Our Top Picks:
While larger campers are becoming increasingly common, ultra-lightweight models are gaining in popularity as well. However, not all campers are created equally. We’ve toured dealerships, scouted RV shows, and perused every RV publication we could find to find the best half-pint trailers on the market. Here are the best of the best:
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1. Sylvan Sport Go
When you first see the Sylvan Sport, you’d be forgiven for not quite knowing what you’re looking at. This doesn’t look like any other trailer we’ve ever seen. In fact, it looks more like a kayak trailer, which is actually the entire point. Sylvan set out to design the most lightweight adventure-focused trailer possible, and they clearly succeeded. The Sylvan is more accurately described as a tent-trailer than a travel trailer, as the entire interior space unfolds from a capsule that looks similar to a car-top carrier. Inside, the accommodations are admittedly bare-bones, but you do get ample headroom, two distinct sleeping areas, and an incredible amount of ventilation.
Now, many people will likely remark “why not just buy a tent?” There are countless reasons. The first is the ease of setup. Rather than fumbling with tent poles trying to find level ground, you can quickly deploy the Sylvan in mere seconds. Yet, the primary reason is comfort and security. The Sylvan offers you a real mattress and a solid roof over your head. It won’t bend in winds, and you don’t need to worry about rain. It is the ambiance of a tent with the security of a trailer.
The next party trick of the Sylvan is storage. Because the camper itself takes up so little room when folded, there is ample storage on the trailer for all of your toys. There is a rack for kayaks or bicycles, and there is a ton of room underneath for coolers, chairs, cooking gear, and other camping essentials. It’s the swiss-army knife of tent campers.
Finally, the weight is the real focus here. At only 850-pounds, this may well be one of the lightest trailer on the market. Forget SUVs – you can tow this with a Prius if you so desire. And at around $10,000, it’s among the cheapest options too. If you want to experience the thrill of camping but are growing weary of sleeping on the ground, this is the trailer for you.
2. Roulotte Prolite Suite
When shopping for an ultralight option, many campers naturally migrate towards teardrops. These adorable queen beds-on-wheels are actually some of the oldest campers around, with early examples dating back to the 1920s. While they are undeniably cute and exceptionally lightweight, they are not without drawbacks. Because of their limited interior space, they don’t provide much in the way of an escape on a rainy day. Roulotte sought to combine the advantages of a teardrop with the functionality of a conventional travel trailer with their Prolite Suite. While still minuscule, it unquestionably advances the bar over a teardrop.
The Prolite Suite is very similar in shape to a teardrop, but it is significantly taller. While you still won’t be able to stand inside, the difference between crouching and crawling is a big one. Rather than the interior being nothing more than a bed like in most teardrops, this trailer features a sofa-bed with a folding table, allowing you shelter for watching TV or eating a meal during inclement weather. This can make a huge difference in your camping experience, especially on longer trips.
Small trailers are no stranger to compromises. In the Roulotte, that compromise is primarily in the lack of a permanent kitchen. While many tear-drops have a rear-mounted kitchen under a swinging hatch, the Roulotte uses that space for more interior volume. Thus, any cooking will be done camp-style on a normal camp stove. Practically speaking this makes little difference, and there are tons of excellent folding camp kitchens available. To our eyes, they made the right choice.
The shining attribute of this 12-foot, $14,950 camper is the weight. It’s only 560-pounds. This almost unbelievably low weight is achieved through a combination of composite materials, clever gussets, and aluminum construction. It may not be the lightest trailer ever made, but it is certainly the lightest we’ve ever found. Their advertising prominently features a MINI Cooper towing this trailer, a testament to its svelte construction. If you’re looking for the ultimate in lightweight designs while still having some meaningful shelter, this is a beautiful option.
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3. Forest River Rockwood Geo-Pro 12RK
Variations on the teardrop theme are a common theme in the ultralight category, and the Rockwood Geo-Pro 12RK is no exception. However, the Geo-Pro uses clever packaging to make much more efficient use of space. While the trademark tapered design of a teardrop is iconic and cute, it can severely hamper the amount of usable space that a given trailer allows. Not only can you not stand in most teardrops, but you can also barely sit up. Rockwood did their usual magic by usurping convention and creating a square-off teardrop style trailer. It looks rugged, but it functions beautifully as well.
Rather than the interior being a single fixed bed, the 12RK incorporates a gaucho-style folding sofa that allows for a place to retreat during the heat of the day or during inclement weather. At night, this simply slides onto the floor and becomes a queen-sized bed. It is a subtle tweak, but it literally doubles the functionality of the space. The interior is admittedly small but well equipped. In addition to the air conditioner and heater, you also get a standard stereo system, LED lighting, and an LCD TV. It’s a simple camping experience, but it is far from primitive.
