Vacation can be a pretty vague word when you really start to break it down. Sure, most people probably think of extended breaks from work, airplanes, hotel rooms, and tourist traps. But that’s a very narrow view. You see, a vacation could just be a couple of days off to reset and rest. It could also be a cross-country road trip. And, in this case, it could be something on your own terms that fits somewhere in-between those latter two options.
To paraphrase timeshare salesmen, owning a camping trailer is akin to owning your own vacation. However, unlike timeshares, trailers give you far more freedom — both in regards to when you can use them and where you can take them. Of course, not every trailer suits every person. Some folks are limited by the towing capacity of the vehicle(s) they own, available storage, or some combination therein. If that sounds familiar, you’re not entirely out of luck. In fact, we might have the ideal solution for you and your situation here on our list of the best small camping trailers you can buy right now. So stop making excuses and start exploring your untapped freedom.
What Makes A Camping Trailer Small?
Our Considered Metrics
It’s important to note that “small” is a relative term. For instance, planet Earth is small compared to Jupiter but Jupiter is tiny when compared to the sun. As such, it’s important for us to outline our own expectations when it comes to the size of these camping trailers. The idea here is to present a collection of well-designed and well-built sleeping accommodations that can be towed behind cars that aren’t necessarily designed for hardcore towing usage, giving the average adventurer access to above-ground camping solutions without the need for a full-size pickup truck. With that in mind, the following outlines what, specifically, we were looking for and where we drew the line on size, mass, and more.
Dry Weight: Did you know the 2021 Honda Civic is rated to tow up to 2,000 LBS? Well, it is. And while that’s a little bit low for us to draw the line, it did give us a good idea for an acceptable dry weight range for what we would consider a “small” trailer. As such, all of the trailers (at least their base models) on our list offer a dry weight under 2,500 lbs. That means, by and large, you don’t need to go out and buy or rent a cumbersome truck or SUV in order to drag these trailers along — though it isn’t a bad idea to upgrade to something with a bit of extra torque if you’re already in the market.
Length: If you don’t want a trailer that weighs as much as the mythic boulder Sisyphus is charged with pushing uphill for eternity, you probably also don’t want your trailer to be the length of a tour bus either. As such, we’ve limited the length of our small trailers to under 18′ starting. This is beneficial in two ways. First, it makes the actual act of towing easier and more manageable, as users won’t have to go out and get licensed to drive a semi-tractor trailer. And second, it makes storing these trailers a much simpler prospect, as most can fit in a garage or outdoor parking space.
Height: Length and height, to a degree, go hand-in-hand. However, there are other things to think about when looking at heights. For instance, having a tall trailer might make it harder to see behind yourself while in transit but it also means you’ll have more headroom when inside. Our listed heights are in travel configurations, which means some of these trailers have pop-up tents and/or roofs that give them a bit more vertical space, but none of them eclipse 9′ (at the base model) in total. Depending on where you plan to camp and/or store your trailer, this could be a very important factor.
Accommodations: This is probably the trickiest metric for us to tackle, as the accommodations you end up with will depend largely on your budget, personal preferences, needs, etc. That is to say: they’re all unique to the end-user. However, we did want to make one thing abundantly clear: most (if not all) of these trailers have a suite of optional add-ons — things like additional sleeping options (like auxiliary tents), kitchen upgrades, alternative configurations, etc. What’s important to remember, however, is that these may alter your overall weight. In essence, you’re going to want to make sure you know how much you can tow versus how much your fully-loaded trailer actually weighs — otherwise you could be headed for disaster, like a broken axle or worse.
Sunnyside OffRoad The Boony Trailer
Sunnyside OffRoad’s Boony Trailer is so small, you could feasibly tow it behind a side-by-side UTV — and that’s not an exaggeration. In fact, at just 600 pounds, it’s the lightest trailer on our list by a fairly wide margin. And while that saves you a lot on towing, the trailer itself is still soundly constructed, has a dynamite long-travel suspension for even the roughest terrain, and has plenty of room inside to stretch your legs out (if only just so). If you’re limited on space, you have a tight budget, and you don’t mind leaning into minimalism, you’re not going to find a better option out there.
