5 For 5: 5 Best Lightweight Travel Trailers For Families of 5

by | Jun 28, 2024 | Camping/Glamping, Family Adventures

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There was a time when our boys loved to hang with us. Before screens. Before friends. Before hormones. But when their body clocks struck 12, it all changed. So, now, family travel without a friend attached to the trip is nearly impossible. Every time we start talking about planning a family vacation, the first question from both their mouths is, “Can I bring a friend?” and the second is, “Can I buy a hoodie for the trip, brah?” Ignoring the second, it’s much easier to plan those family trips with their friends when there’s no airfare or hotel beds involved. 

Camping, or rather, glamping in a recreational vehicle (RV), is the perfect solution. Although we already own a lightweight travel trailer, we decided to look for a newer model year. We wanted one made with the latest technology that would comfortably fit a family of five. But it had to be small and made with lighter materials so that my SUV could tow it. 

We enlisted our friends from GoRVing.com to help us find the perfect lightweight travel trailers for a family of five. Even those who don’t want to make that investment will find manageable solutions below.

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What Is GoRVing?

We first met Christy Hamilton at a BlogHer convention in Los Angeles, where we were thrilled to learn she represented GoRVing.com, an organization dedicated to making recreational vehicles a seamless and joyful experience for everyone interested in experiencing the outdoors in a comfortable and luxurious way.

Families who know nothing about the RV world or how to begin can start with the GoRVing.com website. Those who are already in the know but want an unbiased perspective on how to up their camping game can find concrete resources on their site, too.

We met up with Christy again when GoRVing.com hosted us at a weekend RV event at the San Diego Metro KOA campground. She introduced us to her knowledgeable colleague,  Monika Geraci, who is the Director of Public Relations for Go RVing and the RV Industry Association. We picked their brains about which lightweight travel trailers are the best for families who want to comfortably fit five people. Here’s what they came up with.

 

GoRVing.com sign with two boys - lightweight travel trailer

Getting our outdoor groove on. ©Rina Nehdar

 

Forest River – No Boundaries – 20.3’

The Forest River No Boundaries Travel Trailer is an open-floor plan travel trailer that uses light-colored wood throughout the interior to really open up the smaller space and make it feel spacious and modern. It’s very similar to the Keystone Passport we currently have, but it feels lighter and airier because of its white walls (ours are cream) and a gray wood floor (ours are brown).

 

Sleeping In The No Boundaries Travel Trailer

The Forest River, No Boundaries travel trailer has the essential double-sized bunk beds with a ladder for the top bunk. There is an additional door that leads outside so if you have rascals, that might need to be locked from the outside! The parent’s bed is a queen-sized bedroom set with built-in nightstands on each side. The bed is actually a Murphy bed set-up, so during the day, it converts into a comfortable couch. The dinette converts into a bed, and its set-up has the diners facing each other. 

No Boundaries Regional Sales Manager Matt Martin said, “The No Boundaries 20.3 travel trailer is an ideal choice for families of five due to its spacious layout and versatile features. With ample sleeping arrangements, including a queen-sized bed, large bunk beds, and a convertible dinette, it comfortably accommodates the whole family.”

 

Living Space In The No Boundaries Travel Trailer

We love that there’s a lounge area not attached to the dinette. Ours doesn’t have that. The TV set is hung above the sink, where there is also an attached kitchen bar sitting area, where campers can put two stools and make into a breakfast nook. Viewers from the dinette and couch area all have perfect vantage to see the screen. 

 

Kitchen Area In The No Boundaries Travel Trailer

The refrigerator is one of those modern stainless steel units not found in your typical travel trailer, continuing that modern flair. There is a pantry, which we love in ours, between the bathroom and dinette. A sink, stove, and oven complete the setup. There is also an outdoor kitchen, which I found essential when we were shopping for our camper. It really did come in handy during fireside chats when the cook (me usually) didn’t want to miss out on all the fun by standing inside the RV cooking while everyone else laughed around the campfire.

