Small Campers

Easy on the gas!

Small Camper Trailer

Many tent campers make the move up to small campers for various reasons.  Of these, is being better protected against the elements and nature's creatures top the list.

Also known as, lightweight travel trailers, the length can be up to 10 feet long and as small as 6 feet wide.  The Teardrop Camper Trailer being the smallest of all.

If there are any drawbacks to the design, it is the height.  Many have headroom of 5 to 5 1/2 feet and that means that standing up is almost impossible.  Looking past this fact, the camper makes for perfect sleeping quarters, and area to relax or eat during the heat of the day.

There are some models recently that have increased the height of their interiors to 6 feet and greater so the problem of not being able to stand up fully goes away.  The larger small trailer will have small appliances and more storage.  The Teardrop Trailers do not have appliances, but are designed with a kitchen, and storage area in the back of the trailer.

The greatest features of small campers are their small size, maneuverability, and aerodynamic design.  With today's gas prices and the push for smaller vehicles, this camper is perfect for those who want to hit the road economically.

In order to pick the right trailer combination, we have listed everything you need to know.

Towing Your Camper

First, make sure that your vehicle you plan to tow your trailer is up to the job before purchasing or renting your trailer.  Although the smaller 8 foot trailer packages may weigh as little as 1000 lbs., a car's transmission may not be able to handle the load if your trip will take you through mountain passes.  Check your vehicle's owner's manual first before going any farther.

If you find the camper desired weighs more than what your vehicle can handle, it may want to consider getting a light truck or an alternate vehicle with more capacity.

Small camper Trailer

How Many People

Typically, small campers are designed for two people.  If there is a need for more occupancy, then you might consider a pop up tent trailer or a larger version of the small travel trailer.  One other option is to pack along a tent for the additional occupants.

How Far Will You Be Traveling?

Inside Small Camper

This question is important as it pertains to the road worthiness of the trailer you have in mind.  For most small trailers (up to 10 feet), a single axle would suffice for most of the trips.  Most small campers of this size will only come in one axle, but it may be possible to purchase one that is set up with an axle normally used in off road camping trailers.

Electric brakes are always a good option to have regardless of the trailer size.  This holds especially true if your trip includes running through mountainous regions of any size.

Purchasing or Renting your Small Camper

With the towing capacity of the vehicle known, it's time to select the small camper trailer.

To do this, you need to answer the following 4 questions:

  • How many will be camping with you?
  • How far do you plan to drive to your campsite (short trips, cross country, etc.)?
  • Will most of your campsites be shaded or out in the open?
  • How long do you expect to stay on average for your camping trips?

Camper Trailer Rentals-A Valuable Option

An alternative to driving to your destination with a trailer in tow, is to look at local camper trailer rentals near your final destination.  It is easy to find many outlets just by searching on the Internet for a camper rental at or near your destination.  Rental fees are also very reasonable and combining with the price of gas today, may be a more valuable option.

Open or Shaded Campsite?

This question goes right along with how many of the four seasons will you be camping.  Typically, the camping season starts in early Spring into Late Fall and this covers camping temperatures from cold to hot.  Knowing when and where you are going will help in deciding on whether you need an air conditioner or heater or both.  Many units (newer models) have both of these as standard.

How Long Are You Staying?

Inside Tear Drop Trailer

The length of your camping trips is a factor in the amount and type of amenities that are in the trailer's design.  If weekends are the only time you plan on camping, then the basic package, which may or may not include a refrigerator, air conditioner, water heater or dual propane tanks may work for you. 

When camping for a week or longer, the above-mentioned items almost become a necessity.  A refrigerator runs off of either gas or electric helps with keeping the perishable foods better than constantly buying ice for the cooler.  A kitchen sink with at least a 5 gallon water supply also makes more sense than trying to do without.  Certainly, other items like a portable toilet along with some way to take a hot shower would be on your camper checklist as well.

Used Camper Trailers OR Camper Trailer Rentals

Small Campers are so popular, that there are many outlets either offering rentals of all sizes of trailers or even for lease if you are planning on an extended vacation.  The other alternative is to check your local papers or the internet for used camping trailers for sale.  If this is the route you want to go, there are a few things that need to be done other than just kicking the tires.

Make sure the owner gives you the instructions while you set the camper up and take down.  Look for any sticking portions of the sliding members including the door and frame.  If the trailer has not been set up properly, there is a chance that the main frame may be warped and you will be buying someone else's problems.

Be sure to check anywhere gaskets are used such as windows or vents.  Checking for gaps, cracks and dry rote.  Check all utility connections and appliances to verify they are working.  Inspect the interior floors and inside all cabinets for any water damage.

Insist on hooking up the trailer and at least take it around the block or a couple of miles.  This will bring out any structural problems before you commit to the sale.

Here are a couple of site that will give you an idea of layout and pricing:

Camping trailers first took hold in America in the 1930s and have been popular ever since.  If you have additional questions regarding small campers, send us an email using the Contact Us button on this page.

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