15 Best Travel Trailers Under 3,500 lbs

Travel trailers under 3,500 lbs are a blessing for those who don’t need the space. Maybe you lack a 1/2-ton or 3/4-ton truck and don’t need or want to drop the extra money on a much larger RV. They’re surprisingly versatile and the interior innovations towards creating more living space are incredible.

Lightweight travel trailers towable by the family vehicle are growing in popularity. Especially those with innovative solutions—such as slideouts and Murphy beds—to the space equation. A wet bath may take a little getting used to, but it’s more than understandable when compacting living space.

They’re also affordable and a more sensible option for travel trailer tent add-ons when you really want to expand those rest and relaxation spaces. With that being said, we’ve compiled some fantastic travel trailers under 3,500 lbs for your perusing pleasure.

All of these incredible options have some very attractive qualities and a few drawbacks, too – we tell it like it is.

Susan and Mike from RVBlogger have toured and reviewed dozens of travel trailers that weigh less than 3,00 lbs. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the info we share in this article!

Susan and I toured and reviewed all 3 of these trailers at the Hershey RV Show!

1. Airstream Basecamp 16

Airstream Basecamp 16 Exterior. A great option in travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Airstream Basecamp 16 Interior
Airstream Basecamp 16 Floorplan - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs

Our Pros and Cons

6’4″ height is a nice amenity for a 16′ travel trailer

The Basecamp design is more for off-road, boondocking experiences

  • Length: 16′ 2″
  • UVW: 2,650 lbs
  • GVWR: 3,500 lbs
  • CCC: 850 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 450 lbs
  • Sleep: 2

The Airstream Basecamp 16 is an impressive little beast. It’s small, compact, yet roomy and made for adventuring into areas well off the beaten path. Despite its seemingly singular nature, it still retains the prototypical Airstream experience.

It’s the perfect option for couples since it only sleeps two, but you’ll never feel constrained within its aluminum environment. One of the best features of the Basecamp is the most obvious one—the panoramic front window. The view is what it’s all about and it’s why the Basecamp is the perfect adventure design.

The convertible dinette folds completely away for additional living space or it converts into a half bed, two single beds, or a full. The wet bath makes sense with the small design but it still feels more spacious than most.

You also have a choice between the 16 and 16X models, which mostly boil down to cosmetics, a few extra amenities, and living space.

2. Casita Spirit 17 Deluxe

Casita Spirit 17 Deluxe Exterior - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Casita Spirit 17 Deluxe Interior
Casita Spirit 17 Deluxe Floorplan - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs

Our Pros and Cons

Deluxe model includes a bathroom and shower

The Deluxe model only sleeps 2, whereas the standard sleeps up to 6

  • Length: 17′
  • UVW: 2,480 lbs
  • GVWR: 3,500 lbs
  • CCC:1,020 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 450 lbs
  • Sleep: 2

The Casita brand is a truly unique design, with nothing more than a 2-piece, marine-grade fiberglass body fused together into the travel trailer you see in the pic above. Though the design process is simple, it’s a beast of a camper, capable of extreme longevity with the proper maintenance.

As you would expect in a camper of this size, the sleeping area converts into a dinette, saving you some much-needed space. Regardless of the Casita model you choose, all of them come with microwaves, a two-burner stove, a power range hood with a light, and a silverware drawer.

Everything else that goes into the Casita Spirit is entirely up to you. It’s also a very lightweight trailer with a very large cargo-carrying capacity of half a ton. You can pack a lot into this animal and still have plenty of room to spare.

3. KZ Sportsmen Classic 180BH

KZ Sportsmen Classic 180BH one of the best travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
KZ Sportsmen Classic 180BH Interior
KZ Sportsmen Classic 180BH Floorplan - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs

Our Pros and Cons

Excellent design for five campers in a tiny bunkhouse

Five people can push into that 810 lb CCC spread pretty quickly

  • Length: 21′ 5″
  • UVW: 2,690 lbs
  • GVWR: 3,500 lbs
  • CCC: 810 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 280 lbs
  • Sleep: 5

The KZ Sportsmen Classic 180BH is a return to the more traditional exterior aesthetic on modern-day travel trailers. It’s small but it does a lot with the space, including a bunkhouse for when you want to bring the kids along for the ride.

