Road trips and overlanding are more popular than ever — but not everyone can afford (or wants to) own an RV, an Airstream Classic or a custom-built overlanding rig. For some, the occasional weekend getaway to a nearby destination will quell whatever travel bug may bite (even if it leads to being bitten by new bugs).
To that end, small travel trailers are a great option for those who want the convenience of adventure but don’t have the budget or storage space to maintain the typical large vehicle associated with exploring the great outdoors.
Mini-campers are budget-friendly, with many available for less than $10,000. The more the amenities, though, (like a bathroom) and the more the price tag. Nevertheless, they are compact and light, which makes them easier to maneuver.
For this list, we focus on small camping trailers that have a gross weight vehicle rating (GVWR) of no more than 5,000 pounds, do not exceed 20 feet in length (so they can fit in the average-sized garage), and can be easily towed by a mid-size truck or SUV — or, in some cases, even a regular sedan.
The Classic Small Camping Trailer
No surprise that the road-tripping icon has a line of lightweight single-axle trailers. Along with Airstream’s classic design, Bambi models feature neutral interior colors, stainless steel appliances, plenty of windows, and a retractable awning. The entry-level Bambi 16RB measures about 16 feet long, and has a maximum GVWR of 3,500 pounds.
The Most Affordable Small Camping Trailers
Polydrops P17 Essential
The Polydrops P17 Essential measures 13’7” in length, but has less than four feet of interior height. Yet thanks to its gullwing doors, a foldable 3/4-sized mattress, movable table, and up to 8.7” of insulation, the P17 offers unexpected spaciousness and all-weather durability. Available 0ptions include a solar panel, a skylight, an awning and a roof rack. With a dry weight of 820 lbs, the P17 Essential is towable by just about any vehicle.
The SylvanSport GO may not look like much of anything in road mode, but it’s basically a Transformer — a boring trailer that transforms into a tent camper/utility hauler/equipment rack. Measuring less than seven feet long, the pop-up tent setup expands to accommodate two XL-twin mattresses or one king. Also, it's extremely lightweight at just 840 pounds.
Scamp Travel Trailers
Because Scamp trailers are sold factory direct, each order is essentially a custom build. The small trailers fit four, come in 13-, 16-, and 19-foot lengths, and are available in Standard or Deluxe trims — which really just means, bathroom or bunk beds? The GVWR for the 16-footer is 3,500 pounds, but Scamp says all sizes have been designed to be towed by small vehicles.
Off-Road Camping Trailers
Colorado Campworks Nomadic System One
Built for overlanding with a small footprint of barely nine feet, the Nomadic System One (NS1) is 100 percent solar-powered for on-demand hot water and induction cooking. Rugged but towable with a 2,000-pound dry weight, other features include a galley, a winter-ready structure and exterior mounts for gear. It comes in one fully stocked version. Spring 2023 build slots can be reserved online with a $1,000 deposit.
Mobi Nomad Mobi X
The Mobi X by Mobi Nomad is a ready-to-go camper. Roughly 12 feet long and with a 3,300-pound GVWR, the Mobi X comfortably fits two but can expand to accommodate up to six people. Standard features include a high-pressure water system with a heater, LED lighting, and a heavy-duty equipment rack.
Taxa Outdoors Woolly Bear Overland
Taxa Outdoors's Woolly Bear was the ultimate mobile campsite for two. We say was because the brand just came out with a more robust Woolly Bear Overland. It packs a full-size kitchen, a pull-out cooler drawer, ample storage and a platform for a rooftop tent within a package that weighs just 1,400 pounds and is only five feet wide. The Overland version — arriving late Summer 2022 — adds a reinforced frame, electric brakes, a Timbren Axle-less suspension and nearly three inches more ground clearance.
Small Camping Trailers With Bathrooms
Happier Camper HC1 Studio
Built for long-term travel, this 1,500-pound camper packs in all the essentials you'd find at home: a bathroom equipped with a dry-flush toilet, a full kitchenette with a dual-burner stove, battery-powered fridge and sink, and Happier Camper's Adaptiv system, a partially modular layout that allows for the unique configuration of furniture.
Winnebago Micro Minnie
The ever-familiar Winnebago offers the Micro Minnie. These trailers are small in size but offer plenty of room for families. Even though it's a double-axle camper (most small camping trailers use a single axle), the Micro Minnie is just seven feet wide — but smartly laid out. Sleeping quarters accommodate up to five, and windows on either side provide a nice cross-breeze on cool nights. Other amenities include USB ports and WiFi connectivity.
Jayco Jay Feather Micro
Jayco offers a plethora of compact and affordable mini trailers, but the most mini is the Jay Feather Micro. There are five models with GVWRs between 2,795 and 5,750 pounds. Worth noting, though, is that all but the smallest model include a bathroom — with a separate shower and toilet.
Small Pop-Up Camping Trailers
Taxa Outdoors Cricket
With a NASA-inspired design, the 15-foot Taxa Outdoors Cricket was built to handle the outdoors. Lightweight and rugged, the small trailer can sleep two adults and two children, features a modular design, innovative storage solutions inside and out as well as lots of windows for cross ventilation.
Not a familiar name, sure — but in terms of design, if you don’t think Volkswagen when you think of road camping, are you even thinking? The Dub Box, which sits about 16 feet long and has a 2,314-pound GVWR, will definitely make people do a double-take. Other standard features include a kitchen with a two-burner stovetop and fridge, LED lighting, and room for a double-sized mattress. A pop-up rooftop, you ask? Of course, that’s an option.
Teardrop Camping Trailers
nuCamp Tab 400
The nuCamp Tab 400 features an old-school teardrop design but with new school amenities, like instant hot water and air conditioning. A compact 18 feet in length, the Tab 400 still offers a dedicated queen-sized bed sleeping space, a spacious kitchen with storage, a three-person dinette area, and a wet bath.
Timberleaf Classic Teardrop
The Classic Teardrop Trailer by Timberleaf features one of the largest skylights of any teardrop-style trailer on the market. At 10 feet in length, there’s plenty of usable space for a queen-size mattress, storage shelves, and an equally-laid-out kitchen galley. The camper can also be customized with Allroad and Off-Road packages depending on your needs.