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Do Lightweight Campers Really Exist?

Do Lightweight Campers Really Exist?

Do Lightweight Campers Really Exist?

Are you on the hunt for a legitimate lightweight camper? We’ve got good news for you.

They really do exist!

But there’s more to camper weight than just pounds. This article discusses lightweight camper options from 1,000 to 5,000 pounds and what exactly those numbers mean.

Let’s take a look!

How Light Are Lightweight Campers?

Lightweight campers typically weigh less than 5,000 pounds. Lightweight campers open up a world of possibility if you drive a small truck, SUV, or hybrid vehicle.

These types of campers make it possible for almost anyone to start RVing, using whatever tow vehicle they already own.

Do Lightweight Campers Really Exist? 

Yes! It just depends on how light of a camper you need. You can find lightweight campers down to 1,000 pounds dry weight. Anything smaller than that is typically a tent trailer. But if that interests you, you can find lightweight campers under 1,000 pounds, too. 

Small camper parked on a driveway.
Lightweight campers weigh less than 5,000 pounds.

Understanding Camper Weights: Dry Weight Versus GVWR

Camper weights are labeled in two different ways. First, you have “dry weight” or “UVW” (unloaded vehicle weight). This number signifies how much the camper weighs without any water or added cargo. The camper will also have a “cargo-carrying capacity” or CCC. The cargo-carrying capacity is how much weight the camper can hold, including water in the tanks, personal belongings, etc. 

Finally, “GVWR” stands for “gross vehicle weight rating” and signifies how much your camper can weigh altogether, loaded up with cargo. The GVWR is the number that matters when you match your vehicle with a camper. 

To match your vehicle with a camper, determine your vehicle’s total towing capacity and hitch carrying capacity. The GVWR of your camper should fall within 20% or below your maximum towing capacity. You never want to max out your towing capacity. This can cause a difficult towing experience and rapid wear and tear on your engine. 

Pro Tip: Unsure of what your maximum towing capacity is? We made it easy for you! Read more to find out How To Find Towing Capacity by VIN.

End of truck towing a small lightweight camper
Determine your vehicle’s total towing capacity and hitch carrying capacity to choose what lightweight camper will best match your vehicle.

Lightweight Campers up to 1,000 Pounds

If you need a camper around the 1,000-pound mark, check these out. Keep in mind that the dry weight of these campers hovers around the 1,000-pound mark, so they’ll be heavier when fully loaded. 

Little Guy [email protected]

The [email protected] is a teardrop camper that has everything you need for a fun and cozy camping trip. These iconic small trailers have a dry weight of around 1,046 pounds.

The total gross axle weight rating (GAWR) of these tiny campers is just over 2,000 pounds. 

MeerKat Trailer

You can stand up in the MeerKat Trailer, yet it still weighs less than 1,000 pounds. That’s almost unheard of. The MeerKat trailer has a small pop-up section that provides 360-degree views of your surroundings. This camper includes a sink, fridge, dinette/bed area, and optional toilet. MeerKat trailers have a dry weight of 900 pounds with a GAWR of 2,000 pounds. 

Keep in Mind: Dry weight is used to calculate other weights in your RV, but what exactly is it? Read more to find out What Is Your RV Dry Weight?

Lightweight Campers up to 3,500 Pounds

These campers weigh less than 3,500 pounds, making them a great choice for many SUV crossovers. 

Airstream Bambi 16RB

If you want to own an iconic Airstream but have low towing capacity, check out the Bambi 16RB. The Airstream Bambi 16RB has a GVWR of 3,500 pounds. This single-axle silver bullet is 16.1 feet long and contains everything you need to camp or full-time with a bed, bathroom, kitchen, and dinette.

Safari Condo Alto F1743

Safari Alto campers are truly unique. These sleek and stylish campers have beautiful designs and everything you need to camp comfortably. The Safari Condo Alto F1743 has a GVWR of 2,700 pounds and is 17 feet long. This camper has a bathroom, kitchen, dinette, bed, and more. 

Lightweight Campers up to 5,000 Pounds

Looking for a lightweight camper under 5,000 pounds? We’ve got you covered. Check out these awesome lightweight RVs that weigh less than 5,000 pounds.

Grand Design Imagine 17MKE

Grand Design campers are some of the best travel trailers on the market. These campers are luxurious and well-built, and there’s even a lightweight option. The Grand Design Imagine 17MKE is 17 feet long and has a dry weight of 4,674 pounds. This dry weight doesn’t give a lot of wiggle room but is a great lightweight Grand Design RV option. 

Venture Sonic SN220VBH

The SN220VBH Venture Sonic travel trailer is a bunkhouse RV with a dry weight of fewer than 5,000 pounds. This camper has a UVW of just over 4,400 pounds and features a master queen bed, bathroom, kitchen, dinette, sofa, and two twin bunk beds. It’s perfect for a family with an SUV. 

Lightweight Campers: 5,000 Pounds and Below

The key to choosing a lightweight camper that’s perfect for your vehicle is staying below 20% of your maximum towing capacity. Keep in mind that dry weight is only the unloaded weight of the camper, and don’t buy something more than your car can handle. It’s important to pair your towing capacity and GVWR properly to prevent damage to your vehicle and be able to use your camper for years to come. What’s your favorite lightweight camper?

Small camper parked in a forest.
Stay below 20% of your maximum towing capacity when picking your lightweight trailer.

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

Shirley R. (Crown Jewel Copyediting)

Sunday 19th of September 2021

I'm so glad to see you guys finally have the Meerkat on your list. I've had mine for 2-1/2 years, and I absolutely LOVE it! It's great for relaxing but also great for working at the table. I've taken it across the country and back, towing it easily behind a Jetta wagon. In the meantime, it stays in my garage. Best of all, when it's raining, I don't have to go outside to cook. And, oh yeah, no holding tanks to deal with. What's small, cute, and pops up to look around? A Meerkat of course!

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