The Manufacturers of towable RVs (solid wall and pop-up trailers) recognize that times are changing. People are buying smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, so the RV industry is designing lighter-weight travel trailers that are highly functional and more affordable. What this means is that the RV lifestyle is now within easy reach of more folks than ever before. With so many vehicles that have towing capacities (the amount of weight they are designed to tow) between 2500 and 4000 pounds, we went on a mission to identify a few of the many choices that are available.
Some basic rules and specifications can help you choose the towable RV that's right for you. First, check with the Manufacturer of the vehicle you will be towing with (crossover, SUV, pickup truck) and see exactly how much gross weight your vehicle is designed to tow. This will determine if the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the trailer--every trailer has a GVWR--is compatible with your vehicle. Next, check with the vehicle Manufacturer and identify the amount of hitch weight your vehicle is rated to handle. Hitch weight is the amount of weight added at the point where the hitch and the tongue of the trailer are connected. Third, check with your state's DOT and see at what GVWR trailer brakes are required. This is typically based on the GVWR of the trailer and can vary by state.
Depending upon the size of the tow vehicle and the size of the trailer, you may want to consider adding a sway control and/or a load-leveling device, which will provide a more transparent and safer towing experience. Check with your RV dealer for information regarding whether or not sway and/or load-leveling control devices should be added at the hitch/tongue of the trailer and the tow vehicle. As their names imply, sway-control devices keep the trailer from fishtailing or moving from side to side while it's being towed, and load-leveling devices distribute the hitch weight forward to the front axle of the tow vehicle and aft to the axle of the trailer, which yields better steering and braking.
Towable RVs that work with smaller vehicles fall into two groups: solid-wall camping trailers that are ready to live in when a destination is reached, and folding camping trailers that first require some amount of setup (unfolding, extending, etc.). Folding camping trailers can include the use of tent-type fabrics, solid panels, or some combination of the two. Today's folding camping trailer can also include slideout rooms.
The following specs are provided for each camping trailer listed below. They include GVWR, hitch weight, sleeping capacity, cargo-carrying capacity, and some standard equipment. All specifications and information are subject to change and need to be verified with the RV Manufacturer.