It’s hard to beat an adventure in the great outdoors. A lightweight travel trailer can make the experience even sweeter. While the luxury of a fully-fledged RV is hard to deny, most of us just don’t have the towing power(or budget) to move one around.
In many cases, something that weighs less than 3,000 pounds is the way to go. Lightweight travel trailers can be transported with most family cars and can significantly improve your comfort while enjoying the great outdoors. This page is dedicated to the best travel trailers below 3,000 lbs.
We’ve explored the internet to find the small travel trailers that most people are raving about. You might be surprised how much bang a sub-3,000 pounds trailer can give you for your buck.
Misconceptions About Lightweight Trailers
Before we get into the product recommendations, we wanted to touch on some of the misconceptions we see about lightweight travel trailers online. It’s true that these things don’t always match up to a fully kitted-out RV, but they can still represent fantastic value for money.
They’re Always Cramped
A good travel trailer with a dry weight under 3,000 lbs will come with a number of options for floor plans and layouts. This means you can optimize your available space. These days, a lot of the weight-saving approaches come from the materials used for the travel trailer, not the size.
You’ll still have plenty of room with the right model.
They’re Less Durable
We often encounter this one when reading about travel trailers under 3,000 pounds, but it just isn’t true. If you’re buying a well reviewed model from a reputable brand, your trailer will stand up to the elements very well.
In fact, many models come with pretty substantial warranties for some or all aspects of the travel trailer. If you shop smart, durability need not be an issue.
They’re Lacking in Features
This one does depend on your budget, but going under 3,000 lbs doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on features. Wet baths, showers, TVs and many more creature comforts are often available on travel trailers under 3,000 pounds.
Things to Consider When Buying a Lightweight Camper
Even with the best lightweight travel trailers, there are some key considerations to keep in mind before spending your hard earned money. Start thinking about these now to avoid disappointment later on.
Lots of travel trailers under 3,000 lbs have plenty of room, but the way you use your available space is important. Most models will have at least a couple of floorplans to choose from. Consider what your priorities are.
If you usually camp somewhere with bathroom facilities, a travel trailer with more seating and no shower might be perfect. Watch out for convertible sleeping spaces, too. Some lightweight travel trailers make use of 2-in-1 dinette/sleeping areas that fold out/away depending on what you’re using them for.
These can work very well, but they’re not for everyone.
You know better than anyone how much gear you need to take with you on your camping trips. There a tons of travel trailers under 3,000 pounds with excellent storage solutions so there’s no need to compromise here if you don’t want to.
Watch out for external vs internal storage units. Some camping areas are safe enough for travellers to store their kit in outside storage boxes, others aren’t. Think about where you’re going to be camping and what you’re bringing with you to make the right decision.
Dry Weight and Common Weight Measurements
If you’re reading an article about travel trailers under 3,000 pounds, this section is probably worth paying attention to. There are a few different weight measures you’re likely to encounter when shopping for a lightweight travel trailer.
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) describes the maximum weight a vehicle can safely carry before running into issues. Comparing the GVWR of a travel trailer to its dry weight (empty weight) tells you how much ‘stuff’ you’re able to load on when camping.
As mentioned above, the dry weight of a vehicle describes its weight before any gear has been added or any of the tanks have been filled. Most travel trailers have multiple tanks for drinking water, gray water and black water. Keep this in mind when deciding how much extra equipment to bring with you.
Two Burner Setups and More
The convenience of stovetop cooking is a huge reason that many people buy travel trailers for their camping trips. This of course won’t apply to everyone, but it’s worth keeping in mind that a two burner setup is often considered a standard benchmark, even with a small travel trailer.
This doesn’t mean a trailer can’t be great without a two burner stove. It’s just worth remembering if a salesman ever tries to overcharge you for less.
Warranty Duration and Limits
Vehicles like this represent a significant investment. It’s no wonder, then, that most companies offer substantial warranties for at least some aspects of their products. The thing to look out for is what your specific warranty actually covers.
Some will only pay out if a membrane or the floor break down. Others cover the entire vehicle. Read up on the warranties relevant to a travel trailer before pulling the trigger.
Best Travel Trailers Under 3000 Pounds
Okay, time for the main event. The list below contains our top picks for some of the best options out there. They’re easy to tow, well reviewed online and represent excellent value for money in our opinion. Towards the end, we also briefly mention some good sub-3,500 lbs options.
1. Jayco Hummingbird 2020
The 2020 model of the Jayco hummingbird comes with versatility, convenience and adventure in a seriously compelling package. Depending on the floor plans and specific setup you choose, you’re looking at a weight somewhere between 1,545 and 3,015 pounds.
Jayco has grown quite the reputation for quality in the world of camping vehicles and builds some of the best lightweight travel trailers around.
