Small Campers, Big Fun: 5 Reasons to Consider a Small RV (Plus Some of Our Favorites)

Last Updated on June 20, 2023 by Christina

If you’re new to the RV lifestyle, you might be familiar with distinct Class C motorhomes or fifth wheels. But did you know that there are many small RVs available like pop-ups, teardrop campers, lightweight travel trailers and even Class B motorhomes? These tiny but mighty options can pack loads of features into a compact footprint. This makes them perfect for those who love camping and also enjoy having a few creature comforts. And they’re great for first-time buyers, too! Here are five reasons why small campers make excellent starter RVs. 

Ready to shop now? Check out our current selection of small RVs for sale.

1. Small campers are lightweight

One of the biggest advantages of owning a small camper is the weight factor… or lack of it. Most pop-up campers and teardrop trailers weigh less than 3,500 lbs., which means you don’t need a truck with a heavy tow rating to take on big adventures. These lightweight travel trailers can be towed behind an SUV or minivan. There are also ultralight options for those with even smaller vehicles, like the sleek Coachmen Clipper 9.0TD Express which has a curb weight of only 1,418 lbs. Whatever you choose, make sure you don’t exceed your vehicle’s max towing capacity. Not sure what your vehicle can safely tow? Grab your vehicle information and check out our Tow Capacity Guide.

a popup trailer sits on the beach at sunset
Lightweight, easy-to-setup camping trailers are a popular choice for young families and childless first-time buyers. But they aren’t the only small RV option.

2. Small campers are easy to tow and park

In addition to being lightweight, small RVs are easy to move. Even if you’ve never towed anything before, don’t worry! Towing a camper is not intimidating as long as you’ve got the right towing equipment. A weight distributing hitch will help prevent your trailer from swaying side to side when you’re on the road. The result is that your trailer will stay aligned with your vehicle, and you’ll feel more comfortable and confident when driving. At the campground, small campers are easier to maneuver thanks to their shorter length. That means you’ll have more chances to snag a prime camping site in spots that are too tight for larger RVs.

3. You can choose to “rough it” or “go glamping” in a small camper

Have you ever woken up sore from a night spent sleeping in a tent on the ground? Or wished you had a microwave to make a quick meal instead of building a fire? Then you’ll love the amenities that a small camper offers. These range from basic to feature-loaded. If you want a comfortable place to sleep and your main concern is weight, consider the Rove Lite by Travel Lite. This ultra-lightweight travel trailer is available in multiple floorplans to sleep up to four and weighs less than 1,900 lbs. Pop-up campers offer more room; with sleeping space for up to six, the Clipper 108ST Sport is a great option for camping with the whole family. If an indoor kitchen, bathroom and WiFi are at the top of your wish list, check out the Little Guy Max teardrop camper. For a small camper you don’t have to tow, the Thor Scope might be perfect for you. This agile B van from Thor Motor Coach is easy to park and can be your basecamp for going off the grid or exploring new cities.

the interior of a small teardrop trailer RV that shows the galley kitchen, convertible dinette, and lots of cabinets for storage
Is this what you pictured when you thought of a small RV? Little Guy Max teardrop campers sleep three and feature a wet bath, full kitchen, and plenty of electronics for staying connected when on the road.

4. You can spend more time camping with a small camper

Another reason why so many people choose small campers is because they make spending time outdoors more accessible. Things like A/C or a generator can add several weeks (or months depending on where you live) to your camping season. And your spouse or children might be more excited to go too, if they know they won’t be limited to meals made over a campfire. You’ll also enjoy more time exploring or relaxing once you reach your destination because a small RV requires less set up time. When the season finally ends, you don’t have to worry about storing your small camper offsite. All the RVs we’ve mentioned will fit in a garage, which gives you greater flexibility in your camping plans.

5. Small campers are affordable

Perhaps the most important reason why so many people choose a small camper is the cost. Pop-up campers and lightweight trailers are the most affordable RVs, and because they are popular there are lots of new and used options. You can find great deals on used RVs. Sure, the décor might be a little dated but does that matter when it saves you a few thousand dollars? If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors and prefer to buy new, you can finance your purchase and work it into your monthly budget. Maintenance and ownership costs are also reduced compared to larger RVs since small trailers have no engine and fewer components.

a small camper called the Little Guy Mini Max sits in the woods. There are two bikes mounted on the back of the trailer and an awning over the side provides shade.
You don’t need a big RV to make unforgettable memories. There are plenty of small camper options if your towing capacity is limited.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning a small RV?

