Caulking and sealing are not exciting tasks for most of us. However, the old adage that an “ounce of prevention brings a pound of relief” rings true.
Typically there are three types of sealing technologies that prevent leaks in your RV for windows, doors, hatches, and seams. A combination of sealant quality and owner maintenance is the key to keeping things shipshape and leak-free.
1. Compression gaskets
You may be familiar with compression gaskets found on automotive engine valve covers, which are rubber or cork gaskets between the valve cover and cylinder head and are compressed by the tightening of the valve cover bolts.
The resiliency of the gasket creates a seal. The same principle is true for compression gaskets on your RV body. They are typically used to prevent leaks in your RV by sealing surface-mounted devices such as exterior lights and electrical outlets.
But, compression gaskets can potentially fail for a variety of reasons. If the bolts or screws come loose, the clamping force will be lost. Also, the gasket can dry out and will no longer remain resilient.
Further, the flange on a thin plastic light fixture requires many fasteners spaced close together to generate an even clamping force. If there are too few fasteners, the gasket ends up compressed near the screwhead.
Also, the gasket between the screws that are far apart may not have sufficient compression to resist heavy water loads. Another concern is the width of the sealing flange. It can reduce an effective sealing surface area, making gasket alignment critical.
How to find a damaged compression gasket
Compression gaskets in your coach are commonly visible between the siding and base of the device. Obvious problems may be apparent if the gasket looks displaced, cracked, or is missing altogether. Also, lightly apply a rocking pressure to the device.
If the flange easily moves and there’s a gap, it may leak while driving on a bumpy or twisting road during a rainstorm.
2. Formed-in-place seal
Using the valve cover analogy, this type of seal has the potential to outperform compression gaskets and is becoming more prevalent in the RV industry. It’s commonly used for windows, vents, and hatches.
One major benefit is the sealant conforms to different shapes much better than a compression gasket. Formed-in-place seals are typically captured inside the joint and may not be visible.
Sometimes you can see where the excess sealant has been squeezed out between the parts as a caulk-like extrusion. The type of sealant uses urethane and silicone materials, which simply convert the seal from a liquid to a solid, forming a rubber gasket.
How to find a damaged formed-in place seal
Look for gaps between the siding and window flanges. Generally, you should not be able to slip a piece of paper or a thin feeler gauge between the flange and the siding.
A firm but resilient material should be evident inside any gaps. Other faults of this sealant can pertain to the fact that it wasn’t applied properly or it’s not compatible with environmental exposure.
Filler seals are typically referred to as “butyl tape.” It’s often used to seal metal trim strips found on siding seams, wall-to-roof joints, and windows.
Butyl tape comes in rolls with various dimensions. Although it doesn’t have a “sticky side,” it does have tackiness on both surfaces.
Additionally, the tape acts as a filler and is similar to a formed-in-place gasket as excess sealant squeezes out and the remainder fills the voids.
Unlike the sealants used in formed-in-place gaskets, butyl tape has little adhesive qualities. Fastener spacing requirements are similar to compression gaskets.
It’s also more important since butyl tape is not resilient and does not “push back” when compressed.
How to find a damaged filler seal
Butyl tape can provide a long lasting seal. However, a low-quality butyl product will shrink, dry, and crack much quicker than a high-quality product.
Many times you can see where the excess butyl tape has been squeezed from the joint. A rule of thumb is if the butyl tape (that you can see) appears to be cracking, or if its dry, brittle and off-color, the tape inside the joint may be in similar condition.
More tips on sealants and finding leaks
You can ignore a strange leak at your own peril, but remember most manufacturer warranties require the owner to “inspect and re-seal” the RV at least twice a year.
It sounds easy, however, “re-sealing” to prevent leaks in your RV requires removal of windows, doors, trims, etc. Keeping moisture at bay can be done by a watchful eye on your rig.
Typically, “re-sealing” is done by running a bead of silicone over a window frame or around a hatch. While this may provide some reassurance and peace of mind, it’s not a long-term solution.
Here are some other pointers to address leaky issues:
Ask a professional to do a blower door test that pressurizes the RV to identify external leaks.
Do a survey and catalog all locations having some form of sealant that is in place and carefully inspect all the seals and record the condition.
Identify the type of seal and sealant used.
Further, to prevent leaks in your RV, prepare a plan detailing the steps required to maintain, restore, or replace the seal.
If your RV is indoors for winter, inspecting for leaks is a good spring and fall maintenance task. When your RV is usually outdoors and under the elements, inspections should be done more frequently (at least twice a year as per many manufacturers warranties) to prevent problems before they arise.
An important factor to consider when you’re in the market for an RV is to look at the weight. While purchasing a majority of the travel trailer warrants the purchase of a towing vehicle as well, it isn’t really necessary. There are ultra light travel trailers available in the market if you want to tow your camper with your current vehicle or just spend a decent amount in a towing vehicle that does the job. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 5 best ultra light travel trailers under 1800 lbs dry weight.
What puts an RV on the list: Apart from choosing the lightest towables in the market, we’ve also hand-picked the ones among that bunch which had good reviews among users and critics. Some of these even have more than one floorplan available, giving you some level of variety when you’re interested in one particular brand.
The Top 5 Best Ultra Light Travel Trailers Under 1800 lbs:
Why we recommend the TAXA Outdoors TigerMoth travel trailer: A single look at the specifications of the TigerMoth and its apparent that this camper is definitely one of a kind. It has 2 floorplans that are under 1800 lbs and also has an extremely positive rating: the TigerMoth Camp and the TigerMoth Trek.
The Tigermoth serves as a perfect balance between tailgating and interior features. On the inside, it has LED lighting, USB charging ports and birchwood kitchen. On the outside, you have a grill, bike rack, solar heated shower among features and a decent set of options/upgrades too! Some of those upgrades include but are not limited to a fully enclosed shower tent, a 5000 BTU window AC, mesh screen door for side and many others.
Why we recommend Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro travel trailer: Similar to the Tigermoth, Forest River’s Finest when it comes to ultra light travel trailers is the Rockwood Geo Pro, whose Rockwood Geo Pro 12RK floorplan goes as low as ~1100 pounds in dry weight. A bit more spacious and heavier floorplan is the Rockwood Geo Pro 12SRK, that weighs just shy of 1800 lbs and is 12 feet long.