‘Industry Leading’ 2+3 Warranty
Along with many other Jayco products, the Jayco Hummingbird comes with the company’s ‘2+3’ warranty. This gives users a 2-year limited warranty for the entire vehicle and a 3-year structural warranty for added peace of mind.
While this coverage isn’t quite as generous as Jayco would have you believe, it’s certainly better than many competitors. The full details can be found here.
The Jayco Hummingbird line comes with 5 floor plans to choose from. This should cover most bases when it comes to camping and comfort requirements. The size of your sleeping space, storage and bathroom can all be tweaked.
In most iterations, the included bed has more than enough room for a couple to sleep comfortably.
Buying a trailer under 3,000 lbs doesn’t have to mean letting go of home comforts. Most versions of this model come with a two burner cooktop, a flatscreen TV and a bathroom space with both a toilet and shower. For camping comfort that’s easy to tow, this is a great option.
Park it Virtually Anywhere
The smaller floor plans of this already small travel trailer make it refreshingly easy to take with you. Gone are the days of struggling to find parking space once you get to the campsite. This vehicle combines convenience and portability very well.
- One of the best warranties out there
- Two burner cooktop
- Many floor plans to choose from
- Super lightweight options
- The gray interior will be a little drab for some
2. Forest River R Pod
Multiple iterations of this option from Forest River weigh in at less than 3,000 pounds. If you can afford the initial investment for a vehicle like this, you’re in for a treat. There’s a whole lot to love about the R Pod line; it’s loved by campers across the United States.
This is one of the lightest options out there that includes a comfortable bathroom.
Tons of New 2021 Features
This Forest River trailer just got a brand new update for 2021. This brings new durable construction materials, improved refrigeration capacity and an amazing solar panel option. If the longevity of your trailer matters to you, and why wouldn’t it, the R Pod is worth considering.
Suspension You Can Trust
Even a trailer under 3,000 lbs is moving a considerable amount of weight around, often at high speeds. An important thing to look out for with any trailer is the quality of the suspension it offers. From what we can see online, the R Pod family offers one of the best suspension systems out there.
If one side of your trailer hits a bump, the system automatically responds and keeps things as steady as possible. This is great news for all your camping kit and travellers.
Tough Enclosed Underbelly
Forest River gives a great analogy for the effectiveness of their enclosed underbelly design used on their trailers. Imagine two people are standing outside in winter. One person is wearing a jacket, the other is in a t-shirt. Who freezes first?
While a slight oversimplification, this does a great job of describing why the belly design of these Forest River trailers are so great. Not only do they keep the elements and bugs out of the trailer, they also keep some of the valuable heat inside.
For bracing winter camping trips, this is an excellent feature to have.
Robust Solar Panel
Not to get all ‘Bear Grills,’ but camping off-the-grid is seriously enticing for many people. If you opt for the solar panel setup with your R Pod, you’ll be able to use all the electrical systems you’re used to without being tethered to a cable.
This can really elevate your sense of freedom when camping. Add this to a lighter-than-average weight that’s a breeze to move around and you’re looking at a pretty tempting package.
- Excellent new features for 2021
- Robust panelling and underbelly for durability and heat
- Great suspension system
- The refrigeration unit is much bigger than average
- Some floor plans send the dry weight sky-high. Stick to models like the RP-171 or RP-180
3. Aliner Ascape Campers
This charming lineup of products offer portable camping with a fraction of the weight compared to other models. For solo or couple camping trips, they’re well worth considering. As far as living space, these trailers don’t represent the most comfortable on the market.
What they do offer, though, is a no-nonsense, lightweight trailer for people who don’t mind embracing the great outdoors.
One of the ways that these campers optimize available sleeping space is by only offering external showers as standard. The water is kept at a comfortable temperature thanks to the 6 gallon water heater that comes with the price of the unit.
This small compromise in bathroom space and features like a wet bath means there’s much more room for some pretty impressive internal conveniences.
Both the standard and ‘plus’ variants of these travel trailers include a two burner cooktop, flatscreen TV, cassette toilet and front-mounted solar panel as standard. Considering how compact these things are, this is pretty impressive.
If you’re sick of finding somewhere to park your trailer when camping, this option might just be for you.
Roomier Than You Might Think
It’s true that your cubic foot capacity with options like this are undoubtedly smaller. The thing is, though, that you’ll have more headroom than you might expect. The dropped floor on the Aliner Ascape campers significantly increases your interior height.
A Touch of Luxury
This won’t matter to everyone, but we thought it was pretty nice. The cabinet doors inside this travel trailer line are all solid maple hardwood. This lends a nice touch of luxury to an otherwise rugged, ‘outdoorsy’ camper.
Even in the wilderness, you can take the comfort of home with you.
- A seriously compact, lightweight trailer
- Dry weight way below 3,000 pounds
- Still a fully featured camper
- Not ideal for families
4. Flagstaff E-Pro
This is another fantastic lightweight travel trailer lineup. Some models weigh in around 3,500 lbs, while a couple are comfortably under 2,000. It’s well worth looking through the line of models if you’re interested in a trailer with a comparatively small size.
