Our readers know that we purchased a Coleman pop-up camper trailer in June of 2020 and have since taken over a dozen camping trips with more coming up. We discovered relatively inexpensively that we love camping! So much so that we are now looking for a travel trailer to go on the road for months at a time. However, we do not want to have to buy a new SUV or truck to tow this new trailer. Our Nissan Xterra has a GVWR (we’ll explain what that is) of 5,200 lbs and a 5,000 lb towing capacity. We have been searching for the best lightweight travel trailers that we can safely tow with our Xterra.

If you can find a travel trailer that suits you and you can then buy a tow vehicle (TV) to support that travel trailer, then this article may not be for you. However, if you already have an SUV or small pickup truck and you don’t want to have to replace it, this article is right up your alley. It will help you avoid looking at the best lightweight travel trailers that you can't buy because your tow vehicle can't tow that much weight.

If you have not yet determined how much weight you can safely tow with your loaded-up tow vehicle, click over to our article, Towing an RV, How Much Weight Can You Safely Tow? Then come on back to look at the best lightweight travel trailers that we found.

Considerations to Make Before You Look at the Best Lightweight Travel Trailers

Weight and safety, in general, maybe the most important considerations you make when determining what travel trailers to look at. But it’s not the only consideration of course. Your preferences and needs are unique to you. I’ll share what is important to us and give you an idea of what you may want to think about as well.

What MUST Our New Travel Trailer Have?

A North/South Bed Alignment – we want to have a bed that is not pushed up against one side or the front or back of the trailer. In other words, it faces the length and not the width of the trailer. This way one of us doesn’t have to crawl over the other to get out of bed. And it’s positioned in the middle so we can get around each side to make the bed and not have to crawl on the bed to make it.

A Slide Out – because of our weight limitation we are going to be looking at relatively small trailers with limited living space. A slide-out will open the living area up and make it feel a lot bigger.

No Bunk Beds – It will just be the 2 of us and our cat. Bunk beds take up living space and we just don’t need them. If we do have overnight guests the sofa will make up into a bed.

Full Bath with Sink - some bathrooms do not come with a sink.

Solid Step® Entry - there are many different varieties of steps that these travel trailers are equipped with. After walking in and out of many, we have decided to make sure our trailer has solid steps that don’t shake or feel unstable when entering or exiting the trailer.

Large Awning - travel trailers of this size will come with awnings of between 10 and 14 feet long. The longer and bigger, the better.

Power Hitch Jack - after hand-cranking up and down our pop-up camper, I’m pretty convinced I want a power hitch jack.

Roof Mounted AC - some travel trailers like the smaller Colemans come with the AC unit mounted in a sidewall. It’s not a good look and they make a lot of noise.

WiFi Booster - we will still be operating our business so ample cell service and internet access is a must.

Ample Storage - the more, the better.

Bike Rack Capable - our bikes go everywhere with us. I do have a rack for our tow vehicle, but we don’t have a lot more we can carry on or in it. So, a tongue-mounted bike rack or one mounted on the rear hitch of the trailer is a must.

Preferences but Not Deal Breakers

Sofa vs Dinette - we prefer a sofa versus a dinette. Most people are just the opposite.

Roof Shape - After hearing many stories of camper roofs leaking and cracks forming around the AC unit and vent covers, we would prefer a roof that is shaped in such a way as to let the rain drain off and not settle on the roof.

Pass-Thru Storage - again the more storage you can have the better off you are. Pass-thru storage is also more convenient in that you can access it from either side of the trailer.

Propane Tank Size - we looked at one trailer from Lance that had (1) 5-gallon propane tank. Others come with (2) 20-gallon propane tanks. The bigger the better. This also adds to the weight of the trailer, however.

Ample Outlets - this is for convenience.

Rear Entry Door - we would prefer the entry door to be away from the bed so as people walk in and out, they are not passing by our bed. Also, we will have our cat with us and no doubt she is going to hang out on our bed as she does at home. Having the door away from the bed would keep her calmer and less likely to bolt out the door. Some trailer models have the bed in the front of the trailer and the entry in the rear.

If You’ll Be Boondocking

The most boondocking we’ll be doing is at Harvest Host locations for a night on the way to wherever we’re going. But if you’re going to do multiple nights without water and electricity you’ll want to add to your ‘Must Have’ list some of the following.

Solar - most travel trailers come equipped with an outlet to plug-in solar panels that you add. However, a couple of our choices come already outfitted with solar panels on the roof of the trailer.

Ground Clearance - It might not be necessary depending on where you’ll be boondocking, but you’ll see that at least one of our choices has added ground clearance to avoid scraping your trailer while going over bumpy terrain. It’s also great for pulling off the road into driveways, parking lots, and gas stations with a large hump up from the road.

Fresh/Gray/Black Water Tank Capacity - You’ll want to have the biggest tanks you can get.

Propane Tanks - You’ll want the trailers that come with (2) 20-gallon tanks.