This cozy camper is also packed with features that you’ll find useful when camping, and even some luxury ones to make your trip comfortable. Some of those features include a stove and grill combo, Wi-Fi booster, power awning, 20,000 BTU furnace among others. They even have options to upgrade its capabilities such as a 13,500 BTU AC and a bike rack!
Why we recommend the Jayco Jay Hummingbird travel trailer: If you need a lightweight travel trailer but one that’s still spacious, it doesn’t get any better than the Hummingbird 10RK travel trailer from Jayco. This sole floorplan that comes under the criteria of being under 1800 lbs dry weight is easily a top choice for anyone looking for ultra light travel trailers.
You’ll find this camper has quite a lot of features for tailgators. Exterior speakers, outside grill, exterior TV bracket and power awning are just some of the bells and whistles that it has. Further than that, it has a super comfy bed on the inside along with a picnic table and residential style countertops if you’re planning on spending the trip indoors. In short, Hummingbird has proved itself as a manufacturer of some of the best ultra light travel trailers in the market.
Why we recommend the Flagstaff E-Pro travel trailer: Akin to its Rockwood cousin, the Flagstaff E-Pro travel trailer by Forest River has an under 1800 lbs floorplan that’s so lightweight that it might as well be considered as a popup camper. The Flagstaff E-Pro 12RK is the one we’re talking about, that’s 11 feet long and sleeps 2 people.
There’s a different set of features provided for the Flagstaff E-Pro 12RK and every other floorplan, but the common ones include outside speakers, Wi-Fi range booster, microwave oven and coleman stove/grill combo among many others. The aforementioned floorplan can also be made better by adding rack mounting bars, 13,500 BTU AC, a 22-inch TV with DVD player and a few others. Hence, it goes without saying that you’re definitely picked the right choice if you prefer the Flagstaff E-Pro as your choice of a towable camper.
Why we recommend Aliner Ascape travel trailer: You probably know about the Aliner Ascape from our post of the top 5 travel trailers under 3,000 pounds. However, the Ascape, is much, much lighter than that. The Ascape MT itself is just 1170 lbs and spans 13 feet, making it quite spacious all things considered. Its other 4 floorplans such as the Ascape Camp are all under 1800 lbs dry weight as well.
This Aliner camper is also just as feature-rich as any other regular travel trailer, which is a feat given its size. From a bluetooth sound bar and a 23-inch TV to 3-way refrigerator and attwood furnace, the Ascape delivers and exceeds every expectation from an ultra light travel trailer!
Popup campers pose a lot of advantages, especially for someone heading into RVing for the very first time. Hopefully this list will provide a good starting point for you and let you know exactly what RVs have to offer without spending a ton of money right at the beginning.
If you’ve traveled in an RV before, you probably remember it as one of the most memorable experiences in your life. It offers more features, stability and comfort than your traditional tent, and also gives you tons of options when buying a new one. It’s generally suggested to go with a lighter RV first, and if you’re buying it to travel to different states across the country, you’ll also need one that’s suitable for campgrounds. To get that sorted for you, check out our top 5 best campground travel trailers under 5,000 pounds GVWR!
What puts an RV on the list: There’s a significant difference between dry weight and GVWR. The travel trailers in our list are the ones that are under 5,000 pounds GVWR, meaning you’ll actually be able to tow these with ease. Of course, we have also considered the ones which have appreciable ratings and an adequate number of floorplans that are under 27 feet and under 5,000 pounds GVWR.
The Top 5 Best Campground Travel Trailers Under 5,000 Pounds:
Why we recommend the Forest River R-Pod travel trailer: You’ve probably stumbled across the R-pod if you’ve been researching RVs for a while. A little digging and you’ll find that the R-pod is known as being of the, if not the most lightweight campground travel trailers in the market. We recommend checking out the R-Pod RP171 and the R-Pod RP172.
While the R-pod has a slew of different features packed into it, the most popular ones are the LED interior lighting, 20,000 BTU furnace, 3.7 cubic feet refrigerator, tinted safety glass windows and many others. This, combined with its equally impressive list of available expansions, makes the R-pod a worthy inclusion in this list.
9 different floor plans available
Independent torsion axle
20,000 BTU furnace
Solid lumber core cabinet fronts assembled with screws
Why we recommend KZ Escape travel trailer: The Escape travel trailer from KZs stables sport 6 floorplans in total, all of them being suitable for traveling across the country with ease as they’re well under 5,000 pounds GVWR as well. We recommend checking out the Escape E161RB and the Escape E181RB in particular as they offer better sleeping capacities as well!
The escape offers the best of both worlds: it offers standalone expansions as well as an offroad package that adds better tires and other items that help in ease of travel when camping to a faraway place. The standard features include smart arm awning, exterior speakers, overhead cabinets and many more!
Why we recommend the Jayco Jay Flight SLX travel trailer: The Jay Flight SLX is whatever you want it to be: ultra light models with rear bath all the way to 36 feet rigs that can hold as many as eight people! You’d probably be more interested in the Jay Flight SLX 145RB and the Jay Flight SLX 154BH floorplans, as they come under the category of campground travel trailers under 5,000 pounds.
Depending on the floorplan, there are varying features of Jay Flight SLX travel trailer, but there are many that remain common throughout all of them. Some of these include but are not limited to the Atwood furnace, J-steel jackknife sofa, DiamondFlor vinyl flooring, under-bed storage and so on. These can be taken a step further with over 15 different available upgrades and additions, which we recommend taking a look at by checking out the link above!
Why we recommend the Livin Lite Camplite travel trailer: Like its namesake, the Livin Lite Camplite travel trailer is a ultra light travel trailer that also doubles as a campground travel trailer since 9 out of 11 floorplans have well under 5,000 pounds GVWR and are under 27 feet as well, making it safe for use in campgrounds! Check out the Camplite 23RKS and the Camplite 11FK floorplans as those are our personal favorites!
On the outside, the Camplite features a 6-sided aluminum superstructure with insulation on the roof, walls and cap to keep you warm and cozy this winter. Head on inside and you’ll be greeted with the beautiful interior that comes in 3 color choices, complemented by the laminated flooring and solid surface countertops. These along with the fact that it has so many options to choose from, leaves no room for doubt that the Livin Lite Camplite is one of the top notch campground travel trailers under 5,000 pounds!
