The RV life is indeed a mouth-watering prospect: traveling to different corners of the land to spend time among nature and gazing at spectacular views. There’s a catch though, that is you need to make a big investment in the RV itself, and if it is a towable one, you might need to spend some more to upgrade your family car to a power truck to tow it. While many would-be campers shy away from such an expense, there is the wonderful option called micro campers, a type of compact, lightweight and affordable recreational vehicle that can be towed with most passenger cars and can cater for different camping needs.
Generally weighing in at less than 1,000 lbs., with the biggest and most spacious models weighing under 2,000 lbs., these micro lightweight travel trailers eliminate the need for a new towing vehicle, and allow for easy handling and maneuvering when you’re off the beaten path. You can custom-build one, rent one or buy one without breaking the bank. And to make your purchasing decision as fuss-free as possible, we have handpicked the very best micro campers to buy today.
Our list has it everything: the most spacious and functional models with all necessary amenities, the most compact, lightweight and minimal models for the rugged individualist, the multipurpose for outdoorsy and adventurous travelers, the family-friendly and couple-friendly models, the most affordable yet still functional for first-time campers. Apart from a review for each micro motorhomes, you will also learn crucial information to help you decide whether micro campers are right for you.
- What is a Micro Camper?
- Best Micro Campers You Can Buy or Rent
- Off-Road Warrior: Timberleaf Trailers
- Multipurpose: Sylvan Sport GO
- Retro: HC1 Micro Camper by Happier Camper
- Super Light & Affordable: Cool Camp Micro Camper by Runaway
- Iconic & Comfortable: Airstream Bambi Micro Camper
- Custom-Built Campers: Hiker Trailers Highway
- Modern & Well-Equipped: Polydrop Trailer
- Extra Headroom + Toilet: Scamp ’13 Standard Micro Camper
- Family-Friendly: Taxa Cricket Camper
- For Couples: Forest River Rockwood Geo-Pro 12RK
- How to Remodel a Van into a Micro Camper For Camping
What is a Micro Camper?
A micro camper, also called mini camper, is a super compact and lightweight trailer RV that most often weighs between 400 and 1,000 lbs. Surely you can expect them to be much more affordable than the full-blown Class A or Class C motorhomes, or spacious fifth wheels or the big travel trailers with full amenities.
The history of micro camping is one of invention. It did not come from recreational vehicle manufacturers, but the majority of micro campers were designed and custom-built (most commonly converted from Volkswagen minivans) by regular campers who choose the nomad lifestyle but are not keen on the big budget that goes along with buying a full-blown RV.
After realizing the huge potential of this arena, RV manufacturers started to design a variety of micro campers for sale to cater for the increasing demand for this affordable RV type.
These super compact and more minimal micro campers suit certain types of travelers. But worry not, if you would like something more spacious and more luxurious with a lot of amenities, you can opt for larger micro campers that can weigh up to 4,000 lbs.
So despite the name, this class of recreational vehicles does have a variety to offer different types of travelers with different needs. Micro campers include tiny teardrop trailers, pop-up campers, small minivans or Class B motorhomes, and some smaller truck-bed models.
What You Get
Of course, the facilities inside these little micro campers are often basic. The most basic and minimal models are essentially a trailerable bed that you can take tow behind your existing passenger car through narrow roads with ease.
If you’re not limited by the towing vehicle, that is you own something quite powerful or are willing to spend on an upgraded pickup that can tow something over 1,000 lbs. to 4,000 lbs., you can chip in some more for a spacious model with lots of built-in luxuries, such as an outdoor shower, a dinette and a kitchenette plus a bit more storage.
Many micro camper models offer upgraded packages in additional to the basic packages, which offer some additional handy accessories such as an awning, a tent, sleeping bags, a portable heater, a propane mount and more to make your camping experience more comfortable. There are also many smart, functional cooking equipment and setups for tiny micro campers without a kitchen, so you won’t have to sacrifice fresh, delicious meals while in the wild.
Micro Campers Pros
- Affordable to buy, repair and maintain
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to maneuver
- Smaller models can be easily towed with most passenger cars
- Can be unhitched to free up towing vehicle
Micro Campers Cons
- Limited living space and amenities
- Little to no storage space
- Certain types are not durable, thus not suited for extreme weather and long-term ownership
Micro Campers Are Ideal For
- Spontaneous trips: Due to their limited space, amenities and durability, some micro campers are more suited for the occasional, spontaneous short weekend getaways than they are for long-term living and long trips, particularly the pop-up campers and some truck-bed campers with canvas sides.