It also features ample storage space, with passthrough storage included. The teddy bear mattresses on the bunks are more comfortable than some bunkhouses in more expensive and roomier RVs. With RVs this size, you don’t see full baths very often, which makes this KZ an even better choice for small families.

The exterior features a 9′ awning if you want to avoid the sun on a lazy afternoon. The easy-tow design, ample space, and plentiful amenities make this one of the more attractive options on the list.

The KZ 180BH is also a very affordable option, as low as $15k at some dealerships, which is hard to beat in travel trailers under 3,500 lbs.

4. Forest River Wolf Pup 14CCW

Forest River Wolf Pup 14CCW Exterior
Forest River Wolf Pup 14CCW Interior - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Forest River Wolf Pup 14CCW Floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

Rear door entrance makes for a more spacious design

Not everyone is enamored with split baths

  • Length: 19′
  • UVW: 3,314 lbs
  • GVWR: 5,475 lbs
  • CCC: 2,161 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 375 lbs
  • Sleep: 3

‘Wolf Pup’ is an apt name for this tiny tike of a travel trailer. The Wolf Pup design features a rear-door entrance, which is a welcome departure from other travel trailers in its class. The split design allows for more up and down room along the length of the travel trailer.

Not everyone loves the split bath design but it makes perfect sense when it boils down to space-saving design features. Overall, the Wolf Pup 14CCw looks like a much larger RV shrunk down to a smaller size.

Just about everything you expect in a 30′ travel trailer seems to be in place here, with the exception of modest and understandable cuts to save space.

The exterior features a 10′ awning, with an exterior TV mount so you can take the whole family outside for a cookout and a movie. You also have some outside storage options and this runs into the best feature in the 14CCW—a full ton of cargo carrying capacity.

That’s right—you get a full ton plus 100 pounds for good measure. Prepare to load up for your next outing because the Wolf Pup can definitely handle it.

5. Vintage Cruiser 19TWD

Vintage Cruiser 19TWD Interior - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Vintage Cruiser 19TWD Floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

Bedroom reading lights for some old-school reading in a retro RV

Vintage styles are popular but the aesthetic isn’t for everyone

  • Length: 23′
  • UVW: 3,035 lbs
  • GVWR: 4,380 lbs
  • CCC: 1,345 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 380 lbs
  • Sleep: 4

It’s hard not to love the growing popularity of retro-style RVs of which the Gulf Stream Vintage line is more than aware. The 19TWD is an excellent variation and features twin beds with a king insert on one end for a variety of sleeping arrangements.

If you love the look of old-school, roadside diners, that’s the vibe the Vintage Cruiser is rocking. The interior features a split bath with a surprisingly long bathtub on one side and the toilet/sink on the other. The vintage booth seating is perfect, considering the surroundings and it includes an extra counter as well.

The exterior, vintage graphics aside, the Cruiser features a welded aluminum frame with vacuum-bonded sidewalls. This maintains the lightweight while allowing for a spacious design. It features well over half a ton of cargo carrying capacity along with pass-through storage and plenty of storage options within.

It’s the perfect option for a small family of three or four.

6. Coachmen Clipper 17CFQ

Coachmen Clipper 17CFQ Exterior one of the most spacious travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Coachmen Clipper 17CFQ Interior
Coachmen Clipper 17CFQ Floorplan - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs

Our Pros and Cons

Huge, full bathroom in the rear

Windows are a little lacking

  • Length: 20′ 5″
  • UVW: 2,910 lbs
  • GVWR: 3,850 lbs
  • CCC: 940 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 330 lbs
  • Sleep: 3

The Coachmen Clipper 17CFQ is a brilliant little travel trailer that manages to squeeze in a full bathroom in the rear of the RV. The Clipper also includes a queen bed on the opposite end with plenty of room in between.

