For decades, drivers who wanted a light, well-built, and aerodynamic travel trailer had few choices beyond a "silver bullet" Airstream. Thankfully, today's RV manufacturers have started to introduce travel trailers of all sizes for a variety of applications. Looking for a road tripper, overlander, or weekender for a short trip to your next destination? You’re guaranteed to find a camper you'll love.
That's true even if you’re not interested in a big, fancy RV or the best premium motorhome because ultralight trailers are a great choice. They’re more compact, easier to tow, and more aerodynamic—all of which means they're better on gas too. Here are our top picks for the best ultralight travel trailers on the market, all primed for your adventure.
Happier Camper HC1
Best "retro-cool" ultralight travel trailer
The pint-sized Happier Camper HC1 offers an ingenious solution for travelers looking to take only the most essential elements of home along for the ride. While the retro-modern shell oozes vintage cool, it’s what’s on the inside that will interest most road-trippers. The clever Adaptiv interior features Lego-like cubes that are infinitely configurable to suit almost any traveler’s style. The sleeping space, kitchen, and work areas can all be repurposed to however large or small you need them to be. It’s the closest thing to a mobile Swiss Army knife we’ve seen on the travel trailer market. The company even offers travel trailer rentals for anyone looking to try before they buy.
Taxa Outdoors Cricket
Best "jack of all trades" ultralight travel trailer
TAXA Outdoors’ Cricket is arguably the most love-it-or-hate-it design of any travel trailer, ultralight or otherwise, on the market. The asymmetrical shell may seem strange, but there’s a method to the company’s madness. Every interior space offers only as much space as is necessary and, even by RV standards, the company crams a boatload of intelligent storage solutions into one tiny package. We especially love the panoramic, 32-inch by 20-inch rear window that keeps the cabin awash in natural light. Perhaps the best part, though, is the Cricket's diminutive size (15 feet long by 6 feet, 11 inches tall) and weight (just 1,732 pounds unloaded), ensuring it can easily be towed by most compact, four-cylinder vehicles.
Polydrop P19 Shorty
Best ultralight travel trailer for design enthusiasts
California-based Polydrop deviates from the usual bland RV aesthetic by building futuristic-looking travel trailers, such as the P19. But you should never judge a trailer by its appearance alone. The trailer's R-14 structural insulation delivers maximum energy efficiency, priming the P-19 Shorty for all-season camping.
Virtually any vehicle can tow this featherweight travel trailer as it's built on a lightweight 6061 T6 full aluminum tube frame and Timbren independent suspension that help deliver a smooth, quiet ride to the backcountry. Camp-ready features include a four-inch, tri-fold mattress, and an optional open galley for a homey stay in the outdoors.
Carapate Teardrop Trailer
Best Ultralight Travel Trailer for Euro Aficionados
Like the Polydrop, the French-built Carapate teardrop trailer demands to be noticed. The trapezoidal, blue and natural wood shell recalls mid-20th-century yacht design. It’s a playful and unique aesthetic that would feel perfectly at home in any Wes Anderson flick. A large side hatch and oversized windows help bring the outside in. The interior features all the essentials one would expect in a midsize travel trailer. There’s a slide-out kitchenette with a stove, sink, and two-way refrigerator — all of which can be used outside or inside the trailer. Tech-friendly features include LED lighting, multiple USB ports, and an optional solar kit for staying off-grid as long as you like. Instead of one fixed mattress, the interior features three single-sized mattresses that can be reconfigured as a large bed, a front-facing sofa, or a lounge-like, L-shaped couch.
Sadly, the Carapate teardrop trailer is only for sale overseas. So, American buyers will either need to plan an extended road trip around Europe or figure out how to ship it home.
Hiker Trailers Mid Range Deluxe
Best ultralight travel trailer for off-road adventurers
Aptly named Hiker Trailers has one goal: To create affordable, lightweight travel trailers with serious off-road capability. Like most teardrop trailers, every model is purely utilitarian and features only the most essential amenities, all packed into the most compact space possible. Basic models offer little more than a durable, bare-bones aluminum shell that’s intended to be buyer-customized.