To keep things under 3,000 lbs, we recommend either the Flagstaff E-Pro E12RK, the E12SRK or the E15TB.
Flagstaff E-Pro E15TB – ‘The Swiss Army Knife of RVs’
This jazzy description from Forest River is actually pretty apt. A number of space-saving considerations in this model make it surprisingly versatile. The two twin beds that come as standard can be combined to create a roomy king bed setup.
It’s not the height of luxury, but it’s far from uncomfortable either. The relatively tiny weight of this model means even meekest of family sedans should be able to tow it around without much trouble.
Flagstaff E-Pro 12RK – Mini Trailer With Mighty Features
To be clear, this option is fairly basic in comparison to other models. What this compromise provides, however, are some significant savings in price, space and weight. This is a very lightweight trailer that’s considerably more affordable than some competition.
The 54″ x 74″ full bed is accompanied by a micro sink and a small fridge. Once you’re at the camping site, you’ll still be able to cook thanks to the clever outdoor kitchen design. If you’re camping solo, we strongly recommend options like this one.
Flagstaff E-Pro 12RSK
This single axel trailer is essentially an upgrade to the model described above. For a slight bump in price, you gain an internal two burner cooktop, added extra storage and a 74″ gaucho couch that doubles as a comfortable bed.
The solid-step entry door makes is refreshingly easy to get in and out of your trailer with confidence. For clumsier campers, this is a great feature to have at your disposal.
- An excellent line of campers with options to suit all needs
- Brilliant for couples or solo campers
- Plenty of features despite the smaller sizes
- Forest River is a great brand but it doesn’t come cheap
5. Scamp 13′ Standard Trailers
In many ways, the Scamp 13′ trailers remind us of a simpler time. The classic aesthetic and overall design of these campers are seriously eye catching. In spite of the oldschool stylings, these trailers still pack plenty of features into a pleasantly portable package.
If you’re looking for more premium features or more space in general, the higher-tier options from this lineup might be worth considering.
Bathroom or Bunkbeds – It’s Up to You
The two main floor plans for these trailers give users a choice between a comfortable front sofa that converts into bunk beds or an alternative layout that offers a complete bathroom with both a toilet and a shower. This makes the Scamp 13′ a great option for couples and small families alike.
In both layouts, a two stove cooker and small sink are included as standard. This is a lightweight travel trailer with a dry weight way under 3,000 pounds so features like this are great to see.
Built to Order
Scamp uses a dealership in Backus, Minnesota to sell their trailers on a built-to-order basis. This is great news for those who want a trailer that takes ‘brand new’ to a whole new level.
Depending on the model and brand you go with, some trailers can sit around in warehouses for months before they finally get to your yard. This setup from scamp eliminates this issue and adds significant peace of mind to an already compelling product.
Fabric Color That Suits Your Needs
This is a small detail, but sometimes it’s the little things that count. When buying a new Scamp travel trailer you’ll get to chose from either blue, brown or green for your interior fabric color. This kind of control can give you an increased sense of ownership over your trailer as you explore the wilderness.
- A travel trailer with an iconic design and build
- Flexible trim and floor plan options
- Clever space-saving features
- The bunk beds in layout 1 look a little cramped
What About Bigger Trailers?
This section will briefly touch on some slightly larger options that still weigh under 3,500 lbs. They’re not the focus of this article, but they’re worth mentioning anyway.
The Flagstaff E-Pro Line
We mentioned this travel trailer lineup earlier but focused on the smaller options. We wanted to reiterate that there are a few heavier trailers in this line that are still relatively portable. These include the:
- E19 FBS
These all come with a number of improvements over their smaller counterparts. As a general rule, you can expect better storage solutions, more robust power options and roomier kitchen or bathroom setups.
There are some compromises to be made in terms of price and weight but if you’ve got the car to handle them, they’re worth a look.
Vintage Cruiser 19CSK
This stunning travel trailer combines retro stylings with modern day conveniences. With a dry weight just under 3,400 lbs, this option is still very easy to tow for most modern vehicles. This is an excellent option for families thanks to the double bed and sofa bed that come as standard.
Other considerations that we love include the two shirt cabinets, 60″ folding table and partitioned internal bathroom space. If you’re looking for a lightweight travel trailer with just a touch more room, this is a safe bet.
If this article has made it easier for you to start shopping for a new travel trailer, then it’s been a success. We hope that at least one of the options we listed work for your circumstances. The best ultra light travel trailer will be different for everyone.
We believe the products listed on this page cover a lot of ground.
Remember what we outlined in the “things to consider” section to make your own trailer hunting easier. Whichever option you choose, we hope it serves you well in the great outdoors!