Dry Weight: 600 LBS
Schutt Industries XVENTURE XV-3
For as small as it is, the Schutt Industries XVENTURE XV-3 has a surprising amount of standard features that range from one of the most rugged constructions in the entire camper trailer industry to an integrated pull-out kitchen and everything in-between. It’s also fully wired and has its own suite of onboard lighting, is fully DOT-certified in all 50 States, and has a spacious rack onto which you can attach your favorite rooftop tent. For true off-grid adventuring with a relatively tight budget, this is a pretty incredible value — and it might even be tough enough to outlast the vehicle to which you attach it.
Dry Weight: 850 LBS
Taxa Outdoors TigerMoth Trailer
While we’re not sure we’d go so far as to call the Taxa Outdoors TigerMoth the small trailer by which we judged the rest of our options, we wouldn’t argue with anyone that made such a claim. After all, this towable is pretty exceptional from tip to tail. While it’s sized specifically to fit inside standard garages, it can still sleep up to five adults (with the optional rooftop tent) and has enough internal room to stretch out. It also has plenty of onboard storage, a pull-out kitchen, a wealth of ventilation options (great for summer nights), and a bevy of optional upgrades to make this the perfect trailer for you.
Dry Weight: 1,320 LBS
Opus Camper OP Lite Trailer
Even amongst these small camping trailers, there are those that store much better than their contemporaries — namely the Opus Camper OP Lite you see here. You see, this towable utilizes an automated, patented inflation technology in order to self-expand from its collapsed, travel- and storage-friendly format into a fully-featured camper in just 90 seconds. Of course, that’s just one of the many great things it can do. It was also designed to be good for a full two days of off-grid living — meaning you can disappear for a weekend without any need to refuel or recharge — which pairs beautifully with its all-terrain suspension setup. And it has its own pull-out kitchen. Of course, there are also a plethora of other optional additions to ensure this trailer is suited perfectly to you and your usage.
Dry Weight: 2,380 LBS
Height: 4.45′ (collapsed)
Polydrops P17A Camper Trailer
If you think the Polydrops P17A camper trailer looks an awful lot like the Tesla Cybertruck, you’d be right on the money; it was modeled after the EV’s angular design. However, the similarities don’t stop there — this small trailer was actually made specifically to pair with electric vehicles, evidenced by its fully electric solar power system — which can charge its onboard battery to power its onboard lighting, A/C system, heater, and whatever else you want to plug in during your adventures. It also has insulation that’s up to 15 times more efficient than competitors, it has a roomy interior with a full mattress and kitchenette, and the list just keeps going and going.
Dry Weight: 1,200 LBS
Bruder EXP-4 Camping Trailer
Most trailers can handle pavement with little issue. But if you like to head off the beaten path over rockier terrain, you’re going to want to get something made to deal with unforgiving pathways, like the Bruder EXP-4 you see here. This Aussie-made off-road trailer has an outstanding all-terrain suspension, a super-strong chassis, and a fiberglass exterior that is capable of handling up to 10 times its own weight. It also has a spacious sleeping area, works with most rooftop tents (for expanding your sleeping area), a rear-accessible kitchenette, and more. For those with an uncompromising taste for off-road adventure and creature comforts, this is may just be the mid-range small camping trailer for you.
Dry Weight: 2,094 LBS
Escapod TOPO2 Trailer
Teardrop trailers are as classic and compact as they come, but that doesn’t mean their overall design can’t be vastly improved upon, as evidenced by the Escapod TOPO2 trailer. Built to be the “best damn camper known to man,” this trailer features a single-piece composite shell with an infused structural PET core, that makes it incredibly strong and durable while keeping its weight to a minimum. It’s also made in part from sustainable and recyclable materials, was designed to be compatible with bolt-on accessories (like rock rails and/or steps), and has a spacious and beautifully designed interior with plenty of sleep and storage space. And the rear-accessed galley is so fully-featured that it might put your home’s actual kitchen to shame.