9 different floor plans available
6 cubic feet double door refrigerator
Residential quilted comforter
Slideout topper awning
#5. Forest River Flagstaff Micro-Lite Travel Trailer
Why we recommend Forest River Flagstaff Micro-Lite travel trailer: The second travel trailer by Forest River that deservingly earned a spot is the Micro-Lite that has a phenomenal rating of 4.37 and sports 4 floorplans that fall under the category of campground travel trailers under 5,000 pounds. We recommend checking out the Flagstaff Micro-Lite 19FBS and the Flagstaff Micro-Lite 19FD.
Spend some time with this beauty and it’s clear that this rig is as feature rich as it gets and yet offers so much more. Want something even better than the 13,500 BTU A/C installed? Upgrade it to a 15,000 BTU one. Need another TV in the bedroom? You got it. Need thermopane windows for better insulation? They offer that too. You get the gist!
Whether you’ve been camping for a while in different trailers or just started heading into the awesome world of RVing, you know for a fact that bringing along a lot of people requires bunkhouses. At the same time, you’ll also need a travel trailer that you can park anywhere if you’re aiming on various states across the country. For that purpose, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 bunkhouse travel trailers for campground. Read on to find out!
What puts an RV on the list: Of course, we only looked at the top rated travel trailers. But to make sure that you absolutely don’t miss out on anything, we’ve also only considered ones with the most floorplans that are under 27 feet and have bunkhouses.
The Top 5 Best Bunkhouse Travel Trailers For Campground:
Why we recommend the Keystone Passport travel trailer: Keeping it lightweight, most floorplans of the Keystone Passport travel trailer, such as the Passport 175BH and the Passport 239ML are under 5,000 pounds dry weight. This not only increases the fuel efficiency of your towing vehicle but also makes it easy to tow the trailer!
This lightweight beauty also has some pretty state-of-the-art features. Items such as the exterior speakers, satellite prep and electric adjustable awning (in Grand Touring floorplans) make these awesome for tailgators. If you’re aiming on spending the day relaxing, the super-comfy residential style sofa will keep you nice and cozy. Keeping all of this mind, we absolutely recommend the Keystone Passport as one of the top bunkhouse travel trailers for campground!
31 different floor plans available
Welded aluminum framed sidewalls
Laminated aluminum framed floor 2-inch thick
Lighted exterior pass thru storage compartment
Insulated radius entrance door with screen door
Residential light fixtures in slide room
#2. Forest River Flagstaff Micro-Lite Travel Trailer
Why we recommend Forest River Flagstaff Micro-Lite travel trailer: The Flagstaff series of Forest River, especially the Micro-Lite brand, has been a favorite of both the users and us at RVingplanet, and rightly so. They are on the lighter end of the spectrum as well, with bunkhouse floorplans such as the Flagstaff Micro-Lite 23LB and the Flagstaff Micro-Lite 25LB being just a few hundred pounds under 5,000 lbs in dry weight.
These also have a lot more to offer once you head inside the trailer itself. Driftwood interior, 13.5K BTU air conditioner, ducted furnace.. the Flagstaff Micro-Lite breathes luxury. This can also be taken a step further through upgrades such as a 15,000 BTU AC, raised refrigerator panels and deluxe tri-fold sleeper sofa to name a few!
Why we recommend the Jayco Jay Feather travel trailer: The aptly named Jay Feather by Jayco offers 5 floorplans of which 2 have bunkhouses and are suitable for campgrounds: the Jay Feather 19BH and the Jay feather 22BHM. It’s also one of the most positively rated travel trailers on our and other RV review websites, making it an obvious choice in our list of bunkhouse travel trailers for campground!
On the outside, the Jay feather features an aerodynamic front profile for easy towing, exterior speakers, slideouts with double seals, impact resistant wheel wells and other goodies that adds to durability and the easy-to-tow aspect of the rig. Inside, they have 4,5 or 6 cubic feet refrigerator depending on your floorplan, plywood dinette, woodgrain accent paneling among other features which can be upgraded with more than 20 options/upgrades available!
8 different floor plans available
Screwed and glued cabinetry
Vinyl plank-style flooring
Plywood dinette, bunk and bed bases
Woodgrain accent paneling on select interior walls
Why we recommend the Livin Lite Camplite travel trailer: Some of the floorplans of the Livin Lite Camplite such as the Camplite CL16BHB and the Camplite CL21BHS not only make it easy for you to tow the camper but also make them quite cozy to live in. This is especially useful if you need bunkhouses for, say, a family of 4 where the bunks will be used by the kids!
It’s truly amazing to witness the time spent on each layout on the Camplite. After all, it’s not everyday you see a sub 25-feet floorplan featuring 6 feet refrigerator, large closets, overhead cabinets, 13.5K BTU A/C and other features laid out in such a manner that you also have an ample amount of space to walk in the travel trailer without bumping into anything. Top marks for providing a plethora of options too. Undoubtedly, the Camplite has proved itself as a unique and a top-notch bunkhouse travel trailer for campground.
9 different floor plans available
Slideout topper awning
6-sided aluminum superstructure
6 cubic feet double door refrigerator
Charging center with USB ports
High-efficient LED lights
#5. Forest River Rockwood Mini-Lite Travel Trailer
Why we recommend Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite travel trailer: If you prefer choosing between a myriad of available floorplans to get the ‘perfect one’ for you, then the Rockwood Mini Lite by Forest River RV is where its at. They feature 17 floorplans, of which 4 floorplans are under 27 feet and have bunkhouses. We recommend taking a look at the Rockwood Mini Lite 2306 and the Rockwood Mini Lite 2405S floorplans.
One glance at their features and its clear that the Rockwood Mini Lite is designed with tailgators and adventurers in mind. Items ranging from a Wi-Fi booster to exterior speakers among many others are also complemented by a list of upgrades available. On the inside, the Rockwood Mini Lite has a decorative slideout fascia, stalewood interior, ducted furnace among many other features that also make it quite comfortable to just stay indoors and enjoy some hot chocolate. In a nutshell, the Rockwood Mini Lite impressed us, and is definitely a top choice among the best bunkhouse travel trailers for campground.
Popup campers pose a lot of advantages, especially for someone heading into RVing for the very first time. Hopefully this list will provide a good starting point for you and let you know exactly what RVs have to offer without spending a ton of money right at the beginning.
