Last Updated on December 31, 2021 by Douglas
A trailer or camper can be a great addition to your van or SUV. It can give you a bit more room to move around in. This makes it perfect for people that want to live on the road. Some people are wary of using travel trailers. They don’t want anything too heavy weighing their vehicle down. Luckily, there are quite a few trailers that are under 5,000 pounds which you can use.
You might be worried that trailers under 5,000 pounds wouldn’t have enough comfort. This is actually untrue. There are plenty of comfortable options that you can look into which aren’t too heavy. We have provided a list of the top ten trailers under 5,000 pounds below. These options are lightweight but don’t compromise on comfort. They have enough space for a small family. If you’re single, they have an almost luxurious amount of space for you to use. First we will discuss why you should get a camper like this in the first place, though. You need a good reason to buy something, after all. Understanding its advantages is important for this.
The Benefits of Campers Under 5,000 Pounds
Campers are essential to live a comfortable life on the road. Living a nomadic life of constant travel can get old fast if you don’t have enough space to live in. However, really heavy travel trailers can be a nuisance. It can be difficult to easily maneuver them. This reduces how much control you have while driving. Overweight campers can make you lose control on the road which can cause a lot of dangerous situations. Hence, the first major benefit of using a travel trailer under 5,000 bounds is that it makes driving a bit easier.
These kinds of trailers also provide financial advantages. They just make more financial sense in the long run. Part of this is due to the decreased fuel usage. The heavier your trailer is, the more fuel your van would use to move around. Getting a lighter travel trailer can prevent excess fuel consumption. Which can save you money down the line. It’s not just decreased fuel expenses that make this a good financial decision either.
Campers under 5,000 pounds are a cheaper upfront investment as well. It’s better to spend money in an initial lump sum rather than gradually spending excess cash over an extended period of time. Lightweight campers allow you to do this because they are cheaper. When you factor in the fact that they are better in a lot of ways as well, getting a camper under 5,000 pounds ends up becoming an obvious decision.
Using a lightweight camper also frees you up to travel more frequently and to a diverse range of locations. You don’t want to be restricted to regular roads and well traveled areas during your journey after all. Rather you would prefer to go off road from time to time. This can expose to some of the rare sights in the world. A heavy camper is impossible to take off road. This is why so many people hesitate to use them. With a lightweight travel trailer, going off road will become a breeze. You can camp out in remote areas without facing too much trouble.
This is perhaps the most pertinent benefit of these kinds of campers. People that buy such things are generally looking for a minimalist, self sufficient lifestyle. Only travel trailers under 5,000 pounds facilitate such a lifestyle. They allow you to live in them without requiring anything extravagant.
Our Rationale For Selecting Them
We can just give you a list of campers that you can buy. But this won’t do enough to actually educate you about what you should look for. Which is why we are also giving you an idea of our criteria. You can use these criteria during your own search for a camper as well. They can help you make a more educated decision. You would also find this information useful in terms of understanding travel trailers. Understanding them is important if you are going to be living in one.
The first thing to consider is the weight itself. When we talk about campers under 5,000 pounds, we are referring to the GVWR, or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This is different from the dry weight which can be an inaccurate weight reading. GVWR is also sometimes referred to as Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight. Both terms are accurate and they mean more or less the same thing, so don’t worry if a retailer is using one instead of the other. Apart from understanding what your camper’s weight actually entails, you also need to think about what features it’s offering.
These features need to be up to date. Compare them to the most cutting edge campers in the market. Power outlets and the like are always a nice touch. This is a mobile home after all, not just a car. It needs to offer livable features and options. Internal capacity matters here as well. You need enough to be able to sleep comfortably. A small family can create a cozy enough environment inside a 5,000 pounds or less camper. However, the space does need to be properly managed. Floor plans and layouts play an important role in this.
Another thing that you should keep in mind is what upgrade options you have. Sooner or later you would want to upgrade your living standards. Living in the same camper forever would be rather boring. Proper upgrade options are an affordable way to level up your quality of life. You can read reviews that previous buyers have left. These will help you understand the camper you are about to buy a bit better. They can also help you parse the marketing gimmicks from actual practical features. It’s important to be realistic when making such a huge purchase. Buyer’s regret can be a terrible thing to live through.