Dry Weight: 1,500 LBS
Campworks NS-1 Trailer
Though not one of the most lightweight or compact of the options on our list, the Campworks NS-1 is certainly one of the all-around greats you’ll find in the space. Short for “Nomadic System 1,” the NS-1 is an outstanding sleeping solution for when hotels aren’t an option and you don’t want to conk out on the ground, but it’s also so much more than that. In fact, it was crafted with the intention of hauling all of your gear both within and without — as marked by its tremendous modular mounting system. It also has a fantastic galley kitchen, a truly beautiful interior that looks more like an Airbnb than a trailer, solar panels for off-grid power, and much more. The biggest issue with the NS-1 is that you might never want to come home again.
Dry Weight: 2,000 LBS
Most of what Airstream has to offer, while absolutely outstanding (and, frankly, the standard by which the trailer industry is judged), isn’t what we’d call “small.” However, they do have one more compact option in their Basecamp, which you can see here. It still has the same iconic styling that the brand is known for, but in a much more compact format while also still being one of the more creature-comfort-laden options on our list. It has a sleeping space that converts into a dining area, an interior kitchenette, and — most importantly — an onboard wet bathroom (yes, complete with a shower). Along with all its standard features, it’s also available in two sizes (a 16′ and 20′) and you can even pick up the X edition, which was made for off-road usage and boasts a beefier suspension system.
Dry Weight: 2,650-3,400 LBS
Track Trailer Tvan MK5 Camper
If you’re familiar with Mary Poppins, you probably know she has a magic bag that is larger on the inside than it is on the outside, even allowing her to pull a full-length umbrella and much more out of it. Well, if that bag was a small camping trailer, it might be the Track Trailer Tvan MK5. This compact trailer was designed to go anywhere your vehicle can take it, but it also expands into a surprisingly spacious and fully-featured living space, including a tent that’s tall enough to stand up in (even if you’re rather tall), a pop-out awning for some shade, a pull-out kitchen, an interior sleep space, and so much more. If you’re gadget- and design-obsessed, you’re going to want to give this trailer a closer look.
Dry Weight: 2,094-2,646 LBS
Offline Campers Domino Trailer
Offline Campers’ Domino Trailer was built to serve two purposes: to travel quickly and easily and to accommodate couples or small families comfortably and comprehensively. And it has accomplished both of those goals stupendously. Not only does this relatively compact trailer have a construction and suspension that will allow it to go just about anywhere, but it has a litany of integrated features that make for very comfortable off-grid living. That includes a pop-out tent, a bevy of storage compartments, a roomy sleeping area, a pull-out kitchen, and the ability to change from travel to camp mode easily and with swiftness. This isn’t a camper trailer so much as it is a quick-expanding home away from home.
Dry Weight: 2,645.5 LBS
Patriot Campers X3 Trailer
When a trailer is given a “best of” award by one of the leading publications in the camping space, you should probably pay attention. And that’s what happened to the Patriot Campers X3 in 2020. And guess what? Time hasn’t changed anything — it’s still one of the all-time best and it likely will be for a long time to come (or at least until the brand builds one that’s even better). It comes with an integrated pop-up tent, an integrated awning, a roof rack mounting system, a pull-out kitchen, a hefty onboard battery system to power all your electronics and lighting, and a construction and suspension made to travel to the darkest corners of the globe. Sure, it’s the most expensive starting price, but you get the best when you pay for the best.
Dry Weight: 2,469 LBS
Height: 6′ (collapsed)
The 12 Best Luxury Camper Trailers
Not everyone is limited by size, weight, and pricing restrictions. If you are lucky enough to fall into that category, a small trailer might not be your ideal situation. Lucky for you, we’ve got your covered with our expansive look at the best luxury camper trailers you can buy.
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