Small campers cost less, are easier to drive, and allow you to visit places the big rigs just can't go. If your goal is maximum fun and adventure, then going small is the way to go. In this article I'll discuss more advantages to going small as well as a few possible downsides. Next, I'll help you decide how small to go and what type of small RV is best for you.
So you've decided a small camper is the way to go. Great choice. Now you must decide exactly how small. A 15 foot A-frame camper, or a 25 foot travel trailer? Answering a few of these questions will help you narrow down your choices.
Will you be camping at luxury resorts with all the amenities where spaces are large enough for a 45 foot palace on wheels? Any size or type of RV will work here. Or, do you plan on RV boondocking as far from an electrical outlet as you can get? Then you'll need a small camper that's maneuverable and built tough. A truck camper, well built travel trailer, or rugged mini-motorhome is your ticket to adventure.
Are you going to spend all your time with outdoor activities and only use the small camper as a place to sleep and eat? A teardrop trailer, pop-up camper, camper van, or truck camper may work for you. Why purchase more RV if you won't be using it? On the other hand, if you'll be spending a good amount of time indoors, a small travel trailer or small motorhome will be more comfortable.
You've found the prettiest campsite in the country and plan to stay a month. It won't be easy with a small camper, but it's possible. Your best bet will be with a small travel trailer or small motorhome that has a healthy amount of storage space, and large holding tanks.
Of course, if you'll be ticking off the miles every single day, and resupplying often, a smaller RV such as a camper van or teardrop trailer may work just fine.
Major highways only? Or forest service roads that haven't been maintained in decades? If you'll be cruising (I mean crawling) on the latter, a truck camper, off-road camper trailer, or off-road pop-up camper are for you.
You'll want a small camper that is maneuverable and easy to park in tight spaces. A Class B motorhome (camper van) is ideal.
A slideout room can really open up an otherwise closed in and cramped small camper. In addition, having a window on each end of the slideout can further create a more open feeling inside. A disadvantage is that a slideout can increase the overall weight by several hundred pounds. This may reduce your cargo carrying capacity.
Other things to consider with a slideout room:
I have fond memories of the days I went exploring and boondock camping with my first small camper, a 1989 Jeep Cherokee! While it's not exactly an RV, it was my "recreational vehicle" at the time. I had fun loading it up with 7 gallon jugs of water and plenty of food for a week of boondocking.
It was a great feeling, to be free and able to travel down almost any road seeking out wonderful campsites in the forests and deserts of California and Nevada.
Looking back, I realize how much more adventurous the camping experience can be with a smaller vehicle. That goes for RVs too. Some think they need to bring along every gadget that they have at home when they go camping. This is a good way to forget what camping is all about.
A small camper keeps the focus on camping and exploration and frees you to see and do much more than you possibly could with a big RV.
So, to sum things up: Lower price tag, better fuel economy, better for the environment, and much, much more fun! That's the small camper.
For more tips on finding the perfect downsized RV see my additional articles below.