My friend is looking at me, radiating excitement. “We are going to spend three WEEKS on the road! I hardly know where to begin packing!!”
This will be her first ever road trip in her life. She will be traveling by camper van with her new beau and his two dogs to tour the West Coast. The questions spill out: where to go, what to see, what to expect, what to pack, and enough what-if scenarios to fill a bathtub. She is practically vibrating with a mixture of thrill and terror of her first road adventure.
She looks at me with wide eyes. “I know it is still a few months off, but I am already trying to make a list of what to pack. But he plans to just grab some clothes and go!”
And here lies the delicate balance between being prepared for an adventure, and being spontaneously go-with-the-flow. Whether you are a list-keeper or a by-the-seat-of-your-pants free spirit traveler seems to depend partly on your personality and preference, but also based on what kind of trip you might be planning, and how often you travel. For the purpose of curiosity, I conducted an informal poll on whether fellow RVers were “list keepers” or “pack-n-go” travelers.
Based on this not-at-all scientific query, results indicate a fairly even split. It also seems that the more “practiced” travelers (full-time or frequent weekenders) drift toward the “pack-n-go” system, BUT also have incorporated established routines as a habit to make sure they are indeed travel-ready and safe. Those who don’t travel frequently, or are branching out into uncharted waters (ie taking a first cross-country trip) tend to lean toward list-making.
Personally, I lean toward the list side. OK, to be honest, I might actually define the list side. I actually have an entire BOOK of LISTS. And it is the third volume of Book of Lists that I keep…. I see the Book as my travel brain—it keeps all of the thoughts that rattle around in my brain before, during, and after our travels in one place so that the next trip goes a little smoother.
I have packing lists, repair lists, lists of veterinarians, lists with maps of routes through congested cities, list of tools we need to bring, lists of people’s contact information we meet along the way, lists of books we want to listen to while driving, you get the picture here…. Each trip builds on the previous travel experiences, and the Book serves as a convenient way to keep track of the successes and the challenges.
There is no right or wrong way to plan for your RV adventure. No matter how you prepare to get out there, the bottom line is that you actually get out there!
To continue my non-scientific research, I would love to hear how you go about getting ready for your travels. Do you list, or do you just go?
Breaching the world of RVing, especially for a first-timer, means taking a look at some important factors such as the price, weight, among others. While we have many other posts that cover the various classifications, the lightweight travel trailer category contains the perfect size camper for a small group of 4-5 people. Read on to discover the the 5 best bunkhouse travel trailers under 5,000 pounds!
What puts an RV on the list: While a travel trailer with a bunkhouse floorplan is easy to find, the list boils down to a selective few when you consider the ones that are under 5,000 pounds GVWR. Even then, we’ve selected the ones with the best reviews, newest layouts and a good ratio of length to sleeping capacity to make your lightweight camper a spacious one too!
The Top 5 Best Bunkhouse Travel Trailers Under 5,000 Pounds:
Why we recommend the KZ Sportsmen Classic travel trailer: The sportsmen Classic has been one of our favorites. It has earned the top spot in both our top 5 list of the best travel trailers under 5,000 pounds as well as this one. This is because its floorplans such as the Sportsmen Classic 150BH and the Sportsmen Classic 181BH provide a good amount of space as well as a sleeping capacity of 4 and 5.
Of course, apart from having bunkhouse floorplans that are under 5,000 pounds GVWR (which is a feat in itself), it has a lot of the best-in-class features along with a few exclusives. These include the tough shield .30 exterior metal and front diamond plate on the outside and the tinted windows and a 20,000 BTU furnace on the inside. Those looking to amp up those stats will also find the Sportsmen Classic to their liking. This upgraded version has options ranging from a U-shaped dinette to a 6.3 cubic feet refrigerator. In a nutshell, the KZ Sportsmen Classic is definitely one of the best bunkhouse travel trailers under 5,000 pounds!
Why we recommend Forest River R-Pod travel trailer: Forest River is a company well known for making a variety of different travel trailers for different uses. The R-Pod is no different, with a lot of its floorplans being under 5,000 pounds gross weight and 3 of them having the bunkhouse floorplans. Even these floorplans are slightly different from each other such as the R-Pod RP172 with it’s sleeping capacity of 4 people and the R-Pod 182G with it’s 20-feet long footprint!
Don’t let it’s small size fool you, however. The company has managed to add enough features to make it a decent camper and also one of the best bunkhouse travel trailers under 5,000 pounds. For example, you won’t find a lot of travel trailers of this size that feature a 20,000 BTU furnace, a 3-way refrigerator and a 2-burner cooktop. Apart from that, you can also increase its capabilities or add new features later down the line with its slew of options available. The list is quite long so we suggest clicking on the link above the description to find out all about it!
Why we recommend the Coachmen Clipper Ultra-Lite travel trailer: As the name suggests, the Clipper Ultra-Lite is one of the travel trailers you can tow rather easily. Even more so when you consider that its Clipper Ultra-Lite 17BH and the Clipper Ultra-Lite 17BHS are only ~2300-2600 pounds heavy in dry weight, and for bunkhouse floorplans that is quite good. Of course, if you’re willing to extend that range a bit further you also get floorplans that are more spacious and offer better sleeping capacities.
Since we’re talking about the ones that are under $10,000 in particular, we’ll focus on the features of the 1700BH. It shares the same aerodynamic profile as the other floorplans. Head on inside and they have bunk beds and a queen bed that can hold a total of 5 people. The 21.5-feet footprint, makes it a spacious without sacrificing any options. The shower/tub combo in the bathroom saves space while managing to provide you with both of the features. To top it all off, it has a 6-cubic foot size refrigerator, something quite lacking in travel trailers which are around 20 feet in length.
Why we recommend the Livin Lite Camplite travel trailer: Named aptly like the rest of the travel trailers with the word ‘lite’ in them, the Camplite by Livin Lite is the only travel trailer in the manufacturer’s stables, but is a impressive one as well. Apart from under 5,000 pounds floorplan, the Camplite CL16BHB, it also has many other sub-5000 pounds GVWR floorplans such as the Camplite CL16DBS that offer other features and more space since they don’t have any bunkhouses.
