Economical RVing

As people turn to lighter more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, the demand for small trailers that can be towed by those vehicles is growing. RV manufacturers have responded with an increasing number of lightweight trailers that can be towed by half-ton pickups, SUVs, crossovers, and, in some cases, even passenger cars.

Here are some of the newest lightweight trailers on the market today.

Airstream SportAirstream Sport
The 16-foot Airstream Sport is an ultra-light travel trailer that can be towed efficiently by most small and midsized SUVs and, even some family cars. It has all the elements of a bigger trailer—bed and dinette, fully functional galley and bathroom—in a sleek Airstream design.

A double bed is at the rear of the trailer, and the dinette table and seats are in the front.  In the middle are the galley kitchen on one side and a wet bath on the other. A furnace and air conditioning are included.

The Sport is also available in two larger lengths, 17 feet and 22 feet. Both have a full bathroom at the rear and the largest version can sleep as many as five.

The 16-foot model carried a suggested retail price of $35,796.

For information, visit

Trail-Lite Crossover by R-VisionTrail-Lite Crossover by R-Vision
The 2011 R-Vision Crossover from Monaco RV is offered in six floor plans, from 17 to 24 feet with dry weights of 2,000 to 3,000 pounds, so it can be towed by an SUV or minivan.

The Crossover has tandem axles (singles on three floor plans) with 10-inch electric brakes, and for improved towability, an optional Equa-flex suspension system to eliminate sway. The smooth laminated exterior is accented with brown and rust colored graphics, with an optional chrome trim ring. Four stabilizer jacks, air conditioning, an outside shower and a stereo player with outside speakers are other options.

The residential-style kitchen has a platinum double-bowl sink with a high-rise gooseneck faucet in most floor plans, and there’s room for a double-door refrigerator and microwave, too.  Two floor plans offer a fabric gaucho sofa or jackknife sofa, and the other floor plans include radius booth dinettes. Sleeping in the Crossover is on a queen bed or bunk bed. Two floor plans have tent-like expansions that double the sleeping capacity.

The Crossover’s suggested retail prices start at $14,629.

For information, visit or call (800) 282-4654.

Camplite from Livin’ Lite RV
Camplite from Livin’ Lite RVThe Camplite is a travel trailer built entirely of aluminum and composite materials to keep the weight low enough to be towed by minivans and even some passenger cars. The models reflect Livin’ Lite’s “back to the basics” theme.

The exterior shell is vacuum bond laminated for strength and is available in a variety of metallic colors—silver, bronze and light blue—to match today’s minivans and crossover vehicles.  Inside, the cabinets are aluminum, and so are the bed frames, ceiling walls and floor. Composite materials are used in the dinette table and the windows, and there are built-in day/night shades.  There is no wood. The trailer is 98 percent recyclable.

Floor plans range from 11 feet to 16 feet, with an interior height of six feet, five inches. Dry weight with standard features ranges from 1,200 to 2,300 pounds.  You can choose from bunkhouse and queen bed models, and some come with a wet bath that includes hot water heater, exterior shower and a re-circulating electric commode by Thetford.

Suggested retail prices start at $11,099 and range up to $16,699. A number of options are available, including refrigerators, tip-out bunk beds and air conditioning.

For information, visit

Jumping Jack Trailer
Jumping Jack TrailerThe Jumping Jack from Lifetime Products is a heavy-duty steel utility trailer combined with a durable canvas outdoor tent.
With a bed that measures six feet by eight feet, the trailer has room to carry bikes, kayaks, canoes, motorcycles and even two ATVs.  The payload is handled smoothly with a 3,500-pound torsion bar axle and 15-inch wheels.

When the hauling is done, the tent can be set up in less than five minutes. The tent provides seven feet of headroom and 96 square feet of space. The unit includes two raised sleeping beds with foam padding, a pop-up table and seven large windows, providing a 360-degree view.  There is room to sleep up to six people.

A 13-ounce marine grade canvas resists mildew and will keep campers dry on even the soggiest of nights.
Suggested retail price is $4,995.