There’s also nearly a ton in cargo carrying capacity, with plenty of room and storage options to pack for a big trip. The exterior features a 12′ awning for afternoons in front of the grill and pass-through storage so you can chew up some of that extensive CCC.

Thanks to its lightweight, the Clipper is already an advantage on the road. However, it also features an aerodynamic front that helps cut down on the wind resistance and the number of times you have to hit up the gas station each trip.

While the Clipper won’t blow your socks off in terms of new innovations, it’s a fantastic option for a very small family or a couple. It also boasts one of the more spacious interiors on this list.

7. Scamp 16’ Deluxe

Scamp 16’ Deluxe Exterior
Scamp 16’ Deluxe Interior - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs

Our Pros and Cons

One of the most durable and long-lasting travel trailers on the market

Interiors need some decorating attention (on the bland side)

  • Length: 16′
  • UVW: 2,600
  • GVWR: 3,300 lbs
  • CCC: 700 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 225 lbs
  • Sleep: 2

There’s a reason that Scamp trailers manufactured back in the 1970s are still on the road today. Scamp manufactures one heck of a travel trailer and it’s built to last. The 16′ Deluxe version travels in the same circles as the Casita Spirit.

While the specs above are fixed, the reality is far different. There are so many customization options with the Scamp that nearly all of the above numbers are malleable.

If you’re looking for long-term travel and prefer to boondock, the Deluxe version is for you, since it features a wet bath. However, like the Casita, the addition of a bath cuts down on the available sleeping space, transforming the Scamp 16′ into a two-person show.

While the interior aesthetics are nothing to write home about, the solid fiberglass shell will last until the end of the earth and there’s always plenty of potential for personalization.

All Scamps feature a rear dining area that converts into a nice bed. The 16′ version also packs in the full kitchen setup, microwave, extra outlets, gravel shield exterior, and a group 24 battery pack.

8. Safari Condo R1713

Safari Condo R1713 Interior
Safari Condo R1713 Floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

Features a retractable roof (how cool is that?)

It’s essentially a spruced-up teardrop, so space is fairly constrained, especially with 4

  • Length: 17′ 3″
  • UVW: 1,825 lbs
  • GVWR: 2,700 lbs
  • CCC: 875 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: N/A
  • Sleep: 4

It’s hard not to look at this UFO-like teardrop and not be impressed. It seems like it was either made for space or it came from there. As far as travel trailers under 3,500 lbs go, the R1713 is a technological powerhouse, full of boondocking and off-grid goodies.

It even features a retractable roof. There are several other models with retractable roofs as well if it’s worth it for you to look at some larger sizes. Whether or not that opens the door to some interesting roof-tent options is up to you and your own innovative personality.

These campers are designed for going off the grid and staying that way for as long as possible. It comes with enough battery power for 200 amp hours of reserve capacity along with another two, 200-watt solar panels to keep the juice flowing.

It also features a heat pump A/C and a 2,000-watt inverter. The R1713 features two electric motors that essentially drive the travel trailer around via remote control. So, once you unhitch it, you can maneuver it any way you like.

It also features an outstanding build quality and it’s clear that these travel trailers are designed as the end-all-be-all of long-term, off-grid-possible teardrops.

9. Forest River R-Pod RP171

Forest River R-Pod RP171 Exterior - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Forest River R-Pod RP171 Interior
Forest River R-Pod RP171 Floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

Self-adjusting electric brakes

A/C units are optional on all R-Pods—not standard

  • Length: 19′
  • UVW: 2,714 lbs
  • GVWR: 3,840 lbs
  • CCC: 1,126 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 340 lbs
  • Sleep: 4

Forest River R-Pods are unique-looking travel trailers and the RP171 is no exception. It’s kind of like someone took the concept of a teardrop and mashed it up with a much larger travel trailer that’s shaped like a marshmallow.

The end result is an intriguing aesthetic that works. One of the best things about R-Pods is the things that come standard, such as nitrogen radial tires, fiberglass roofs, aluminum wheels, and dual-battery racks.