Taking a look at the features you’ll notice that there won’t be much of a difference between this and a regular-sized travel trailer, if at all. Some examples include but are not limited to its full-sized 6 cubic feet refrigerator and the topper awning. Of course, that’s not the end of it and apart from its large list of features you can add a few more with the available options such as a rear and sidebox awning, compliance with Canadian RV Standards, and even a 11,000 BTU Air Conditioner.
9 different floor plans
All-aluminum tube cabinet structures
6 cubic feet double door refrigerator
Slideout topper awning
Three interior color choices
Charging center with USB ports
#5. Forest River Flagstaff Micro-Lite Travel Trailer
Why we recommend Forest River Flagstaff Micro-Lite Travel Trailer trailer: It shouldn’t come off as a surprise that the Flagstaff Micro-Lite is not only one of the best campers, but also also one of the best bunkhouse travel trailers under 5,000 pounds GVWR. After all, not many travel trailers can claim a ~4.5 star rating (based on an average of rvt.com and our website) and have a bunkhouse floorplan under 5,000 pounds such as the Flagstaff Micro-Lite 19FD. Of course, something like the Flagstaff Micro-Lite 21DS is also a great choice if your towing vehicle can handle a bit more than that.
The power vent fan are for its 14RK and 17RK floorplans only, and there are 2 frame mounted stabilizer jacks instead of 4 on the 12RK. Regardless, they are overall quite impressive, and if you wish for more, then there are lots of options which will add new features and upgrade existing ones so you have a quality travel trailer the next you head out to camp!
As the RV industry continues to grow, the RVs themselves are shrinking. Huge, 40-foot rigs are still the ideal for many. However, innovative manufacturers are competing to cram all the comforts of a Class A into smaller and more manageable spaces.
Some say that bigger is better, but these tiny campers may convince you otherwise.
Designed and built in Japan, Tentmushi Mini Campers cost $30,000 each. This price is a bargain for a motorhome, not to mention one with first-rate gas mileage.
The exterior resembles a tiny version of a Class B camper. With convertible furniture and pop-up roofs, they have surprisingly large interiors and can sleep up to four people. Tentmushi Mini Campers come fully equipped and fully mobile.
The QTvan, available for $8,800, was designed in the UK for local trips, eco-friendly camping, and staying the night in royal parade queues. It can be towed by a mobility scooter or bicycle, making it one of the slowest-moving campers, but also one of the cheapest to operate.
Each camper contains a small television, a radio, a small bed, a drink tray, and a shelf. Other add-ons are on sale as well for separate purchase.
The DROPLET is a Canadian teardrop trailer inspired by Scandinavian design, available to purchase for $17,950.00. It features a simple exterior and cozy sleeping quarters, complete with a queen-size mattress, cabinets, shelves, and LED lamps.
A large window also spans the front of the trailer, ideal for stargazing. The back opens to reveal a kitchen with a small fridge, a sink, and a propane stove. Conveniently, the DROPLET’s small frame allows most cars to tow it.
Designed in Germany, the Sealander is a $17,000 tiny camping trailer/pleasure boat combo. With its unique design and dual functions, it is the perfect travel companion.
Camp on the beach or near a lake, then push your camper onto the water and drift under the afternoon sun. The trailer comes equipped with a motor, swim ladder, and convertible sunroof, as well as benches that convert into a roomy bed.
An onboard battery and hookup cables allow access to electricity. For overnight stays on the water, mooring lines and an anchor are provided. The company also offers add-ons such as showers, toilets, and onboard speakers.
The Airstream Basecamp is a $34,900 American travel trailer. It cleverly fits all the elements of a Class A motorhome into a 16-foot shell. With a shower, a kitchen, a toilet, and benches that convert into beds, it easily meets all your camping needs.
Overhead storage free up floor space, and the shower head also reaches outside to rinse off muddy gear. For additional space, Airstream sells tents that can connect to any of the Basecamp’s entrances.
Are you considering buying an RV? Maybe you’re new to RV travel, or maybe the vehicle you had before just didn’t work for your lifestyle. Either way, learning more about the different types of RVs that are on the market can give a sense of which one is right for you.
Motorhomes are some of the most popular RVs out there. They come in three different body styles and offer an array of comfortable camping opportunities.
Class A motorhome:
As the largest and most luxurious type of RV, Class A motorhomes range anywhere from 35 to 45 feet in length. Benefits include a spacious interior and full utilities. There is plenty of storage and room for extra appliances. Both diesel-powered and gasoline-powered motorhomes are available.
On the other hand, the size of a large motorhome can be intimidating. Class As are difficult to maneuver, hazardous to drive, and expensive to operate. Based on the difficulty of running errands, many RVers choose to tow a separate vehicle behind their motorhome.
You should consider buying a Class A motorhome if:
Also known as camper vans, Class B motorhomes are easy to drive and to park. They can be powered by either diesel or gas and are cheaper to operate than most RVs. Class B’s are also easy to store. They require minimal campsite setup and are convenient for day trips and errands.
However, this convenience does require you to sacrifice some storage and comfort. There is limited space inside since Class B motorhomes are built like vans with raised roofs. Expect to spend a good amount of time outside during the day.
You should consider buying a Class B motorhome if:
You don’t feel comfortable driving larger vehicles
Class C motorhome:
Class C motorhomes fall somewhere between a Class A and a Class B. They reach lengths of 20-30 feet, making them slightly easier to park than Class As. Basic facilities are included in the vehicle, and sleeping quarters are more spacious than in a Class B.
Some Class Cs offer pop-outs on the sides or convertible furniture. However, the challenge of driving a Class C motorhome makes it difficult to leave the campsite for a quick trip.
You should consider buying a Class B motorhome if:
You are looking for more luxuries than a camper van
You travel often or full-time
You can’t afford a Class A motorhome
You desire space and comfort while camping
Trailers and other detachable units are a popular choice among full-timers and part-time campers alike. Their flexibility and versatile designs make them the perfect solution for some RVers.
Travel trailers vary in length and connect to several types of tow vehicles with a standard ball hitch. Travel trailers are often fairly roomy and come equipped with facilities, heat, and air conditioning. They also make it possible to detach your tow vehicle and run errands, leaving your trailer at the campsite.
On the other hand, travel trailers can be difficult to level properly and maneuver. Issues like weight and tail sway may come into play, and it is almost impossible to reverse when towing a travel trailer.
