When choosing the best travel trailer under 1500 pounds, you’ll have to decide just what amenities are worth the weight and which ones you can forego. Some of these incredible trailers are very bare-bones, while others still have everything you could hope for in a small RV.
While I would probably opt for the most budget-friendly option on our list, there are quite a few trailers here that are simply stunning. So, read through to figure out which is the best lightweight trailer for you.
The 7 best travel trailers under 1500 lbs:
1. The Meerkat
Coming in at a mere 920 pounds, the Meerkat does an incredible job fitting in anything two people could need into a small, lightweight travel trailer. Made by Meerkat Trailers, it has all the essentials, like a stove, windows, icebox, closet, sink, LED lighting, portapotty, and rollout bed system.
If you want to upgrade, you can grab additional storage, an awning, fridge, bed extender, and more. With 13 colors to choose from, these cute trailers start around $19,470. Made in San Diego, these trailers come directly to you, rather than through a dealer, keeping costs down.
These trailers pack the most amenities into a small space while keeping it under 1000 pounds, allowing almost any car to pull it. The tongue weight is only 70 pounds, making it easy to lug around by hand once you get to your campsite if you want to tuck it in a little further than your cow can allow.
2. TAXA Outdoor’s TigerMoth
TAXA Outdoor’s TigerMoth is an incredible travel trailer that can go almost anywhere your vehicle can. Founded by Garrett Finey, a former senior architect at NASA, this trailer makes the most of space, design, and functionality at every corner.
Weighing in at 1,360 pounds dry, it has more features than many in the sub-1,500 pound category. It sleeps two inside, with an option for two adults to sleep on the rooftop tent. The open design allows for easy ventilation and stellar views. Additionally, the Tigermoth was built to live 7+ days off-grid with its own electrical and water systems, as well as optional solar panels.
One entire side of the Tigermoth opens up, allowing for easy loading, hanging out, or cooking in the slide-out kitchen under the awning. There is no bathroom in this trailer, but its goal is to get you just about anywhere outside, so you should be okay working around that with all the freedom this trailer gives.
The 2020 Tigermoth starts at $18,000 and can be reserved for just $2,000 as they build it. A few add on-options can quickly bump up the price, but each one looks well worth it.
3. Oregon Trailer’s DoDrop Alpha
If you’re hoping to take your travel trailer over rocks and through rivers, then you’ve probably looked at Oregon Trailer’s options. Their DoDrop Alpha may be the most off-road capable trailer on our list. At the most basic, they weigh 550 pounds, although the most common customizations put them closer to 700 or more.
This ultra-small teardrop camper is made for Overlanding. Fully covered in Line-X, it is rugged, completely waterproof, and ready for anything. The bed, when out, takes up the whole trailer, although it is in two pieces, allowing you to move it to store cargo. There is no bathroom inside, which is no surprise in such a small space.
Two optional small side windows allow some light in, as well as having the outer covering able to fold down into an outdoor table to set up a kitchen. The DoDrop Alpha is completely customizable, which allows you to keep the base price of $5,500 or upgrade for more bells and whistles.
4. Colorado Teardrop’s Basedrop
For a travel teardrop with just a bit more spunk, check out Colorado Teardrop’s Basedrop camper. With a dry weight of 1,000 pounds, it can be pulled with just about any small car. It holds a queen bed for two and has a back hatch that opens up to be a galley.
Colorado Teardrop loves to customize their trailers. Whether you want to add your favorite team’s logo on the side or a flat-screen inside, they’ll do just about anything you request.
The trailer is fully insulated. It has an aluminum exterior and a maple wood interior, creating an attractive look all around. There is no bathroom in the trailer, but the lightweight and simple design are still plenty to get you outside. Basedrop pricing starts at $13,900 and can be reserved for $5,000 down.
Fun upgrades you can put on your Basedrop include a Goal Zero solar panel and generator, LED lights, Hot Water and Shower, a Roof Rack, or a Stainless Steel Galley. All in all, the simple and sleek Basedrop is a great way to get out and adventure – no matter what your car is.
5. Vintage Overland’s T.E. Lawrence
If you like beautiful things, then this next trailer may be for you. Made by hand by Britton Pursor and his family, Vintage Overland’s trailers are lightweight without sacrificing design and appearance.
Their T.E. Lawrence Trailer is their largest trailer, creating a roomy and inviting space. It weighs just 900 pounds, while still be 5-foot by 8-feet in length. It comes with a queen size memory foam mattress, rear hatch, LED lighting, a bug screen, and huge storage capacity.
These trailers have been featured in GQ, Outside, and Gizmag. This trailer from Grand Junction, Colorado is not just a trailer, but a statement. While it lacks a bathroom, it may just be the prettiest trailer you can buy for $18,500. There are two smaller trailer sizes as well. Both are ultralight if you don’t need quite as much room.
6. Rustic Trail Teardrop’s Papa Bear
Lightweight travel trailers can be a little pricey. But, if you’re willing to forgo ultra-sleek styling, check out the incredibly affordable Rustic Trail Teardrop’s Papa Bear trailer.