For the RP171 in particular, that opens the doors for a wide range of options. If you’re considering the off-grid lifestyle or prefer boondocking this trailer is perfect. The exterior lights are incredibly bright LEDs, which cuts down on power consumption. The exterior also features sidewalls with an R9 insulation factor.

The RP171 has a spacious interior, with a queen bed on one end and a sizeable dinette on the other. Everything in the middle is pretty standard fare for travel trailers these days, even when they’re this small.

The RP171 was one of the first R-Pods in Forest River’s lineup of small, ultra-light trailers and they’ve had ample time to perfect it.

10. Palomino Puma Ultra Lite 16QBX

Palomino Puma Ultra Lite 16QBX Interior - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Palomino Puma Ultra Lite 16QBX Floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

Queen bed with walk-around room and flanking shirt closets

Two-burner cooktop is awfully small considering the counter space

  • Length: 21′ 6″
  • UVW: 3,124 lbs
  • GVWR: 3,880 lbs
  • CCC: 756 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 380 lbs
  • Sleep: 3

The Palomino Puma Ultra Lite 16QBX is a fantastic little travel trailer that’s ready to rock n roll at a moment’s notice. The queen bed with ample space surrounding it is especially notable. You can tell that Palomino was able to really work some extra living space into a relatively small RV.

This is the second travel trailer on the list with a full, rear bathroom that feels far more spacious than it really is. The shower features a bright, LED overhead light which is especially nice. After all, it’s hard to find fantastic lighting in a lot of RV showers.

The booth dinette is a nice touch as well, with plenty of table and counter space to go around. Another small but nice touch is the number of charging ports throughout the RV. In the age of the smartphone and tablet, there can never be enough of those it seems.

The Alpha Superflex Roof is highly durable and the 16QBX also features a Darco underbelly for protection over the road. If you’re itching to get away from it all, the 16QBX is prepped for solar power, along with a WiFi setup.

11. Jayco Jay Flight 184BS

Jayco Jay Flight 184BS Exterior a reliable option for travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Jayco Jay Flight 184BS Interior
Jayco Jay Flight 184BS Floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

Features a Jay S.M.A.R.T lighting system

A toilet and shower with no sink may turn off some potential customers

  • Length: 20′ 8″
  • UVW: 3,460 lbs
  • GVWR: 4,500 lbs
  • CCC: 1,040 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 395 lbs
  • Sleep: 6

Travel trailers under 3,500 lbs are nice and all but not all of them can claim a Jay S.M.A.R.T. lighting system. This lighting system is a fantastic innovation for safe traveling. A combination of signal indicators, running lights, taillights, and reverse lights all work in conjunction to create better lighting indicators on the road.

As far as the Jayco Jay Flight 184BS is concerned, we have another great, ultra-lightweight travel trailer option that actually sleeps up to 6 people. Not only do you have plenty of room for a small to mid-size family, but you also have better protection and safety for them on the road.

This travel trailer also features a slide-out, which is incredibly popular in this class of travel trailers. The slide-out holds the dinette, which makes for more living space even while the family gathers for dinner.

The rear tub and toilet sit right next to the bunkbeds for those overnight potty breaks. The overall interior space is also one of the largest on this list.

12. inTech Sol Eclipse

inTech Sol Eclipse Exterior a twist on travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
inTech Sol Eclipse Interior
inTech Sol Eclipse Floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

Build quality is exceptional

The customization is so extensive it can be a little overwhelming

  • Length: 17′
  • UVW: 2,775 lbs
  • GVWR: 3,500 lbs
  • CCC: 725 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 445 lbs
  • Sleep: 2

Though this is one of the smaller travel trailers under 3,500 lbs, it’s much like the Safari Condo R1713, a technological powerhouse packed into a tiny space. The inTech Sol Eclipse is all about customization options and you are free to communicate with them throughout the entire manufacturing process.

One of the things that sets inTech apart from its rivals is build quality. Each travel trailer is manufactured around a fully welded aluminum framework.