You should consider buying a travel trailer if:
You own a large vehicle, like an SUV, that can handle the trailer’s weight capacity
You often leave your campsite to run errands
You want spacious and comfortable living quarters
You want complete protection from the elements
Like travel trailers, fifth wheels connect to a tow vehicle and include plenty of storage. The main difference is that 5th wheels have a gooseneck connection instead of a standard ball hitch. This connection is safer, more reliable, and makes the trailer easier to maneuver.
The overhang also provides extra space in the trailer’s interior. However, a gooseneck connection also limits the type of vehicle that can tow your trailer—a 5th wheel can only be towed by an open-backed pickup truck. This can make traveling with a large family difficult since truck cabs are often very small.
You should consider buying a 5th wheel if:
You own an open-backed pickup truck
You want a trailer with enhanced stability and maneuverability
You are looking for extra storage and a roomy interior
You plan on traveling with several people, but no more than can fit in your truck
With their small, lightweight frames and reasonable costs, tent trailers are a popular choice for part-time campers. They are easy to store when not in use, and give campers a more comfortable alternative to a tent. However, they offer limited storage once collapsed and on the road. Tent trailers provide less protection from the elements and require more time to set up at the campsite.
You should consider buying a tent trailer if:
You are looking for a more convenient alternative to tent camping
You plan to travel only occasionally
You don’t plan to store much in your trailer
You have limited space to store a trailer
Sport utility trailers, or toy haulers, are designed to transport sports vehicles and recreational equipment, but most also feature small living quarters. The size of your toy hauler determines how much space you will have.
These types of trailers can be outfitted with appliances, and their dual functions make them ideal for recreational events or excursions. However, some RVers may feel nervous about camping in close proximity to fuel, oil, and other substances that may exude toxic fumes. Storage of equipment takes first priority in this type of vehicle, so living quarters tend to be cramped.
You should consider buying a toy hauler if:
You need transportation for your ATVs, bikes, or kayaks
You are looking for a trailer with facilities and storage
You participate in outdoor sporting events
You prioritize storage of gear and sport vehicles over personal comfort
Truck campers are designed to incorporate the benefits of both trailers and motorhomes. Consisting of a single detachable unit that is transported in the back of a pickup truck, truck campers are easy to store and to detach from your truck at the campsite. They function like small trailers but are easier to transport. Some truck campers have pop-out sides, and many include basic necessities. However, space in a truck camper is minimal compared to many trailers.
You should consider buying a truck camper if:
You don’t require much space or storage
You often go on spontaneous, short-term trips
You want the convenience of a trailer without having to tow one
You have limited space to store an RV
Teardrop trailers are a specific style of travel trailer that is smaller and lighter than most. It fits in any campsite and offers protection from the elements. Some teardrop trailers include kitchen facilities that open to the outside.
Most include air conditioning and room for a two-person bed. However, space is very limited in teardrop trailers, and there is usually not enough room to stand. Be prepared for tiny but cozy sleeping quarters with 1-2 windows.
You should consider buying a teardrop trailer if:
You plan to travel solo or with one companion
You need extra storage on the road, but not at the campsite
You are looking for a simple yet effective way to camp
You camp in many small campsites
A hybrid trailer is very similar to a travel trailer, but it also encompasses certain elements of a tent trailer. It can be partially collapsed during storage and transport, but its pop-out tent sections provide more interior space than most trailers its size.
Hybrid trailers often include full facilities and can entirely disconnect from their tow vehicles. However, they also take more time to set up and can be more difficult to store than an ordinary tent trailer.
You should consider buying a hybrid trailer if:
You enjoy the experiences of both tent camping and trailer camping
You want interior space without having to tow a huge trailer
You feel confident about setting up your campsite
You camp occasionally but are not a full-timer
Though a brand, Airstream creates iconic trailers that belong in a category by themselves. Because of their aerodynamic body shape, Airstreams receive better gas mileage. They have unique durability, causing them to last for up to 40 years.
The low center of gravity found in Airstream trailers makes them more stable and safer to tow. On the other hand, the interior of the trailer is narrower than most, making it hard to move around inside. Airstreams also lack in insulation, making them slightly uncomfortable to live in during extreme weather.
You should consider buying an Airstream trailer if:
You plan to travel often and invest in it long-term
You camp in areas with mild weather
You have a limited budget for gas
You want added security when towing a trailer
Some RVs serve specific purposes. While less versatile than common trailers or motorhomes, they are a good choice for RVers who choose to pursue a specific habit or hobby.
Equestrian motorhomes or horse trailers are essential for those who wish to bring their horses camping. The size of the RVs and their living quarters varies, but they usually house 2-4 horses and up to 3 people.
The horse compartment of an equestrian RV features lightweight stalls to keep your horses safe on the road. The living quarters sometimes come equipped with facilities. However, equestrian RVs can be very difficult to store or to maneuver. They are also fairly expensive.
You should consider buying an equestrian RV if:
You plan to bring your horses with you
You don’t want to tow a separate horse trailer behind a regular motorhome
You can afford a horse trailer or equestrian motorhome
You aren’t traveling with a large family
Ice fishing trailer:
Ice fishing trailers are one of the most obscure types of RVs. Lightweight and often custom-built from salvaged travel trailers, they are designed to be towed onto solid ice.
With complete facilities, luxuries, and protection from the elements, these unique trailers are some of the best RVs for cold places. Campers can uncover an opening in the floor of each trailer to access holes in the ice. However, ice fishing trailers are rare. They are built specifically for ice fishing and won’t be as durable on other trips.
You should consider buying an ice fishing trailer if:
You own a vehicle that is safe to drive in icy areas
Park models are an option for those who stay in one place for long periods of time. They include home-like floor plans and luxurious comfort, sometimes connecting to regular city facilities.
Space and storage are plentiful. However, they are very expensive, and not the most mobile form of RV. Boondocking is definitely not an option.
You should consider buying a park model if:
You are a full-time RVer
You plan to move to a new location only once or twice a year
You want the experience of living in a small house, but with some mobility
You want full facilities and lots of storage
Disability access RV:
Many manufacturers will make RVs with certain specifications on demand. They can modify motorhomes, trailers, and other types of vehicles to meet the client’s needs. Features may include roll-in showers, ramps, and lifts, low kitchen cabinets, or wide doors. These types of modifications allow RVers with disabilities to travel in the comfort of a familiar environment.
