RV living isn’t just for motorhome owners or those with full-sized pickup trucks. There are plenty of midsized trucks and SUVs that can tow around 5,000 pounds or more, and these days there are some excellent towable trailers that provide wonderful amenities, great reliability, and plenty of versatility that weigh in well under 5,000 pounds.
For those who own a smaller vehicle, this means you can explore the great outdoors of America without having to swap your SUV for a big hulking truck or purchase a separate motorhome. While motorhomes can be wonderful if you’re committed to the RVing lifestyle, they are a whole other vehicle that you have to maintain and insure, which can make a wonderful hobby a whole lot more expensive.
In this article, we’ll go over some great options for trailers under 5,000 pounds, and even one under 2,000 pounds that you could haul with any small SUV and even some hatchbacks and sedans.
When considering a trailer’s weight, there are two main measurements you have to look at: dry weight and the gross vehicle weight rating.
The dry weight is just how much the bare-bones trailer weighs before you load it up with your belongings.
The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is that dry weight plus the maximum cargo capacity that the trailer can handle. Even though you may never fill your RV to its full capacity, it’s best to consider its GVWR to see if your car can safely tow the trailer when fully-loaded. The dry weight doesn’t account for essentials you’ll have to bring like water, propane, food, cooking equipment, clothing, etc.
Here are some of the best towables under 5,000 pounds that make the perfect home on wheels for couples, individuals, and small families.
The Keystone Passport is not just one model of RV but a whole line of layouts. Out of this line’s 31 floor plans, 6 of them have a GVWR under 5,000 pounds. The 175BH Express is an excellent model that is light on the road but not light on features or space.
It is a 21-foot trailer with a GVWR of 4,500 pounds, and it makes the most of those dimensions. Inside, you’ll find a kitchenette complete with a two-burner stove, a miniature oven, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a surprisingly large sink. Across from this kitchenette is a dinette with booth seating for four and a small television. At the front, there is a queen-sized bed with a small wardrobe, and, in the rear of the cabin, you’ll find two bunk beds next to the bathroom, which is complete with a toilet and combination shower/bathtub.
All the furniture and materials inside look sleek, modern, and high quality. This trailer is great for your family of four and can easily be towed behind a midsized truck or SUV.
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Some might say that old is new again, while others would say that a great look never goes out of style. Whichever is the case, the Airstream Bambi features the brand’s signature silver bullet styling that has been their mainstay for 85 years now, and it looks just as gorgeous on the Bambi models today as it did on the Clipper in 1936.
The Bambi comes in four different sizes, with the lightest 16-foot trailer only weighing 3,000 pounds and the 20-foot model coming in at 4,000 pounds dry. The 16-foot model has a GVWR of 3,500 pounds, while the 19-, 20-, and 21-foot models are all rated for 5,000 pounds.
Each model comes equipped with a mattress, stove, microwave, sink, refrigerator, shower, toilet, bathroom sink, and a dinette that can be converted into more sleep space. The layouts vary quite a bit and the larger models are of course more spacious, but even if you go for the 16-foot model you will be getting a well-equipped, upscale trailer with gorgeous styling both inside and out.
KZ’s Sportsmen collection has an incredible variety of trailers, and all 13 of their layouts are among the best towable trailers under 5,000 pounds. So whether you want the tiny 100SB model with just a sofa sleeper and outdoor kitchen, a 190TH toy hauler with almost 11 feet of space for vehicles behind the kitchen and bathroom, the 180RBT with three pop-out tents and enough beds to sleep 8, or anything in between, KZ has a trailer for you.
One floor plan that stands out is the 181BH model. It is a 21-foot-long trailer with an extra-long full-size bed, two bunk beds, a toilet and shower in the bathroom, and a kitchenette with a refrigerator, stovetop, microwave oven, and sink, plus a surprisingly large countertop with storage underneath. And one of the standout features on this floorplan is the slide-out section that houses the dinette. This makes the interior far more spacious and makes it easy to convert the dinette into another bed, giving this trailer room to sleep 5.
Even with all these features, this trailer still only has a GVWR of 3,500 pounds, so no matter how you fill it, it should be well under the towing capacity of most midsize SUVs, and even some compact SUVs and trucks like the Ford Maverick or Jeep Cherokee.
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If a minimalist lifestyle is right for you, then the Timberleaf Classic is a great teardrop trailer under 5,000 pounds. In fact, the dry weight of the Timberleaf Classic is only 1,500 pounds.
You won’t find any fancy amenities here like a bathroom or an indoor kitchen. In fact, the fanciest feature it has is a large sunroof. But that and the four windows on the sides of the cabin are what the Timberleaf is all about: taking in the beauty around you. It makes all the hard-to-reach corners of America a little more accessible to most people, letting you stay wherever you want— even if you own a hatchback.
To top it off, there are some optional features to make roughing it in one of these teardrops a little easier. You can buy storage boxes that go on the tow hitch to provide additional space for your belongings, or you can buy an awning so you can stay covered while cooking in the rear galley kitchen. The standard model comes with built-in electricity and air conditioning. And as long as you are staying on a campground with bathroom facilities (or you’re comfortable answering the call of nature in nature), this little sleeper has all you need in a package that just about anyone could tow.
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Forest River’s R-Pod line has a few floor plans that exceed the 5,000-pound mark, but it does offer plenty of towable trailers under 5,000 with some very efficiently-designed layouts.
We love several models in this line: the RP-171 packs a queen-sized bed, kitchenette, and dinette into a 19-foot long trailer by saving space with a 3-in-1 shower/sink/toilet bathroom. The RP-193 manages to fit five sleeping areas in with two bunks, a sofa sleeper, and a murphy bed.
However, the RP-195 makes the most of a home on wheels. It has a surprisingly spacious kitchenette with a 6 cubic foot refrigerator, a 2-burner stove, toaster oven, sink, and large pantry. Behind that is a slide-out section with a wraparound booth dinette that features storage below the seats and overhead, and converts into a bed when needed. Across from that is the bathroom, complete with a full sink, toilet, and shower. At the front of the trailer is a queen bed with a small wardrobe and nightstand on either side. Despite being only 8 feet wide and 22 feet long, the four distinct spaces of this RV are never too cramped with plenty of room to walk throughout. The RP-195 tips the scales at 3,587 pounds dry, and has a GVWR of 4,762 pounds.
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