This trailer only costs $7,895 at its base package. But, for $1,100, it can include dinette seating that converts to a bed and some cabinets for storage. The bare bones version has LED lights, USB ports, a smoke detector and Maxxair Roof Fan, sliding windows, and a rear receiver.
Additional upgrades can include an air conditioner, awning, roof rack, battery kit, outside table and outlet, and upgraded vinyl siding. This easily customizable camper made in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina is a clear win for someone on a budget who just wants to get out camping.
7. 13’ Scamp
Scamp trailers are fiberglass box trailers that are incredibly lightweight for the size and features. Their 13-foot option has an interior height of 6-foot, 3-inches, making it a great option for those larger in stature. It can sleep up to four people and is incredibly insulated with an R-value of 15.
With a two-burner propane stove, wood paneling, marine headliner, and thick cushions and curtains, you have just about anything you’d need in here. It does max-out our list’s weight rating, weighing between 1200 and 1500 pounds dry. But, it does come with a Sani potti, which is a huge win for those not wanting to head to the woods when business comes calling.
Scamp 13’ trailers are quoted on an order-by-order basis, but the most basic options start around $16,000.
How to Choose an Ultra-lightweight Travel Trailer
Ultralight travel trailers will have fewer amenities; that’s just a fact. But, there are quite a few questions to ask yourself to narrow down your options. Here are a few to consider:
- Do you want to be able to stand up in your trailer?
- Do you need a bathroom or kitchen inside the trailer?
- How many people need to sleep in it?
- How much are you willing to spend?
After you’ve settled on these key elements, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices to two or three main companies. At that point, see if you’re able to either go to a showroom or find a friend to take a test drive with a trailer.
If you’re able to go out for a night or a weekend in it, you will be able to buy a trailer with much more confidence knowing it’s just what you need. Many times, you’re able to get a must less expensive trailer if you’re willing to set up your own camp stove right outside your trailer.
Who Makes the Best Ultra-Light Travel Trailers?
There are many small companies these days creating custom travel trailers. While you will be able to customize them more, the wait times are often longer, some up to eight months.
The alternative is using larger companies like Winnebago or Jayco and getting a pre-made trailer. These brands often don’t use space as efficiently as some niche brands, but they still provide a great space to escape into nature. In addition, you’ll usually be able to get one from a dealer and take it away the same day.
For truly the best ultralight travel trailer, small businesses like Oregon Trailer or Vintage Overland will make the best ultra-light travel trailer. They do the work all themselves, ensuring that each little piece has been crafted with care, unlike big brands. With hand-made trailers, you can be sure each nook and cranny has been optimized for space and storage too.
Lastly, people who make the trailers usually have one themselves and have spent time in them. This gives the insight to make small changes over the years to ensure you get an incredible product, especially if the company has been around for a while.
What is Better – Fiberglass or Aluminum Travel Trailers?
Trailers are made with all kinds of materials, but the two most common exterior materials are fiberglass and aluminum.
Fiberglass trailers tend to be a bit more durable than their aluminum counterparts. You’ll recognize them by their smooth, clean appearance. These trailers easier to clean too.
However, if dented, you’ll usually have to replace a whole side due to how its put together. Fiberglass trailers are more expensive upfront, but they tend to have a higher resale value than aluminum.
Aluminum trailers are easily dented – especially by hail, but the dents simple to cover up or pop out. Aluminum siding usually looks rigid. This style is usually less aerodynamic, making it lower your gas mileage just a bit. But, aluminum-sided trailers are usually quite a bit cheaper upfront to counteract that.
If you plan on doing any of the wiring or insulation yourself, aluminum will be much easier to work with. These trailers usually have hollow space in the walls, making it simpler to run wires and a bit warmer too.
While much of the choice between these two materials depends greatly on budget and personal preference, most people hope for a fiberglass exterior for its durability, ease of cleaning, and resale value.
Are Jayco Trailers Good Quality?
Jayco is a decent trailer company if you’re looking for a modern trailer that you can buy right off the lot. Jayco has been around since 1968 when a couple paired up to create pop-up trailers.
Jayco has one of the longest warranties in the industry, usually around 2 to 3 years or 24,000 miles. However, the downside to that is most Jayco owners end up having to use the warranty on different parts in their trailer. Whether it’s a loose bolt in the cabinet or something else, Jayco trailers will usually have a few issues – even if purchased brand new.
Jayco Trailers are mass-produced, and it’s important to remember that. Their parts readily available, and most mechanics will work on them. I would consider them good quality, but not great.
Travel trailers are great at getting you outside into nature without having to set up a tent. If you’re going through the trouble of towing something though, I think it should be a bit more spacious than the back of your car or a tent.
So, rather than getting a tiny teardrop, I would opt for the space and amenities of the Meerkat or Scamp. These provide all the glorious add-ons of glamping without getting into RV territory. They’re still ultralight, allowing you to tow them with a small car.
All in all, making the right choice for you and your budget is key; after all, everyone’s end goal is to just spend more time in the great outdoors.
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Lauren Nowack is a freelance writer and story maker living in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. She is passionate about the outdoors, mental health, and living a bit on the wild side. In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, building out her Sprinter van, and finding a new trail to blaze with her family.