Top 10 Travel Trailers Under 5,000 Lbs
1. Airstream Sport Travel Trailer
This is a pretty light trailer. With a GVWR of just 3,500 pounds, it’s one of the lightest options available. This is quite surprising when you notice how spacious it is. Up to four people can sleep comfortably in this trailer. You can fit in about 6 people too if you’re prepared for a squeeze. This trailer achieves this lightweight design with superior internal space thanks to its aluminum frame. Aluminum is a light metal which allowed the manufacturer to maximize space without worrying about making the camper too heavy.
You will have a couple of floor plan options with this trailer. Both the plans benefit from a functional kitchen. With a gas stove, fridge, appliances and more than enough storage space, this trailer’s kitchen alone makes it a great buy. You also get a pretty luxurious bathroom with a fitted shower. The bedroom is quite roomy as well. You might like the separate dining and sitting areas too. The multitude of rooms means that your family members would each get their own space. This is important when living a life of travel. Tensions can run high in your family if people are cooped up in the same room all day.
There are plenty of nice extra features available as well. USB charging ports are quite useful, and you get a 110v charging port too for more traditional plugs. A retractable awning as well as an exterior shower make outdoor relaxation easy and stress free. We also really love the built in air conditioning and heating in this. If you’re worried that temperature control would use too much power, this trailer also comes with a solar power kit. You can use this for a truly off the grid lifestyle.
2. Keystone Passport Travel Trailer
This is a very high end camper. It has 31 floor plans available. However, only 6 of these plans fall under 5,000 pounds. These are the floor plans we will be discussing here. This trailer is perfect for an outdoor experience. The retractable awning can protect you from the hot sun. You also get a combination of extra features that help you enjoy your outdoor time. Built in external speakers can be great for listening to a bit of music. LED lights in the awning as well as a patio light at the entrance provide enough illumination for a relaxed, soft lighting setup.
We really like the furniture that has been selected for this trailer. Many campers have really ugly furniture. This is because manufacturers usually only have functionality in mind. Keystone is a bit different, though. They opted for furniture that offers a homelier and cozier vibe. Looks might not matter to you, but they can affect the ambiance of your camper. Since you are buying something to live in, residential furniture plays an important role. You need to know about this trailer’s practical features too, though, and there are plenty to talk about.
This trailer boasts a pretty heavy duty heating system. The 30,000 BTU furnace will leave you very warm and toasty during the winter. Hot water is also easily available thanks to the winter ready system that can very quickly heat water up. You also get easily accessible USB ports in various parts of the trailer. One thing in particular that makes this trailer great is that it doesn’t use a standard chassis for each floor plan. Instead, the chassis will be custom engineered for the floor plan you choose. This means that you get some pretty great storage options as well.
3. KZ Sportsmen Classic Ultra Lightweight Trailer
This is another great trailer for smaller families. It can house up to 5 people. You can choose from 7 different floor plans. You might want to consider the bunk bed floor plan. It’s perfect for maximizing space. Especially if you have kids since they don’t need huge beds anyway. This trailer is also a rare example of a disability-friendly design. Such designs aren’t common in this industry. The flip out stairs are great for getting in or out of the trailer. They can be stowed away while not in use which is perfect for saving space.
The exterior accessories are a big factor as to why this trailer works so well. You get a wall mount that you can use to hang things up. The wall mount also works as a bottle opener. This is great for moments when you are outside and just want to be able to open a bottle of beer without having to go back inside. It can work as a leash attachment as well. Having pets while living a travel trailer lifestyle can often be unnecessarily difficult. It’s nice to see at least one trailer taking this sort of thing seriously.
There are a couple of things that make this trailer perfect for off the grid living. The first thing is the solar readiness. It’s quite easy to add a solar panel setup to this trailer. The infrastructure is already there for you to use. You can also avail an off road package that this trailer offers. It’s specially designed for people that want to constantly be on the move. Don’t worry about comfort while buying this trailer, as it has more than enough space for you and your family to sleep and live comfortably.
4. Jayco Hummingbird Teardrop-Style Travel Trailer
This is the best trailer for single people or couples to check out. The smallest floor plan offers a 2,000 pound trailer. That’s pretty much as light as any trailer can get without becoming ridiculously tiny. Up to 2 people can live in this trailer. That’s quite an efficient weight to people ratio if you think about it. Not everyone would want to travel with their family. Some might just want to use a camper to get away for a little while. This camper tends to be perfect for that kind of usage.