 

Boys at campfire

Boys snapping the campfire. IYKYK ©Rina Nehdar

 

Bathroom Area In The No Boundaries Travel Trailer

The bathroom has a shower and everything a glamper needs not to have to use the public facilities, which is great in the middle of the night.

 

How Much Does The No Boundaries Travel Trailer Weigh 

We also love that these ultra-lite travel trailers, come in at dry tow weights of 5,300 lbs. (no water or gear inside), for easy towing with SUVs like ours. There’s also plenty of storage space with pass-through storage in the front of this recreational vehicle. There is a solar panel, solar on the side, azdel composite side walls,  a power awning, and a back-up camera.

 

Its rugged construction and off-road capabilities ensure adventurous outings while providing the comforts of home on the go – said Martin.

 

Forest River NB layout - lightweight travel trailer

All the things. ©Forest River

 

Lance Camper – 1685 Travel Trailer

The Lance Camper 1685 Travel Trailer is one of the best ultra-light trailers for families without a full-sized pickup. Coming in with a dry weight of just over 4000 lbs., this little bundle of joy packs a lot into a small space.

 

Sleeping In The Lance Camper – 1685 Travel Trailer

The set up is perfect for a family with younger children as the sleeping space for three of the five happens when the huge dinette area is converted into a giant bed. This dinette/bed is also right next to the parent’s queen-sized bed, which has a closing curtain to separate the two spaces. Different models come with selections of a wide range of beds, a couple even have bunks if a family’s kids are older.

 

Living Space In The Lance Camper – 1685 Travel Trailer

The smart TV is in the parent’s bedroom, but with the curtains open, everyone can enjoy a late-night movie from the dinette area or the bedroom. There is climate control with air conditioning for those hot summer camp days.

 

Kitchen Area In The Lance Camper – 1685 Travel Trailer

The wood-colored refrigerator matches the cabinetry under the sink and around the stovetop. Standard features include an oven and a three-burner stove.

 

Bathroom Area In The Lance Camper – 1685 Travel Trailer

These small travel trailers have a shower, a porcelain toilet, and a sink. There’s also a skylight for extra light.

 

How Much Does The Lance Camper – 1685 Travel Trailer Weigh

Since the Gross Dry Weight of this ultra-light travel trailer is only 4225 lbs., it can easily be towed by an SUV.

 

Lance Travel Trailer layout - lightweight travel trailer

Cozy and functional. © Lance

 

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Winnebago – Micro Minnie FLX

This is one of our favorite ultralight travel trailers. We always admire it when we see it in a campground or on its way to one. It looks sturdy and adorable. At 21’ 11”, it’s small enough for a regular SUV but large enough to pack all the essentials. The interior is light and airy, with mostly light wood and white pleather decor.

 

Sleeping In The Micro Minnie FLX

One of the things that puts this model on our list of best lightweight trailers is the bunk bed set-up. For us, it’s essential. When the kids are small, families could even fit two in each berth. The master bedroom in this RV is separated by a privacy curtain. The dinette becomes another sleeping area. 

There is always optional equipment for families to choose. In this case, there is an optional couch set up that converts into a bed and has a table attachment that seems like it would be pretty cozy.

 

Living Space In The Micro Minnie FLX

Having the dinette be a couch would make this space seem much more like a living room. However, the dinette could also provide that function. The flatscreen TV is mounted over the sink, so is enjoyable in the living area and the queen-sized bed.

 

boys in hot tub with mom

No friends = No trip. ©Rina Nehdar

 

Kitchen Area In The Micro Minnie FLX

With a spacious stainless steel farmhouse sink and plenty of counter space for all the prep work, this little galley has plenty of room for the foodie. A matching steel refrigerator and microwave oven complete the package, and a stovetop burner and oven are also included.

 

Bathroom Area In The Micro Minnie FLX

The sink in this bathroom is located inside the shower area, maximizing the space. The essential toilet is right there when you need it.