All-Terrain Tires - maybe not a deal killer but having tires that are built for rough terrain is smart if you’ll be going off the beaten path.

Now for the Fun Part
Let’s Look at the Best Lightweight Travel Trailers
for a 5,000 lb. Towing Capacity

9 of the Best Lightweight Travel Trailers

All of these trailers come in at under 3,600 lbs. Dry Weight (UVW) unless noted. Manufacturers of travel trailers will list the Dry Weight and GVWR of their trailers. When looking for travel trailers you need to use your Magic Number which is the weight you can pull behind you minus the added cargo you’ll be carrying in your trailer. Then only look at travel trailers with a dry weight under that number. Our Magic Number is 3,600 lbs. For help determining your Magic Number visit Towing an RV.

Dry Weight or UVW - 3,258
Hitch Weight - 410
Length - 21' 2"
Front Entry
Single Axle
AC -
Roof 13,500 BTU
WiFi Booster
Pass-Thru Storage
Tanks -
F31/G30/B30
Furnace - 20,000 BTU

Power Hitch Jack
Awning -
14'
Solid Step® Entry
Propane -
(2) 20-gallon tanks
Outdoor Griddle

Refrigerator -
5 c.f.
Slide Out Sofa
Bed -
54 x 74
Water Heater - 6 Gallon
Roof-Mounted Solar

Based on all the research and looking we’ve done, if we had to buy a travel trailer tomorrow, this would be the one. It has everything we are looking for with the very small exception that the entry door opens near the bed.

There are ample floorplans to fit just about any weight requirement or sleeping capacity. But the biggest reason we like this travel trailer is that the present owners of them, love them. If you’ll be boondocking this travel trailer should be high on your list. It’s built for off-road.

Please note that the Geo Pro is essentially the same as the Flagstaff E Pro. The only differences are some interior design features and the graphics on the outside. Here are some owners that have done reviews on YouTube and a Facebook Group of Geo Pro and E Pro owners. Go see what they say and why they consider the Geo Pro one of the best lightweight travel trailers.

Expert on the Rockwood Geo Pro - in our search we've been to quite a few RV dealerships and spoken to many salespeople. They're all very nice people but we've been underwhelmed. The exception is Adam Clingan at RVOne Tampa in Dover, FL. This guy knows his product. On top of that, he didn't try to show us trailers that didn't have what we wanted. If you live in Florida or wouldn't have a problem buying from a dealer in Florida, talk to this guy. By the way, we make nothing from endorsing him. We just want to reward him for a job well done, and direct you to someone that can cut through the red tape in the RV buying process.
Adam Clingan
RVOne Tampa
574-323-3872
adamc@rvone.com

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Dry Weight or UVW - 3,446
Hitch Weight - 406
Length - 21' 11"
Front Entry
Single Axle
AC -
Roof 13,500 BTU
WiFi Booster-
Not Listed
Pass-Thru Storage
Tanks -
F30/G30/B30
Furnace - 20,000 BTU

Manual Hitch Jack
Awning -
12'
Non-Solid Step® Entry
Propane -
(1) 20-gallon tank
Refrigerator -
Size Not Listed
Slide Out Dinette
Bed -
Size Not Listed
Water Heater - 6 Gallon

The Apex Nano lacks some of the features of the Geo Pro. It does not have solid stairs. Nor does it have a power hitch jack. The slideout is a dinette rather than a sofa. And it isn’t made to withstand as much abuse as the Geo Pro. However, Apex owners give it good reviews so we are still considering the Apex Nano.

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Dry Weight or UVW - 3,774
Hitch Weight - 395
Length - 23'
Rear Entry
Single Axle
AC -
Roof 15,000 BTU
WiFi Booster-
Not Listed
Pass-Thru Storage
Tanks -
F30/G30/B30
Furnace - Size Not Listed

Power Hitch Jack
Awning -
14'
Solid Step® Entry
Propane -
(1) 20-gallon tank
Outdoor Grill

Refrigerator - Size Not Listed
Slide Out Sofa
Bed -
60 x 80
Water Heater - 6 Gallon
Roof Mounted Solar

Outside of this trailer being somewhat over our ideal weight, it is a close 2nd to the Rockwood Geo Pro and definitely one of the best lightweight travel trailers on the market. The Ibex has a great floor plan with a rear entry away from the bed. The slide-out has a full sofa. They chose a smart location of the television which some manufacturers just haven’t figured out. It also has a higher ground clearance and all-terrain tires making this more durable and better for boondocking. If we can feel comfortable with the weight issue by adding the weight distribution hitch and brake controller, the IBEX will be right up there with the Geo Pro.