The manufacturers of this trailer worked quite hard to use space efficiently. Not an inch is wasted in this camper. You manage to get a spacious living and sleeping area because of the placement of the kitchenette which can be found in a back hatch. The kitchenette comes with a two stove burner. That’s enough to cook meals for two people fairly easily. It also comes with a cover which is useful for when the cooking is finished. The fiberglass roof is great for getting some natural light into your trailer, and it also allows stargazers to look up at the night sky if they so wish.
This trailer is clearly meant to encourage you to go outside. The Marine grade exterior speakers have a very balanced tone to them, giving you all of the frequencies instead of being overly bass heavy. The shower is located outside, another space saving technique that maximizes internal space for living and sleeping use. If you want to take your meals outside, you can use the handy picnic table the trailer includes. It’s easily foldable and quite portable which makes it perfect for use on the go. You need to travel light while living in a luxury camper to make things convenient.
5. Dutchmen Coleman Lantern LT Pull Behind Travel Trailer
This trailer has about 8 floor plans that would end up being under 5,000 pounds. It has 4G connectivity as well which is great for a lot of people. Being on the road doesn’t mean that you don’t want to stay in touch with people. In fact, some would argue that constant internet connection is even more important if you are on the road. Anything could go wrong at any time, and you’d need to be able to contact someone in order to get help. Hence, the 4G connectivity that this trailer offers is a big contributor to its inclusion on this top ten list.
One thing that you might like is that while there are a number of floor plans to choose from the layout remains the same. Sometimes having too many options can end up being a bad thing. Decision fatigue is a very real issue. Standard layouts mean that you can focus on the other benefits that the floor plans can provide. The layout is actually quite comfortable and efficient. Space has been used effectively, and you would never feel cramped while you are traveling around in this trailer.
This trailer also comes with an exhaust fan in the living area. Many people don’t realize how important this can be. You need proper ventilation in order to stay healthy. Living in a compact trailer can lead to ventilation issues. The presence of an exhaust fan can bring fresh oxygen into your living space. It can also help to regulate temperatures during summer months. This means that you wouldn’t have to turn your AC on as much which can help reduce living costs. Camper living and cheap living often go hand in hand, and for good reason.
6. Forest River R-Pod Hood River 179 Travel Trailer
You ideally want versatility in your camper. Some might prefer a Spartan design whereas others would need a little more luxury. There’s nothing wrong with wanting options, and options are exactly what you get with this particular travel trailer. It has nine different floor plans, each with unique benefits. However, each model is worth buying in our opinion. They are just really dependable and allow you to maintain a better approach during the time you spend in said camper.
Lighting is one thing that we feel like most travel trailers don’t take seriously. The lighting in many of the campers we have checked out tends to be really harsh with an almost industry vibe to it. Thankfully, this won’t be too much of an issue thanks to this trailer’s LED lights. They provide a cost effective lighting solution that’s also quite pleasant. Saving money should be done within reason. If you have to start compromising on comfort then saving money is just no longer worth it.
Another nice touch in this camper is the tint in the windows. Tinted windows are great for keeping camper interiors cool. The less sunlight that comes in, the less heat would get to accumulate. This can reduce the need for expensive air conditioning. It also allows you to enjoy a nicer natural lighting setup in your camper. Too much sunlight can ruin your sleep cycle. So you want to get something with tinted windows in case you want to sleep in. Tinted windows also make it less necessary for you to get curtains. One less expense can go a long way, so these tinted windows are actually a pretty huge advantage. They also help the interior lighting be a little more effective.
7. Winnebago HIKE
There are a lot of things that make Winnebago’s trailers special, but the HIKE is perhaps the best offering that you can currently get from them. Clearly no expense was spared when it came to design. The interior is both comfortable as well as stylish. An emphasis has been placed on sleekness. This is important for a lot of reasons. Camper interiors need to be sleek in order to save on room. Hence, this is not just a stylistic choice. It has several practical implications as well. All of which are important to take into consideration.
The exterior of this trailer has a lot to offer. It is quite durable. Which means that you can use it to take kayaks and other adventure equipment along with you. This is a really useful capability. It can facilitate proper adventure seekers and their journeys. A number of really useful off road features have also been added. The foil wrapping maximizes weather protection. You also get tires that are specially built for off road usage. The fender offers quite a bit of off road protection as well. To top it all off, this trailer comes with extra storage. This would prove useful for storing items that you don’t normally need on a day to day basis.