The rear of this 12-foot 1,200-pound trailer features a fold-up door and an outdoor kitchen, similar to a traditional teardrop. You’ll find a kitchen, sink, microwave, and an impressively large complement of cabinet space. For anyone that’s ever hunched over a picnic table with a camp stove, this is the height of luxury. At under $20,000, this is a rugged option that’s great for a camper looking for the ideal blend of comfort and flexibility.
It is rare for a truly new style of camper to emerge onto the market. While there is certainly a large variety of models and options out there, the bulk of campers are still square boxes with familiar designs. When NuCamp introduced the [email protected] (aka TAB) over a decade ago, the spelling wasn’t the only novel aspect of this camper. The most notable aspect of any NuCamp trailer is the shape. With their long flowing curves, they are somehow both classic and modern. They look much like a teardrop, but they are significantly taller and longer. Thus, they don’t suffer from the sometimes claustrophobic feeling of many teardrops. They also have indoor kitchens, a huge bonus for longer-term campers.
The inside of the [email protected] classic is sleek and fashionable with light colors and flowing curves. It feels more like an Ikea showroom than a camper. The quality is impeccable too. [email protected] are not the least expensive option on the market – the Classic 320 is around $34,000 MSRP – but the quality justifies the price. You won’t find a small ultralight trailer with higher build quality at any price. The composite paneling means they’re resistant to leaks, and the wiring and plumbing are quite simply the best on the market. This is a company that understands the importance of attention to detail.
The interior of these 1,900-pound trailers is compact, but they incorporated highly modular designs that make the space seem much larger. The rear features a u-shaped dinette that can serve a variety of roles, converting into twin beds, a queen bed, or a sofa. Towards the front, you’ll find a full-featured kitchen against the front wall and a wet bath to the side. The bathroom might not be the most comfortable for taller campers, but having a bathroom at all is a rarity in a trailer this size. If you want a unique camper that makes quality a top priority, the [email protected] deserves a look.
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5. Taxa Outdoors Cricket Trek
I’ll admit to having just made the statement regarding the rarity of truly novel camper designs, and so following immediately with another example may seem suspect at first. Yet, one look at the Taxa Outdoors Cricket and you’ll realize there really isn’t another way to categorize it. This is an odd trailer for sure. It’s important to say from the get-go that the Cricket is not for everyone, nor was it designed to be a mass-market product. Designed by a retired NASA engineer with a passion for camping, the Cricket was created to fill a niche of its own. From the angular design that makes it look like the trailer has broken in half to the space-station style interior, you won’t find another trailer like this. However, for the right person, you won’t find another trailer that’s better.
The Cricket is for someone who puts outdoor activities first and comforts second. It was never meant to be a lounge for watching Netflix. Rather, it is envisioned as a basecamp for your outdoor adventures. The frame of the Cricket is welded aluminum, making it incredibly strong and light at only 1,500-pounds. It has a wealth of ground clearance, too, making it highly capable off-road. To further enhance its off-road credentials, this is also one of the few pop-top campers on the market. In transit mode, it folds down to under 7-feet tall. While camping, you can deploy the roof for full standing height. It’s a party trick for sure, but also highly functional.
Inside, the Cricket is pure business. Every surface is designed to be rugged and easy to clean. There are modular benches for dining and sleeping, and drop-down bunks for additional sleeping space for the kids. Upfront, a highly efficient kitchen makes meal prep a straightforward process. Cubbies, tie-downs, and pockets abound throughout. This may be the ultimate expression of form following function. At around $35,000, this is not a budget camper. However, it will last a lifetime and fulfill a role that almost no other camper can.
6. Jayco Hummingbird 10RK
After Rockwood released the immediately popular Geo-Pro 12RK, we all knew it wouldn’t be long before similar trailers emerged onto the market. The idea of a squared-off rugged teardrop was simply too good of an idea to not imitate. Although the basic design and layout of the Jayco Hummingbird 10RK are very similar to the pint-sized Geo-Pro, it is far from a hastily built copy. As with everything they build, Jayco made sure the Hummingbird 10RK met their quality standards and featured the attention to detail that Jayco has become known for.
The focus for the Hummingbird 10RK is twofold: features and value. Many ultralight campers are inherently stripped down with seemingly no standard features. That isn’t the case here. Every 10RK made has a large array of details, including air conditioning, a TV, a Bluetooth stereo, a fridge, microwave, clearance lights, awning, and more. It’s honestly impressive how many standard features they fit into this 1,200-pound multi-tool.
The value is also astounding. As you may have noticed, simply because a trailer is small does not necessarily make it inexpensive. Many of the models we’ve featured in this list actually cost more than their larger cousins. However, the Hummingbird delivers on Jayco’s promise of value. At around $13,000 MSRP, this is an affordable and imminently useful camper for anyone looking to simplify their camping experience.