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Dry Weight or UVW - 3,685
Hitch Weight - 400
Length - 22' 7"
Rear Entry
Dual Axle
AC -
Roof 13,500 BTU
WiFi Booster-
Not Listed
Pass-Thru Storage
Tanks -
F30/G36/B36
Furnace - 16,000 BTU

Manual Hitch Jack
Awning -
Size Not Listed
Solid Step® Entry
Propane -
(2) 20-gallon tanks
Refrigerator - Size Not Listed
No Slide Out
Bed -
Size Not Listed
Water Heater - 6 Gallon

The travel trailer has a really nice design and floor plan except that it does not have a slideout which eliminates it for us. However, a slideout may not be that important to you which is why we listed it here. It comes with some added amenities like (2) 20-gallon propane tanks. It also has a manual hitch jack which is not our preference. The outside of the trailer is beveled. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, we prefer smooth exterior walls.

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Dry Weight or UVW - 3,325
Hitch Weight - 375
Length - 20' 5"
Font Entry
Single Axle
AC -
Roof 13,500 BTU
WiFi Booster-
Not Listed
Pass-Thru Storage -
NA
Tanks -
F27/G25/B25
Furnace - 20,000 BTU

Manual Hitch Jack
Awning -
12'
No Solid Step® Entry
Propane -
(1) 20-gallon tank
Refrigerator - Size Not Listed
Slide Out Dinette
Bed -
60 x 74
Water Heater - 6 Gallon

One of the options on this trailer that we like is that the dinette on the slideout can be replaced with a sofa. However, if you keep the dinette you can get a sofa by choosing the Murphy bed option. We are a bit torn still about whether we want a full bed with just a sofa. Or go with the Murphy bed and get a dinette and a sofa. This is a great choice even with a manual hitch jack and flat roof design. This should be considered one of the best lightweight travel trailers for sure.

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Dry Weight or UVW - 3,240
Hitch Weight - 460
Length - 22' 1"
Front Entry
Single Axle
AC -
Roof 8,000 BTU
WiFi Booster-
Not Listed
Pass-Thru Storage
Tanks -
F20/G32/B32
Furnace - 20,000 BTU

Manual Hitch Jack
Awning -
10'
Solid Step® Entry
Propane -
(1) 20-gallon tank
Refrigerator - Compact
Slide Out Dinette
Bed -
Size Not Listed
Water Heater - 6 Gallon

One of the downsides to this trailer for us is that it only comes with a dinette and a full bed. That means there’s no sofa at all. The AC unit is 8,000 BTU which is significantly smaller than the other choices. It has a manual hitch jack, a small 10-foot awning, and a compact refrigerator. All of this puts the Escape E181RB pretty far down on our list.

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Dry Weight or UVW - 3,395
Hitch Weight - 340
Length - 23' 2"
Rear Entry
Single Axle
AC -
Roof 13,500 BTU
WiFi Booster-
Not Listed
Pass-Thru Storage
Tanks -
F27/G33/B33
Furnace - 20,000 BTU

Power Hitch Jack
Awning -
Size Not Listed
No Solid Step® Entry
Propane -
(2) 20-gallon tank
Refrigerator - Size Not Listed
Slide Out Sofa
Bed -
60 x 74
Water Heater - 6 Gallon

When we first saw the Vintage Cruiser inside and out, we were attracted to the retro look. It’s very different from anything out there. The wood-look inside is also very cool. But as we walked through a few we felt that the novelty might wear off. The trailer with the blue trim is “very blue” inside. It’s the same with the red trim. It also has a manual hitch jack. If you love the aesthetics this is a great travel trailer choice.

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Dry Weight or UVW - 3,567
Hitch Weight - 440
Length - 22' 6"
Front Entry
Dual Axle
AC -
Roof - Size Not Listed
WiFi Booster-
Not Listed
Pass-Thru Storage
Tanks -
F54/G33/B33
Furnace - 16,000 BTU

Power Hitch Jack
Awning -
Size Not Listed
Solid Step® Entry
Propane -
(1) 20-gallon tank
Refrigerator - Size Not Listed
Slide Out Sofa
Bed -
60 x 74
Water Heater - 6 Gallon

This Streamlight has everything we are looking for although it is approaching our maximum weight limit. I have nothing negative to say about it. It even has a dual axle which we would prefer and there aren’t many trailers in this weight range that have them. This travel trailer is definitely worth looking at and is definitely one of the best lightweight travel trailers out there.

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Dry Weight or UVW - 3,570
Hitch Weight - 340
Length - 22' 1"
Rear Entry
Single Axle
AC -
Roof 13,000 BTU
WiFi Booster-
Not Listed
Pass-Thru Storage
Tanks -
F38/G45/B30
Furnace - 20,000 BTU

Power Hitch Jack
Awning -
13'
Solid Step® Entry
Propane -
(1) 20-gallon tank
Refrigerator - 8 c.f.
Slide Out Dinette
Bed -
60 x 75
Water Heater - 6 Gallon

You should take a look at this Sonic Lite. What we don’t like about it is that the bathroom is mid-trailer instead of in the rear. This creates a situation that while you’re eating or using your dinette you’re looking at a wall across from you. A design where the bathroom is further away from your dining area we feel is better. The slideout is a dinette. We prefer a sofa. But if you prefer or can live with the floor plan, this is a great choice.

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