This helps inTech build components and customization options without placing extra strain on the frame. It also features a single-piece roof with R7 bubble-foil insulation.

The entire kitchen is in the front with a large, forward-facing window and two side windows for a panoramic viewing experience. Also, like the Safari Condo, the Sol Eclipse is designed with going off the grid in mind.

The plug-and-play nature of the design opens the door to a wealth of off-grid opportunities in terms of add-ons. If you prefer the road less traveled, this small travel trailer is perfect for you.

13. Travel Lite RV Rove Lite 14BH

Travel Lite RV Rove Lite 14BH Exterior
Travel Lite RV Rove Lite 14BH Interior - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Travel Lite RV Rove Lite 14BH Floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

Side A/C rather than a roof A/C makes it more aerodynamically sound

Black tank is only 5 gallons

  • Length: 16′ 6″
  • UVW: 1,748 lbs
  • GVWR: 2,500 lbs
  • CCC: 752 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 184 lbs
  • Sleep: 4

There’s a lot to love about the Travel Lite RV Rove Lite 14BH. For one, it’s hard to imagine a travel trailer this small with a bunkhouse, yet here we are. It features a rear sofa bed with a simple, drop-down overhead bunk. Easy-peasy.

This is also an incredibly light model, considering its interior size. It doesn’t seem real, however, the floor is manufactured in a honeycomb composite material, while the RV is insulated in block foam and the fiberglass roof is a single piece.

Thanks to the small size, the air conditioner is placed as a window unit. This helps in the aerodynamics department, saving you some gas money that will add up over the years. Out of all the travel trailers under 3,500 lbs, this one is the lightest while retaining so much space to move around in.

14. Airstream Bambi

Airstream Bambi Exterior one of the classic travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Airstream Bambi Interior
Airstream Bambi Floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

There are four floorplan options and all of them come with memory foam beds

Cargo carrying capacity is on the low end

  • Length: 16′ 1″
  • UVW: 3,000 lbs
  • GVWR: 3,500 lbs
  • CCC: 500 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 430 lbs
  • Sleep: 4

Airstream makes the list twice on this one, thanks to having two different ultra-lightweight travel trailer models. Neither has much to do with the other. Where the Basecamp is more for going off-grid, the Bambi is more of a traditional camper’s camper.

The Bambi comes in four models, all of which feature the iconic exterior with a bright interior aesthetic as well. The classic design is simple but elegant. If you love the white-colors aesthetic for a more sunshiny lifestyle, the Bambi will appeal to you all day long.

The living space feels spacious while the appliances are small and out of the way. Airstream Bambi features 12vdc compressor refrigerators and the wet bath is tight but exactly what you would expect on a 16′ travel trailer.

15. Venture Sonic Ultra Lite SL150VRK

Venture Sonic Ultra Lite SL150VRK Exterior - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Venture Sonic Ultra Lite SL150VRK Interior - travel trailers under 3,500 lbs
Venture Sonic Ultra Lite SL150VRK Floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

Gotta love the Murphy Bed!

Very limited counter space

  • Length: 19′ 1″
  • UVW: 3,080 lbs
  • GVWR: 3,800 lbs
  • CCC: 720 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 360 lbs
  • Sleep: 2

Last but not least on our list of travel trailers under 3,500 lbs, we arrive at the Venture Sonic Ultra Lite SL150VRK. This one features a Murphy bed as an option and it makes a world of a difference inside an ultra-lightweight travel trailer.

This is one of the more roomy and spacious RVs on the list but it takes a little sacrifice in terms of counter space to get there. However, most potential buyers will recover when they see the large, full bathroom with half of the back wall dedicated to a pantry.

The StorMore bedside nightstands add the perfect touch to a comfy and roomy bed. The bedroom area is plenty large leaving room for you to walk around two flanking shirt closets. Impressive for such a small trailer.

One of the best features is the Venture LevelMate Pro, which lets you level this RV with your smartphone!