- The individualist travelers & couples: A micro camping trailer doesn’t offer a lot in terms of space, but they would be ideal if you’re travelling alone or with your sweetheart.
- Remote and outdoorsy nomads: These small and minimal campers are also extremely popular among the adventurous and outdoorsy travelers who always stay outdoors exploring about, thus they are willing to sacrifice certain comforts. Furthermore, their compactness and light weight allows for easy handling and maneuvering around small roads off the beaten path.
- The first-time or budget campers: Thanks to their affordable price tags, they are the best deals for the budget campers. Micro campers are also ideal for families looking to upgrade their camping experience from the usual tents and sleeping bags, or for first-time RVers testing out the waters before fully committing a large investment for more serious full-time RV-ing.
Types of Micro Camper
Some Class B Motorhomes & Converted Minivans
If you travel alone or with your spouse and do not need a whole lot of space, then a small Class B motorhome might be a great option. Compared to other types of micro campers further below, a Class B minivan is much more durable, offers more protection from the weather, and much easier to drive around as you are not towing something but would be driving inside the van itself.
Class B motorhomes are also called campervans or van campers or a van conversion. It is sometimes called, since they’re typically built on a standard (full size) or extended van with a raised roof for extra head room for walking upright. A popular route for the budget campers is to buy an old van and renovate to save some extra money.
Thanks to such small van chassis, these vans are quite compact and drive much like a van, which is much easier to maneuver for less experienced drivers. In terms of drivability, minivans are among the easiest recreational vehicles to drive. And there’s no need to tow an extra vehicle behind for day trips and excursions, as these compact vans are perfect for exploring around.
Another advantage of owning one of these Instagram-worthy little cuties is that campervans are also typically more affordable to maintain and fuel than their larger counterparts.
Vans come in different sizes and heights, thus if you want to, say, be able to stand up straight inside, there are many models with high roof for tall travelers, despite not being a pop-top.
Often without a bathroom and space for washing and drying clothes, a typical campervans is equipped with basic kitchen appliances, a bed/dinette combo and sometimes a toilet for the larger sized vans.
You can also find models with a number of handy solutions for the limited space, such as a kitchen and/or dining unit which can be extended or pulled out from the back door to offer outdoor dining. Other space-maximizing features include swivel toilets, folding sinks, convertible couch/bed combo and more to make the most of the limited space.
A typical campervan typically sleeps one or two people. Although many technically claim that they can sleep up to four, after two people these vehicles will start to feel a bit too cozy for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Among the classes of RV as well as the different types of micro campers, teardrop trailers, a subclass of the above travel trailers, are the most easily recognizable thanks to its distinct teardrop shape..
These micro campers typically weigh less than 2,000 lbs, thus is ideal if you are not willing to upgrade your existing passenger car to a pickup to be able to tow an RV behind. Among the different types of RVs, teardrop trailers might be the most suitable for budget, first-time travelers who often go on short weekend trips.
The simplest teardrop trailers are basically just a bedroom on wheels. Larger floor plans can also contain a bed, kitchen/dining area, and wet bath. Teardrop trailers are pretty comparable with the van-size Class B motorhomes in terms of space, amenities and price, with the difference being teardrops trailers are towable and can be unhitched.
Like Class B vans, teardrop micro campers utilize highly creative and functional designs to maximize living space and utilities, including swivel toilets, folding sinks, convertible beds, and more.
These types of RVs have a hard base with extendable canvas sides that “pop-up” to provide sleeping space, hence the name, and can be neatly folded away during travel for easy transport. A huge plus is that they are lightweight, which means they can often be towed by most passenger vehicles, so you won’t need to upgrade your family car to tow these pop-ups. These towable RVs make camping more comfortable and are available with a variety of options.
