Lightweight travel trailers under 3500 lbs: should you consider one? Not everyone who is interested in buying a travel trailer wants or needs a big one.
As a matter of fact, if you are RV-ing on your own, with a spouse, or a small family, you can get by with a small lightweight trailer. It wasn’t long ago that there was a limited choice of small camper trailers, but today, there’s quite a number to choose from.
Things To Consider When Looking At Travel Trailers Under 3500 lbs
There are a number of things to consider when deciding on a small travel trailer. The following are the items you should consider when looking at one.
Does the trailer have adequate storage space for the group? You don’t want to limit the area you will be moving around in by allowing items to get in the way.
A good floor design will allow the most functional area possible which will make the experience that much better.
Even though the trailer is going to be open, the size and function of the bed will be one of the most important factors.
Does the trailer have a queen sized bed or a couple twins? What are the mattresses like? Are they of good quality?
I don’t know about you, but when I am dry camping or even camping on the beach, the bed has got to be comfortable or it just ruins the entire outing for me.
What if you want to curl up with a good book? Does the bed have some needed lighting to finish out the day with a good book?
You’ve spent all this time packing and making all the necessary arrangements… you should be able to get the needed rest to meet the demands of the day.
Kitchen and Dining
When nature calls out in the wild, many can run to a bush or outhouse and do the business. But a trailer makes it really nice when nature calls at 2:40 AM and it is snowing outside and the outhouse is 50 yards down the path.
Depending how long you plan to be in the area, you should be aware of how much water your small travel trailer can hold. Keep in mind that two adults may go through a couple gallons a day with preparing food and using the lavatory.
The 25-30 feet trailers comes with a large 30-35 gallon tank which lasts four grown men about 5 days.
Trailers Under 4000 lbs
When should you consider jumping up a tier to a trailer slightly larger at 4000 lbs? Small travel trailers have their place but it may be time to consider a slightly bigger trailer if space, water, and bathrooms are a huge factor.
Small trailers under 4000 lbs will still be towable by the vehicle you planned on but it may give you the best floor plan and functionality that a smaller trailer may not provide.
If a smaller light weight travel trailer doesn’t meet your families needs, you will need to look at the next tier up which will likely meet the needs you are looking for.
Lightweight Travel Trailers Under 3500 Lbs
Below, we pick our 4 favorite lightweight travel trailers. They are all affordable and offer many amenities for their size and weight.
CAMPLITE 13QBB All Aluminum Automotive Travel Trailer
Camplite has 5 models that weigh less than 3500 lbs. However, we chose the 13QBB because it’s one of the bigger lightweight travel trailers in their line-up and we also like the way it looks. The camper trailer is considered ultra-light and has an all-aluminum construction. Insulation is block foam with Azdel composite wallboard throughout. The camper box itself measures 13 feet in length, 7 feet in width, and is 9 feet 6 inches in height, with AC. The GVWR is 3,000 lbs.
The 13QBB has a very simple floor plan suitable for one or two inhabitants. Some of the features of the Camplite 13QBB include:
- Tubular Aluminum Frame Lightweight; Durable; will not rust away like typical steel frames.
- Dexter Independent Torsion Suspension provides the smoothest ride, best tracking, and less rebound in all terrains compared to outdated spring leaf suspensions.
- Inter-Locking Aluminum Plank Floor Deck Lightweight; Durable; will not rot away, sag, or have soft spots like typical plywood floor decking. Frankly, there is no comparison to conventional trailers here.
- Lightweight Custom Crafted Countertops Lightweight; Durable; Water Resistant; Designed to stand the test of time compared to presswood tops.
For more features and option check out their page.
JAYCO JAY FLIGHT SLX
Jayco has a reputation of manufacturing the big ones in the travel trailer industry ever since, so it has come as quite a surprise when they released the Jay Flight SLX that has a GVWR of less than 3,000 pounds.
This model series is relatively new to the brand, as it’s only been around for a couple of years, compared to Jayco’s more than 50 years of business. But you don’t have to fear because even though this model series is still fresh, we all know that Jayco never disappoints.
The Jayco Jay Flight SLX has 17 floor plans. Yes, you read that right, 17 floor plans! So even though this is the only lightweight travel trailer that they sell, you still have a bunch of choices to choose from.