The combination of all of these features make this a great travel trailer for adventurous people. Instead of having to fold your mountain bike up and storing it, you can simply attach it to the travel and take it down whenever you need to use it. The combination of adventure friendly features, off road capabilities and the stylish interior come together to make this a really great travel trailer option. It’s a bit heavy compared to other trailers that can sleep three to four people, coming in at about 4,000 pounds, but the excellent features make up for this.
8. Starcraft Satellite 18MK
Minimalism is an important aspect of campers under 5,000 pounds. The Satellite 18MK from Starcraft has been built with this in mind. It has a rather bare bones construction that provides all of the necessities without adding anything extra that is not required. Don’t think that this means that you’d be uncomfortable in this camper, though. Plenty of expense has been put into making this a comfortable living space. It’s just the unnecessary luxuries that have been avoided in the interests of keeping this camper light.
Some might not like that this trailer only offers one floor plan option. However, when the floor plan is as good as this, you don’t really need other options. It comes with a handy slide out dining area perfect for outdoor meals. It can provide a bit of family time whilst also being easy to stow away when not in use. Also, even though this trailer has been optimized to be as compact as possible, it still has one of the better kitchens we’ve seen. The kitchen is fully functional with all of the amenities required to cook delicious meals.
Part of what makes this camper so light is the extensive use of fiberglass. Both the floor and the roof are made of this material. It’s very durable yet quite lightweight. Many also praise this travel trailer for not requiring modifications to cars in order to be towed. This is a good example of a trailer that maximizes storage space but also manages to cut out excessive features that don’t provide any real value. You get what you pay for when you buy this fine camper from Starcraft.
9. Coachmen Clipper Ultra-Lite Travel Trailer
If you’re alright with having a lot of options to choose from, this offering from Coachmen might be great for you. Some might get overwhelmed by the number of choices they would need to make, but for others it poses a great chance to customize their travel trailers. You can choose from fourteen models that fall under 5,000 pounds, giving you enough diversity to not have to compromise on your choices. There are actually quite a few things about this camper that make it special. Not the least of which is the interior height of 6’6”, something that taller people would truly appreciate since they often get the short shrift when it comes to campers.
The bathroom in this trailer comes with a nice skylight. It can be pleasant to have some natural light coming in while you are attending natures call. It also removes the need for light bulbs. One less are where electricity is being used can often be enough to save you a bit of money each month. The kitchen has an undermount sink which is a handy space saving feature. The cover helps keep it out of sight while you’re not using it.
The floor of this trailer is particularly interesting. It’s made of really high quality linoleum. This makes it quite easy to clean. Since residential grade linoleum has been used here it also gives the interior a nice look. This would prove useful if you are ever thinking of inviting any guests over. Even if you don’t invite a lot of guests having a pleasant flooring situation can improve your quality of life. The outdoor shower has both hot and cold water options so you wouldn’t have to worry about taking freezing cold showers in the middle of winter either which is a rare luxury.
10. Gulf Stream Vista Cruiser Travel Trailer
It’s tough to find a travel trailer that can house 6 people but still manages to weigh in at under 5,000 pounds. This offering from Gulf Stream somehow does the job, though. The oyster fiber glass used in the exterior is the same that’s used on the roof. The roof consists of a single piece of fiber glass and it actually looks beautiful. The way it captures the light will be especially pleasing, particularly when the sun starts to go down and you get the golden hour.
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This travel trailer offers a lot of premium features. The kitchen cabinets are made of hardwood and lend a really luxurious feel to the camper. It’s not too expensive either which makes all of these fancy qualities worth it. You also get a 20,000 BTU furnace which can leave the camper extremely warm and toasty, so much so that you might not even need to use a blanket during winter. Some of the smaller models have 16,000 BTU heaters, though. You should ask the seller what kind of furnace the model you’re looking into has.
One thing that we like the most about this trailer is that it has a lot of safety features. From the handy fire extinguisher to plenty of ventilation to prevent fires from spreading, it’s nice to see that Gulf Stream takes the safety of its customers so seriously. This also contributes to convenience, with plenty of USB ports being added throughout the camper so that you are never too far from a source of power.