 

How Much Does The Micro Minnie FLX Weigh

This model also doesn’t require a heavy-duty tow vehicle. Made with lightweight materials, it weighs only 4,177 lbs. dry. It includes a power awning and plenty of overhead storage. Its solar panels and smart energy design allow this lightweight travel trailer for five to comfortably house a family for five days if they are dry camping.

floor plan winnebago - lighweight travel trailer

Couch or table, you’re choice! ©WINNEBAGO

 

 

Starcraft – Super Lite Maxx 19MBH

This is one of the loveliest models on our list. Not only is the Starcraft Super Lite Maxx an ultra lite travel trailer, it packs in so many homey elements (that are standard options), campers may forget they’re in a moving capsule. Beautiful light-colored wood and modern touches make this RV feel fresh and clean. Which can be great if kids attempt to mess it up. Which they will.

 

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Sleeping In The Super Lite Maxx 19MBH

The master bedroom has a queen-sized bed, and there’s plenty of storage in the overhead cabinets. This one also has a murphy bed that converts into a couch when the bed isn’t in use. This bunkhouse is spacious, with two double-sized mattresses and storage beneath the lower bunk.

 

Kitchen Area In The Super Lite Maxx 19MBH

White cabinets and a high-polish black fridge and microwave give the galley a sleek, modern vibe. The counter is made to look like granite. There are plenty of homey touches, like a recessed counter where families can store their jars and utensils. The stovetop has two burners. The U-shaper dinette is spacious and the taupe pleather cushions match the bright kitchen. Of course, this converts into a bed.

 

Living Space In The Super Lite Maxx 19MBH

The TV is above the sink area, so can be seen while families are eating or sitting on the couch.

 

Bathroom Area In The Super Lite Maxx 19MBH

This is our (ok, my) favorite bathroom. The prefab bathroom counter is made to look like light colored wood. The sink is nice and deep and the dark bronze faucet reminds me of the one at home. The cabinet has clear glass and shelves that can be seen through the cabinet doors. There’s a glass shower with a matching dark bronze handheld showerhead. Plus, it comes with a bathtub which is so great for young kids who’ve been rolling around in the mud all day!

 

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How Much Does The Super Lite Maxx 19MBH Weigh

It’s amazing how the manufacturers are able to use such lightweight building materials to create so much and have it weigh only 4,480 lbs. dry. This is another easily towable trailer that won’t require a full-sized pickup truck as an additional investment.

Minnie Winnebago trailer

Compact and ready to impress! ©Winnebago

 

Jayco – Jay Feather 21MBH

The popular Jayco travel trailer is desired for a reason. It is dependable and built with solid workmanship. A newer feature that puts the Jay Feather 21 MBH on the list of best lightweight travel trailers is the Rock Solid Stabilizer (RSS). The RSS is a vast improvement over the old stabilizing system, where the legs just came straight down by rotating a crank on each corner of the RV. 

With the old stabilizers, anytime anyone moved around the unit, the others inside could feel that movement with occasional swaying. This new version eliminates that. It touches the ground from an angle that holds it with a wider base, giving it the type of stability found in a standing house.

 

log cabins

The only thing more solid than the RSS is a log cabin like the kind at KOA Kampgounds. ©Rina Nehdar

 

Sleeping In The Jay Feather 21MBH

The bunkhouse model has double-sized beds with a ladder. This 21-foot model comes with a queen-sized Murphy bed that’s replaced with a jack-knife sofa when it’s hidden. The larger 24-foot model includes a door to separate the bedroom area from the rest of the living space for additional privacy. 

 

Kitchen Area In The Jay Feather 21MBH

The galley inside the Jay Feather has all the essentials for a comfortable cooking experience. A refrigerator, microwave, stovetop oven, and sink sit opposite the U-shaped dinette area. Theater seating with adjustable trays is an option in that space. Next to this slide-out area is a pantry, which we find essential for organizing food supplies. 

There is also an outdoor kitchen with a mini fridge, griddle, and storage space. We love this addition and find it so convenient for not having to leave the party during cookouts, campfires, and cocktails.

 

Living Space In The Jay Feather 21MBH

The TV is above the sink area so views from the dinette and couch set-up are ideal for kids watching YouTube videos. Board games are so fun in the dinette table or outside at the campground picnic table.