Some downsides to consider is there is minimal to no storage available and the canvas tent-style side sections offer limited protection from extreme elements. These are not durable as the canvas sides are highly susceptible to wear-and-tear, thus they are not suited for extreme weather and long-term ownership
Truck campers, sometimes called “slide-ins” or “cab-overs”, feature a hard-sided camper shell that is attached to or sits on top of an ordinary pickup truck. This means great versatility and affordability, as you do not need to buy a whole new RV or upgrade your existing vehicle to tow the newly purchased RV.
Thanks to their compact size, these RVs are easy to drive. Thus, they are perfect for weekend getaways, spontaneous and outdoorsy travelers who stay outdoors most of the time, thus tend to prioritize flexibility, drivability and affordability over luxury amenities.
Truck campers typically sleep two passengers, though some may claim to sleep up to four, and offer small cooking, dining, storage and bath facilities. The overall size may only be slightly longer than your standard pickup.
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Best Micro Campers You Can Buy or Rent
Off-Road Warrior: Timberleaf Trailers
- Price: $21,500
- Dry weight: 1,500 lbs.
- Size: 60” x 120”
- Price: $13,200
- Dry weight: 1,025 lbs.
- Size: 54” x 96”
Specializing in tiny teardrop campers, Timberleaf Trailers offers two models, the Classic Teardrop and the Pika. Both of them are small and light enough to be towed behind most small-sized SUVs and even some sedans.
The Classic has a dry weight of 1500 lbs., whereas the base model of Pika is scaled down to just 1,025 lbs, so handling would be a dream. Both feature over-built fully welded and powder coated 2-inch by 3-inch 11 gauge steel frame, enamel baked aluminum sides.
What’s special about Timberleaf micro campers is that you can get an upgraded suspension and lift package to make them ready for off-road adventures that most other micro campers dare not take.
The most special feature is a large skylight that makes the cabin feel spacious and open. The cabin is fully insulated with one-inch thick foam, locked between two layers of Birch plywood so you can camp in cooler months too. It can almost fit a standard queen mattress.
The Classic’s galley offers a built-in sink with folding faucet, and 11-gallon or 17.5-gallon on board water storage options. It can accommodate a 2-burner cookstove and a 12-volt fridge.
The Pika’s cabin is built around a double size mattress. It sits on a 54-inch by 96-inch frame, very nimble but still offers comfort and can comfortably sleep two campers in its cozy cabin. Pika galley can accommodate a 35-liter Dometic refrigerator and enough storage for a well-organized kitchen.
Multipurpose: Sylvan Sport GO
- Price: From $9,995
- Dry weight: 840 lbs
- Standing height (camping mode): 6.5 ft.
- Length: 12 ft.
- Interior floor dimension: 48 x48 inches
- Trailer size (travel mode): 143 x 75 x 53 inches
Tent deploys and retracts from the hinged case which is mounted below the equipment rack.
- sleeps up to 4 people
- standing height 6’ 5”
- 80” long by 116” wide
- interior height expands from 17” to 48” with a simple hand crank
- deck size 48″ wide x 84″ deep
- max carrying capacity 960 lbs.
- low 53″ loading height (lower than most car roofs)
- 165 lbs. carrying capacity
A pop-up tent camper, a gear transporter, and a utility trailer all in one, the Sylvan Sport GO is an incredible multi-purpose micro camper that is very popular among the active, adventurous travelers who live to bring along gears. It is towable and easily handled by just about any passenger vehicle with ease, thanks to being only 12′ in length and weighing a mere 840 lbs.
This micro camper is an elevated tent with an awning that gives you an additional 46 sq. ft of covered outdoor living space. The interior is bright and spacious with large windows and screens, and many sleeping and dining configurations that you can configure anytime.
Not just for camping, you get a lot of use from this smart vehicle too. In travel mode, you can load your gear on the roof and with a few easy adjustments, you can quickly transform this multi-functional micro camper into a utility trailer for every day hauling needs.
The standard package offers a tent pod, gear deck, equipment rack, 2 bed panels, 4 sleeping pads, 2 table panels and storage box.
If you want more comfort, opt for the big package with additional camper cover,tent awning, 2 air mattresses, spare tire, deck cushion, rug set, hanging organizer, storage net and more. The all out package includes all these plus a screen room, solar kit, camp kitchen and 2 single sleeping bag.
Retro: HC1 Micro Camper by Happier Camper
- Dry weight: 1,100 lbs.
- Price: starting from $24,950
- Exterior height: 7.4 ft.
