What are small camper trailers? While a definition can vary, most people consider a small camper trailer less than 20-22 feet long, usually single axle, and less than 5,000 pounds dry weight.
You can find a small trailer in most styles, including small shiny Airstreams, teardrop style (where you can’t stand up and the kitchen is outside in a hatch), pop-ups, A-liners, and hybrid trailers, the cute vintage ones (pre-1970) and retro-inspired new models, fiberglass “eggs,” and even off-road style tent campers.
Now that you have an understanding of what a small camper trailer is, let’s dive into the common myths we hear about them.
Myth #1: There’s No Bathroom
Many small campers have some sort of bathroom. Ranging from porta potties to wet baths, there is typically some style of bathroom, some even in vintage trailers.
However, newer models have more “updated” privies. The Retros, R-Pod, Little Guy, Scamp (fiberglass), etc have floor plans that include bathrooms, and even some of the vintage models allow for showers and toilets. A wet bath or “shoilet” (shower + toilet) as some folks refer to them are a combination “wet room” where the toilet is inside the shower enclosure, allowing for a combined water-resistant area, saving space.
These are often somewhat cozy, but make the best use of a small footprint trailer. A regular bath may have separate shower and toilet areas.
Myth #2: You Need a Truck to Tow Small Camper Trailers
Some of these small campers, especially the tear drops and pop-ups, and some of the fiberglass and A-liner style models, can be pulled with larger and properly equipped sedans, and the smaller hard sided trailers can be pulled with many SUVs.
The Airstream Nest, Scamps, R-Pods, Little Guy, Taxa Mantis, and the like can all be towed with properly equipped SUVs. Make sure to search out your specific tow vehicle’s towing capacity (which can vary by model and trim package), tongue weight limits, etc. before shopping, and give yourself a 20% buffer to include all your gear and the people in the car!
More and more trailers are becoming towable by midsize SUVs and crossovers.
Myth #3: Small Camper Trailers are Only Good for Solo Travelers
In the 1950s, a family of 4-5 people would camp in a 16-foot trailer. Maybe they liked each other more back then, but the small camper trailers of today still have plenty of room for families, and the new floorplans have really become adept at fitting everything into a smaller, more efficient space.
Depending on floor plans, usually there at least are two-bed options, often with a dining table that converts to a sleeping area, or bunks. Some trailers have pop-ups, or outs, that provide generous sleeping space, but that go back into the trailer for travel. This allows for more sleeping room.
By utilizing multi-functional space families can be very comfortable in a smaller trailer. Consider adding a screen room or outdoor add-on for even more space!
Myth #4: No Room For Solar
As time goes on, solar components are becoming smaller and lighter. This makes it a great fit for small camper trailers! As well as those folks who like to go off-grid to more remote locations where only smaller trailers will fit.
While the rooftops are small, there is generally enough area for at least two 100w panels. New on the market are flexible panels that can bend slightly to follow curved roofs, and deployable or movable panels can be added to a trailer to add additional charging capabilities.
Myth #5: Small Camper Trailers Lose Value Quickly
While MOST campers lose value when you buy them new, just like a car, small camper trailers actually seem to lose value less quickly than large ones.
Generally, less of an investment (comparable brands) than their big sisters, selling small camper trailers used is often easier. Buyers may not have to finance them or can get shorter-term loans. Many people want to try camping with their existing tow vehicle. Additionally, they feel smaller is easier to store, drive, etc. so smaller units are desirable.
As gas prices go up, and more folks live in houses with small driveways or backyards, smaller units are often hard to find, especially in resale markets. Larger units often require expensive and big trucks to tow. They typically require off-site storage, more gas, etc. making nimble small units extremely popular for resale buyers! In the vintage world, the tiny Airstreams are the most valuable as they are harder to find!
Small camper trailers were the way of the past. However, they are becoming popular again as more and more young suburban families are venturing into the great outdoors. We encourage you to check out small campers for your family’s camping needs. You might be surprised what you can fit into a small package!
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