 

Bathroom Area In The Jay Feather 21MBH

There’s the standard shower, sink, and toilet, but the bathroom also has a window. To secure privacy during showers but still allow airflow on warmer days, the shower curtain track extends past the window, covering any inside views.

 

How Much Does The Jay Feather 21MBH Weigh

The dry weights of the Jay Feather 21 MBH is 5,484 lbs. which is manageable for most SUVs. A vehicle’s manual will explain the engine’s towing capacity.

 

Each of the above brands offers a variety of model types with different floor plans and special options. Some have special packages that prevent discomfort during prolonged bad weather, and some have four-wheel drive. The one that’s right for a family will depend on the age of the kids, the amount of privacy the parents want, and the type of camping the family wants to do. 

 

The great thing about travel trailers is that they come in a lot of different sizes,” said Geraci, “Whether you are looking for a small, compact trailer perfect for getting into smaller campsites like the ones found in many national parks or a larger, more spacious travel trailer with room for even the largest families with many sleeping up to 9 people. Also, with a travel trailer you are able to unhitch your tow vehicle to use while the RV stays set up at camp.

 

For families not ready to invest in the bigger fifth wheels, an ultralite travel trailer is the perfect option. If a family is even more limited in their towing capacity – and really wants to get cozy! – there are even smaller options, like the scamp trailers!

 

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Not Ready To Buy?

Before we invested in our lightweight travel trailer, we rented a few models to test out what we’d like best. What we liked best was a luxurious Class A which is the largest motorized RV and looks like a fancy bus. It had all the perks, but the price range on those types of vehicles run into the hundreds of thousands, and we weren’t ready to spend that kind of money. We had also rented a Class C, which is also driveable and has a sleeping loft above the driver’s seat. The boys loved this one the best but it too was out of our price range. 

 

inside of a class C RV

This was the boy’s top choice but…out of our price range. ©Rina Nehdar

 

The nice thing about travel trailers is they have a nice entry price point (the ones on our list are all under $50K), and if a family buys from a dealer, payments can be broken down into really manageable chunks.

But if a family wants to try before they buy, a great resource for an RV finder is RVshare.com, where private parties rent their RVs. All types of RVs are available, and renters can request that owners deliver their vehicles to the campground and set everything up, which is awesome and something we enjoyed during our last trip to the KOA San Diego Metro campground and in the past. In fact, don’t miss the video tour of the inside of our travel trailer given by the rare creature – a pleasant teenager! Plus, go inside all the other RVs we explored during our weekend!

 

The Weekend Video!

 

Why Rent From RVshare.com?

“RVshare is the perfect option for families looking for an outdoor adventure with the comforts of home. With more than 100,000 RVs to choose from nationwide, you’ll be sure to find one that meets your needs. We’ve heard from families time and time again that an RV trip is their favorite family trip to date,” said Maddie Bourger, Sr. Director of Communications for RVshare.com

 

Class A RV

Your home away from home. ©Rina Nehdar

 

One of the most helpful things about renting from RVshare.com instead of a private party is the insurance coverage a family gets when they rent their camper. When we rented a Class A the second time, it ended up breaking down. This was terrible because I had a toddler and a baby at the time, and we got stranded on the side of the road. We had to get a ride to a rent a car to take us back home from a highway patrol officer (yes, my boys can say they were babies the first time they were in the back of a cop car – hopefully it will be the last! – lol!). We had to leave the recreational vehicle on the street, and our family trip ended abruptly. We didn’t have this type of insurance coverage so we were out a bunch of money. Had we rented from RVshare.com, they would have covered this possibility.

 

We chose a lightweight travel trailer because we didn’t own a full-size pickup and it fit best into our lifestyle and budget. A huge benefit for us, too, was the ability to unhitch from the trailer and use the car when we needed it since we didn’t just sit around our campground on our trips. The best way to get started is by taking this GoRving quiz to find which kind of camper will suit your family best.

 

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travel trailers for family of 5