- Inside height: 6.1 ft.
- Shell length: 10 ft.
- Overall length: 13 ft.
- Inside width: 6.6 ft.
The HC1 travel trailer by Happier Camper is something you might have seen a lot on Instagram and travel blogs. This cute micro camper is photo-worthy thanks to its retro design. It is pretty as well as functional and comfortable.
The interior is bright with large windows and the headroom is more generous than that of other micro campers, allowing for a comfortable living space. Thanks to the smart Adaptive modular cubes, you can easily customizable the space as you see fit by moving around the couch bed, kitchenette, toilet, table and ice box components.
Super Light & Affordable: Cool Camp Micro Camper by Runaway
- Price: starting from $4,495
- Dry weight: 580 lbs.
This is the most lightweight micro camper on this list. It’s very hard to find another one that is so small and compact, yet offers good off-roading capabilities and does not compromise on quality. This little box on wheels is basic but has enough space for you to bring along your camping gears, making it an affordable option for the rugged individualist who can sacrifice amenities for the freedom to travel to hard-to-get places.
The base model includes a 5,000 BTU AC, a spare tire, a locking entry door, a storage shelf and 110v power connection with a six-outlet strip with a basic interior, but you can easily customize it or pay more for upgrades.
With upgraded models, you get more accessories, such as awnings, a sofa bed, and a roof basket. You’ll also get an extra window to make the interior brighter, more spacious and well ventilated, as well as enjoying great views from your sofa or bed.
Iconic & Comfortable: Airstream Bambi Micro Camper
- Price: from $49,900
- Dry weight: from 3,000 lbs.
If you’re looking for a higher level of comfortability, you can opt for a micro camper a little bigger like the iconic Airstream Bambi. The bigger size means you can stay on the road for longer while still feeling at home. With Airstream, you know that you’re getting it all: quality, functionality, lifespan and aesthetics.
The Bambi is the lightest Airstream trailer out there. That said, they are heavy among the class of micro campers, with a dry weight starting from 3,000 lbs, so you should check whether your existing vehicle can tow one. They’re between 16 and 22 ft. long.
The Bambi 16RB features a dinette, galley, double bed, refrigerator and exterior shower, plus a wet bath, something you would not get with every micro camper. It also comes with a heating and air conditioning unit, so you can travel to any climate in these houses on wheels. You can add on more handy features, such as a solar energy system for boondocking and a retractable awning.
Custom-Built Campers: Hiker Trailers Highway
- Price: From $3,000
- Dry weight: 2,000 lbs.
With some base prices starting as low as less than $3,000, Hiker Trailers will design and construct a custom-made micro camper that would perfectly suit your campaign needs and budget. The company has two manufacturer locations, one in Denver and one in Indianapolis.
You can choose from a wide array of setups and then specify your exact features and build type. The basic models of the trailer lack features, but if you want to upgrade it, you will have plenty of options. You can get just about anything, given that you have the budget for it, including air conditioning and heating, kitchenette and cooking setups, solar charging kits, additional storage, and a roof rack.
Modern & Well-Equipped: Polydrop Trailer
- Price: From $12,995
- Dry weight: 760 lb.
- Tongue weight: 80 lb.
- Length 12′ 5″ including tongue
- Width 5′ 6″
- Height 5″ 4″
- Cabin length 75″
- Cabin width 48″
- Cabin height 43″
This is a small but well-rounded micro camper with amazing features that will perfect your camping experience. The Polydrop trailer is also eye-catching with its unique and ultra modern geometric teardrop design.
The Polydrop trailer has a twin size bed, an air conditioner, and an awning for additional outdoor living space, plus reasonable storage space. On the outside, it features an exterior shower, a rhino rack for transporting gear, a solar road shower, and a powerful fan for excellent ventilation.
Although small, you can comfortably cook in the kitchen area that is equipped with a sink, a Dometic refrigerator and a cooktop and pull-out counter space. One of the coolest features of the Polydrop trailer is the security cameras so that you can see what’s going on outside. So in short, you have everything you would ever need for longer trips without missing your cozy home.
Extra Headroom + Toilet: Scamp ’13 Standard Micro Camper
- Price: From $16,095
- Dry weight: 1,200 to 1,500 lbs.