For information, visit

Lance 1685
Lance 1685The Lance 1685 travel trailer has 16 feet of interior floor length, but appears much larger because of an oversized super-slideout that extends a U-shaped dinette that is 54 inches by 78 inches.

Fully equipped, the Lance 1685 sleeps five and weighs only 3,450 pounds. It has three wardrobe closets, underbed storage that is accessible from both inside and outside the trailer, and pass-through exterior storage.

Options include a front rock-guard window, power awning, 9,000-BTU or 13.500-BTU air conditioner, heated holding tanks, AM/FM/CD stereo, TV antenna, 19-inch LCD TV and DVD player.

Lance, which has been North American’s largest truck camper manufacturer since 1965, is now building travel trailers with the same attention to quality and value that built its reputation in the camper industry.

For information, visit

Outdoors RV Tamarack Trail
Outdoors RV Tamarack TrailThe Tamarack Trail product line from Outdoors RV is for customers seeking a small travel trailer that is packed with features and designed for rugged, four-season use.

Sales manager Darin D. Nelson said most customers are looking for a trailer that has lots of features, so the Tamarack Trail is being built with nearly everything standard and very few items left as options.

The Tamarack Trail is available in four floor plans, including one with a slideout. The shortest trailer is the 718FQ, which has a length of less than 19 feet, including the hitch, and a dry weight of 3,300 pounds. It comes with a six-sided aluminum frame, double insulation, Goodyear radial tires and a custom-built, off-road chassis with mud flaps.

The appliances are stainless steel, with a stainless steel backsplash behind the three-burner cooktop.  A queen bed with a pillowtop mattress provides a comfortable place to sleep, and for entertainment, there’s a 19-inch LCD TV and DVD stereo system.  The kitchen includes a refrigerator and microwave, and the bathroom has an angled rear shower, skylight, porcelain toilet and a wall-mounted hair dryer.

There are many other extras, too, including a roof-mounted solar panel, a radius crown, full walk-on roof and a one-step electric awning with a rain dump arm.

The Tamarack Trail 718FQ has a suggested retail price of $20,430.

For information, visit or call (541) 624-5500.

Passport Express Super Lite
Passport Express Super LitePassport, which is Keystone RV’s best-selling ultra-light travel trailer, has introduced a smaller version called the Express Super Lite.  It is available in lengths from 19 to 24 feet and 3,305 to 4,300 pounds.

All of the features on the Express Super Lite come standard; there are no options. But you get lots of amenities.  The kitchen, for example, includes a double-door refrigerator, three-burner range, microwave, residential-size sink and hardwood cabinet doors. You also get a forced air furnace and air conditioning.  On the outside of the trailer you will find an exterior shower, exterior speakers, an outside cook center, and a lighted pass-through storage compartment.

Several floor plans have expandable areas that provide increased sleeping capacity, making the trailers suitable for large families.
Starting suggested retail price is $16,700. The Express Super Lite is one of four ultra-light models from Keystone, available in a variety of floor plans. Other models are the Passport Ultra Lite, Bullet and Bullet Premier.  

For information, visit

True North Freelance
The True North Freelance, a rugged trailer for outdoorsmen that was introduced last year, is continually being refined, with new additions and options. One of the latest options is an EZ-Up Express 2 Shelter, which provides a convenient canopy that can be erected alongside the trailer or elsewhere at a campsite.

The Freelance is billed as an Outdoor Support Vehicle because it is designed for people who lead an active outdoor lifestyle. A sofa that folds down into a bed provides a comfortable place to sleep inside, but you do your cooking outside, from a kitchen that opens up at the rear of the trailer. The outdoor kitchen includes a sink, fresh water tank and stainless steel three-burner cook top. There is room to add an ice chest or an optional refrigerator/freezer.

The Freelance is a little more than 16 feet in length, and the dry weight is 1,535 pounds.  Northwood’s True North division has partnered with Thule to offer a batch of clever camping accessories, such as a folding exterior table, awning and a rack system to haul gear. 

True North offers the Freelance in three versions, starting with the BaseCamp at a suggested retail price of $9,900.  Several options, including some accessories from Thule, are included in the Ascent and Summit packs, raising the MSRP to $11,375 and $12,950 respectively.

For more information, visit


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