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7. Forest River No Boundaries NB10.6
Here’s something I bet you didn’t expect to see on a list of ultralight travel trailers under 2,000-pounds: a toy hauler. That’s right, Forest River managed to make a toy hauler that comes in under a ton. While compact teardrop-style trailers are easy to tow and fun to camp in, storage is always an issue that plagues the size and style of camper. Apparently, one of the designers at Forest River was loading his ATV into a small utility trailer one weekend and had an idea. Why couldn’t you combine the benefits of a utility trailer with the comfort of a camper?
That’s exactly what the NB10.6 became. This 12-foot trailer forgoes the traditional rear kitchen and replaces it with a ramp door, allowing full access to the interior of the camper. By folding up the sofa-bed, you are presented with an 8-foot load floor for storing an ATV, kayaks, bicycles, or anything else your heart can imagine. Even if you don’t intend to haul any toys, having such a large opening provides an unprecedentedly airy space for a camper this size.
Now, a natural question arises. If there is a ramp door on the rear, where is the kitchen? Never worry, Forest River has you covered. Because of the unique layout of this trailer, the kitchen had to be unique as well. There is a small side door towards the front of the trailer. When opened, the entire kitchen unit slides out the side on heavy-duty sliders. This allows you full access to the kitchen right in the heart of your camp and allows the kitchen to easily slide in for protection and cleanliness when you’re done. This isn’t just a glorified table, either. There’s a sink, stove, and an impressively large chest fridge/freezer. This design is, quite simply, brilliant. If you want to bring your ATV along with you but don’t find a 30-foot trailer appealing, this unique 1,500-pound trailer is an incredible solution.
If you’re looking for other lightweight toy haulers, we’ve got an entire guide on that also!
8. Scamp 13 Travel Trailer
Scamps are one of those trailers where you cannot help but smile when you see one. Their distinctive bubble-shaped exteriors have remained largely unchanged for years, but it is a design that functions so well that these campers have developed an avid cult-like following. The goal of a Scamp was never luxury. Rather, they are honest and durable campers that last for decades and provide a safe comfortable place to stay.
Scamp construction is more similar to a boat than a travel trailer. Using a giant mold, the body of the Scamp is cast in two pieces, top and bottom, using hand-laid fiberglass. These two pieces are then bonded together like a 1,500-pound walnut. This method results in a trailer with no seams or cracks on the roof, meaning that it is almost impossible for a Scamp to leak. Anyone who has ever dealt with the detrimental effects of a leaking travel trailer will know how significant this is.
The interior of a Scamp is unlike any other trailer. Being a molded trailer, the interior is largely exposed gel-coat fiberglass with only a few fabric and wood embellishments. To be honest, it isn’t likely to win any style awards. However, it is exceptionally easy to keep clean and it is staggeringly durable. There are 40-year-old Scamps still being used today that still look new.
Although they are an acquired taste, it is a pleasure that Scamps are still being made. They are one of the few compact trailers that have the durability to last decades, and they are a wonderful option for a tough but elegant camper.
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9. Armadillo Backpack Trailer
For a while, molded two-piece trailers were commonplace. Scamp was one example, but there was also Boler, Casita, Expedition, and even uHaul made their own example for some time. As time has progressed, the market has moved away from these trailers in favor of the cheaper-to-produce “stick and tin” wood-framed models. While these are cheaper, they can never compare to the quality of a molded fiberglass trailer. For these reasons, I was thrilled to see Armadillo introduce their 1,500-pound Backpack model. Finally, the Scamp has some competition!
In some ways, the best way to describe the Armadillo is “A Scamp that went to college.” The Armadillo features the same construction as the Scamp, but with an interior from this century. The smooth curves and wood-veneers of the Backpack are extremely attractive, especially for this category of trailer. Armadillo promises that the style has not gotten in the way of durability. The interiors of their trailers are made using marine-grade materials, and most surfaces can be hosed down without damage. It really is the best of both worlds.
Perhaps most surprising is the price. This style of trailer is more expensive to produce than other construction techniques, so molded trailers often carry a premium price tag. Yet, at under $20,000, the Backpack is impressively affordable. They are a relatively new company so time will tell how well they hold up, but initial impressions are very good indeed.
10. Little Guy Mini Max
In much the same way that the Armadillo represents a value-driven alternative to the Scamp, the Little Guy Mini Max gives shoppers a value-oriented alternative to the NuCamp [email protected] While we are quick to sing the praises of the [email protected], we will also admit that the prices can be intimidating for some budgets. Thus, having more options is always welcome. Little Guy got their start by designing classic teardrops, and they quickly developed a reputation for top-notch quality. With the Mini Max, they set out to create a stand-up camper with the same quality.
The layout of the Mini Max will be familiar to [email protected] owners. There is a multi-function rear dinette, a front kitchen, and a side-mounted wet bath. The finishes are simple but very attractive, and the quality seems excellent. Notably, there is 6’3” of headroom, making this among the most height-friendly options in this class.
The Mini Max lacks some of the luxury and cute touches of the [email protected], but it also features an MSRP of well under $30,000. Initial impressions look great, and it is wonderful to have another option on the market for the “tall teardrop” category.