- Overall length 13’
- Overall height 7’ 6”
- Overall width 6’ 8”
- Interior length 10’
- Interior height 6’ 3”
- Interior width 6’ 6”
- 12 gallon fresh water tank
On top of being cute, the Scamp ’13 Standard that looks just like a miniature classic travel trailer offers one of the tallest headroom among micro campers. This is also one of the very few family-friendly micro campers on the market that can sleep up to four persons, on top of having space for a toilet.
The Standard package comes with a 12 gallon water tank, a stove and sink, a dinette that converts into a double bed, a galley, a closet and storage cabinets. It also offers plenty of great accessories, such as a 30amp power converter and an ice box. You can choose between two floor plans to either get two bunk beds or a toilet.
Family-Friendly: Taxa Cricket Camper
- Price: From $30,950
- Dry weight: 1,800 lbs
- Exterior width: 6.7 ft.
- Exterior height: 6.11 ft.
- Interior height: 4.2 ft.
- Interior width: 5.3 ft.
The Taxa Cricket is another rare family-friendly micro camper that comfortably sleeps up to two persons with two kids. Unlike the majority of other micro campers available in the market, it offers enough storage space for a family, or more than you would need if you travel in pairs. Although you might expect it to be bulky, it can actually be parked in a garage with ease as it is only 15 ft. in length.
Another unique feature is its pop-up roof that offers great ventilation and a standing-room that features five mesh windows. Regarding amenities, you will see a full-size bed, propane tanks, a small kitchen with a sink and some storage, and a burner stove, water heater and furnace, and an exterior shower.
For Couples: Forest River Rockwood Geo-Pro 12RK
- Price: From $19,720
- Dry weight: 1,164 lbs
- Hitch Weight: 162 lb.
- UVW. 1252 lb.
- CCC. 710 lb.
- Exterior Length: 11′ 3″
- Exterior Height: 7′ 9″
- Exterior Width: 80″
- Fresh Water: 20.00 gal.
- Gray Water: 6.00 gal.
Forest River has always been one of the most well-known manufacturers of RV, and their micro campers do not disappoint, like the simple and lightweight yet well-rounded Forest River Rockwood Geo-Pro 12RK. With a length of 11.2 ft. and a weight of under 1,200 lbs, you can easily tow it anywhere without having to worry about maneuvering.
Perfect for couples, this micro camper includes a good sized sleeping space, a small but functional kitchen with a microwave, storage space and slide-out walls. They come standard with 100W roof solar panels and 1000W inverters, making them ideal for boondocking and suitable long-term camping.
Geo Pro also offers more standard features than any other in its class. Most models come standard with an AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth and a USB port, a 12 volt TV with DVD player, a rear ladder, a WiFi Ranger WiFi signal booster, 20,000 BTU furnace, a quick recovery gas/electric water heater and a Showermiser water conservation system.
The latest version of the Geo Pro also offers suspension axles with standard off-road package. You can spend a bit more to get great add-ons, including manual awnings, a gas oven, a convection microwave, gears mounting rack and ventilation fan.
How to Remodel a Van into a Micro Camper For Camping
The smallest investment you must make to buy and remodel a van into a mobile tiny home is around $4,000 to $8,000. Remember, you can easily end up spending at least double this amount if you opt for a better van, or get high quality, durable, new furniture, kitchenware and other essentials, and fancy decorations.
If you go thrift hunting for cheap used kitchen utensils, cookware and other tools, or make curtains, bedding set and other accessories by yourself, you can also save quite some money. Even with a budget under $10,000, it is definitely possible to get vans converted into tiny homes.
Below is the MINIMUM COST breakdown of buying and transforming a used van:
- Used van: $5,000. The purchase price for a used van can vary greatly from $5,000 to $16,000.
- Auto parts and fixes: $100-$200
- Repair budget for the first 6 months to 1 year: $500-$1,000. This depends on whether your used van is in good shape.
- Van title and tabs: $300-$400
- Lumber and screws: $50
- Lithium iron phosphate batteries: $1,000
- Cleaning supplies: $10
- Decorations: $40
- Curtain: $40
- Mattress: $200-$400. For shorter trips and smaller budget, you can look for thick foam padding.