What makes it even better is that the only difference it has with the big travel trailers that Jayco sell is the size. When it comes to the features, everything is pretty much the same. You get the same quality for a smaller size. Except for a few minimal upgraded amenities that the big trailers have because they won’t fit in this model series, you will get your money’s worth from Jayco, as usual. As an added bonus, it can sleep 3 to 9 people. Here are some key features:
- 17 different floor plans available
- Pleated window shades
- Mission-style maple cabinet doors
- Jayco-made window treatments
- J-Steel jackknife sofa
- DiamondFlor vinyl flooring
The photo above shows the 2016 Airstream Sport. Another lightweight travel trailer under 3500 lbs. Let’s get one thing out of the way rather quickly: this trailer is light in weight but might not be so light on our wallet. As of today, the MSRP is $44,383, which is rather high but not so high for a typical airstream. We consider the Airstream Sport one of our Top Rated Travel Trailers, but again, it is expensive.
The Sport is described as an ultra-towable compact travel trailer. But don’t let the compact wording fool you. This little camper trailer has room for up to 4 people.
It does come in two floor plans with the bigger floor plan costing more.
The exterior length is 16.4 feet, the exterior width is 8 feet, and the exterior height with AC is 9.3 feet. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR is 3,500 lbs.
Some of the features of the Airstream Sport include:
- Interior LED lights
- Choice of interior decor
- 2-4 people sleeping capacity
- AC and Furnace
- Water Heater
For more information view the Airstream Sport site.
KZ Sportsmen Classic
KZ’s most popular model series may be its Spree model series, but this brand has always been known to manufacture and produce lightweight and quality trailers. Their KZ Sportsmen Classic is no different. It can sleep 3 to 5 people, it’s 15-21 feet, and its unloaded weight is less than 2900 pounds. Not just that, it also has a refrigerator, upgrade options, a lot of security features, and a TV. Big packages do come in small sizes. The key features of this model are:
- 7 different floor plans available!
- Power Awning w/LED Light Strip
- Exterior Speakers
- Front Diamond Plate
- LED Interior Lights
- Digital TV Antenna
FOREST RIVER R-POD
Next up is the Forest River R-Pod RP-172. I love this travel trailer. Not only does it look really cool, it has some excellent features as well. Described as the kind of trailer that offers affordable luxury at the lowest tow weight in its class, the RP-172 has a GVWR of just 3,244 lbs. It has an exterior length of 18.4 feet, an exterior width of 96 feet, and an exterior height of 9.6 feet.
The available floor plan on this r-pod has two bunk beds.
The camper appears to be well constructed with a powder coated steel frame, self-adjusting electric brakes, LED taillights, and independent torsion axle.
In addition to the features mentioned, the Forest River RP-172 has the following:
- Wet bath with integrated Toilet & Sink.
- Grey shaker style Cabinets
- Camper friendly package
- Solar Panel Charge Port
- Outside Shower
- LED Lighting
Check our more features on the Forest River website.
When you say lightweight, Aliner Ascape will probably be its definition. Aliner Ascape is the epitomy of a lightweight travel trailer. Although it’s not as famous as the big guys in the travel trailer industry like Jayco, Grand Design, and Thor, when you talk about lightweight, this brand is in the frontlines. The Ascape’s unloaded weight is less than 1700 pounds! Even though the Ascape can only sleep up to 2 people, it’s a quality brand. Some key features include:
- 5 different floor plans
- Atwood 16,000 BTU Furnace in plus, ST and camp floorplans
- Two Burner Range Top in plus, ST and camp floorplans
- Carefree 5′ Awning (optional for ST, camp and MT, standard on plus)
- Front Mounted Solar Panel (plus only)
- Coleman Mach 8-9200 BTU Roof Mounted A/C (optional on MT)
STARCRAFT AR-ONE 14RB
Our last lightweight travel trailer under 3500 lbs is the Starcraft AR-ONE, and it comes in several floor plans. The 14RB, 15RB, and 16RB are the only ones in this line-up that come in under 3,500 lbs GVWR. Starcraft also has the Launch model lightweight travel camper but we chose to stick with the AR-ONE for this article.
The 2016 AR-ONE can be considered an entry-level camper at a great price.
The lighter models are easily towable by an SUV or minivan. Featuring bold graphics, cherry wood cabinets, and quilted bunk mats by Denver Mattress. It really packs a lot in a small and very lightweight package. Exterior length is 16.5 feet , exterior width is 7.08 feet, and exterior height is 6.08 feet. It can sleep 2-3 people.
Some additional features of the Starcraft AR-ONE are:
- 6 Gallon Gas DSI Water Heater
- Black front diamond plate
- Pleated shades
- AM/FM with CD/DVD/USB stereo
- A Magnum Roof System -50% stronger
- 2-Burner Range
- 54-inch booth dinette
There are many more standard and optional features available on this lightweight travel trailer and all can be viewed on the Starcarft AR-ONE website.
So there you have it: If you’re looking for the best travel trailers under 4000 lbs. These models are all well-made, affordable, and fun to own. If you have any questions on these lightweight camping trailers, just let us know in the comments below.