You should consider buying a disability access RV if:
You are confined to a wheelchair or have some other physical disability
You find that hotels have a difficult time meeting your needs
You are prevented from using a regular RV
You require specific features in a living space
By paying attention to your lifestyle and the features of an RV that would suit you best, you can invest in a vehicle that will meet your individual needs and make trips a real breeze.
Heading into the adventurous world of RVing, you will realize that there are more than a few factors that you’ll have to choose from. Arguably, one of the most deciding factor is the price, where people with a budget will often find themselves in a dilemma, something which we’re here to solve. Even if you have less than 10 grand at your disposal, fret not, for we have the top 5 best travel trailers under $10,000!
What puts an RV on the list: The large variety of travel trailers becomes a pretty small one as you don’t find a lot of new travel trailers that are priced under 10,000 dollars. However, we’ve handpicked the models with the best reviews, features and the number of floorplans that they still offer under $10,000 for you to get multiple choices from a single travel trailer!
Why we recommend the Jayco Jay Flight SLX travel trailer: The Jay Flight SLX has been featured in so many of our posts that we aren’t surprised it made this list, even when it’s at the top. It’s 17 floorplans might not be a very large number, but is surely quite versatile when you see that it covers dry weights from ~2300 lbs all the way to ~7400 lbs and length ranging from 16 feet to 36 feet. If you’re looking for something small, the Jay Flight SLX 154BH is the way to go. The Jay Flight SLX 294QBS might be a better fit if there are more people tagging along.
The Jay Flight SLX, despite being on the affordable side of an RV, has a feature-list that you would make you think otherwise. Whether it’s the fully integrated A-frame on the outside or the atwood furnace and 8,000 BTU air conditioner, you’ll find lots of features here that are otherwise present in higher-priced RVs. If you still feel that these aren’t living up to your expectations, there are tons of expansions and upgrades to choose from that will kick it up a notch. These upgrades make it a solid choice in our list of the best travel trailers under 10,000 dollars.
Why we recommend Riverside Retro travel trailer: You’d be hard-pressed to find a travel trailer that can sport that retro look as well as the Riverside Retro can. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll be missing out on the latest and greatest that modern-day RVs have to offer. It has 18 floorplans that cover a wide variety of weights and sizes, but if you’re strictly on the lookout for a travel trailer under 10,000 dollars, then the Retro 509 Jr is the one for you! However, anything over 2 people and you should probably look at something similar to the Retro 265RB.
The travel trailer version of the Retro (there’s a fifth wheel one as well) features a 16,000/20,000 BTU furnace, pass-thru storage, radius windows and doors, and a bunch of different interior designs to choose from. If you wish to give it a bit more ‘oomph’, there are packages and standalone expansions available that add features. Options available include an exterior grill, birch interior, flip up sofa instead of the rear bed, power awning, outside speakers and many others! All in all, as far as affordable travel trailers under 10,000 dollars go, the Riverside Retro is definitely a solid choice to consider!
Why we recommend the Dutchmen Aspen Trail travel trailer: If there’s something that impressed us apart from the spacious layouts of the Dutchmen Aspen Trail, its the sheer number of them available. It’s 36 floorplans encompasses major weight ranges and sleeping capacities making it easy to find something that’s just right for you. While it’s difficult to pick a favorite, we found the Aspen Trail 1700BH to be a very good one and it’s priced under $10,000 too! If you’re ready to spend a bit more, take a look at the Aspen Trail 1900RB.
Since we’re talking about the ones that are under $10,000 in particular, we’ll focus on the features of the 1700BH. To start off, it shares the same aerodynamic profile as the other floorplans. Head on inside and they have bunk beds and a queen bed that can hold a total of 5 people in a 21.5-feet footprint, which makes it decently spacious and room for more improvement with its bunch of options available. The shower/tub combo in the bathroom saves space while managing to provide you with both of the features. To top it all off, it has a 6-cubic foot size refrigerator, something quite lacking in travel trailers which are around 20 feet in length.
Why we recommend the Forest River Flagstaff E-Pro travel trailer: While we would usually recommend a Flagstaff E-Pro to ones who are looking for travel trailers under 3,000 pounds, it’s affordable price tag has also made it a good travel trailer under 10,000 dollars. As a matter of fact, 4 of its 7 floorplans are actually just shy of $10,000 such as the Flagstaff E-Pro 12RK, which gives you lots of choices if that particular amount is the maximum you’re willing to spend. If not, a little more will get you something more spacious like the Flagstaff E-Pro 19FD.
Even within something one would call a cozy sized travel trailer, the Flagstaff E-Pro sure manages to utilize space to the fullest and add a lot of decent features. These features include a Wi-Fi ranger to a 20,000 BTU furnace, something absent in even some of the higher tier units. For those looking forward to tailgating, this one also features external speakers, manual awning (which can be upgraded to power awning), solar prep if you’re not parked at a trailer park and an optional tongue mount bike rack!
Why we recommend Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro travel trailer: While the Rockwood Geo Pro 12RK is the only floorplan among the 7 that’s actually priced under $10,000, the others are not too far behind, and you do get a lot of room and easy towability. If you’re ready to extend your budget a bit to go for something such as the Rockwood Geo Pro 19FD. In either case, you’ll find that this camper has more or less the same features throughout all of the floorplans.
For instance, the power vent fan are for its 14RK and 17RK floorplans only, and there are 2 frame mounted stabilizer jacks instead of 4 on the 12RK. Regardless, they are overall quite impressive, and if you wish for more, then there are lots of options which will add new features and upgrade existing ones. You will have a quality travel trailer the next you head out to camp!
Budget is definitely an important factor, but should definitely not result in you making compromises for the sake of a lower price tag. With these 5 best travel trailers under 10,000 dollars, you won’t have to!
Do you read through RV blogs and websites, dreaming about traveling when your kids leave the house? I’ve got news for you—camping in an RV is something you and your kids can do right now.
The RV lifestyle scares away most families with the idea of being cramped into a small space with impatient children or moody teenagers. Still, those brave enough to try it out often discover what other families have been missing. It’s true, traveling with kids can be hectic…or it can be the chance you need to connect as a family.