- Bedding set: $50-$100
- Kitchen sink: $25-$40
- Lumber for wooden kitchen counter: $15-$25
- Desk and stools: $50-$150
- Storage organizers: $30-$100
- Essentials: $500-$800. This includes stove, mini fridge, cutlery, pans, utensils, carpet, table fan, lighting units and many more, depending on your preferences and whether you can store them.
- Camping gears and accessories: $200-$1,000. This includes camping chairs, hammocks, tents, and climbing or surfing gears.
Depending on the size of the van, the level of comfort and/or aesthetics you aim for, and whether you can work on remodelling it full-time, you might finish this project in one to two weeks or it might take months, especially if you’re working full-time and can only work on it during weekends.
Getting started: Buying a van
The very first thing is to decide which van to get based on your budget and need for space.
For convenience, you can get a van that fits right in a normal parking lot, and get the one with the highest roof height possible. The higher the roof, the more space you get for vertical storage and more room for creative organizing ideas.
If you are very tall and want to be able to stand straight inside the van, a good option is the Freightliner Sprinter high-roof model.
The key for hassle-free travel on the road is to get a used van that still has a good engine and the less miles the better. A roomy and reliable van might cost well above the minimum $5,000 threshold to over $10,000.
You might have come across a very few blog owners who have bought a van for less, but do not expect to get a heavy-duty van that you can drive with right away. They would always require a ton of upgrade and repairs before the owner can be confident camping in them, and most of these campers regret not chipping in a couple thousands of dollars more to avoid all the complicated and time-consuming repairs.
Getting started: Floor plan and design
Since you will have to squeeze quite a lot into such a tiny space, having a floor plan and organizing your space on paper, or 3D CAD, beforehand would avoid chaos when you actually get into renovating your van.
Before planning to organize your space, surely you would need to decide what you would bring along first. Spend some time to carefully draft a list of must-have items and a list of good-to-have items, and try to trim off anything excessive.
A major decision at this stage would definitely be the bed: the bed makes the difference between a vehicle and a home.
The bed is worth much consideration, as it will occupy the largest space, however it needs to provide sufficient comfort for a good night’s sleep after a long day on the road.
A fixed bed typically means everything under the bed is storage. A popular choice is a raised platform with drawers underneath to hide your stuff away from view for a clean look.
The second option is a lift bed. A lift bed usually consists of boards, which can be stored away when not used, thus maximizing living space. When needed, the boards can be assembled by a number of methods, such as using support units attached to the walls and legs.
First, if you get a used van, you will need to do some essential prep work.
This includes getting rid of everything inside the van, ripping out the plumbing van remnants, cleaning the tar off the floor, sanding the rust, some paint work and inevitably some repairs and replacement.
After the cleaning up, then comes installing and finishing the walls, the floors and the ceiling, plus assembling the kitchen counter, putting in the sink and building or installing the bed platform.
Needless to say, a power inverter is an absolute essential. If you don’t know which one to get, grab the Bestek 300W, a favourite by van campers. It only costs $30 and receives an overall 4.5 score from almost 7,000 reviews on Amazon.
A reliable choice for long trips is Anker’s PowerCore 20100mAh portable charger, which costs around $50. This ultra high capacity power bank is perfect for charging your mobile phones, laptops and ipads. There are also many other cheaper but high quality options.
Since you would only need to light a small space, you can do well with some battery-powered push lights, solar powered lights and if you want something cute and romantic, grab some LED powered fairy lights for amazing Instagram photos.
Cooling & Heating
USB fan or chargeable fan
If you travel in mild weather, a USB fan at night right next to your bed might be all you need to stay cool all night. Otherwise, choose among a wide variety of compact and affordable chargeable fans available on the market for a more heavy-duty fan.
Since a van is tiny, it gets heated up pretty quickly, so you won’t need a super expensive, heavy-duty heater. Opt for one that is reliable, compact and easy to store away. A pro tips on cheap and effective heating in cooler weather is to use Reflectix.
- Related: Best Heaters For RVs, Campers
Reflectix is a reflective roll used to cover the windows of your van. When heat travels to these rolls, it will bounce back, thereby heat is trapped inside the van without much escaping. These rolls typically sell for $30-$40 per piece.
By the same mechanism, Reflectix also keeps cool air inside your van as well, thus it is a super handy accessory all year round.