Travel habits are changing as more people embrace the outdoors in search of solitude and safety. These affordable, adaptable mini campers are perfect for adventurous types who want to work on the road or simply enjoy a comfortable and safe shelter for weekend excursions.
Some RVs and customized vans can cost more than a house, but if you’re just getting into the camping lifestyle, you may want to test the waters with something simple and affordable. If you plan on staying at campgrounds or with friends and family along the way and can live without some luxuries (like a kitchen and bathroom–for which there are many innovative solutions), a mini travel trailer might be for you. This article focuses on lightweight options that can be towed with almost any vehicle. The great thing about these styles is that they can be unhitched when you reach your destination so that you can zip around town—or in nature—without the worries of maneuvering a heavy rig. Be sure to check the towing capacity of your vehicle and factor in the weight of the items you’ll be hauling.
Based in Summerfield, Florida, this family-owned business is more than a camper brand—it’s a lifestyle. In recent years, fans of these sturdy travel trailers have formed social media groups, held rallies, and met up with fellow Runaway travelers on the road. Runaways are available in four options: the Cool Camp and the Range Runner are 4×8 feet and 6×8 feet respectively; the Venturist is an off-road version available in the same sizes; and the Rouser offers a 6×8-foot cabin tall enough for most adults to stand up in. All models come standard with windows and one door, air conditioning, and can be customized with features such as awnings, roof racks, outdoor showers, and other features. Runaway has several exclusive dealers around the U.S., or you can road trip to the Sunshine State and pick up your unit on site.
New Wave Teardops
These teardrop-style mini campers don’t just look good, they offer a few key standard features that set them apart from most similar models. Case in point: a smartly designed kitchen galley accessible via a rear swing-up door. (You can also opt for a half galley, which leaves space to access the inside of the camper from the rear.) Sure, it takes up some of the precious 5×8 floor space, but if you’re the type who isn’t willing to sacrifice your kitchen gadgets on the road, it’s worth it. They also come standard with an interior 12-volt power strip, exterior LED running lights, and a detachable wheel that allows you to steer the 890-pound camper into your camping spot by hand—a lifesaver for those new to towing—and many other features can be added. Based in Lewis Center, Ohio, New Wave is family owned and has excellent customer service. Units can be picked up on site or delivery service can be arranged.
This beloved travel trailer company has a loyal following and it’s easy to see why. Smart design throughout their line of mini campers allows for such luxuries as a wet bath (where the toilet and shower are combined), kitchenettes with a mini fridge and sink, air conditioning, large windows, custom Amish cabinetry and more. nüCamp offers six models, with four of them being teardrop or clamshell styles and one being a truck camper. (One is a larger travel trailer for those who want to go all out). Prepare to pay for these luxuries—although in relation to larger rigs, they are still very affordable, not to mention stylish.
Aptly named, these micro campers are a favorite of hikers who simply need a sturdy shelter as a base camp. With two manufacturing locations in Colorado and Indiana, the company aims to help people experience the outdoors in a comfortable and economic way. Hiker Trailers come in four models that can accommodate both highway and off-road adventures. These also come standard with a small kitchen galley which can be designed with different drawer and shelf combinations to suit your needs. Other amenities—such as additional wiring, propane tank mountains, showers, roof cages, etc. can be added to create a truly customized rig. Insider tip: the lead time is much shorter if you order from the Indiana location.
These lightweight campers just might have it all—room to stand up, a full bath with shower, a small kitchenette with a dining table that converts to a bed, and even cabinets and closet space! Of course, with those luxuries come additional responsibilities like dealing with gray water tanks, but once you get the hang of that it’s not too big a deal. Weighing in at around 1,500 pounds for the smallest models, Scamp offers several floor plans that can accommodate a couple or small family with ease. All models can be decked out with additional features to make it your own. The dealership is located in Backus, Minnesota, but these space-saving units can be delivered anywhere in the Continental United States.