Small RVs satisfy all of your basic camper needs without having to make the huge investment that a larger RV would need, while bringing you sleeping comfort no matter where you are or how late you arrive.  But for some travelers, the sacrifice in space and storage can be a deal breaker.

Advantages of owning a small RV

The ability to tow a tiny RV with almost any vehicle is a huge advantage. But the perks to owning a small RV don’t end there. These tiny campers can also fit in a garage. You can easily protect your RV from the weather and sunlight when it’s not in use.

The small size also means you can go just about anywhere. You’re not limited to finding campsites of a certain length or width. A small RV can fit into small campsites and venture into those remote locations that many boondockers prefer. They’re also easy to unhitch and leave behind if you want.

Disadvantages of owning a small RV

Even though the small space can be an advantage, it’s also a disadvantage for some. These small trailers will get you into the backwoods, but you’ll be limited on interior space once you’re settled. This capacity of small RVs can be a problem if you have a group of people, or a family with growing kids. You can remedy this issue by also bringing tents and while some sleep in these, others sleep in the small camper.

Because they’re so small, small RVs also lack amenities you’ll find in many other types of travel trailers. You won’t have a bathroom or a full kitchen. You won’t have residential appliances or an abundance of storage space. If reaching remote places isn’t your goal, you may get more bang for your buck with a larger travel trailer, especially if you have a larger tow vehicle. As you can see, there is certainly some give and take when camping in a small RV.

How much do small RVs cost?

The price of small RV has a wide range, starting around $2,000 and shooting up to $40,000. You have to know what you want out of your small RV – are you looking for the most affordable way to travel, or do you want a luxurious trip? Small RVs can fit the needs of the simplest outdoorsman or the pickiest glamper. Naturally, the lower the cost of a small RV, the fewer amenities and luxuries that will come equipped. In general, a smaller, brand new RV will cost in the range of $5,000 to $20,000.

Financial options for purchasing a small RV

A number of financial options are available when it comes to purchasing your small RV. While some may pay in cash, most will finance their purchase over the course of several months. Monthly payments can be reduced by providing a large down payment at purchase. This could also help secure a lower interest rate, leading to even more savings in the long-term. Many RV dealers and banks offer great financing options.

Creating an RV budget will help you stay within your financial boundaries and help narrow your small RV search. Be sure to also include parts or accessory upgrades, regular preventative maintenance and RV insurance in your budget. You will also need to account for storage costs if you are unable to store your small RV on your property when not in use. RVing is growing in popularity at an exponential rate because it can be enjoyed on nearly any budget. Read about some ways to save money while RVing and stretch your dollars so you can enjoy more adventures.

What’s the best small RV for me?

Small RVs are great for travelers who like to keep it simple but prefer the convenience and comfort of an RV over a tent. They’re great for anyone who likes to take a lot of quick camping trips, or those who don’t camp often but want to be able to go quickly. Small campers are small and practical. This means not a lot of people can usually fit in them. Small RVs are generally used by people who camp alone or in a pair (in some you might also fit a small child or two).

Next to your home, an RV is most likely the second-most expensive item you’ll ever purchase. If you’re looking for an RV that is perfect for your next adventure, you’ll definitely want to check out the best small RVs General RV has to offer.

Before you buy: 5 best small RVs for sale at General RV

Coachman RV Clipper Express small RV

The all-new Coachmen RV Clipper Express micro RV has been engineered around one simple word… Easy! Easy to set up, easy to store, easy to use and most importantly, easy to enjoy! The Clipper Express provides a whole new dimension in travel trailers, starting with the ease of towing created by aerodynamic profiles. The patent pending Glide-N-Lock bed system makes set-up a breeze and its use as simple as can be.

The Clipper Express boasts stunning appeal and loads of features centered around convenience and practical comfort features that the most experienced camper will appreciate. Not only are they easy to tow, but they are easy to store when you’re not camping. The Clipper Express boasts aluminum rims and a high-quality construction that’s rugged enough to withstand even the toughest terrain. You’ll love how this RV keeps you comfortable, while still taking a minimalist approach to RVing. The Power Package comes standard on all models and includes convenient features, such as a 12-volt outlet, a USB charging port, 7-way hook ups and much more!