Choosing a location
When choosing a location to camp with your family, keep in mind the types of activities your kids are wanting to do. Are they aspiring athletes? Nature fanatics? Do they like to swim or ride bikes? Be sure to choose a campsite with plenty to do. Some of the most kid-friendly campsites are the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, a campground franchise with 85 locations scattered throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Many of these parks offer waterslides, swimming pools, and bounce houses, not to mention character appearances from Yogi and Boo Boo. Some U.S. National Park campgrounds offer Junior Ranger programs, which may appeal to younger children.
Always be aware of how family-friendly your chosen campsite is. While kids are welcome in some parks, others may find them disruptive. Some RV parks even charge a fee for each child. If you are nervous about disturbing your neighbors, boondocking may be a good option for you. Park on legal dispersed camping grounds, where your kids can run around with plenty of space.
Safety with kids
When driving with kids, safety is the number one priority. Always make sure that everyone is wearing a seatbelt, even when riding in the RV. In some states, seatbelts in RVs are not legally required, but they should always be worn regardless.
Make sure you choose the right size RV for your family. Class C vehicles are safer, but for a family of 6 or more, a Class A RV might be the only option. If little ones need to sleep in overhead bunks, consider bringing along a bedrail. Always keep printed versions of your kids’ medical records with you in case of an emergency.
Keeping kids happy on the road
That said, your kids can be safe while still having fun. Rather than letting children roam around the RV while it is in motion, take breaks to get out and stretch at least every 4 hours.
Try not to do a 10-hour drive all in one day. Instead, break up the trip into one-night stops at campsites where kids can swim and play. If you have infants or toddlers, schedule your driving during nap times. Trust me, you’ll be thankful for the lack of screaming.
Although it’s okay to let your kids watch movies in the car, there are quite a few other methods of entertainment that you might want to try first. Try to involve your children in the travel process as much as possible. Pick up some of those old-fashioned paper maps from AAA and show them how to plot out the trip.
Practice reading signs and billboards along the way, and do your best to answer their questions thoughtfully. Play games like car bingo or make a list of all the states you see on license plates. Listen to music as a family and sing along. Car rides don’t have to be a time to tune everyone out.
If you need quiet time, bring travel trays, paper, and crayons for your little artists. It can also be helpful to put together a “goodie bag” and reward good behavior with a new activity each leg of the trip (think play-doh, puzzle books, or magnet dolls). The kids will have fun, and you’ll get some peace and quiet.
Unplugging from technology
No one wants to go on a family vacation just to sit on their phones all day. Camping trips are about being together without electronic distractions, but if you have teenagers, this can be hard to achieve.
When choosing where to stay, consider a campsite that doesn’t offer WiFi. Better yet, leave electronics at home and plan alternate activities. Even older kids (when coaxed into participating) will enjoy s’mores, campfire sing-alongs, and board games.
No matter how old your kids are, make an effort to spend time with them while camping. Read books about the region in which you’re staying and learn about local wildlife. Bring along outdoor games like croquet or cornhole, and if you have time, make a personalized scavenger hunt to complete together.
If you’re near a lake, take your kids fishing or kayaking. Many National Parks offer family-friendly hikes or geocaching (hunting for small treasures based on GPS coordinates). The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area now offers a refined form of geocaching called ParkCaching.
On rainy days, take the opportunity to teach your kids a new game, like chess or cards. Spend time as a family and make your next trip one you won’t forget.
Learning on the road
Kids often learn the most by experiencing things for themselves, so why not take advantage of some fun ways to learn during your family trip? If you choose to camp near a city, visit a zoo or museum.
Point out plants and animals while hiking, and don’t forget to let your kids roam a bit. Encourage kids of all ages to keep travel journals or scrapbooks to document their observations. Let them draw or glue in pictures of the trip. For younger children, this is a great opportunity to practice writing, though you may have to help them spell some words.
Full-time RVers with school-age kids may want to look into roadschooling. Like homeschooling, it allows you to develop lessons for your kids, but with the added bonus of incorporating real-world activities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Traveling is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids how to be life-long learners.
Keeping it clean
When you’re living in a 400 sq. ft. motorhome, your space is bound to get messy; bringing kids along increases the chance by about a million percent. If you don’t want to lose your children under heaps of toys and blankets, it’s important to stay organized.
It can be helpful to give each child his or her own plastic shoebox to fill with whatever toys, papers, pencils, and stuffed animals they wish to bring along. This sets a limit on the number of toys they are allowed. Another way to free up space is to set up a separate “play tent” outside the RV, where you can stuff all toys, games, and books whenever they’re not being played with.
You also want to make sure that you’re not bringing too much of the outdoors in. Before letting your children inside, make sure all shoes are removed and sandy feet are rinsed. A doormat and a small broom are essential for the prevention of a dirty RV. You may want to invest a sack for dirty laundry and a cheap plastic tray for toys or dishes.
Be sure to involve your kids in campsite cleanups; believe it or not, many children enjoy being new given responsibilities. You can even make chore time into a game—try playing “Simon Says” with clearing the table or have competitions to see who can gather the most firewood.
One of the best parts of a camping trip comes after dark. No trip is complete without a blazing campfire. Use this time to circle up and hold a family sing along with silly camp songs or have a marshmallow-toasting contest.
Kids will love roasting hot dogs on a stick. You can also set aside a special snack to have only during RV trips—your kids will learn to associate this food tradition with family camping and have something to look forward to each time. When putting little ones to bed, maintain the same nighttime routine that you follow at home. Bring along your child’s blanket or pacifier and try to put them to bed around the usual time.
Even after the campfire dies down, nighttime can be a fun time to play with your kids. Reduce stress by buying glow stick bracelets or necklaces; the kids will love it, and you’ll be able to see them.
Lay down and gaze at the stars. There are many astronomy apps that can help you identify constellations. Play glow-in-the-dark bowling with your kids by placing glow sticks inside water bottles and setting them up like pins. You may want to watch a movie together under the stars or catch fireflies in a jar. Camping with your kids is the time to relive your childhood, so have fun.
When bringing along the whole family for an RV vacation, be flexible. Things might not go exactly how you want them to, but that’s okay. Remember—every predicament you get yourselves into, though it may seem like a stressful problem at the time, will become a great story to tell when you get back home.