Small Travel Trailers

Today the interest in lightweight and small travel trailers, seems to be increasing.  This really comes as no surprise to me. 

As the price of gas continues to go up, the demand for smaller units increases.  This trend became painfully evident  in the late 1970's, when the gas crisis of that era nearly put an end  to the RV industry. 

Jayco was the first manufacturer to introduce a lightweight travel trailer line in the early 1980's.  The introduction of this model sparked a new direction for the RV industry.  Today light weight units can be found in all classes of travel trailers, including fifth wheels and toy haulers.

Many people today, are looking for a lighter camper that they can tow with a smaller truck or SUV.  Most of these same people still want the convenience of a fully enclosed travel trailer.

Fortunately, the industry has stepped up to the plate with a vast amount of choices of smaller units.  From main line manufacturers to companies that specialize in smaller lightweight units, there are plenty of trailers available for your consideration in both the conventional and fifth wheel styles.

What is a Small Travel Trailer?

Most small trailers are less than twenty-two foot in length and have a gross vehicle weight of  less than five thousand pounds.  They are designed to be towed by a small pickup or SUV.

Many of these trailers  are often equipped with all the features of their larger counter parts.  Most small travel trailers have full kitchens and bathrooms on board.

If you are looking for a trailer with a permanent bed , in most cases, you will need to go to a nineteen foot unit or larger.  A few models even include a slide out on the coach.

Good Eggs

The lightweight molded fiberglass travel trailer, or egg camper, has been around for many years.  These small travel trailers are ruggedly built, very lightweight, and down right cute.

The Scamp camper is probably the most recognizable and is, to my knowledge, the oldest manufacturer of egg style campers in business today.  On our travels it is not uncommon to see a Scamp in the campground.  They also enjoy a high loyalty rate from their customers, who often return to purchase another one and usually upgrade to the deluxe model.

The egg style is often more costly than a main line travel trailer, since many are also custom built.  However, these units enjoy a long life which more than offsets the initial cost of purchase.

Most of these units are direct order with no dealer mark up, which is good considering many of these trailers are a little on the pricey side.  Casita is one of the lowest priced in this category, advertising prices starting under $14,500.  

Other current manufacturers include:

  • Bigfoot Travel Trailers
  • Egg Campers
  • Escape Trailers
  • Trillium RV - US
  • Trillium Trailers Outback - Canada
  • Lil Snoozy
  • Parkliner
  • Little Joe Trailers
  • Oliver Trailers

Tear Drops

Originally built in the 1930's, the tiny Tear Drop camper has made a huge comeback in recent years with the rise in gas prices.  These trailers are basic camping units with the interior being sleeping quarters, usually large enough for one or two people, and a camp kitchen on the outside.

The Drop was often home built using plans that could be purchased for $1 from Popular Mechanix (later changed to Mechanics) in the late 1920's through the 1930's.  One of the designers and sellers was Mr. Wally Byam, the founder of Airstream Travel Trailers.

For you handy people out there, you can still purchase the plans to build your own.  These plans don't cost $1 these day, although on occasion you will find free plans on the internet.  However,  I have seen the more detailed plans priced around $59 which is still not bad.

Today there many manufacturers of these small travel trailers.  Here are many of the current manufactures.

  • American Teardrop
  • Big Woody Teardrops
  • Camp-Inn

A Good Weekend Companion

Small travel trailers are probably best suited for weekend camping and the occasional family vacation.  With the smaller units, storage is limited and most full timers would find that too inconvenient.

Even with those minor drawbacks these are great options for anyone who is exploring travel trailers.

Written By: Scott

Exploring Travel Trailers> Small Travel Trailers