Deluxe models of these unique ultralight travel trailers, however, feature 14 inches of ground clearance, plus hardcore, off-road-ready upgrades like 33-inch tires, 3,500-pound axles, and 2-by-3-inch steel off-road frames. Their lightest model weighs just 640 pounds, meaning it’s towable by just about anything stronger than a bicycle. What we really love about the company is they offer so many custom options., so you can truly build the perfect camper for your needs and budget.
Best ultralight travel trailer for modern gear haulers
With an all-in price tag of more than $46,000, Airstream’s gear-hauling Basecamp is pricey. At roughly 2,600 pounds, it’s towable by most midsize SUVs, but it hardly qualifies as ultralight. Still, there’s nothing quite like it on the road today. It’s designed to live up to its namesake as a “basecamp” for your most epic, wide-open-space adventures. Clever, off-road-centric design features — including an aggressive departure angle and oversized tires and wheels — allow you to get far, far off the beaten path.
It boasts all the essentials today’s outdoorsmen expect in a modern camping experience, including a bare-bones sleep space, a workable kitchenette, a bathroom with a shower and toilet, and a sizable cargo area for hauling your outdoor toys. Plus, the taut aluminum exterior is sleek, handsome, and unmistakably Airstream.
Timberleaf Trailers Classic Teardrop Trailer
Best ultralight travel trailer for minimalist trekkers
The teardrop travel trailer market has exploded in recent years, thanks to their being towable by just about any vehicle (in some cases, even a motorcycle). The Timberleaf Classic is minimal and functional, with just the right amount of charm. The company’s woodworking skills are evident in the beautiful craftsmanship throughout.
Inside, the cabin features a massive skylight, making for perfect stargazing, and ample shelving guarantees plenty of space for your camping essentials. Round back, the hatch reveals a beautifully designed birch galley with a cooktop and pull-out drawer. An optional custom-built cooler provides ice retention for days, and leather grab handles add a dash of sophistication to your campfire cooking escapades. Almost every aspect is customizable, too, so you can make it as plush or as "rugged minimalist" as you like.
Safari Condo Alto R Series
Best "transforming" ultralight travel trailer
Teardrop trailers are great for efficiency and portability, but by design, they’re usually thin on amenities. The Alto R Series by Safari Condo aims to solve that problem. While towing, it features a traditional, streamlined teardrop trailer design that the company claims reduces drag by up to 75%. Once at your campsite, however, an electric switch raises the clever Alufiber (an aluminum/fiberglass composite) roof to reveal a spacious, full-featured interior with panoramic windows. It manages to pack a surprising number of amenities into a tiny space: A king-size bed, two-burner cooktop, mini-fridge, fixed-flush toilet, and shower are all standard. Plus, the kitchen, beds, storage, and toilet are all still usable even with the roof lowered.
KZ RV Sportsmen Classic 130RB
Best ultralight travel trailers for traditionalists
KZ RV's Sportsmen Classic 130RB may not have a “hey, look at me design,” but it’s incredibly lightweight and allows travelers to bring most of the comforts of home with them on the road. Even if the outside is a little drab, it’s what’s on the inside that matters. The 130RB is one of the lightest and smallest trailers in KZ’s lineup, weighing just 2,350 pounds and measuring in at just under 17 feet long and 6.5 feet tall on the inside. That means you won’t have to have a hulking SUV or pickup truck to lug it around. Despite the small size, the 130RB is big enough to fit a queen-size bed, a kitchenette, and even a wet bath with shower and toilet. There’s even a nifty compartment that runs the full width of the trailer, making it an ideal spot to store camping equipment.
While features, gear storage, and other amenities are very important things to consider when buying a travel trailer, the first thing you should look at is the weight of the trailer and the towing capacity of your vehicle. If you don't have a huge pickup or SUV, you want to make sure that you can actually tow the trailer you buy, and you won't have to add the purchase of a new vehicle to the cost of the trailer.
The other vital thing to consider is the size of the trailer and what you have available for off-season storage, if you don't have an appropriate storage area at your home or apartment, you might have to pay for storage, and some storage facilities charge more for larger trailers.
This is when you can think of amenities. What is important to you? Are you looking for a larger sleeping area with a cooking space, a toilet/shower, and plenty of gear storage? Or are you looking for the bare minimum? Knowing what is important to you before you go out to buy a travel trailer will help make the process easier.
Also, do your research. Make sure the trailer is easy to set up and break down, going on an outdoor adventure is about fun, so you don't to spend time working with an awkward trailer setup.
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