ALiner Ranger small RV

ALiner created the first A-frame RV in the early 1970s, and has been perfecting their hand-crafted designs ever since. The ALiner Ranger is a great mid-range micro RV with all the features you want and need to camp in style. Featuring climate control systems, easy-folding design and ease of tow – this micro RV will enhance your camping experience! Be ready to “hook and book” in five minutes with this great micro camper. The ALiner Ranger is lightweight with a low profile, is easy to handle and takes just about 30 seconds to set up!

Inside, a sofa along the rear wall converts into a sofa bed. One side of the micro RV has a sink, two-burner range and under-counter refrigerator. The opposite side offers storage and a convenient toilet area. Along the front wall you will find a dinette which also converts into a bed. There is also an optional twin sofa bed that you can choose in place of the rear sofa bed, as well as many more available customizations!

Little Guy from Xtreme Outdoors small RV

The Little Guy Max from Xtreme Outdoors feature exterior excellence, a feature-rich interior and a cozy kitchen. This is all included in a micro RV that is able to be towed by a small SUV or well-equipped crossover.

Starting at just 3,010 pounds, the Little Guy Max comes standard with an abundance of deluxe features. With an impressive 6-foot 7-inch interior height, the Little Guy Max’s versatile cabin space incorporates lush materials to sleep and live comfortably, as well as thoughtful details – from ample storage and charging outlets to innovative entertainment features and LED lighting. The interior is an adventure all by itself.

The 100 percent hardwood cabinetry adds quality to the interior, and each trailer can sleep two to three people. You’ll have an AC and furnace to keep your trailer’s interior at just the right temperature, and the Euro-style, insulated, dual-paned acrylic windows are both stylish and very functional. Each model has a great set of options that you can add to it to create the outdoor vehicle of your dreams.

Forest River IBEX small RV

The Forest River IBEX micro RVs are built lightweight, making them perfect for towing by SUVs and smaller trucks. The IBEX lineup will feature eight floorplans: four are 7-feet wide and weigh in at under 5,000 pounds, while four are 8-feet wide and under 7,000 pounds. This focus on lighter-weight models makes the IBEX perfect for towing by SUVs and smaller trucks.

Each IBEX is built with Azdel construction, a solar system with a large panel, controller and 1000W inverter for off-grid destinations and a Cold Weather package for traveling during any season. The interior offers a panoramic front window for great views, seamless countertops and stainless steel appliances, plus a central vacuum system to keep everything tidy inside.

Forest River R Pod small RV

The R Pod is the first of its kind to offer you affordable luxury at the lowest tow weight in its class. This small and versatile package is such a dream to own because it gives you the benefits of a larger RV without the struggles that come with towing larger trailers.

The exterior is stylish, with a one-piece fiberglass roof, Azdel composite panels, Tufflex PVC roofing and independent suspension torsion axle which create an excellent base that will last for years on end. The R-Pod also comes with the largest refrigerator in its class, and you will even find a central vacuum system and seamless countertops on the interior.

The bottom line on small RVs

With their tiny size, small RVS can be pulled by most everyday vehicles, which is handy for those who don’t want to invest in a large truck or SUV for the convenience of trailer camping. When camping with a small RV, you get the full camping experience with a great level of comfort. There are many different types of small campers available – pop-ups, teardrop campers, ultra lightweight trailers – and it’s easy to find one that fits your needs and budget. Because they are lightweight and easy to tow, you won’t need a big truck to get out there. With a huge variety of floorplans and features like indoor kitchens, small campers can accommodate solo campers, couples and families.

Ready to begin your own adventure in a small camper? Let General RV help you discover the RV lifestyle. We offer a huge selection of new pop-up campersteardrop campers,  travel trailers and Class B motorhomes, as well as used RVs for sale. Need RV parts? We’ve got those, too. And our highly trained technicians can help with all your RV service needs. Visit our RV Virtual Showroom to start browsing now. Or find a General RV dealer near you. Whether you shop online or in store, our experts will help you camp with confidence.