What Class Hitch Is Required To Tow 3,500 lbs?

Matching your travel trailer with the proper hitch is critical for safe towing. So which class of hitch is best for travel trailers in the 3500lb range?

A Class I hitch rated for 2000 lbs is far too underpowered and although a Class II hitch is rated for “up to” 3,500 lbs, you should stick with a Class III for anything with a GVWR that exceeds 3,500 lbs.

For instance, just because the travel trailer features a dry weight of 3,000 lbs, doesn’t mean you can’t approach that GVWR without threatening to overwhelm a Class II.

A Class II is perfectly fine for lightweight travel trailers like the Travel Lite RV Rove Lite 14BH or the Safari Condo R1713. However, with a Class II, you’re pushing it with an inTech Sol Eclipse and going too far overboard with the Jayco Jay Flight 184BS.

How Much Are Travel Trailers Under 3,500 lbs?

There’s a decent disparity among travel trailers under 3,500 lbs. Ultra lightweight travel trailers typically fall under the ‘entry-level’ category in terms of price, which is anything between $12k and $40k. Unfortunately, much of the price is reliant on brand rather than substance.

For instance, the Airstream Basecamp 16 has a starting price of $46k, which is $6k higher than the numbers we list above. Then there’s the Coachmen Clipper 17CFQ, which retails for around $26k. The Clipper is longer and roomier than the Basecamp.

Are there important and distinguishing features between the two? You bet. Is it worth an additional $20k? Well, a good deal of that is brand power, so it’s entirely up to you. On the bright side, maintenance on smaller RVs is a lot easier and more cost-effective than their larger brethren.

That’s not to say that any of the brands above lack amenities. All it means is brand carries value all by itself, long before you step inside the RV door for the first time.

It’s also important to remember that though these are smaller campers, a lot of technology and innovation goes into making them small while still retaining livability.

Can You Full-Time In Travel Trailers Under 3,500 lbs?

can you full-time in travel trailers under 3,500 lbs

You certainly can but there will be consequences you’ll have to overcome and you’ll need to get used to life without certain amenities. You’re looking at a very constrained space, every day, without change. You can relieve that somewhat with tent attachment options and more of an outside lifestyle.

We see many RVers who full time in small travel trailers use Clam tent enclosures to add additional outdoor living space to their camping experience.

Consistent power needs will take on a new dimension, depending on whether you are boondocking or grabbing shore power at every opportunity. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome, mostly if you like living off-grid for sustained periods or just prefer boondocking, is tank size.

Those fresh, grey, and black tanks are capable of dictating your life if you let them. You will have to get innovative.

Smaller RVs often equate to cheaper construction and may not be up to par depending on where you plan on taking them. For instance, the Basecamp 16 is far more off-road worthy than the R-Pod.

Regardless of what your lifestyle preference is, do your homework on these models beforehand and make sure you know what you are getting into.

Final Thoughts About Travel Trailers Under 3,500 lbs

Travel trailers under 3,500 lbs are an absolute blast, especially if you are into the adventurous spirit and hitting the road with your significant other.

Are they the best option in the world for full-time living? Maybe—maybe not. But they are incredibly versatile, which opens up a lot of doors for your own, personal innovations and style.

The above-listed options feature some fantastic choices with a number of different styles and amenities. If you can’t find something perfect for your next adventure on this list, you probably won’t find it anywhere else.

Related Reading:

1. 15 Best Small Travel Trailers For Retired Couples
2. 25 Best Travel Trailers Under 20 Feet
3. 10 Best Fiberglass Travel Trailer Brands
4. How Much Do Casita Travel Trailers Weigh?
5. 12 Great Campers For Jeep Wrangler Owners

About the Author:

Thomas Godwin is a full-time freelance writer with a BFA in Creative Writing, a U.S. Marine, and an avid outdoorsman.

When he’s not writing, he’s raising chickens and Appleyard ducks. Thomas also constructs teardrop campers (attempting to anyway) and kayaks the Blackwater River with his wife, two daughters, and his Dobermans.