this route does take a certain level of skill. Birch Campers recommends at least 40 hours to build their units. This refers to the basic structure they provide, not the additional features.
The manufacturer does send an instruction guide to build the camper, but they don’t guide you on things like wiring or plumbing. Research and experience are always recommended.
Building your own micro camper can be a fun experience. When you’re finished, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind RV. Happy trails!
Charles Joseph is one of the original authors of Camper Smarts from when it first started.