Travel Trailers Under 5,000 lbs
The bigger fifth wheels and long travel trailers out there are pretty awesome. That said, not many people already own a truck big enough to pull those enormous things. Not only that, the vast majority of people don’t even really want to own a vehicle that big. They’re expensive to maintain and repair, and they guzzle gas like nobody’s business.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options for those who want to camp in comfort but don’t want to own a big pickup. Therefore, finding a trailer that suits your needs without requiring the biggest truck on the lot to tow it should be totally doable.
The first step? Narrowing your options down based on weight. If you’re wanting something reasonably spacious inside yet small enough to be pulled by an SUV, we recommend looking for travel trailers under 5,000 lbs. This weight class is a good middle ground, making it the perfect option for many people.
Travel Trailer Dry Weight vs GVWR
Before we dive any deeper into this topic, it is important that you know the difference between dry weight, cargo carrying capacity, and GVWR. Understanding what these terms mean will help ensure you pick a trailer that can be towed by your vehicle.
The term “dry weight” refers to the weight of a trailer (or other vehicle) when it is completely unloaded and without aftermarket upgrades. It’s a nice weight to know, but it’s important to keep in mind that your trailer will likely weigh much more than just the dry weight once you get it packed up for camping.
Cargo carrying capacity is the amount of weight a particular trailer can hold safely. You will want to know this weight and make absolutely sure that your cargo does not exceed this limit. Packing beyond this limit is dangerous and can lead to swaying, tire blowouts, and structural damage.
Finally, there is GVWR, or gross vehicle weight rating. This is the dry weight of your trailer plus the cargo carrying capacity, and is the maximum amount your trailer should ever weigh when fully loaded.
We recommend using this measurement as your guideline when deciding whether you can tow a particular trailer. Therefore, we will be using this weight as our threshold for this article, and every option listed further down on this page is a travel trailer under 5,000 lbs GVWR.
Pros of a Travel Trailer Under 5,000 lbs
As mentioned above, the biggest and most obvious benefit of owning campers under 5,000 lbs is the fact that they can be towed by smaller vehicles—no need to purchase and maintain a vehicle specifically for camping. Just find a nice SUV daily driver, and use it to tow your RV on weekends.
That said, some people wonder if there are other benefits to choosing lightweight travel trailers under 5,000 lbs. The answer? Absolutely!
Below are our favorite pros offered by travel trailers under 5,000 lbs.
Because they have to fit so much in such a small space, the people who design smaller travel trailers tend to do a very good job of using every nook and cranny. This helps ensure you get the best bang for your buck and end up with a very livable space.
More Campsite Options
The smaller the rig, the more options you have in terms of campsites. Many national parks only offer very short sites, making it impossible for bigger rigs to squeeze in. Of course, finding places to park in any parking lots along your route will also be easier in a smaller rig.
Improved Gas Mileage
Towing a smaller trailer does not require as much fuel as towing an enormous fifth wheel or bumper pull would. This means you save some money that can instead be used on having more adventures.
In addition to gas money, you may also save a few bucks when it comes to the purchase cost of your RV. In general, travel trailers under 5,000 pounds will be less expensive than the larger homes-on-wheels out there.
Best Travel Trailers Under 5,000 lbs
Wondering which are the best lightweight travel trailers out there? With so many options, it can be hard to even begin to narrow it down. Lucky for you, we’ve done the homework and are happy to share our very favorites with you.
Airstream Sport 22FB
GVWR: 4,500 lbs
Airstream is one of our very favorite travel trailer companies. We love their unique retro look, as well as their amazing build quality. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that one of their trailers is on this list.
The Airstream Sport is an adorable little trailer that packs everything you need into a small package. A comfy bed, full bathroom, table, tiny kitchen with stove, fridge, sink, and even a closet all fit very nicely in this home-on-wheels.
Price: Starting at $57,400
Forest River Rockwood HW29SC
GVWR: 4,999 lbs
This deluxe high-wall tent trailer is the cream of the pop-up trailer crop. They just don’t get any bigger or better than this.
The high side walls on this trailer help make the space feel more solid, and the slide-out where the dinette is really opens things up. The in-trailer bathroom is beyond convenient, and the full kitchen is just what you need to prepare awesome meals even while in the middle of the woods.
Of course, the fact that the entire thing folds down into a low-profile trailer for towing is the awesome cherry on top.
Price: Starting at $23,555
Jayco Jay Feather X19H
GVWR: 4,950 lbs
Want the amazing space offered by a pop-up, but prefer more hard walls? A hybrid camper might be just the thing. Luckily, Jayco makes an awesome hybrid that you have to see.
The Jayco Jay Feather comes in a variety of great floorplans. That said, we picked the X19H because the GVWR is under 5,000 lbs, it offers lots of sleeping space, and it includes a full bathroom with a shower, as well as a relatively large refrigerator, a 3-burner stove top, and a microwave in the kitchen area.
Price: Starting at $29,078
Forest River R-Pod 193
The R-Pod line of trailers is super cute. We love the exterior colors of these modern canned-ham-style trailers, and the floorplans are very usable, something we very much appreciate.
For this particular article, we’ve chosen to list the 193 model. This trailer features bunk beds for the kids and a super cool queen-size Murphy bed that folds into the wall to reveal a couch during the day. You’ll also find a full bathroom in this rig, as well a very functional kitchen and table.
Price: Starting at $28,011
Winnebago Hike H171DB
There’s no denying the fact that Winnebago makes a good product. Unfortunately, not many people think of this particular company when shopping for travel trailers, and they should. Their trailers are just as good as their motorhomes and come in all sizes.
Today we are going to discuss the Winnebago Hike H171DB. This trailer is awesome in that it features an exoskeleton that works well for carrying kayaks and other sporting equipment wherever you roam. The inside has a lovely queen bed and a dinette that converts to a bed. You’ll also find a bathroom with a shower and a well-equipped kitchen area.
Price: Starting at $34,254
Oliver Legacy Elite
Last but not least, we must mention the Oliver Legacy Elite. This molded fiberglass trailer company may not be as well known as some of the others on this list due to the fact that they are relatively new to the market. However, the quality of their products will have them moving up that popularity ladder soon enough.
The Legacy Elite is an incredibly durable and well-thought-out trailer that we believe could be lived in full-time despite its tiny size. We love that this style of trailer rarely has issues with leaks, and find the shiny white exterior quite attractive. The large bathroom inside and the ability to sleep 3 people comfortably are also both major bonuses.
Price: Starting at $39,995
As you can see, there are plenty of awesome travel trailers under 5,000 lbs. Still not sure which one to buy? Why not rent one today to try it on for size?